Posted by psgels on 20 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



One shot OVAs of large mangas are often not really noteworthy. They’re usually just commecials for their mangas, but don’t stand on themselves as individual pieces of work. Kyou, Koi wo Hajimemasu is an exception, so I decided to just write a review about it in an attempt to explain why.

I’m not really happy with the shoujo romance genre of the past five years. You know, those series about a girl and her romantic adventures, usually in high school. I used to be a big fan of the genre, but now it has rather come at a standstill, with only a few series as Skip Beat and Perfect Girl Evolution delivering something new and interesting while we in the meantime are stuck with stuff like Kaichou wa Maid Sama, SA and Kimi ni Todoke that just have the same shallow romances over and over.

Because of that, it’s really a shame that Kyou, Koi wo Hajimemasu has only one episode, because this episode was definitely the best shoujo episode since Skip Beat. I’m not sure what this would have looked like in the form of an actual series, but this is exactly what shoujo should be, rather than the dragged on and inconsequential other shows of the genre.

This one is directed by the director of Casshern Sins, and you really can see his influence here. Considering the circumstances, he really made optimal use of only twenty minutes. It’s got the same pacing that made Casshern Sins so addictive, in which characters sometimes take a small pause before they talk. There are a ton of close-ups, skillfully combined with other shots that actually give quite a bit of life to the characters despite the limited budget. Along with the surprisingly good soundtrack, this got quite an emotional reaction out of me.

While I haven’t read the manga, my guess is that the creators took some key scenes of the first few volumes, and compiled those together in twenty minutes. The downside of this is that we’re lost on a lot of background information that just couldn’t fit into this episode. Especially that cutting scene piqued my interest, because we’re not shown the context in which it happened, in favour of the more important scenes that did need to get enough time to really work. The result is definitely tightly packed, but in return, the creators gave meaning to every single line here: not one word is wasted here as the characters develop each other through their dialogues.

The only downside was that the creators didn’t really get a good voice actor for the lead male. His voice lacks subtlety here, and is too monotomous. But really, I can see a tv-series based on this thing being successful. There’s not much comedy, but a shoujo romance… I really see a lot of potential in that if the creators treat it the same as they did here.

Storytelling: 9/10 – I’m very impressed here with what the creators did in just 20 minutes here. Great pacing, excellent dialogue, really well cut and pasted from the manga.
Characters: 8/10 – Lack of key events or background, but surprisingly deep for only 20 minutes.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Low budget, but the visual direction is pretty good here. Excellent soundtrack.
Setting: 7/10 – Don’t expect any background to be explained here.

Suggestions:
Voices of a Distant Star
Maria-Sama ga Miteru
Baby Blue

15 Responses

  1. desdes says:

    where can i watch this??? is it already out??

  2. Gudo says:

    Sweet review. Looks like a colorful, entrancing story. It seems like it is not that there is no good Shoujo any more, just that the good ones are really short. Have you tried Vampire Knight?

  3. Katapan says:

    Calling Kaichou wa Maid Sama, SA and Kimi ni Todoke “shallow romances”, yet praising the adaptation of a manga by Minami Kanan, whose motto seems to be “females exist to be dominated by men and should enjoy it” … I’m at a loss for words.

  4. Jigglysama says:

    Its quite evident that you don’t read the manga. Once you do, you’ll find that it encompasses every single shoujo cliche, with the female lead reduced to a pile of useless meat whenever Kyota ignores her. The OVA’s purpose is intended to make readers interested in a series, and it seems to have worked for you.

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Interesting, so we have a bit of an anime > manga here if I understood correctly?

    In that case, I indeed take back that statement in which I said that this story would work as a full series, but as a standalone OVA it really had none of the problems you describe. Whether the second OVA will be the same… I’m curious enough to give that one a chance.

  6. Ec08tfa says:

    I love skip beat! And after watching the anime I was hooked on the manga. I wonder if you watched fruit basket?

  7. shirokiryuu says:

    Whhaaatttt??? I guess the director must be really really talented to get rid of/improve the frustrating cliches/borderline smut in this series. I followed the manga out of morbid curiosity, but I gave up because it annoyed the crap out of me (and I do read a lot of shitty shojo).

  8. shirokiryuu says:

    I think what really gets me is the trend in shoujo, where the heroine starts all strong and cool, and devolves into a mushy mess of “Oh no! I can’t do anything with my boyfriend!”

