As much as I love watching anime, there can be a learning curve with all the terminologies and logistics when starting a new show. Especially if you are a newly converted weeb and not the otaku of days gone by. Becoming an anime fan means indulging in so many aspects of this entire subculture and learning just how much it encompasses, which doesn’t just include a mainline show, but multiple other productions that come alongside it. I’m talking about the manga, audio dramas, and, of course, the OVA.
What are OVAs, you ask? Standing for Original Animation Video, it is animated content that is released directly onto streaming sites or the video market without going through a television broadcast or even getting released in theatres. It’s side stories or even alternate universes that didn’t fit in the mainline anime release, so it’s released separately for fans to enjoy as additional content to the show they are currently watching.
It’s a pretty normal occurrence, a sort of creative outlet for animators to work with an original script independent of the source material and make something new out of it. As long as I’ve been into anime, I’ve seen tons of OVAs come out, including for both movies and shows. It’s just a really interesting way to depict familiar characters and stories but add more to it without it needing to be strictly canon. I often think about how OVAs have become so much more common, and how amazing that is for animation houses everywhere because it allows a lot more room for experimenting with original content.
I love the idea of OVAs. Even back in the day, when they’d be nonsensical pieces contained in their universe, it’d be so interesting to see how the animators themselves construed different characters and their stories. Sure, the mangaka’s input is often considered for these projects, but it truly is more independent and left up to personal interpretation. So, are OVAs important in the long run? It depends on what you consider necessary in your anime-watching experience!
History Of The Humble OVA:
Honestly, it’s not hard to see how OVAs came to be. An anime isn’t just one person working endlessly on creating an animation, it is a collaborative effort. Often that’s the creator of the manga or light novel, but there is anime that are completely original productions, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion.
And none of them are exempt from having OVA content made for them. It properly entered the anime scene around 2008, following plenty of animation projects that came out around the time. This includes shows such as xxxHOLIC and Tsubasa Chronicles. And ever since, they have become a mainstay of the anime culture. You will often see shorter anime come out with OVAs a few months after the anime is done airing as content to tide fans over until a new season is finished.
If it’s successful enough, not only do fans have the promise of more seasons, but also more original content to sink their teeth into!
How OVAs Have Become One Of The Best Parts Of Anime:
It’s always exciting getting new content from your favorite anime when you least expect it. And it just allows for so much fun when animators are given more freedom to play around with different elements.
I remember when the OVA for Black Butler came out, and it was a retelling of Alice In Wonderland. In the end, it didn’t impact the narrative of the original anime or anything. But it was such an enjoyable experience to see this new, more playful side of the characters. Alternate universe plots work so well in OVAs and I feel like we don’t talk about it enough.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an OVA, which is canon sometimes. One that I can recall is Given: Uragawa No Sonzai, which was accompanying the Given movie, set after the anime ended. It showed what the main couple from the anime was doing in the background when the movie was focusing on the side couple.
Things like these add so much depth to set plotlines, expanding the world to be more relatable. OVAs are a great addition to any anime!