I’m not really sure what the creators really intended by airing both an OVA and a TV-series for Yume de Aetara at the same time. Furthermore, while Hiroshi Watanabe merely supervised the TV-series, he took it upon himself to direct the OVA. The series already was a string of ridiculously overblown deus ex machina, so with the king of cheese now behind the director’s seat, my expectations definitely weren’t high.
But what a surprise: the OVA turns out to be much better than the TV-series; it’s a really sweet romance story, and it’s actually really well written. It’s basically an alternative retelling of the series: the basic set-up is still there, but the storyline’s entirely different. It both fills in the holes of the series’ background, and it also advances its own storyline.
Nearly all of the deus ex machina of the series don’t return in the OVA. You can still spot a few here and there, but it all falls within the limits. In exchange, it really feels like the creators know their characters. They’re able to create subtle nuances in their behaviour, and also succeed in creating an effective atmosphere for the story to work with.
But the best part: Hamaoka plays a much smaller role here. She’s still there as a potential love-rival, but her number of appearances has been greatly reduced. In the OVA, she really feels like a side-character, in comparison to the TV-series where she actually got more screentime than the girl who was SUPPOSED TO BE the lead female for the story. For the OVA, you can really feel that it’s a story about Fuguno and Nagisa, as it explores both of their doubts about going into a relationship.
So overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised here. Nearly the entire OVA basically had the same feel as the final episode of the TV-series (as, the only part of that series that was really good). The romance worked really well, and it’s one of the few times where a series has a loser protagonist, and the creators can admit that he’s a loser, and use that in their storytelling, rather than using a loser to appeal to the otaku-crowd. It’s one of these stories where you’ll really want the main couple to come together (or that was the case with me, anyway). It’s a very subtle series. Yes, subtle; a word I thought I’d never mention when talking about a Hiroshi Watanabe-anime.