  9. psgels psgels says:

    shirokiryuu: that could be it as well, that this was just the good first part of the original story. I mean, there was no way for this OVA to drag out so they could skip all that. This episode wasn’t about being weak at all, but rather about hooking up and understanding the loved one’s feelings.

  10. Kiseki says:

    shirokiryuu’s first comment was what I was going to say.

    Not to mention, this is a Sho Comi manga. A fucking Sho Comi manga. Not as bad as other Sho Comi stuff, but still bad.

  11. Hamachan says:

    The shoujo anime genre has been always given the short end of the stick and it’s no wonder because most shoujo mangas really sucks. There are some gems like Cat Street, D-Ash, Kare Kano, Honey and Clover and Nodame, but they’re still too few to count. :(

    Nodame is more of a slice of life than shoujo but it was still relatively successful and well receive, it even got a third season and an ova. It would be wonderful if this kind of manga gets adapted not the moe, derivative, shows that always seems to get made nowadays.

  12. Frost says:

    Im so glad you mentioned Perfect Girl Evolution here… Never heard of it, but I liked this episode so I decided to check it out and after watching the first 3 episodes Im already in love

  13. shirokiryuu says:

    I think crappy shoujo series are numerous for the same reasons crappy moe series are also numerous. It panders to the audience, takes less thought, and sells. Except crappy shoujo tend to stay as manga. For good shoujo, I agree with the above mentioned, but I also liked Lovely Complex, even if it can be fluffy.

  14. inkka says:

    Oh..After I watched this series and try to read manga to know and understand all thing that happened in this ova.(Although I rather understand everything while I watched and It can make me got enough emotional.)But after I read manga.I really sad to see this has only one ep too. Really shame!! T_T

    Because for me.This is the shoujo that overall story reach the level of above average.Now I reach chapter 30 And it really good! Although the character’s reaction sometime is overacting.But character development and the pace that they used is totally win for me.

    They didn’t stuck with blahhhh rival.Blahhh tsundere. Blahhh Damsel in distress.Ok I won’t spoil anything.But for me I really like this.And I think this ova can express the overall feeling in the manga nicely too.

    (But hey..I want to complained that to show this event first is a bit early for the people who didn’t read manga…It’s at around ch 15-16 -_-“)

  15. inachan says:

    I’m with psgel on his review here! I just watched this ova and it was beautiful. I don’t read the manga, but I read others works of Minami Kanan and don’t like them too much, I find them to be cheaply written (but enjoy them somewhat, weird I know…).
    However this OVA was very well done, beautiful drawings, beautiful music and tasteful direction. The emotions and story were simple but very well portrayed.
    P.S. I like the male seiyuu!

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  • Vincent
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 10:01 AM)
    Watched Letters from Iwo Jima again. Ken Watanabe is a great actor.
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 09:32 AM)
    Note that it’s not just regular AIDS, which is definitely treatable if caught early, it’s some dtug resistant SUPERAIDS that the character in question got from a blood transfusion soon after being born
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 09:29 AM)
    It’s not that the disease being AIDS is really all that important. You could even replace with anything, even Sudden Moe Death Syndrome from Clannad and the emotional impact would still be as blunt and forced.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:02 AM)
    Oh for fucks sake sword art? You put HIV drama into your show?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:57 AM)
    Pretty much looking forward to the next two episodes and hope it gets more seasons too.
    I also liked how bleak it was.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:55 AM)
    *how twisty
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    . I was told to stay away from story six. Story seven was the most developed and ambitious of the selection but I feel mixed on it and didn’t really get into it until midway or so.
    Still I do love weird tales anthology stuff and this all fit the bill for me.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    The first story even I have to admit was genuinely horrifying, uncomfortable and got under my skin and of the selection it still stands out as having the greatest impact. The second one was good social commentary but doesn’t really give me much I didn’t already know. Stories three and were the most emotionally investing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed who twisty, twisted, truly nasty and cruel story five was and it is my second favourite of the lot.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    I did however feel that some of the dialogue and acting could have done with some very very slight tweaking in parts/some segments.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:53 AM)
    Okay even though I don’t watch western tv shows all that much I finally properly spent whole day going through black mirror. For the larger part this is creative, unpredictable, well thought out/written, varied, I like the technological end of it, the stories manage to fit into the short film runtime without ever feeling like they needed more time and its clear that Charlie Brooker has a lot to say with this and is very intelligent man, some of it does ring fairly true.

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