Kakyuusei - OVA
Mizuho and Tohru are classmates who have known each other for a while. Even though they're on friendly terms, they aren't all that close. That changes one day when Tohru ends up staying at Mizuho's house for a while. It's possible that Mizuho had been harboring feelings for Tohru for quite some time, but things get complicated when her best friend Miko takes an interest in him. On top of that there's an underclassmen who has a crush on him. Even if this mess gets resolved, will they all remain friends?
Kakyuusei is a four part OVA (sometimes called Elf ban Kakyuusei) based off a date sim game that never made it to America. While I avoid reviewing titles that never make it over here, I'm a big fan so decided to write a review on a title that I've always had a soft spot for. Unlike the visual novels more common today, Kakyuusei is a date sim without much of a story (they had gameplay back then), so the OVA mostly takes a few characters and uses them to implement the classic anime romance with quite a bit of charm.
Characters however are a bit mixed. Tohru is the male lead who is unfortunately generic. Miko is the kind and sweet but ungodly dense girl who first takes a liking to Tohru. Her cuteness can wear thin at times. At the other end of the love triangle is Mizuho, who doesn't have any stand out attributes like a character template you'd expect these days, but is a surprisingly realistic girl with a developed personality. There's also an underclassmen who has a crush on Tohru who manages to create a storm of drama from a misunderstanding. In only four OVAs these characters don't get super deep, but they work well for the title.
One unusual turn is that there are four OVA's but there are two versions of the fourth episode. One has a tastefully done romantic (for anime anyway) sex scene, which isn't simply added as a gratuitous service, but instead feels like it was truly intended as an end result of love. The non H version sports a few extra scenes to make up the time difference. Personally I'd recommend the non H version just for the extra cute but corny dialog at the end. Neither version is a "cut" as they both feature footage the other doesn't have, so watch whatever most suits you.
Character designs are probably the standout feature of Kakyuusei, which remain faithful to the immensely popular game design done by Aya Kado. While dated, this OVA is a reminder of how much love an attention used to go into high budget OVA titles, and is something I'll always miss. One drawback is that this title is fan service heavy (for its day). Aside from that there's a fair amount of cheesiness scattered throughout.
Kakyuusei is something you'll have get through fansubs unfortunately. It's a pity that it never made it to America, but there's a decent list of stuff I wish had made it here, but slipped through the cracks. The Kakyuusei OVA doesn't do anything revolutionary, but as a purebred anime romance, it's one of the better ones I could name.
Screen Caps: >