-Spoiler free review-
I wouldn't usually feel the need to write a review, but the helpful reviews (at the time of writing this) are around the 6/7 mark. This OVA is, in my opinion, a masterpiece. I will start off by saying I've never read the manga, and the fully adapted anime is to be released shortly. Even with no prior reading I believe this show stands by itself fantastically, portraying a beautiful story with an almost Ghibli vibe.
What a beautiful story is was, endearing from start to finish. The premise of the story was very easy to grasp, and there was no need for any
prior knowledge to understand what was happening in the mc's (Chise's) life. The pacing is slow, but perfectly suited for the OVAs content. This pacing allows the viewer to fully absorb the beautiful world created infront of you, and it gives the viewer time to become emotionally invested in the characters. This emotional attatchment stems from the themes covered by the OVA, with themes such as loneliness, family and loss being hugely relatable to me on a personal level and Im sure many of you can relate to these themes. The story does touch on some overused classic "sob stories" to set up Chise's past, however, the portrayal of the influence these events on Chise have are beyond any anime Ive ever seen and the execution of these scenes are done perfectly.
It can easily be seen just how much time has been invested into making this one of the most visually stunning OVAs/animes I have ever seen. From the very first scene the art sets the standards high, and only improves from then on. This can especially be seen in particular highlight moments in episodes 2/3, where the art style compliments the story beautifully, bringing the whole OVA together as one.
Personally, I found the sound track to compliment the OVA almost perfectly. I noticed almost every piece of music when it started, and I would say it managed to bring many scenes together beautifully. The soundtrack itself is not there to act as the centre of attention, it is there to reinforce the beautiful story and art and give a nice emotional touch (that might even tear you up) in many pivotal scenes.
The characters are fantastically made, with a deep intruiging backstory for Chise. The librarian's character is also incredibly well done, with his mentality and struggles being portrayed perfectly. There are, however, some virtually untouched characters due to the short length of the OVA. The only one of these I found to be an issue was the dog, with the skull-guy and the pink-girly being incredibly well introduced considering how little they feature. The dog, however, was not well done- so perhaps the anime (or manga) needs to be watched/read to do this character justice.
This anime is a masterpiece, it will play with your emotions at many points throughout, and will leave you wanting more from this beautiful world. And good news! More is coming! I can only hope that the anime will do the OVA justice- especially in the art department- as it has set the bar high. If you were looking for a Ghibli-esque fantasy world and an emotional journey, youve found the right OVA!