More than ten years after the original 4-episode OVA had finished airing, we are given more Futari Ecchi in the form of a 3-episode OVA reboot entitled The One and Only Step Up Love Story (aka. Futari Ecchi 2014).
The story goes pretty much the same as the original in most aspects: Makoto and Yura wed after some focused arranged marriage compatibility dating, and then enter their lives as newlyweds upon their wedding. Some new characters debut that were not previously seen, and some characters are scrapped entirely or shrank in importance.
The problem with this re-telling is it shouldn't have taken as much risk in
the department of originality (a shocker coming from a guy who usually hates when a reboot just rehashes the original). Episode 2 and 3 of this OVA....spend too much focus on OTHER characters, rather than our main couple! The original OVA had side stories, but they never dominated/took center stage above Yura and Makoto's relationship. This tended to dampen the enjoyment of this anime for me, as I came to see the couple I loved to root for from the beginning.
Episode 2 focuses on a young highschool girl named Rui Watanabe, who is trying to figure out what love is about and what to look for in a guy. Her father is a pervert and has soured her view towards marriage in general. She slowly finds counsel from Yura and begins to silently use Makoto as her implied model for an ideal man. (This episode may have been catering/paying tribute to the spin-off of Futari Ecchi's manga entitled: Futari Ecchi for Ladies.)
Episode 3 returns to the side story (from the original OVA episode 2) of Makoto's childhood friend and student he tutored, Miyuki Kikuchi, and expands heavily on it (almost to the point where episode 3 ends with a pretty lackluster close).
Generally, the animation also struggles a bit in a few aspects. Don't get me wrong, the drawing is smoother than the original, but there are constant long still-frames and "slow-mo" chop shots that just fail to live up to the original Futari Ecchi in its presentation. And again, a personal preference, but I prefer the voice talents of the original actors for Yura and Makoto (especially Yura).
Other than that, some character' roles are shrank such as Yura's promiscuous sister Rika, or removed altogether like Makoto's lonely cousin Kyouko. This can be a pro or con depending on how you felt about the specific character.
Overall, the reboot OVA is nice if you want to revisit Futari Ecchi or see some elements expanded on that were not as highlighted in the original (e.g Makoto and Yura's pre-marriage dating life), but it doesn't live up to the original or bullseye what made the first OVA as heartfelt. Again, the original production is simply superior in almost every way.
(And you may be thinking: this guy hasn't even touched on what this anime is about.....sex! Well, let me tell you this: Futari Ecchi, to me, is more about the love and bond of a young couple. Even though the sex is focal point of this OVA, it does not dominate the over-arcing simple message of marital love/dedication. You looking for sex? Yeah, it's here....but that is not the fullest part of this OVA's enjoyment. Look at it that way, and I think you'll be pleased with the results.)
Futari Ecchi 2014 is a 3 episode OVA reboot with more improve coloring and drawn art style for the sales of the Premium Box set which also contain the 4 episode of the former Futari Ecchi OVA. The story focuses about the newly wed Makoto and Yura which are both still virgins when they married each.
This is where the story of romance as married couple starts which is rarely seen in anime to this day.
Mostly romance on these recent days genres focus more on teenagers having difficulty in saying their feelings and having their first kiss and sometimes goes all the
way but the problem how will the relationship last chronologically. Most romance anime just ended up in confession or a kissing or just becoming a couple where the anime is about to end and that’s how most romance anime ends by the way but not all the time.
Time for the adults to show how real romance work and that’s how Futari Ecchi present it.
My Overview for This might contain spoilers:
Story (6/10) Above Average
The setting and story is simple but well made. The plot brings forward the everyday life of a newlywed couples that struggles to the new life style they have and adapting to living together as a married couple. The story didn’t goes deeper because Makoto and Yura didn’t have a child and don’t expect this OVA to have it. The story is more on the early months and years of Makoto and Yura as a couple this means that Makoto and Yura have the free time of their lives to know each inside and out.
The anime have “sex scene” and you heard me right there is a sex scene in every episode of the OVA but I won’t tell you how many it is, watch the OVA to find out. If this anime have a sex scene why does it is not categories as Hentai? Simply because the sex part is not the primary focus of the show instead it just adds up to how strong the romance the main characters have to each other.
