19-year-old Kubota is ready to find a girlfriend. The perfect chance arises when he meets Masana Fujisaka, his first love, in a club. She's just broken up with her longtime boyfriend and is surprised to run into Kubota, who sees that the perfect opportunity has just arisen.
An OVA released in 1990, Nineteen seems to have slipped into the vast abyss of overlooked anime.
Well, with it's story alone, I don't think that Nineteen will win over too many fans. It is presented as a somewhat standard coming-of-age teenage love story the likes of which has been told many times through both live-action and animated film. It's nothing groundbreaking, but we are at least given a coherent plot with a proper climax and resolution.
Backgrounds are all very detailed and well done. It's fun to see all of the name brand products and familiar places that are included. There are also a
few creatively directed scenes set to only clips of music which I found to be quite enjoyable. The characters have the standard late 80s/early 90s OVA design so nothing in that department particularly stands out. If you're a fan of the style, you'll be a fan of what's here as well. Overall, a great job by Madhouse that's still looks good 18 years later.
The music of Nineteen is what will make this OVA memorable. It's soundtrack consists of mostly dance/pop tracks from the late 1980s. As this was distributed by Victor Musical Industries, I can only assume that the music was considered to be an important part of the production. The result of this is a highly successful soundtrack with my personal highlight being the use of Sabrina Salerno's "Boys (Summertime Love)" in a very memorable sequence. The voice acting is also above par with the entire cast providing convincing voice work. Additionally, we get to hear an early performance by Kikuko Inoue as the lead female, Fujisaki.
This OVA has a very small cast which places the focus on only our two main characters, Kubota and Fujisaki, his love interest. Since the story is told through Kubota's perspective, we don't get to know much of what Fujisaki feels beyond what she makes obvious to Kubota. This is an aspect that left me slightly frustrated and disappointed, but on the other hand, I can understand the reason for this as it made me sympathize with Kubota a bit more than I otherwise would have. There was some character development for both and I liked that they behaved realistically in their situations. The remainder of the cast play minor roles and are really nothing more than set pieces. However, with there being only 45 minutes available, I think that you can't ask for much more than we were given.
I went back intending to view just one particular scene again and ended up re-watching just about the entire show. That is, in fact, what prompted me to write this review. Therefore, I can say that there is certainly some replay value here.
Nineteen is an above-average OVA which seemed to have been lost in the large sea of mediocre videos produced at the time. Hopefully, as I myself was only able to discover it recently, others will also follow suit. It is definitely worth a look.
The worst day of the year has just drawn to a close. That dreaded day that begins with the chocolate and roses and ends with the kissing and the sex. February 14 may very well be Valentine’s Day but what about all us roneri brothers out there? Those currently out of a relationship or are part of forever alone. If February 14 is Valentine’s Day, I hereby, decree February 21st as All bro’s day; a festival of camaraderie, bro fisting, and general misguided misogyny. What better way to celebrate our lonely celibate lives than by sitting here with me and reviewing another series that does
just that -- one that paints a misogynistic and cruel view of females--. Enter the world of 19nineteen.
The story starts off with our main character Kubota looking for love—and some ky jelly—. He’s tried time and time again to get laid. But as said earlier he doesn’t just want to have sex with the girls he wants to genuinely fall in love. The problem with this type of premise is that it doesn’t lead to much credibility. Here we have our main character looking for love in the big city. Are we honestly supposed to believe that a Japanese male would pass up the chance for sex when offered numerous times by seemingly healthy, somewhat attractive, chicks? This is a country with dispensable used panties, soap houses, nyan nyan, naked and penis festivals and all other sorts of craziness. Many of the girls in the series offer to have sex with him yet he refuses. That is until he sees an old love a schoolmate with whom he was previously infatuated with. She has just broken out of a longtime relationship herself and so begins what Daimyo calls our main characters decent into pitiable debauchery. Instead of leaving well enough alone, he does what most guys call “rebounding” and attempts to pick up this chick that has just broken up with her boyfriend of several years. It almost makes me wonder how gullible these people are —to Daimyo this girl is obvious red card on the don’t want department—. I mean if you’re just looking for the sex and don’t expect much of a relationship, then sure why not? But this guy has specifically stated he’s looking for a real burning hot romance. What possible hope could have with a girl who will most likely continue to look behind him? That’s the only thing he has though, no hope. This is one of those tragedies waiting to happen. It’s like you think you know and love this girl but really she turns up being nothing but a two bit, good for nothing, whore. I must say the story sets itself up to be at least interesting. The music pieces and the video scenes are very well done and add a nice layer of ambiance to the story. For a while, you almost believe this poor sod has a chance with the girl. But then you are brought back to reality and reminded of the problems that real girls have. This is more of a problem with nature’s (kamisama?) mechanics rather than the story itself.
