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Old 2018-09-23, 11:29   Link #1
Fireminer
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Age: 12
Classic, repetitiveness, and 90s OVA

One of my personal beliefs is that a work of art, whether is it a novel, painting, or a song, needs not only the quality (though it is still the most important thing) but also the repeating discussion and examination for it to be considered a classic. Sure, there are popular arts that lasted for centuries which people can still identify, but I think that classics different from them on whether could the audiences find the works resonating through group contemplation.

Anyway, I happened to know that OVA were an important things to American anime fans back in the late 80s - early 90s. There are titles which you were bound to encounter (Project A-Ko and... Devil Hunter Yohko?) after being in the circle for some times then. To many people, these rented OVA proved to be their gateway drug to anime.

But that brought me to my point: How were OVA, even them, seemingly to be quickly forgotten? There were certainly gems and rocks, but even the gems did not seemed to me that they had gained a status that demanded any anime fan 10-20 years after their release to watch them, unlike anime theatrical releases or TV series.

So, I have two theories here that really need your opinions:

- Back in the early 1990s, OVA were mostly consumed as tapes circulation through video renting stores, which meant that not a lot of people could watch the show at the same time, unlike if the shows were shown in theatres or the TV. This in turn lowered the number of fans who could join the discussions at anytime.

- It is the same thing as with direct-to-dvd movies, which have the stigmata of being lowered quality than theatrical releases and could barely generate any discussion among the fans, who were busied with consuming all the big hits now could be seen in their home and could not spend more time or money for the OVA.

(I really hope my second point is wrong, because it contradicts what I heard from a number of old-school fans: They all thought most of the Japanese OVA in the 80s and the 90s being licensed in the States were regarded highly on their quality. Some went as far as to say many OVA was heads-and-tails over most contemporary US cartoons at the time.)
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Old 2018-09-23, 12:49   Link #2
SeijiSensei
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Most works of popular culture leave little trace. My daughter (now 26) knew about many more older movies than any of her friends only because I made a point of showing them to her. If I had asked any of them whether they had seen Citizen Kane or Some Like It Hot, I'd have gotten blank stares.

TV shows are equally transitory. In the US, Homicide: Life on the Street and Picket Fences were two of the best shows ever produced. Hardly anyone mentions them today.
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Old 2018-09-23, 13:20   Link #3
Fireminer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Most works of popular culture leave little trace. My daughter (now 26) knew about many more older movies than any of her friends only because I made a point of showing them to her. If I had asked any of them whether they had seen Citizen Kane or Some Like It Hot, I'd have gotten blank stares.

TV shows are equally transitory. In the US, Homicide: Life on the Street and Picket Fences were two of the best shows ever produced. Hardly anyone mentions them today.
Your post aligns with what I have said, though what I want to stress here is "time" and "choices". Basically, back in the old days, when anime brought overseas were rare, audiences had the time to systematically consume and then dissect the shows with their fellow fans, who had watched the same shows as he/she had. That was what created the "classics".

(The process you mentioned happened back then just as it does now, but the matter to me is that the speed which it happens is simply too fast. It's almost impossible for a TV anime series to become a classic nowadays.)

What I want to say that OVA seems to fare worse in this regard to TV serials and theatrical releases, that's just all. To me, most of them feel like closed story that leave relatively little for interpretation and therefore ongoing discussion.
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Old 2018-09-23, 15:36   Link #4
SeijiSensei
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With some forty or more shows each quarter, what else might you expect?

The OVA audience from the 80s was minuscule, and what few of them remain in the audience today are just a tiny sliver of the modern audience. Also, OVAs were designed to tell a closed story because there was no certainty any more episodes would be produced.

I guess I just don't find any of this surprising.
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Old 2018-09-23, 21:09   Link #5
Fireminer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
With some forty or more shows each quarter, what else might you expect?

The OVA audience from the 80s was minuscule, and what few of them remain in the audience today are just a tiny sliver of the modern audience. Also, OVAs were designed to tell a closed story because there was no certainty any more episodes would be produced.

I guess I just don't find any of this surprising.
For a new guy like me, it's pretty jarring. Imagine one day you stumble upon an archive of old OVA and realized yourself and your fellow fans are missing a lot.

It's kind of a shame, anyway, because I do think OVA isa wonderful medium with its own unique characteristics. It certainly feels like a better medium for experimental ideas than TV serials (looking at Seraphim Call).
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Old Yesterday, 15:19   Link #6
0cean
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It's because there are no "masterpiece" OVAs. Movies like Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa (1984) didn't only stuck because of the association with Ghibli. It's genuinely a good enough movie to be still good today. If it wasn't, maybe Ghibli wouldn't have flourished.

There are some OVAs that I personally really enjoyed, like Photon (1997), Riding Bean (1989), Armitage III (1995), Yuugen Kaisha (1994), Yagami-kun no Katei no Jijou (1990), Shounan Jun'ai-gumi! (1994), Golden Boy (1995), AIKa (1997), .... the list goes on, I know about a thousand OVAs from before 1999 that ain't porn. But even about the very best of them, all I can say is that I really enjoyed watching them. Except for Armitage III they don't come to mind when thinking about "masterpieces".
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