Romantic comedies and I haven’t had the best relationship. Sure, there have been a few gems among them (for example Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge and Code-E), but there is just so much crap amongst the genre. For me, the gags are often lazy, the characters uninspired and they rely way too much on moe stereotypes. The few series that do put a bit of effort into their storytelling also have a large chance of not knowing how to balance the romance and the comedy properly (Magikano, anyone?)
The cream of the crop in the romantic-comedy-genre has to be Mahou Tsukai Tai for me. The television-series made the mistake in going on and on about the major villain, but none of these problems return in the OVA. This is really what a romantic comedy should be. There is no minute wasted, every single character is meaningful and the story manages to fully utilize the format of six episodes. Basically, if you liked the television-series, you just have to check out the OVA.
The strength of Mahou Tsukai Tai is that it takes a cast of characters who would have been incredibly cliché on their own, and turns them into something memorable. Unlike series as Kanon and basically 90% of all other series, the characters don’t feel randomly thrown together. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and they use their strengths to make up for the weaknesses of the others. The cast just fits perfectly. Unlike the television-series, this is also one OVA that keeps an excellent balance between comedy and drama. The final episode manages to close off the OVA very nicely due to the build-up of the first five ones.
I’ve seen a lot of movies and OVAs now that don’t know how to build up properly, but those who do understand this have turned into really memorable watches, and this is exactly what makes the difference between a memorable OVA and just a forgettable one. The time that movies and OVAs have to work with is considerably smaller than compared with television-series, but if it’s used well, then the results are awesome.