You really only have two characters in this series, well three. Considering this is somewhat of a love triangle I have to include the previous boyfriend. We’ll get to him later. As mentioned earlier we have hopeless romantic Kubota. Not to say that he’s a bad guy but he should have taken a page from the playbook of rapper Snoop Dogg, regarding comments he made recently on Kim Kardashian. It basically went like this “You can’t turn a ho into a housewife”. That’s essentially what Kubota tried to do. He tried to turn his favorite middle school ho Fujisaki into a housewife. Now some of you might say, Daimyo you are being exceptionally harsh to this female character that has just gotten out of a long and tense relationship. She’s a ho because she tries to get him to bed as soon as possible. Even our boy Kubota is suspicious. She wants his dick as soon as possible. She even says it herself, “she wants to fall in love with him as soon as possible”. Meaning she just wants his **** and then good game thanks for playing, now get the fuck out —role reversal—. Like I said earlier, this isn’t always a bad thing but once again Kubota wanted a housewife not a whore. Fujisaki is definitely a bitch there’s no sugarcoating that. Not only does she have all the qualities to be a bitch: overly emotional, over-demanding, self-centered and un-grateful, she also just happens to be a model. Yup pure unadulterated bitch. There are almost no redeeming qualities in her character. There might be the fact that she pretends to portray an innocent girl for most of the film. You almost believe that wants to be with Kubota earnestly but like a hooker she takes her privates and pisses on all over Kubota’s dreams. Kubota even gave her a choice, but she chose abusing, using, bitch. The last dude is pretty much the story’s douchebag. His name is Kazuya. If you didn’t know by now I had to search this up. As far as douchebags go, —cheating on the girl and all that— he isn’t that bad. He tries to warn Kubota on just what type of woman Fujisaki is. He doesn’t even care when he catches the two of them about to have sex. Yet watching Fujisaki defend him was just pathetic. To sum up all the characters in this story, it was pretty much pralines and dick. There were some sweet parts but there also a lot of parts with nuts I didn’t care for.
I think it’s the first time I did a music section, with good reason too. The music and scenes with music are by far the best parts of this ova. They match the mood of the series and another layer to this otherwise typical love story. Listed are the names of the songs and each artist —incase you want to sample them first—: I must change my life & love for me by Toshiki Kadomatsu, Desire by Toshiki Kadomatsu once again, Miss you by Shouji Kumi, boys boys boys by Sabrina —try and spot the nipples— and One and only lover by Sakamoto Hiroshi. I must, however, say the music is quite dated. So if you’re not really a fan of italo disco the older jazzy/funk jpop/bass heavy jrock you may not necessarily like it. I myself can’t get enough of the stuff.
Enjoyment & Overall 6/10
It’s a bit of a mixed bag for me on this one. Yea I liked it at times, but at the same time it’s not the type of show I would recommend someone to watch. Usually, when you’re digging through old shows like this that many people today would consider trash, you have to find something, I don’t know with a little bit more “pizzazz” or “charisma”. Basically you want either a hidden master piece anime (Legend of the Galactic Heroes) or you want something that’s so bad it’s good (Mad Bull 34). This show doesn’t fit into either category. It’s by no means brilliant neither is it so badly written and ridiculous that you just have to love it. Having said that, if you’re a fan of older animations, love stories, or general misogyny, this show is definitely worth your time, maybe even time and a half. The age and general obscurity of this anime combined with the lack of a “wow” factor made me score it a 6, were it not All bro’s day I may not have even written a review. Maybe you disagree but who cares what you guys think. This is my review —alienates any 1-2 imaginary fans he has—.
So to start, the plot is mostly an excuse to string a series of amazing music vidoes together. The musical selection in this OVA is the best thing about the whole production so the decision to go all out on the music video sections is the correct one. Now, seemingly the plot is mediocre and the character's motivations lacking but this is only because they represent something much bigger. I am going to somewhat spoil the plot here but honestly this is an art project not a to the book story. Everything means something and honestly watching the OVA through a lens is much more
rewarding than watching it without any analysis.
This OVA was made in 1990 and it is a reflection back on the 1980's bubble burst in Japan. Kazuya represents the new Japan post bubble burst. He is meek and shy and doesn't really know what to do just like Japan as it tried to sort itself out after the burst. The love interest represents the methods of economic development that 1970's and 80's Japan used. The girl's ex represents Japan before the burst as he is very confident and forward much like Japan was with all of their projects and ambitions before everything burst. The break up is the bubble burst. So when the girl tries to hook up with Kazuya, the old methods of doing business and managing the economy are trying to find a place in this new meek and shy Japan (Kazuya). But, the new Japan (Kazuya) decides that shedding those methods (by leaving and driving away in the OVA) would be the best way forward rather than repeating the same mistake. (The scene where Kazuya meets the ex in the apartment is representative of Japan reflecting back on how it used to be and deciding whether or not it wants to continue in the same direction as before.) That is the point of the plot. This OVA is a metaphorical presentation of the feelings and events in Japan as it went through the bubble burst.
Never has a story so petulant and juvenile been given such adult and mature artistic treatment. Visually speaking, this is probably one of the most inspired short OVAs I have ever seen - especially considering that it doesn't feature gunplay, tentacles, or car chases. It plays like a time capsule of 1990 - baggy suits, club dancing, euro-sounding pop. But where it all falls apart is the predictable clumsy handling of relationships - freighted with the confusing (to us gaijin) baggage of Japanese dating and gender culture (and it's unfortunate but predictable misogyny).
I found the ending to be an unsatisfying and headscratching as any of the worst in anime history, and makes no sense given the evolution of the main character from the story's beginning.