Nora is a 1985 OVA that opens with a scene of colorfully flashing bright lights with the intent behind it being to damage your eyes. It then sets out to damage your brain as well with its ensuing story-line. Nora is a 56-minute journey of pure agony that will present us with an incredibly simpleminded story and dim-witted characters.
A few days ago I made a review of Nora's sequel OVA, Twinkle Nora Rock Me! and while I stated that the sequel possesses little to no story to speak of, its prior installment, Nora, does make an attempt at one—a really bad attempt that will
insult the viewer. But first let us discuss the characters.
All the characters within this OVA are portrayed in the most unflattering manner possible unless their name is Nora. That's right, Nora is the only character with a half-decent design. The other characters with speaking roles are drawn to look as ugly as possible. What, too much of a nitpick you say? I don't think so because it's so blatantly apparent that it was actually rather irksome to see, especially when the background characters that do nothing have decent designs. But it's not just the appearances of the other characters that is portrayed in a questionable way, it's their character traits as well. A "super genius" by the name of Professor Dohati with an "IQ of 212" (I question this statement greatly) creates a supercomputer with artificial intelligence to unleash his fury on those who laughed at him. I'm not joking about this, although I wish I was. We are never made to care about this though, as what actually happened to make him do this is never shown or referenced again. Instead, he eventually ends up helping Nora and another character, Dr. Zachariasen, defeat the menace he released into the world. The only reason one would be led to believe that Professor Dohati actually possesses any intelligence at all is due to the fact that he did somehow manage to create a supercomputer with artificial intelligence. How he did it, I have no clue because everything else about his character makes me think that he is nothing but a complete pinhead. Dr. Zachariasen is a smart man, apparently... Anyway, he too, possesses certain unflattering traits. For example, he snores, loudly....I can only assume that the voice actor for him was told beforehand to snore in the most annoying manner he could possibly muster because my eardrums felt like they were being violently assaulted. It's not just one time that the snoring occurs either, it's multiple times. When it's so unbearable that I have to mention it in a review you know something is wrong. So, he is a guy whose intellect will prove to be "useful" during the show. We also have Artifiend, the form of artificial intelligence who goes rogue after he comes to the conclusion you'd expect him to: humans be bad, me destroy dem. And then we have our main character, Nora Scholar, a kind-hearted—albeit not too bright (indeed, the name choice is ironic)—girl who gets mixed up in the mess created by Professor Dohati and his supercomputer.
The story of this OVA is simple: "smart" man creates supercomputer with artificial intelligence, supercomputer comes to the conclusion that humans must be destroyed, supercomputer goes rogue, stop the supercomputer. This is what I mean when I say that this Nora OVA attempts a story. It makes a poorly executed bid to actually have a message—a message of peace and love. Aw, how sweet. We have to stop being such vile fiends guys! It eventually falls to Nora and company to stop this supercomputer and stop him she shall. Thus, Nora talks to him, rambling on with what I can only refer to as verbal diarrhea to convince him that he, too, has a heart and that he should not annihilate all of humankind. He eventually acquiesces, stating that humans should abandon all war and if they do, he won't wipe them out, but if they don't listen to him, well then, he will. A perfectly hypocritical message achieved! What makes it worse is that this is treated as a joke. The OVA wants us to see this as a good thing and it does realize how bad it sounds, but it makes a very lazy attempt to make it seem like it's not quite that awful. Hey, I'm all for messages of love and peace, but the way it is implemented in this OVA is, quite honestly, insulting. But then again, everything about this OVA is insulting so at the very least it's being consistent.
The animation, while not being at the level of its sequel OVA's animation, is still not the greatest and the art/artstyle is, quite honestly, rather dull to look at at times. The music is actually fantastic, but the voice acting did not stand out in any significant way, other than Nora's, "Yay!" Any level of enjoyment for me was non-existent. The message is poorly handled. The characters are one-dimensional and brainless. The story is the equivalent of a used piece of toilet paper. It's a complete waste of time. When I say don't bother watching it, I really mean it, DON'T WATCH IT. You'll likely get nothing from, in fact, it's more than likely you'll lose something instead. That something being a significant amount of your brain cells. Its sequel Twinkle Nora Rock Me! is undoubtedly worse, but it is still much more likely to be an enjoyable experience as you watch its own mess unfold. Both watching and writing quick reviews about these Nora OVAs was a daunting tribulation for me considering how painful an experience it was, but people deserve to be told about them since these OVAs are two of the notable pieces of animation out there that have the distinct ability to disintegrate the brains of anyone who is brave enough to watch them to ash. If you still choose to watch them despite this, well, all I can offer you are my condolences.
Nora is about a girl named Nora who meets a professor on a flight to a vacation resort in space. But as they start hanging out in (space)town they notice an inordinate amount of electrical appliances, machines, etc. malfunctioning. It turns out another professor has decided to do a sick prank on mankind using a supercomputer, but the supercomputer decides to take things too far and attempts to wipe out all mankind, including the bad professor. Not cool. So the the professor and Nora, who were already trying to find the cause of all the malfunctioning, decide to try and stop the supercomputer with the
aid of the bad professor.
What you'll immediately notice when watching this OVA is that it looks like it's from a tv anime, despite being an 80s OVA. The art clearly hasn't aged well and I don't think there was a single shot of animation in the OVA that impressed me. Despite that, it managed to have one single element that was consistently nice to look at: the main character Nora. And as far as I'm concerned, she steals the show the entire way through.
The titular character Nora is an air-headed, happy go lucky girl, who, after seeing the professor who's sitting next to her on the space ship on tv, decides to hang out with him for the rest of the day. She enjoys the little things in life with a sense of childlike joy and is described by the two professors as a mathematically perfect generator of randomness. She's adorable and a ton of fun to watch. She's the type of girl who would try to prevent a supercomputer from wiping out mankind, by talking to it about its feelings. Hypothetically speaking of course...
This OVA overall was a pleasant surprise and kept my attention all the way through with fun moment after fun moment. Nothing about it impressed me too highly, but it's a fine watch if you just need something to fill 50 minutes worth of time. There is also a sequel to this anime, which seems to have a reputation for being an absolute train-wreck. I've never had any problems with trains, (except that one time as a kid I puked in one and my grandma had to clean me up. Oh, and that other time I threw up in one after eating too much and you could clearly see what I had eaten that evening), but I guess I'll scrap myself for when I get to that OVA.