Time and time again a “used to be popular” franchise releases an OVA, in order to revive itself and Da Capo: If just felt like another attempt to do so.
Da Capo: If is a Harem, Romantic, Comedy, Drama(?) that follows the same old story as its previous incarnations, not sure where it fits into the timeline though. Junichi is a guy who has somehow attracted a large female following. Although this time round the magical aspect is played down and Kotori fans are offered some fanservice, since the all important “what if he ends up with Kotori?” question is answered. Like most of the people
who preferred Kotori, amongst the Da Capo girls, I was expecting great things from this short OVA. Yet it comes to no surprise that this turned out to be quite the disappointment. Yet what really surprised me was that the whole thing felt like it was too long and that became its major downfall. The story literally begins with Kotori about to get married and we’re supposed to flashback to see how it came to pass. But sadly the writers decided to pad the story with clichés, you will see coming a mile off and pointless character interactions.
The characters are the same as ever however after sitting through 4 series; seeing the same old faces, with their rather annoying quirks (banana girl) can be more tiresome than paying attention to a dull Math's lecture. So whatever characters you liked in the previous Da Capo series, you will like here and whatever character didn't like... just don't expect shift in your own opinion.
Sadly this is the same case with the animation and soundtrack, as they have both remained unchanged. Not to forget that this is from the style of the Da Capo series & not the Da Capo II series, so everything just looks & sounds older than it should be. At least the die-hard fans of the Da Capo series will get a sense of nostalgia after hearing the 2 insert songs used.
Overall Da Capo If did give an answer to a question that I’ve had on my mind since starting the series… was it a good answer? You tell me. All I know was that it was dragged on with the most trivial issue imaginable; making the drama it was supposed to have, quite laughable. At least the romance was rather refreshing and having a story focusing on Junichi & Kotori was a great idea however one thing I would like to know… what on earth happened to Nemu?
Only watch this if you like Kotori in the Da Capo Series. This is PURE FAN SERVICE for those that wanted Kotori and Junichi to be together. It is a separate world from that of Da Capo, a spin off. It has NO relation to the actual TV series. It's just for those that like Kotori and wanted her to have the happy ending and not Nemu.
What wold have happened if Nemu never returned and Junichi went with Kotori? Shirakawa-lovers rejoice! Or should you?
This is a 2 episode OVA that plays with the alternate path where Shirakawa wins, much like the KGNE OVA where Haruka wins. Sadly, this attempt falls short of where I had hoped for it to be. Yes you have your original Da Capo cast and yes the music and scenery all looks familiar, but the awesome, gripping story of Da Capo is all but missing.
The animation style is the same as the original animation and the quality is fairly good. There are one or two places where
I noticed an inconsistency in the drawing but otherwise it was fairly well done. The colors/scenery fit the mood quite well and, well, Kotori is Kotori.
An interesting OP and ED (in episode 1)... the OP is new but reminiscent of other Da Capo OPs and the ED is not much. BGM is traditional Da Capo love it or hate it style. VA cast is the same as the original so you get your Yui Horie.
The jumping off point in this show is somewhere in the middle of DC SS, so you should probably watch up through DC SS for much of this to make sense.
The story starts off with the ending of the OVA before jumping back in time (I wasn't sure at first which was quite confusing) and working forwards again.
It's known from the start that Kotori is getting her man, but in traditional Da Capo style they throw in a little drama. Sadly, the attempt at drama was a bit nonsensical and the characters' reactions over the top. Think of KGNE Next Season's plot twist but over a much more meaningless reason.
The resolution to the conflict is likewise pitifully made up, and it seemed like they just wanted to find a way for Yui Horie to sing a song. In any case, this part was the real downer in this short OVA.
The characters are well defined/developed in the original show by this point so there isn't too much to be expected here. It's really difficult to separate characters/story, especially if the character's development is pretty much the story... But leaving that in the story section, the overall characters were (other than the horrible story) true to their original nature.
There are some cute scenes and moments worthy of the Da Capo name, but the rest of it fell short, leaving much to be desired.