The Animax Grand Prix is something like a contest for amateur writers: submit your story, and the winner gets his story animated in a 20-minute OVA. Up till now, the results have been mostly simple kids stories: Yume da Maya Kidan for example was about a girl’s relationship with her brother who got kidnapped by an angry demon, while Takane no Jitensha was about a boy’s relationship with his younger sister. Shoka however, is completely different.
From the screenshots you can pretty much see its unusual art style, and ultimately Shoka is an action OVA: its animation is truly gorgeous. The animation is messy, but detailed and very imaginative. And for once, you can actually see that the animators have put some attention in the lip movement of characters: their mouths don’t just simply move up and down whenever they’re speaking, but you can actually see their mouths form the syllables that they’re trying to say.
The action and animation is really why you should want to watch this little OVA, because apart from that it doesn’t have much else. The story is just there to show the action, and the characters too are pretty simple. The dialogue is also nothing special, as shown in the minute of cheesy comedy that is tacked at the end.
So yeah at the end this OVA knows how to build up tension, and how to write excellent action. But the thing is that these things can all be attributed to the adaptation staff. For once I’d like to see an actually great short story being picked up by the Animax Grand Prix. There are enough amateur writers who are capable of such a thing.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Nice action.|
|Characters:||6/10 – Just serve as tools for the action; cheesy dialogue.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – Gorgeous and detailed animation.|
|Setting:||7/10 – Nice idea of calligraphers, but 20 minutes is way too short to really explore it to its fullest|