Oct 31, 2022
Too often OVAs are trite affairs laden with fanservice and inane comedy, but on occasion one transcends the mold. Happily, this OVA belongs to the ranks of the latter.
This OVA brings back everything lovable from the parent series, and executes it with greater skill. The three episodes comprise a tight-knit arc that fits well in the world of the story, without introducing any unnecessary contradictions. The story keeps a good pace throughout the OVA, leaving you eager for more after each episode. Beyond that surface accomplishment, the arc is surprisingly poignant, working well with the themes of Hakuouki: commitment to traditional values, life in an
environment where every day is in peril, and the risks associated with modernity. While at times heavy, the mood is well-leavened with comedy and heartwarming moments, a choice well suited to a return trip to a well-loved setting and group of characters.
While full characterization is something this OVA lacks time to accomplish, the fruits of the effort of the primary series are well-used here. The story manages to give us time with most of the cast, without giving in to the temptation of giving them screen time for the sake of screen time alone. The story uses the characters well, and leaves a few by the side who would not fit well into this specific plot arc. The voice acting remains as superb as ever, quite the feat considering this OVA trails the original series by over a decade.
I should also point out that Studio Deen did a great job with the animation and art, considerably exceeding the effort put into the original series. We get actual well-done fight sequences, and while it's not eye candy at the level of the blockbuster shounen anime, it's definitely more than was required for a merely passing grade.
All in all, if you liked the original series, this is an OVA that you ought not skip.
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