Hello, fellow CJAS fans, and welcome to the new semester of CJAS! Tonight, CJAS will begin showing Masakazu Katsura's popular OVA series, Video Girl Ai. There are six parts, but the anime only covers about the first 2.5 chapters of the 15 chapters in the manga. So, let me just warn you in advance that you may feel the anime a bit unfinished at the end, but the OVA is a fine story on its own.
VGAi is one of those romance stories, along the lines of teenage love struggles, but there's a bit more to this one. Youta Moteuchi, the main character, is one of those poor saps who has a crush on Moemi Hayakawa, but his object of desire is also a good friend. No problem, right? Not when she tells Youta that she likes Youta's best friend Takashi Niimai. On the way home, he rents a video from a store that came out of nowhere, and plays it on his VCR. But for fear of letting too much of the plot slip out, I'll just say Amano Ai fits into the story here.
Katsura-sensei's character designs are cool, as you'll soon see. His characters are drawn with a bit more realism than your usual doe-eyed creations of other anime, and their emotions are further emphasized by exaggerated facial expressions. Even cooler is the realistic (for anime anyway) artwork. ("Yeah, this isn't a cartoon, this is art!")
If you like VGAi, Masakazu Katsura also did DNA˛ (yeah, deoxyribonucleic acid), which has a similar plot. Get the e-board to go for that next year!
Oh, and Ai-chan says, "Stay until the end of the tape!"
Amano Ai, Video Girl. Comes to live with Youta to comfort him. Spunky. Cute. [seiyuu note: Hayashibara Megumi also plays Ran-chan from Ranma ˝, Pai from 3X3 Eyes]
Moteuchi Youta, high school student, likes Moemi. Very thoughtful and caring. To give you an idea about his social status, in the anime, you'll see him taunted as "Motenai," which means "Unpopular." [Kusao Takeshi is also Parn from Lodoss]
Hayakawa Moemi, Youta's classmate, likes Takashi, and is good friends with Youta.
Niimai Takashi, Youta's classmate and Youta's best friend. He's the cool guy all the girls are after. Acts like a big brother to Youta, even though they're in the same class. [You may recognize the talents of Tsujitani Kouji as Yakumo from 3X3 Eyes and as Captain Tylor]
Gokuraku Manager, old guy who rents Youta the video tape and, later on in the series, tries to help Youta and Ai. [Ogata Ken'ichi is also Genma from Ranma ˝]
Rolex, created Ai Amano, but is bent on destroying his flawed work. (The Bad Guy) [Susuoki Hirotaka is also the voice of Kunou Takewaki in Ranma ˝]