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Video Girl Ai
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 02/24/2002

Synopsis:
Yota is a nice young man who happens to be in love with his close friend Moemi. The problem is, the one Moemi loves is the popular and handsome Takashi. A depressed Yota ends up taking home a video from a mysterious shop, only to have a beautiful girl come out of his TV screen shortly after it plays. She introduces herself as a video girl named Ai Amano, and she'll be around to help and cheer up Yota for as long as he needs her. Pretty soon, Ai ends up falling for Yota... which complicates things because video girls aren't supposed to fall in love, and to top it off Ai only has a running time of thirty days!

Review:
This anime was originally reviewed by my friend Apatt, because I had been holding out for the DVD release. Apatt was not satisfied with his review since it was based on a faint memory of his viewing experience some years back, and so he told me to redo it.

Ever since the advent of anime DVDs, Video Girl Ai has been on my wish list. I had heard nothing but good things about it, and I've always been something of a sucker for anime romances with a twist. The series unfolds with the introduction of Ai Amano, who is quite literally a video girl (yes, a girl from a VHS tape). A video girl's job is to help, comfort, and/or cheer up lonely but innately good guys until they get their lives back on track... or until the video girl's running time is over. An unsuspecting Yota pops in the tape on his faulty player, which in turn yields a "defective" video girl. By defective, we mean that Ai's breasts are smaller than they're supposed to be, and she sports a volatile attitude that's practically unheard of in the world of video girls. Some comedy ensues thereafter, and the two eventually become good friends.

Video Girl Ai is a sweet and poignant story which exemplifies several different facets of love. Yota loves Moemi, putting her happiness above all... even if it means heartbreak for himself; Moemi loves and continues to love Takashi, even if her feelings are never returned; Ai would do anything for Yota, even if it means casting her own feelings aside. The main characters suffer and yet continue to love, and one can't help but wonder how it's all going to end up. Yet despite the series' emotional depth, a good dose of humor keeps things pretty well-balanced. Each episode also ends with a bonus omake theater, which features anything from fashion shows to behind-the-scenes interviews.

I must admit, Video Girl Ai's visuals didn't really grab me at first sight. I didn't fancy the girls' pouffy hair styles for one thing. Upon closer scrutiny however, one can't help but notice the superior art and animation quality. The character's faces are beautifully drawn and are expressive beyond belief -- reflecting each wave of emotion from the various situations that are encountered, while meticulously rendered backgrounds serve as the perfect backdrop for everything that transpires. The English dubbing is commendable as well, although I remain partial to the Japanese voices (the illustrious Megumi Hayashibara plays the darling Ai Amano). Catchy opening and ending theme songs will have you humming (or even singing) along by the second episode or so.

Video Girl Ai is one of the best anime romances ever -- definitely worth every minute I waited for the DVD release.

Miscellanies:
Video Girl Ai is by the renowned manga artist Masazaku Katsura, who's also behind "DNA^2". The DVD contains all six episodes.

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Video Girl Ai
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Review Title:
Video Girl Ai
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
6
Duration:
180 Minutes
General Rating:
5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1992
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Comedy, Drama, Ecchi,
Romance
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