DustinKop

DustinKop

I am currently a university student, podcaster, blogger, and all around anime know it all that is anything but, but I try really hard to be!!!

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Video (didn't) kill the Anime Star! The 1980's Anime OVA Market.

In the anime video distribution realm, there is one particular model that has either died out already or is on its last breath, and that is the market for direct-to-video for Japanese animation. If the term "OVA" doesn’t ring a bell, or you never really knew what anime is categorized as an OVA, chances are you’ve seen those titles first hand at some point in your anime collecting hobby.

You can go to any local pawn shop, flea market, or mom and pop video store (if either exist for you in your area) and you can eight times out of ten pick up an anime off the counter that is considered a direct to video release in Japan before that title was licensed in the states… to be direct to video.

The 1980’s had a landfill of OVA’s that people mostly rented from their local video stores and took home their evening entertainment in the company of themselves or with a group of like minded anime fanatic individuals. All they had to do was press play and the creative force of an animation studios hard (or cheap) works will fill the eyes and ears of its audience for a mere hour worth of enjoyment (or pain depending). Now granted, in America, we have a direct to video market also, but it is no where close to the impact that it had in Japan during the 1980’s, because an individual had the use of a VCR to watch their anime, and VCRs over the years became just as standard to households as a toaster and an oven in the kitchen, as well as a TV in the living room.

The term OVA means "Original Video Animation," and some will debate that it could be OAV for "Original Animation Video." Its the same kind of debate as when people talk about how to say caramel, or potato, or tomato, it all serves the same purpose in the end. The OVA titles were the first to be commercially available in the states through American anime publishers like AD Vision, AnimEigo, Streamline Pictures, US Renditions and Manga Entertainment to name a few. Before companies licensed from Japanese companies, tape trading happened in local comic, science fiction and early anime cons that people would find ways to fansub anime on VHS tapes through multiple generations of tape copying and trading, which most of those titles would be OVA’s in some form or fashion.

Japanese video stores across the pacific were popping up left and right to meet both the demand of the tape rental business during those years. Sadly the market popped when the Japanese economy did, but there are enough OVA’s out

  • This is a huge topic. That being said, I am unsure what your goal is. Do you just want the author to write about OVA generally, or to explore the impact that OVA has on American culture? – Jemarc Axinto 1 year ago
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  • I think I misunderstood what I was supposed to do. I actually wouldn't mind writing about OVA's, but if someone else wants to do it they can. If it helps just erase this suggestion and I an do another one. – DustinKop 1 year ago
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  • If you wanted to write about the subject yourself, then you will have to delete this topic. However, if you wanted someone else to write about the topic then you can leave it up and wait for someone to take it. – Jemarc Axinto 1 year ago
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Latest Comments

DustinKop

I actually finished up Area 88 before I finished this article, so based on how that OVA ended I was really impressed and kinda bummed by the events at the end.

I wanted my list to be looked at as titles that are equally blocked together than being on a list system depending on what came first and what came last. Area 88 to me is equally just as important as Gunbuster or Bubblegum Crisis and the other “good” titles I had provided above. It’s not to say that it ranks lower on the good list than Megazone 23 or Madox 01 (it is far better than Madox, lol), but I made this list as grouping titles together in one area. If you look, you see that I didn’t number anything, meaning it doesn’t have a ranking value.

I’ve played little of Ace Combat over the years, but you make a really good comparison, so I give you that. I also give you props for mentioning Iron Eagle, I own and love all those films on 3 different video formats (DVD, VHS, and the last movie on Laserdisc). True fact, I was born on the day Iron Eagle came out, so I am kinda bonded to that movie for life haha.

I also stuck with titles that I knew and I’ve seen, because I can say something about them from a personal experience than from the list of “titles that everyone says it’s good.” I haven’t seen Darkside Blues, but I do know of it and have known about it for many years as an anime fan. That is something I will get to watching one day, so thanks for putting that in the comments.

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy
DustinKop

If I am going to explore more on the anime market in America, I can do some research on how companies in America got the license to OVA titles and why. Some of those stories I know, and others I don’t know entirely. I think the easiest answer is how much cheaper they were to acquire than say a television series, especially when you compare how Harmony Gold got Macross, Mospeda and Southern Cross compared to AnimEigo getting Madox 01. I will look into what I know on some history on how companies got the titles they did in a later post, which again is going to take me some time to gather all that info up.

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy
DustinKop

You sound like you got a good head on your shoulders, not letting anime impact you. I find it ironic leaving a comment like that in an area that doesn’t impact your life at all, can you explain why?

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy
DustinKop

I think essential in some sense, but I don’t want my list to be a DEFINITIVE COLLECTION!! kinda thing. In my mind, I thought the titles would be a good starting point for people who would be interested in 1980s OVAs if they want something quick and easy, while at the same time be entertained and find satisfying to watch.

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy
DustinKop

Next to Angel Cop I would assume? Yea, I really dug Battle Royale High School!

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy
DustinKop

I was up in the air about adding Legend of the Galactic Heroes on the list. I left it out due to me not having seen enough of it, and for the reason that OVA series is 110 episodes long, which I felt was an over bearing task to put it next to the titles I had since you can finish up a story within an hour at the latest. However, LOGH is still good and its up to anyone to check it out.

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy
DustinKop

That sounds like you fueling the VIZ anime train for them to become what it is today. Which, isn’t all that bad really.

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy
DustinKop

Trust me, I know all too well how that is.

A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy