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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  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 01:58 PM)
    Yeah, you could even easily do a spin of series in the berserk universe, it’s that well thought out unique and huge. I dreamt myself continously into that world – mostly because of it’s bright, shimmering side, which aren’t mentioned that often because of it’s ultra dark counterpart.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 01:47 PM)
    I never understood how a franchise like Berserk with huge sales and avid fan base struggles so much to get anything made. The PS2 videogame was never released outside of Japan, and it took 20 years for the anime to get a follow-up. And after all of that we get a slim-budgeted series from an unknown studio, all the while D.Grey Man gets a full-blown slick looking second series that nobody asked for. Quite baffling.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 01:42 PM)
    @Badesh: well the creator of the Souls series Hidetaka Miyazaki is an outspoken Berserk fan. The games are replete with Berserk references.
    Cheers to you too m8.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 01:38 PM)
    @Aidan: for some reason I thought you were talking about the iOS game Berserk: Raging Wave of Mercenaries. Looks like the Musou game is getting a North American release, which is good news. But the weird part is that it’s a Sony exclusive, for whatever reason.
  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 01:37 PM)
    Dear God, a DarkSouls/Berserk mashup would be too god to be true. It stikes me just now, how similar these franchises are in tone. Somehow the never ending suffering doesn’t affect me that much. Could be because of my slow paced, depressive livestyle for most of my past life – no pun intended.
    Nice to hear some well thought thoughts on that topic, cheers ;)
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 01:29 PM)
    @Bam, you know I mentioned that game in the berserk episode 2 review.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:45 AM)
    WHAT?! This is tremendous news. Many thanks @Badesh for sharing.
    But Koei Tecmo out of all people? I guess we’re getting the Dynasty/Hyrule Warriors treatment. Where is the FromSoftware developed Hidetaka Miyazaki directed Berserk that was rumored? I guess better than nothing- which has been the mantra of us Berserk fans for a while now. Being a Berserk fan, is being Guts -> which is suffering.
  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:34 AM)
    https://youtu.be/9TPBx5Dq-Jk
    new one. the first teaser didn’t contain any gameplay just the first bit with cascar being snuggled by tentacles. it was how they introduced the new game to me. maybe i should feel raped as well…
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:04 AM)
    @Badesh: which one? Cuz I played thru both the Dreamcast and the PS2 version. The Dreamcast one was a stand-alone story, but it was both a good one written by Miura, and it was set between Vol22 and Vol23, so it didn’t interfere with the manga’s story. The PS2 one was almost a chapter-by-chapter adaptation of the Holy Demon War section, and it featured the de-facto Berserk theme ‘Sign’ by Hirasawa himself:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdpqV7RPnTE
  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:50 AM)
    They did the same thing to promote the video game! Srsly?
    Besides, i really enjoy the new series as a long time fan.. can’t exactly point out why. I like the action and for every shitty shot, we get an awesome one.

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