Anime stories can continue in a lot of different directions after a TV run. Even if they don’t return to TV, they might get a run as a web series, novel, or OVA. Those can be easy to miss due to licensing or branding… but some of those anime OVAs make all the difference.
Here are a just a few that expand or shed new light on their predecessors. Sometimes it’s a sequel, other times it’s more character development. And then sometimes Nabeshin just goes off on one. Regardless, seek these direct-to-video titles out:
At the tail end of their brave saga boom, Sunrise released GaoGaiGar: The King of Braves to put a cap on the franchise. The show stacked more story on top of the usual kid-centric plot with adult romantic drama and hat-tips to classic mecha anime. The series became so popular that it got one last hurrah — GaoGaiGar FINAL.
The OVA brought a lot of new information to play. From Guy’s previously unknown cyborg half-sister to an entire new crop of villainous aliens, the stakes were even higher. And the ending was even more bittersweet (albeit still not the end, thanks to web novels of recent years).
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan
Diamond Is Unbreakable took generational fighting anime oddity JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure into the 1990s. Along the way it introduced Rohan Kishibe, a manga artist whose Stand “Heaven’s Door” allows him to read and write in people like books. Literally. A handful of anime OVAs give us a closer look at his creative process, themselves based on a spinoff by JoJo creator Hirohiko Araki.
Originally introduced as an antagonist, Rohan got his moment in the sun in these many spinoffs — a big deal for any of his fans. The four episodes see Rohan encountering an obsessive athlete, a corpse that won’t stop bleeding, a bizarre curse, and a hardcore etiquette lesson.
Mobile Suit Gundam may not have been appreciated in its time, but it was revolutionary. After years of super robots and epic battles, it brought things down to a more human level. Politics, personal drama, and the horrors of war were all on the table. But it could still go harder — and did with War in the Pocket, the first of the anime OVAs to hail from the franchise. Here, rather than watching pilots battle it out, we see the conflict as the civilians do.
Taking place in the show’s Universal Century, the story stars young Al Izuruha, a war-infatuated boy in a neutral colony. He and his neighbor Christina befriend Bernie, a stranded mobile suit pilot. What they don’t know is that he’s a Zeon operative sent to destroy an experimental Gundam sighted there. As the story unfolds, Al discovers firsthand how wars are really fought.
Mob Psycho 100 II OVA
Fans hoping for more of the good and pure esper known as Mob got a great Christmas gift! The second season of Mob Psycho 100 launched the second of its anime OVAs, generously titled “The First Spirits and Such Company Trip – A Journey that Mends the Heart and Heals the Soul.” And if your biggest desire after season 2 was to see how Reigen’s company is holding up, that’s exactly what you’re getting.
There was a lot of shuffling around at the end of season 2, from allegiances to understandings of the powers of other espers. Spirits and Such continues to evolve, and for the first time we get to see an actual company-sized company solve an actual paranormal mystery. It’s pretty convoluted, though, with even Reigen getting smacked in the face with the otherworldly. Of course, this is Mob Psycho 100, meaning the story is ultimately heartwarming.
Puni Puni Poemy
Thought Excel Saga was weird? Nabeshin can go weirder. The 1999 anime (based on Koshi Rikudo’s 1996 manga) was absolutely buck wild, even compared its source material. Stacked on top of Excel and Hyatt’s tale of conquest were further subplots. There’s put-upon worker Pedro, the fluffy evil aliens known as Puchuu, and the literal will of the universe, for starters. Rikudo and director Shinichi Watanabe appeared sometimes, too. So it’s not surprising that its spinoff is one of the weirdest anime OVAs ever made.
Puni Puni Poemy took a gag from Excel Saga and expanded it out into… well, something. Nabeshin and a minor character from the original series have adopted a girl who believes she is her own voice actress. Said girl uses a gutted fish given to her by a stranger (possibly her real dad) to turn into a magical girl. Also Poemy’s best friend is one of a group of seven sisters who protect Earth from aliens. And, uh, there’s other stuff in there, but we’ll leave that to you to discover.
What anime OVAs do you consider not-to-be-missed?
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