Sex in marriage is practically normal nothing strange here and there is no “NTR” so this is not a Hentai but additional add up. The sex scene is very short for an “Hentai” that can span more than 3-5 minutes, I know because I have watch a lot of it. The sex scene is more like a flavoring for the show but the main focus is still in the main couple building up their relationship.
The first paragraph applies purely to the 1st episode while episode 2 -3 focus on side characters but still the couples love story is keep a little bit on half.
Summary for Episode 2-3
More focus on Riu Watanabe a young high school student that recently the neighbor of our main couple. She have a complex relation for boys as she treat them predators because of her father perverted actions towards her but obviously his father is like that because the guys is separated from his wife but of course never goes to the lv of hentai. Riu father is more like the innocent peeping tom type but still caring. The story message is on how the adults can council the younger ones in guiding in love issues which is good. Adults have experience in love knowing the age gap and personal knowledge. This gives futari ecchi another good factor.
Focus on Miyuki Kikuchi, Makoto fellow employee. Makoto was once Miyuki’s tutor. This episode show’s Miyuki’s affection for Makoto even the years have passed ever since. The episode also focuses on the company issue and also this episode has the most “sex scene”, Fan Service Bombardment incoming!
Characters (6/10) Above Average
There isn’t much practically dynamic or epic nor have highly memorable traits for them to become complex in my eyes but it doesn’t erase the fact that character development is still there for our characters to change and help you feel progress.
For every action they take an equivalent change of perspective and trust is built upon the characters even in short period of time you feel the couple’s relationship is building up stronger because of the interaction they have for other characters which I liked about Futari Ecchi.
The following are short sentences in portraying how the character change over the course of time and by the action they take: (Only for 2014 OVA the first OVA are not included)
Makoto- He’s an introvert, a loner ,when he was just single but everything changed when He took the invite for dating meeting his friends set up for him and this when she met Yura and it totally changed his life forever. It’s seems like Makoto doesn’t change for the obvious reason his still a goofball and still his old self but deeply Makoto really change for he began to have more confidence and have a deeper motivation in life and he was more happier than his present life which is model husband that everybody should be. Be happy and love your wives more.
Yura- Same as Makoto she also felt being alone before she hasn’t met him but unlike Makoto. Yura is supported by her parents and siblings but still felt alone. What I like about futari ecchi 2014 OVA is that in the episodes it is reveal that Yura is happier with his new husband than with his parents and siblings care which is another good factor for presenting the romance true and pure.
Riu- After the counselling she receives from the adult her attitudes towards males changed and she doesn’t see them all as perverted predators which is a good presentation on how very helpful adults are in copping up teenagers issues which is really very minor if you have the adult perspective.
Miyuki- since nothing much fleshing out is given I can only say a few things. Miyuki still have a crush for Makoto but does it stop her to keep moving forward and get a boy for his own happiness? No! Miyuki as an adult is presented mature for she knows her limits and knows to live forward and expect a better future as revealed in 3rd episode. No “NTR” here boys.
The characters here deserve the above average.
Art style (7/10) Good
The character appearance still looks the same as the former version with lighter coloring and better movements; you know what I mean ehehehehe….
All I can say the animation of the 2014 is Good and that’s all.
Music (5/10) Average
The songs are not very dynamic and not also very romantic and cute for you to remember but it’s not bad for it’s just doesn’t have the burning fashion for you to remember it but that’s a minor factor for the show to be good. Plot and Character make’s a good show by the way.
Enjoyment (7/10) God
I am at the right age when I watched this anime and both my good heart and “Guilty Pleasure” are both present at the same time with proper spacing in between.
Overall (6/10) Fine but not worth recommending to everybody
Futari Ecchi 2014 is good anime to explore the life of a normal couples romance. This anime showed the fundamental aspect needed in making a relationship to be stable for people to understand and have a quick peeked on what newlywed couples handle their relationship minus the children part which will eventually happen in the near future.
Couple’s building up their trust to each other and deleting their insecurity by relaying to each other is good presentation of romance for me.
Moral Reminders: Marriage before sex kids or you will regret it. Sex is not all about pleasure but it also test how deep your bonds and trust towards your partner.