Mar 6, 2023
As this OVA didn't have any reviews, I felt compelled to add mine since I loved every second of it.
Creamy Mami's ultimate OVA, "Long Goodbye," is a fantastic finale to an endearing show. The production values of this OVA were undoubtedly top-tier, featuring vibrant colors, exquisitely retro animation with clever camera work, some unexpected but welcome action scenes, and brilliant voice acting from our titular heroine and her friends.
I can understand why some people may have been mildly impressed or even displeased at Mami's sudden comeback, which felt like an asspull to get the show going and please the fans, but I'm perfectly fine with
that. Studio Pierrot delivered a beautifully crafted piece of traditional Japanese animation, befitting of the genre and the bygone era it depicts, that I will certainly remember for a long time.
One of the most noticeable aspects of this OVA are the mature themes: from Yuu's subtle request to her mom to purchase her some "girly" undies now that she's in junior high school, to the serene atmosphere exuded by some scenes, to the ins and outs of filmmaking giving us an unexpectedly educational peek into the tools and techniques that were in use back then, to Kidokoro and Megumi enjoying sake together at some izakaya located under the rail tracks, a typical sight in Tokyo even today, part of the megalopolis' culture and charm. A very pleasant scene starring an unlikely pair not often seen in the TV series, that fleshed out Megumi's character going beyond the usual "gets angry and slaps her beloved Shingo before storming out of the room" we've been shown throughout the series. Here she was painted as a maiden in love, feeling insecure about her fiancé's feelings. And my heart goes out to you, Kidokoro, you were a true gentleman. A moment of silence to our fallen brother.
Speaking of Megumi, she was given a golden opportunity to shine in this OVA, in comparison to her underwhelming supporting role in the TV series. In fact we could even say she was the actual heroine, both literally (as the movie lead) and figuratively. Graceful and ladylike, she is certainly the antithesis of our purple-haired heroine, but that's okay: they are meant to complement each other, and we can sympathize with Kidokoro eventually falling for her adult charm. Her song "Last Kiss de Good Luck" is among my favorites in the series and fits her like a glove. Perfect choice of background music for the bar scene.
Moreover, rival characters from 80s and 90s anime had the annoying tendency to be insufferable jerks whose unique purpose was to trouble the protagonist and grate on our nerves with their shenanigans—looking at you, Sayaka Honami (Yawara!) and Hikaru Hiyama (Kimagure Orange Road)—sometimes up to the (pen)ultimate episode. Megumi was none of that. While obviously jealous of Mami's popularity, she still knew her place and worked to the best of her abilities to grab her own share of the spotlight and compete with Mami fair and square, sparing everyone from any cheap attempts to undermine her rival. In fact she supported Mami much like a big sister on a number of occasions, and Yuu reciprocated those feelings in the bedroom scene. If only she had a more prominent role in the series.
All the endearing cast members also got their chance to shine, and it was largely thanks to them that I could sit through the entire 52 episodes of the main series without growing too bored, despite 40+ episodes of filler content. Even Midori, who was without doubt ranking as “most annoying character” for many of us, quite redeemed himself and even managed to snatch a girlf—a good ending. In contrast, rival series "Magical Princess Minky Momo" had me drop the show after a couple of episodes as I failed to relate to any of the characters, but perhaps my expectations were set a bit too high. I'll try giving it another chance sometime.
Some of my favorite scenes:
- Kidokoro and Megumi enjoying drinks together at the bar. Yes, characters getting drunk in a kids' anime.
- Mami sliding off the structure at the playground, hinted at by her shadow from the sunset light, which slowly morphs back into Yuu’s silhouette if you look closer. We learn later that Yuu only transforms into Mami while the sun is out, which made this scene a pretty clever foreshadowing.
- Yuu and Ai in the bedroom asking Megumi is she’s happy right now.
- Everyone in the bus singing “BIN-KAN Rouge”, and Megumi’s reaction when requested to sing one of Mami’s songs.
- Toshio watching how the special effects were added to the movie reel.
- The overhead camera scene with everyone having lunch together at the film studio.
- Yuu reuniting with Posi and Nega in her dream, with my favorite BGM from the show playing behind.
- The climactic battle scene. The joys of good ol' cel animation.
- The final scene with Toshio and Yuu looking at the stars. Cliché, yes, but you can't help but grin at their blissful innocence.
There’s still more I could go on about this OVA, but let’s keep this short. In conclusion, this OVA is highly recommended for Creamy Mami fans or even fans of retro animation in general. It's a visual and auditory treat from the mid-80s, that brings a satisfying conclusion to one of the most iconic magical girl shows of all time. Bar the lazy plot device that brought Mami back, I wish the main series had benefited from similar production values, screenplay, and character development. Only the first episode did come close.
- "Do I need to watch the entire TV series to enjoy this OVA?"
Preferably if you have a lot of time, or just want to sit back and enjoy the "retro" feel of the show as I did, but episodes with actual continuity and meaning to the plot can be counted on your fingers. You could just as well watch the previous OVA, "Eien no Once More", which first 45 minutes recap the main events of the series. Still, I would consider watching the entire series a prerequisite to be able to enjoy this OVA to the fullest.
This is my very first review on MAL, after fifteen years. Thanks for reading!
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