The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Tokyo Girls Promotion Starts Here!- Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA Review and Reflection

“What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.” –David Ogilvy

While Rin and Misa are ostensibly working on their summer assignments, they get a message from Kaguya asking everyone to congregate. As it turns out, the Jet Racing board had turned down a promotional video that Kaguya and Kuromaru had put together, citing it as too intimidating for driving interest in the sport. After hearing feedback from the others, Kaguya tasks everyone to put a new video together that they can submit to the board. Tsui and Tina produce their own video, but the resultant resembles an advertisement for idols. Manatsu and Yuzu then decide to try their hand at making the video. They decide to incorporate a bit of everything about the different teams into the video, such as having Misa and Rin wash the Orcano, carry a portable shrine at Fūka and Inori’s shrine and having Jennifer and Emily act in an impromtu play. When Yuzu and Manatsu learn the submission deadline has changed, they pull an all-nighter to finish editing the footage together, barely managing to deliver a master of the video to the Jet Racing board ahead of the deadline. The board are baffled at the submission, and Kaguya reveals that they’ve gone ahead with a more informative and straightforwards video, to everyone’s disappointment.

This is the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA, which was bundled with a special edition of the game that released back in January for Japan. Being set a ways after the events of the regular season, the OVA offers nothing particularly new or novel with respect to character dynamics or the sport of Jet Racing itself, Instead, it is a fun bit of opportunity to see how each of the teams sees Jet Racing. The three videos that the girls put together mirror their thoughts: Kaguya and Kuromaru’s presentation of Jet Racing as a hardcore, professional sport is probably the most accurate, showing how there’s a great deal that happens behind the scenes off the canals. Tsui and Tina, on the other hand, enjoy the sport purely for how it can increase their exposure. The remainder of the girls all participate for fun, and while this something that Yuzu and Manatsu attempt to capture, they only succeed in creating a fanservice-laden video that has very little to do with Jet Racing. In a more serious context, it would’ve been nice to see everyone work together on a proper video, but because the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA is really meant as a light-hearted romp that allows everyone to bounce off one another, the outcome of the OVA is perfectly acceptable, driving a bit of humour.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The last time Kandagawa Jet Girls graced this blog, it was seven months ago, and I had just finished writing about the finale. The series proved surprisingly engaging, with its portrayal of Jet Racing and its mechanics. Coupled with familiar, but welcome messages of learning and teamwork, Kandagawa Jet Girls ended up being an anime that did a strong job of introducing viewers to the game. The game was released for PlayStation 4 shortly after the finale aired, and with it, came a special OVA.

  • The OVA itself is not an essential experience – it does not advance character growth or the development of Jet Racing any further, but instead, is a simple and fun excursion that lets everyone bounce off one another. Opening with Rin slacking when she and Misa are supposed to be studying, the OVA shows that despite her cold and aloof manner, she does care for Rin in her own manner. After Rin shows Misa a new logo for the Orcano, their phones go off.

  • Kaguya and Kuromaru had been portrayed as the final bosses of the anime, being the team that Rin and Misa needed to best. While completely dedicated to honing their craft and giving off an air of menace in the original TV series, the OVA shows that the two are otherwise quite ordinary. One aspect of Kandagawa Jet Girls that the anime never covered was the backgrounds and everyday life aspects for the other characters besides Rin and Misa: I imagine that this is something left to the game.

  • Kandagawa Jet Girls was known for its focus on the blue sky and waters of the Kandagawa, giving the anime a distinctly summer feeling. We’re now a ways into the summer proper, and the summer anime season has also begun. This season, I’ve plans to watch Oregairu‘s third season, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out and Kanojo, Okarishimasu along with Houkao Teibou NisshiOregairu and Houkago Teibou Nisshi were originally set to run during the spring season, but the global health crisis resulted in their delays.

  • Originally, Higurashi: When They Cry was also set to run during this summer, but circumstances similarly led the series to be pushed back. For the time being, this means that, assuming Strike Witches: Road To Berlin and GochiUsa: BLOOM are still scheduled for fall, things could look a little busy should I choose to blog about all of these series. To ensure I don’t get inundated by drafts, OreGairu will receive two posts (one after three, and one after the finale). I’ll pick one of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out and Kanojo, Okarishimasu to write about, and for Houkago Teibou Nisshi, I will write about that in a quarterly fashion, resuming once the sixth episode airs.

  • Kaguya and Kuromaru’s training routine encompasses a wide element of exercises, from making use of free weights, gym equipment and running, to more exotic forms of exercise like bungee jumping. These exercises are probably what put off the Jet Racing committee, and while Kaguya is right in that a high physicality is important for any sport, Jet Racing consists of more than lifting weights and running: their video fails to showcase other parts of the sport, from practical training with the jet ski and its loadout, to maintenance and other elements that was shown in the original TV series.

  • In my area, gyms are starting to re-open, although the ones I frequent remain closed. Admittedly, I am a little nervous about going back once things fully re-open, not for any sanitary reasons (provided proper protocol is observed, it’ll be completely safe), but rather, because I’m not sure just how much my strength has diminished in the past four months. I have been training on my own using other means, but I imagine it will take a little bit of time to get back in the swing of things.

  • After seeing Kaguya and Kuromaru’s submission, which feels like an advertisement for a gym membership, Tsui and Tina decide they’d like to try their hand at crafting a video for submission. On first glance, the two seem well-suited for the task at hand, having had experience in creating music videos along with promotions. Rin is especially fond of the two, and despite their initial attitudes towards Rin, she never seemed to mind. Following the races of Kandagawa Jet Girls, Tsui and Tina become less haughty towards Rin and Misa.

