The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

First Time: Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou OVA Review

“The mark of a true crush… is that you fall in love first and grope for reasons afterward.” —Shana Alexander

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything related to Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou (The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour), and when the season concluded, I remarked that it was a series with no dull moments owing to the dynamics between Usa and the rest of the Kawai Complex’s residents. The OVA is set a ways after the original TV series ended, following Usa and Ritsu as their school’s culture festival progresses. Owing to their respective schedules, Usa and Ritsu feel a sense of distance between one another, and moreover, Ritsu begins feeling jealous whenever she sees Usa in the company of other girls. After saving Hayashi from Usa’s old “friends” on the day of the culture festival, she and Usa finally have a chance to converse, and in doing so, learn that their feelings never really wavered. This OVA was released on Boxing Day, and while it’s an entertaining watch that brings back both the comedy and drama seen in the Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou TV series, what are its contributions to the series as a whole?

Screenshots and Commentary

 

  • I’ve only got about ten images worth of thoughts for the OVA: straight off the bat, I can say that the OVA is quite good and fully captures the entire spirit of the TV series over the course of its twenty-minute run. Some anime have OVAs that take on a tangent to world-build (Girls und Panzer), present different stories (Valkyria Chronicles III) or explore the series from a more comedic, casual perspective (Higurashi When They Cry).

  • I’ve only just finished Kiniro Mosaic, which featured a cultural festival, and entering the Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou OVA, I had no idea what to expect. It turns out there’s another culture festival, but this time, it forms the backdrop for exploring Ritsu’s feelings. Note Usa’s reaction to the female students’ suggestion for their class to make use of period costumes: Usa’s mannerisms change entirely whenever Ritsu is around.

  • The others at the Kawai complex decide to pay a visit to the culture festival, promising that their usual antics won’t make an appearance while they’re visiting. Shortly after the series concluded in June 2014, speculation about the OVA’s contents included the idea that the OVA would showcase some of the characters before they began living at the Kawai Residence (based on the OVA’s title) or that it’d be a Christmas special (given the release date).

  • It seems that neither predictions were on the mark. To the left is Hiyashi, Usa’s classmate from middle school. She was once deeply into the occult and has since tried to bury that past, at Usa’s expense, even though she still holds feelings for him.  To the right is the owner of Usa’s old workplace: her name eludes me, but here, she’s got a ridiculous costume for Usa.

  • Ritsu’s classmates manage to coerce her into wearing a male butler’s outfit, much to her embarrassment. I’d almost liken Ritsu to The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi‘s Nagato Yuki: almost because Ritsu is a little more expressive at times. With The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan coming out in April, the Yuki of this anime will bear a greater resemblence to her manner from The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi and even share some of Ritsu’s tendencies.

  • Usa runs into Hiyashi and attemps to warn her about his old classmates, who he’d encountered earlier. They had been insulting Hayashi, and Usa feels that it’d be better if she did not encounter them, although his limitations mean that he isn’t able to get his point across. Thus, when Hayashi encounters these people later, she’s got no escape route.

  • Ritsu sees the whole thing go down and manages to buy Hayashi enough time to escape with the sign she was originally using to advertise with. Thinking she’s a guy, Usa’s classmates go after her, but she manages to escape them in a disused classroom.

  • Fearful for her safety, Ritsu sends an SMS to Usa for the first time. By the time he arrives, the hostiles have disappeared, presumably having lost interest in the chase. However, thanks to the store owner, Usa is decked out in a maid costume. This OVA typifies Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou‘s capacity to weave both more serious and humourous moments together, using the latter to diffuse the former and decisively inform the viewers that it’s okay to relax, that the tension has fallen off.

  • I personally enjoy it greatly whenever chibi art is employed in Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, especially since Ritsu seems to feel like an entirely different person. The chibi versions of the Suzumiya Haruhi characters likewise evoked a similar feeling, and contributes substantially to my anticipation for The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan.

  • With the cultural festival over, Usa remarks that things are rapidly returning to normal. While Usa and Ritsu never directly address their feelings for one another, the OVA makes it clear that this feeling is mutual, and that a relationship could be a possibility. The rest is left to the viewer’s imaginations, and as the OVA ends, we’re treated to the kind of light effects and colour palettes that the TV series is known for. Coming up next is a talk on Gundam Origin, and then Expelled From Paradise: the latter keeps getting pushed back, but I’ll get there before mid-March.

We note that the Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou OVA is set some time after the TV series ended. Judging from the conversations and remarks Usa’s classmates make, it appears that Usa and Ritsu have become closer. The OVA presents a scenario that gives audiences a chance to see that Ritsu does reciprocate Usa’s feelings: even if she’s not particularly skilful at expressing her feelings, it’s clear that she cares greatly for Usa, and experiences jealousy when others are talking to him. It’s a subtle touch, but if Ritsu’s feelings were ambiguous in the TV series, the OVA manages to clear that up: since both reciprocate the other’s feelings, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that Ritsu and Usa could end up as a happy couple with the passage of time. With the OVA now finished, one wonders if there is to be a second season. The sales for Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou has not been phenomenal, but the manga is on-going, so whether or not there will be a continuation is up for discussion.

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