If you're one of the very few who watch hentai for the story then congratulations, "Stairs: Houkago no Album" is the hentai for you. For a 30 min. 1 Episode OVA you get a coming of age, love-triangle, melodrama that involves some sex and perhaps little unrequited love. On the other hand, if your looking for "something to get a good wrist work out to", Stairs may come as a disappointment.
I'll admit, I first decided to pick up this title because of the cover art. It looked good and the fact that it was uncensored was a bonus. I was curious as to what it had to offer. But I felt cheated when I skimmed through it, as I sometimes do when watching hentai, to find that the content was nowhere near as good looking as the cover. The art was so-so, the animation was rather poor, and there wasn't a whole lot of sex scenes. However, seeming how difficult it was to located this obscure title, I decide to give it a try anyways. In many ways I was glad.
The story of "Stairs: Houkago no Album" is, perhaps, a glimpse back into the past when love was fresh, innocent, and intense. It's a love triangle, a story about not realizing what you've had until you've lost it, and about unrequited love. I'm reminded of that old song by Glenn Frey - The One You Love:
"Are gonna stay with the one who loves you? Or are you going back to the one you love? Someone's gonna cry when they know they lost you. Someone's gonna thank the stars above..." It probably would have made a great ED.
The characters were true to life and not some fantasy MOE blob (not that I have anything against fantasy MOE blobs or anything). True characters with real feelings but sometimes not so true to their own feelings. Did that make sense? Well, to be honest, 30mins wasn't enough to portray a story with such depth and character, but the producers were able to wrap it up by the end of the episode. Although it was a bit unsatisfying, I have to say that the story of Stairs was really what brought me through the show. I would have given this title a "10" if it weren't for such poor art and animation.
Anyways. Bottom line: Great story. Good characters. Poor art and animation. Wished it were longer.