If you are an anime fan, you might have come across the term OVA in some of the titles or descriptions of anime shows.
But what does OVA mean in anime? And how is it different from other types of anime episodes?
In this article, we will answer these questions and explore the evolution and importance of OVAs in the anime industry.
What is an OVA?
OVA stands for Original Video Animation, which is a type of anime production that is released directly to video formats such as DVDs, Blu-rays, or online streaming platforms. OVAs are not broadcast on television or shown in theaters, unlike regular anime episodes or movies.
OVAs are different from specials, which are bonus episodes that are usually included in the DVD or Blu-ray releases of standard anime series. Specials are often shorter, less serious, or more fanservice-oriented than the main episodes. OVAs, on the other hand, can have varying lengths, genres, and themes, depending on the creative vision of the producers.
The Evolution of OVAs
The first OVA was Dallos, which was released in 1983 by Studio Pierrot. It was a four-episode science fiction series that was directed by Mamoru Oshii, who later became famous for his works such as Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor. Dallos was a pioneer in using the OVA format to create a more mature and experimental anime that could not be shown on television due to censorship or budget constraints.
Since then, OVAs have become a popular and influential form of anime production that has given rise to many genres and trends in the industry. For example, OVAs have been used to create original stories that are not based on any existing manga or novel sources, such as Legend of the Galactic Heroes and FLCL.
OVAs have also been used to adapt manga or novel series that are too long, complex, or niche for television or movie adaptations, such as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Hellsing Ultimate.
OVAs have also been used to expand or conclude existing anime series that have been left unfinished or unsatisfactory by their television or movie counterparts, such as The End of Evangelion and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection.
Are OVAs Important?
OVAs are important because they serve various purposes in the anime world. Some of the purposes are:
- To provide more creative freedom and artistic expression for anime creators, who can experiment with different styles, techniques, and themes without being limited by the standards and expectations of television or movie audiences.
- To cater to the specific tastes and preferences of anime fans, who can enjoy more diverse and niche genres and topics that are not commonly found in mainstream media.
- To offer more content and satisfaction for the anime viewers, who can watch more episodes or alternative versions of their favorite anime series that are not available elsewhere.
Some examples of popular and successful OVAs that have achieved these purposes are:
- Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, which is a trilogy of movies that retell the story of the manga series Berserk with improved animation and sound quality.
- Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World: Memory Snow and Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World: The Frozen Bond, which are two OVAs that provide additional stories and character development for the anime series Re:Zero.
- Steins;Gate: Oukoubakko no Poriomania and Steins;Gate 0, which are an OVA and a sequel series that continue the story of the anime series Steins;Gate with different timelines and outcomes.