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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 5 years 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 5 years 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 5 years ago
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