When Youta is told by the girl he likes, Moemi, that she likes someone else, he rents a video girl tape from a strange video rental shop. When he plays the tape at home, Video Girl Ai emerges from the screen to help him win Moemi's love. But Yohta's VCR had been malfunctioning and now Ai's personality isn't quite what it was designed to be.
Another storyline where the impossible becomes possible, giving hopes to a guy who seems to have no luck, this storyline is pretty original and really sucks you into the relationships as it goes along. The seriousness of this anime mixed with the relationship is utterly astounding. A good storyline base and the story just becomes better and better.
For the time it was made this anime is amazing, truly a classic.
Soundtrack is great, character voices are outstanding, really do fit the characters.
The characters are
amazing, and really makes this anime cream of the crop. The characters all become well loved and you feel for them through the harsh and happy times.
Why did I like this anime?
I would say this anime is one of the best, it's love triangles are one of the reasons this anime is so great. The anime is a classic giving you 'Ah I want this to be me' kind of feeling. The plot is good and the relationship bonds that strengthen over time are just a sight to see. If you have a chance, read the manga for this short lived anime just makes you want more. I am still hoping for the day some production crew will remake this anime expanding onto the other manga plot lines. The manga is outstanding aswell so be sure to check it out. This anime is hands down one of the best romances and is purely a classic.
Time for another episode of highly obscure anime reviews! Today I am going to talk about Video Girl Ai, which is one of those instances of a show or movie that had a small cult following for a couple years after it was released but quickly became forgotten. The movie equivalent of Video Girl Ai in terms of small, cult films that became highly obscure with time would be something like "Zorro the Gay Blade" or "Buddy Holly: Six String Samurai".
The plot starts out with the cliche premise of a hapless loser named Yota trying to get a girlfriend and constantly failing. Yota is
in love with a pretty girl named Moemi, who overlooks Yota because of his sub-par appearance and only has eyes for the handsome jock, Takashi. Yota realizes that Moemi won't ever love him, so he tries to hook up Takashi and Moemi so that at least they can be happy. This is sort of reminiscent of the famous French play Cyrano de Bergerac, but the anime quickly moves on to rip off other things instead. While walking home depressed, Yota notices a mysterious video store he has never seen before and goes inside to rent a "Video Girl tape". Basically, in 1990s Japan there were VHS tapes (18 up) that would feature a hot girl talking to the screen in order for lonely guys to pretend they had a girlfriend. This particular video store is run by a mysterious old man who lends out magical tapes to youth in desperate need. These magic tapes will change the life of the troubled youth and help them mature and grow. I’m pretty sure this old man must be the brother of the old man that runs the magic bookstore in The Never-Ending Story! Yota goes home and plays the VHS, causing the beautiful girl Ai to come flying out of his TV! Ai attempts to help and comfort Yota, while also trying to get him together with Moemi. However, Ai herself begins to fall for Yota and this angers the mysterious being named Rolex, who created the video girls and is actually the one in charge of the magical video store! The anime has one of the most abrupt tone shifts I have ever seen starting late in the 5th of only 6 episodes! The series goes from being a romantic comedy to being a surprisingly dark and surreal artsy series at the drop of a dime. The anime has a very bittersweet and open ending, while the manga has a conventional happy ending. I actually kind of prefer the anime’s ending because it stays with you longer and leaves more of an impact on the viewer.
Edit: It actually becomes a happy ending if you wait after the credits on the DVD. I watched this series on youtube when I wrote this review. My buddy offline recently pointed this out.
Yota starts out as a very generic romantic comedy protagonist, but he actually does grow throughout the series and is willing to put others before his own needs. It is frustrating to watch Yota chase after the wretched character Moemi, but the viewer quickly realizes that he has fallen in love with a highly idealized, fictional version of a bad person and this is sadly something that often happens in real relationships. Moemi is one of the most obnoxious characters in anime history! She is the ONLY person that never realizes that Yota likes her and perpetually uses him as a tool to try land a handsome guy with no interest in her. Yota himself is guilty of being dense in terms of Ai’s feelings for him, but Yota is also very kind to Ai and as previously mentioned is frequently willing to put the happiness of others above his own. Moemi on the other hand, never ONCE thinks about anyone other than herself. Along with being highly selfish and oblivious to the suffering of others, she is also extremely superficial and only values physical appearance. Ai starts out as a tomboyish comedy side kick, but her struggles with identity and whether or not she should have the capacity for love is interesting. Ai develops as a character in only 6 episodes and is a compelling heroine. The only character I would really criticize, since Moemi was intended to be insufferable, is the villain Rolex. In the manga, his motivations and origins are clearly explained. In the anime, he just sort of shows up without explanation and we never learn ANYTHING about the guy other than he created the video girls and doesn’t want them to fall in love. This is entirely due to the short, 6 episode running time of the OVA. However, they could easily have spared us 15 minutes of Moemi being an airhead and given time to flesh out Rolex and give at least his basic origin and motives. I kind of have to fault the anime director for this poor use of time management.
Animation and music:
The animation actually looks pretty damn good even by today’s standards! This anime was made in 1991, so that is saying something about the timeless quality that the artwork has. The music is also excellent with both the opening and ending themes being quite catchy.
Although this is a condensed adaptation with a few flaws, it is very much worthy of seeing for yourself. At times this series can be quite slow and it can also be painfully frustrating to see our hero chasing the insufferable airhead, but it also does some things well. This series gets the viewer emotionally invested and provides some truly tear jerking moments. The characters actually develop in a short run time and go from generic to actually interesting. The old-school but high quality art is an absolute joy to see! Basically, there are a LOT of romantic comedy anime, but most are extremely forgettable. Video Girl Ai stands head and shoulders above the average of its genre. I give it a well deserved 6/10.
Video Girl Ai is probably one of the best anime OVA's I've seen in my anime watching years. The designs of the characters are some of the most beautiful I've seen and is amazing for 1992. This series is meant to be watched in japanese and the dub is good, but not the best. I think the animation is fluid and well produced, with the soundtrack consisting of mostly pop music, but I was content. So if you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth a watch.
I happened to stumble across Video Girl Ai while I was clicking around on TV Tropes one day, and the plot sounded interesting, so I figured, "hey, it's only 6 episodes, so why don't I give it a shot?" And I'm pretty glad I did. This is an under appreciated gem. Even though it's listed as an ecchi, the fanservice is actually pretty tasteful, and it's much more focused on plot rather than fanservice. So, even if ecchi titles generally aren't your thing, you should still give this a chance.
The story is a romance with a slight supernatural element to it. At its heart, it's
a love-triangle (well, actually more of a love square) between Youta (the main character), Ai the video girl, Moemi, and Youta's best friend. The whole thing was kind of cheesy, and it had an 80s brat pack movie kind of vibe (technically, the OVA came out in 1992, but lbr the early 90s were basically the 80s). I loved it despite its slight cheesiness, though. It was light-hearted, but with just the right amount of angst. The music was fun, and the art was very impressive. All of the animation was very fluid, and it seemed very ahead of its time (although there is some bad CGI in the opening). Even though the story was a little dated (it's about a girl who comes out of a VCR after all), it manages to hold up, largely thanks to the quality of the art. My only complaint would be that the two side characters, Moemi (Youta's crush) and Takashi were kind of lame. But Ai had enough spunky character for the both of them, really.
All in all, it was a solid show that's easy to pick up because it's so short. Despite it's length, it still manages to be satisfying. I would definitely give it a shot if you're into older shows, romances, or if you like fanservice that comes with a great story.