Just when everything seems peaceful again for Yuna and her friends, a new enemy appears in the form of three robotic sisters. Yuna must once again become the Savoir of Light to fight this strong, new evil.
Last July, I looked at Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna, a decent quirky comedy with a lot of les-yay. Well, there's a sequel OVA. It's by the same people as the first, but was released a year later. The first one was released in late '95. This one released its first episode at the tail end of '96 and the last in May '97. It's three episodes. Did it really need that much time for release? What, did they release each episode as they finished it and then need time to start and finish working on the next? Hopefully, that extra time means that we're going
to see a massive improvement with great production values. Let's look at Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna: Shin'en no Fairy and see if releasing three episodes over the course of half a year was worth it.
We open with a spaceship where pictures of Yuna and her friends flash across a computer screen. It ends ominously with a picture of Yuna and the word “Eliminate” running across her picture. We cut to Yuna having a Christmas concert. She sings with Polylina, whom she still very much has an obvious crush on. At the end of the concert, Yuna starts to give a speech about hope and making the universe a better place. Things get sketchy when something strikes the giant hologram she's using to communicate with everyone. Simultaneously, her friends are being attacked by a strange girl, Ayako, who seems to be gunning for Yuna at the behest of her two elder sisters.
The biggest issue with the series is that it's tonally awkward. It still has the over the top goofy moments that characterised the first series and it also tries to have more serious emotional and dramatic moments. Consequently, there's some clash betwixt the two. Particularly when the OVA abruptly shifts from one to the other. And there are some scenes, both comedic and dramatic, that end up falling short because of the tonal inconsistency. There's also the fact that the main story is pretty cliché and without the tongue in cheek aspect.
That being said, the OVA does have quite a few funny moments and there are some serious scenes that actually do work. The ending is actually quite good. These scenes would have undoubtedly been stronger in something that was tonally consistent but they work well enough here.
In the first OVA, most of the main cast was passable due to it being a comedic series. You could almost say the same here, with them having interactions that work well and playing off of one another pretty strongly. There is, however, one slight problem. This series is going for a more serious tone half the time and when you apply these characters to a serious narrative they're pretty under-developed and throwing in all of those game characters who do bugger all is really distracting. You see Yuna's friends get attacked and put in hospital and it's played as serious but you don't know who any of these characters are or have a reason to care unless you've played the games. Which I'm going to guess most of you haven't given that they never left Japan. Unless there are some really popular fan-translations that I don't know about.
There's not much difference between the art in this and the art in the first OVA. It's perfectly competent in the context of its time, but it wasn't anything special and it's dated by today's standards.
I will, once again, give the series full credit for having a strong cast. Yokoyama Chisa, Hikami Kyouko and Touma Yumi all give strong performances. The music is quite good as well.
The les-yay remains fairly prevalent, particularly with Yuna and Polylina. She also gets some moments with Ayako.
Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna: Shin'en no Fairy, is not as strong as the first OVA. I appreciate that it's trying to do something more dramatic and serious, but that also highlights just how much the characters aren't suited for a serious work and the trite narrative doesn't help matters. However, the OVA still has some strong suits. There are dramatic scenes that do work decently and it has quite a few amusing jokes. In the end, I give it a 5/10. It's an average work. If you liked the first OVA or if you're just curious, feel free to look into it. The whole thing only runs around an hour and twenty minutes so it's a quick watch, albeit slightly longer than the first OVA. Next week, because you demanded it, I'm looking at Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch R2.
While "Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Returns" is technically a sequel to the first two OVAs, watching that prequel is not at all necessary to watch this. All watching that will give you is a blunt transition in atmosphere from the fully light-hearted prequel to this more down-to-earth sequel, along with showing some fairly uninteresting backstory to some of the characters that doesn't build the characters in any way.
I actually didn't very much enjoy the first OVA for how simplistic and boring of a story it had, but this OVA certainly is an improvement enough to be recommendable. But if you're one who doesn't buy into any
cutesy, moe anime jazz at all, this OVA still has a lot of that - but I personally found the directing to be very mature and to take into consideration those moe moments and to deliver equally more interesting moments that tests those moe characters in some ways. The story is deep enough that you can actually form opinions to these moe character whether you like their actions or not, but don't take that as meaning this story is at all complicated or unique. You still got a simple friendship-focused story here, while there is some rocking the boat to that near the end to make this OVA a little different.
However (this would require spoilers to fully describe), while I feel that the final rocking of the friendship boat at the end was moderately refreshing, in the end it didn't meet it's full potential of developing the characters and story. It could've actually brought in some legitimate character development to these characters that would bring about either big changes in how they think or strengthen their archetypes through testing them, but in the end quick emotion-pandering is chosen instead and we get an ending that doesn't even know what to do with itself in the last moments - so it literally just breaks into song. It was kind-of hilarious, but the emotions at least still were felt with it's consistent pandering to them. Overall, a fair OVA with some enjoyable directing, but nothing too special.