Download is an earlier Madhouse work that up until last week (at the time of writing), had never been translated. Well, now we've got some subs courtesy of Burger. We can finally watch this 50-minute OVA how it was meant to be viewed: in VHS quality with solid yellow subtitles.
To be honest, it's not great. The story, which centers around an email that kills its recipients, is largely forgettable. The main character is an unlikable sex-crazed teen, and he's accompanied by his formulaic pals Stripper Girl, Tsundere Sister, Gangster Pals, and Nerd Boy. This page tags the show as sci-fi and psychological, but the latter
just isn't true and the former is wasted potential. Instead of a full cyberpunk thriller, this OVA's definition of sci-fi is a nighttime city and head-mounted computers.
But that's enough bashing, let's talk about some of the positive stuff.
For one thing, the music. The decision to make most of the soundtrack honky-tonk American country music is a weird one, but the music isn't bad by any means, and hey, it's pretty unique.
For an early 90's show, the animation is pretty good. I won't bash the art and details too much; the current releases are low quality so it's pretty hard to make things out, but that's no fault of the original work.
All in all, I can't say that I'd recommend Download. However, I'm still really glad that it was subbed, and I'm sure it paved the way to all of Madhouse's great shows later on.