Jul 28, 2022
“Lemon Angel: YJ-ban” is a 2-episode OVA based on the manga “Lemon Angel,” and both are part of the mixed media project of the same name, which also includes a few anime series unrelated to this. While all of these stem from “Cream Lemon,” which is an adult title, none of them are X-rated, but they do contain a fair amount of ecchi scenes. “YJ-ban” should probably be tagged as an ecchi title, like its manga counterpart.
Anyway, these two episodes with self-contained stories present the reckless youth-infused shenanigans of high schooler Medaka, her friends Rie and Satomi, and her boyfriend, Keisuke. The first episode revolves
around the gang preparing for their school’s festival, with Keisuke playing in a rock band and Rie filming a “documentary” as everyone prepares for it. Naturally, things don’t go as planned, partially due to interpersonal conflict, and partially because of a typhoon.
Despite the second episode being called “Medaka’s Time Capsule,” no mention of a time capsule is made until there’s about 3 minutes left in the episode, after which the time capsule subplot is quickly shoved in with a nonsensical fanservice joke. This episode is largely about Medaka, her sister, Keisuke, and some cafe owner guy they’re acquainted with going on a road trip to pick up Rie from a rest stop in the middle of nowhere, because she had second thoughts while trying to hitchhike to her crush’s place in Hokkaido. This is interspersed with semi-philosophical talk about how they’re all doing different things during their summer vacation and may go their separate ways in the future, and how having free time is a luxury. Meanwhile, Rie has to fend off a creepy guy who’s trying to get too friendly with her as she waits for them. They later all go pick up Satomi, who’s been studying for university exams in cram school, and continue their road trip, after which they decide to make a time capsule to commemorate it.
The plots of both episodes are by and large easy to follow, but there are some odd narrative decisions that either don’t make sense or go nowhere, like the “haunted piano” scene in the first episode, and the whole time capsule thing in the second one.
The characters are okay for what they are; there’s no development, of course, but once we’re introduced to them, we pretty much understand their personalities and motivations right away. Satomi’s character is under-utilized however, as she doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as Medaka, Keisuke or Rie.
I felt that the dialogue was too simple and could have been better. There are a couple of memorable lines, however — “A typhoon can’t stop rock and roll” in the first episode, and “I hope your [private parts] get crushed under a trucks' tires!” in the second.
As far as technical aspects go, you can tell this didn’t have much of a budget, but they did okay with what they had. The animation is not bad, and there is even some sakuga in some parts, although there are issues with lip flaps not matching voices sometimes. I like the character designs. The voice acting is average. The music in the first episode is all from a rock band called Rogue, and there’s an insert song where they make it look like Keisuke is singing it, but the singer’s voice is so different from Keisuke’s that it doesn’t work very well. The second episode’s soundtrack is instrumental only. The background music in general is okay, but sometimes it doesn’t match the scenes it’s used in (like a dramatic scene having cheery music). The direction isn’t that good; there are some long, lingering shots on objects and scenery that just aren’t important, for example, and it almost feels like they were doing that to add to the running time.
The main issue with “YJ-ban” (or draw, depending how you look at it) is the explicit content. Both episodes feature an attempted sex scene between Keisuke and Medaka that gets comically (?) interrupted. In addition to that, there are multiple scenes with partial nudity, and a scene with an attempted rape that gets downplayed and dealt with in an uncomfortably lighthearted way.
Overall, if you go into viewing “Lemon Angel: YJ-ban” with low expectations and the understanding that it’s an old ecchi title, it’s borderline watchable, despite the low budget, explicit content and sometimes nonsensical narrative choices. As far as I know, there’s currently no English version available for this, but the dialogue is simple enough that you can probably get the gist of what’s going on even without understanding much Japanese. Only recommended for those who know what they’re getting into and are not expecting a masterpiece.
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