May 18, 2021
It's been awhile since I actually reviewed something so... while looking for an old 90s anime to watch (I've already watched the more well known 90s animes like Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Dragon Ball Z), I stumbled upon a one episode OVA called Ai to Ken no Camelot: Mangaka Marina Time Slip Jiken, but from here on out, we'll refer to it as Camelot because the title is a mouthful.
So, what drew me to watch Camelot? Well, from the title cover that's shown on MAL, it kinda reminded me of the Fushigi Yuugi manga, or in the least mangas like it and
I thought that the premise sounded a bit interesting, especially since I'm a big fan of the Arthurian Legends. But I kinda dreaded watching this because while the premise is interesting, I don't think the adventures of a girl and her group of 5 guy friends (I think one of the guy friends is actually a girl?) can be told and completed in an hour long episode, at least not without rushing the plot.
What's the story about? An aspiring manga artist, Marina is invited to a friend's birthday, along with four of her guy friends. When the whole gang arrives a freak storm happens that transports Marina and her guy friends all to the anime's version of Camelot, and with it, Marina is chosen by the very dragon that transports her and her friends to Camelot to save it. To be honest, while I liked the story well enough, but I was right when I thought that it'd be bad to try and cram a whole fantasy plot like this into just 50 minutes. Everything was rushed and I was kinda confused as to what the heck was going on and how the characters all know each other, and I kinda wanted to see and know more about the anime's version of Camelot. But alas I couldn't because of the time constraint and the plot being rushed. It's too bad because I'm sure if this anime were to be given a lot more episodes (maybe roughly about the same amount of episodes in modern animes--10-26 episodes) it would've been a good one. Because I enjoyed the story enough I'm gonna be lenient on it and give it a 6.
While I watched the anime on a site that looks like someone uploaded a VHS rip (that they managed to clean up some), I will say that the art and animation were probably it's best quality. I mean as far as that 80s style transitioning into the 90s style goes, it's pretty good. Everything was smooth and detailed despite the weird vhs quality of the video I watched.
While this anime did have some good voice acting and music, the fact that you can hear the buzzing sound of whatever device was used to record and rip the video from a vhs tape kinda messes with the audio quality, which is why I knocked off some points.
The characters were all... okay. The art and animation and designs of all the characters were what you'd expect of your typical shoujo anime. You have the long haired flitty pretty boy, the princely character, the rash kind hearted male character you know is gonna end up with the heroine anyways, the laid back cool guy, etc. Basically all of Marina's guy friends are the typical character tropes you would find a shoujo anime/manga featuring a girl with a bunch love interests. Marina herself is as she appears, childish and naive and only thinking of food (What is it with all the female leads in all of these Shoujo animes and mangas being in love with food?). Her design is cute but my only question is if she's supposed to be the same age as her guy friends, why does she look like a little kid? What is her relationship to her guy friend? How do they know each other?! Also, I can't remember any of the character's names, that's how much I didn't really care for them. I only remembered Marina's name because her name is in the title and she's the main character (even though she's not in the cover art).
So, I didn't enjoy this that much, it's not because of the vhs quality of the video or the annoying buzzing sound of whatever was used to record the video. It was the subtitles. They were distracting because the subs were a literal translation of what the characters were saying so I couldn't pay any attention to what's going on with the characters because I was too busy trying to make sense of the English subs. But I did enjoy this anime to some extent.
SO what are my final thoughts? Well, while it's highly disappointing that this ova wasn't fleshed out more (I can only guess this was an ova that was used to try and pitch a new idea for a new series), the anime isn't that bad, it's more or less average. There are still some things to enjoy about it, but don't expect to a cohesive story with a lot of character development because while there are some minor moments of character's bonding with each other (ie when one of Marina's guy friends actually kisses her after he gets injured or all the friends having a laugh after teasing her a little) there's not enough time to actually get to know the characters and to feel their bond. You're just left with straight to the point story that leaves you with the feeling that there could have and should have been. And it doesn't help that there's hardly any information about this anime anywhere. I can't even find who made it outside the production or publishing company, some of the story writers, and the director. In the end, this is an obscure mediocre/average OVA that was probably someone's failed pitch for a full fledge shoujo series and it's a shame because I did see some potential to the story. Maybe in the future, the person who originally came up with this OVA or someone who enjoyed it enough will give this anime the full fledged series that it deserves. Until then, all I can say is, if you're planning on watching it, go in with low expectations and don't expect it to be something similar to Fushigi Yuugi despite what the summary/premise of the OVA says.
What did you think of this review?