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.|