  • Promotional videos, often abbreviate as PV, serve one important function: to promote, or advertise a particular product or idea. In this case, the goal is to find a way of driving up interest in Jet Ski racing. After watching Kaguya and Kuromaru’s video, the girls feel it to be intimidating and unable to capture Jet Racing. After hearing the feedback (which devolves into everyone trashing the current PV), Kaguya decides to let everyone try their hand at making their own PVs.

  • For me, a successful PV of Jet Racing would have to succinctly show what Jet Racing is, a brief outline of what goes into the sport and most importantly, why it’s worth participating in. Because PVs are short, the challenge is being able to say enough about each point without leaving out anything important, as well as not including anything unrelated. As such, after seeing Tsui and Tina’s video, despite the two’s proficiency with making such videos for an idol context, the other girls similarly remark that an idol PV is not suited for promoting Jet Racing.

  • While not a good PV for Jet Racing, Tsui and Tina’s video does give off a strong summer vibe. Summer, with its long days and beautiful weather, is a time for being outside, drinking cold beverages, eating watermelons and lounging around in sunbeams. So far this year, despite many hiking trails and mountain facilities still not operating at full capacity, I’ve managed to have a pretty summery summer, as it were: with bathrooms at trail heads closed, I’ve opted against hiking, but instead, have walked around local pathways under beautiful skies and have had watermelon every week since the summer began.

  • With Tsui and Tina’s video a bust, Yuzu and Manatsu decide to try their hand at making a video. Kandagawa Jet Girls presented them as a competent team whose coordination is apparent even when outside of racing, so having them take on the challenge and hearing their intention of making a fun video that captures the spirit of Jet Racing. It suddenly strikes me that Kuromaru’s got very few speaking lines in Kandagawa Jet Girls, and she speaks more in the OVA than she did the whole of the TV series.

  • After reviewing footage of Rin and Misa racing, Yuzu and Manatsu decide they need to spice things up a little in order to increase the appeal of their video. One aspect that was comedic is the fact that, despite everyone being a part of Jet Racing, no one’s thought to do a video where racing is a key part, and in truth, a simple video about the joys of Jet Racing, coupled with some rules overlaid on top of racing footage and some behind-the-scenes (e.g. maintenance and training) would’ve done the trick for the committee.

  • Instead, Yuzu and Manatsu have something else in mind. Admittedly, the fanservice piece in the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA is actually less than what the TV series had. By all standards, the OVA is very disciplined in this area despite Yuzu and Manatsu’s choice of visuals for their PV; they ask Misa and Rin to suggestively wash the Orcano, before Misa’s patience runs out. Conversely, the TV series would casually show papilla mammaria at least once per episode.

  • With Inori and Fūka, Yuzu and Manatsu film a tea ceremony and a mikoshi. The sensation of bobbing up and down gives Fūka the same feeling as being on a jet ski, and she reverts into a more aggressive persona that she sports during racing, a one-eighty from her typical, gentle manner. It’s a clever callback to the original TV series: Misa and Rin encounter Fūka one day, worried about her listlessness and learning she was troubled by something.

  • Kaguya reluctantly goes along with Yuzu and Manatsu’s plan of casting her and Kuromaru as “villians” in some sort of drama. Emily and Jennifer really get into it, although they also inadvertently insult Tsui and Tina in a separate scene during filming. Things begin moving so far from Jet Racing that this PV project begins to feel a great deal like Haruhi’s The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

  • The last bit of filming similarly evokes memories of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, during which Haruhi’s direction entails foisting as much humiliation and suffering on Mikuru as possible. This eventually leads to Kyon moving to hit her, although he is stopped at the last second. In Kandagawa Jet Girls, no such incident occurs, but the final scene Yuzu and Mantasu suggest seems a bit gratuitous, entailing little more than getting everyone wet by means of a water gatling gun. Besides embarrassing everyone present, this moment serves to accomplish little for the video itself.

  • When Yuzu and Manatsu learn the deadline’s been shifted to allow the board more time to review the video, they push to finish off editing, pulling an exhausting all-nighter that leaves them with bags under their eyes. I’ve never done an all-nighter before in all of my time as a student, having preferred to space my work out during the days leading up to a deadline. As it stands, this is one experience I’ve never had, and I vividly recall promising to grab a sleeping bag and overnight in my old lab just for the experience, but this never materialised.

  • Had I gone through with this, I probably would’ve showered at the Kinesiology building and brushed my teeth at the kitchen on the floor where my old office was, then kipped on a couch: sleeping under my desk wouldn’t have been comfortable. Back in Kandagawa Jet Girls, when Yuzu and Manatsu learn the board requires that the PV be submitted in a physical format, precluding a digital submission, they race across town to meet the deadline and just make it. The two look dejected, rather than relieved, after their submission, creating a sense of melancholy that stands in contrast to how much fun they had filming.

  • Yuzuru and Manaksu’s efforts ultimately come to naught, since their video captures nothing about Jet Racing: the board chooses to use a more generic but informative video instead, resulting in disappointment all around once the girls realise they’d done some rather embarrassing stuff for naught. With the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA at an end, I believe this is the last I’ll write about the series. The next anime-related post I have on the horizon will be for Sketchbook ~Full Colours~, and as well, I will be writing both about World of Warcraft and The Division 2’s Warlords of New Yorkin the near future.

The OVA does have a distinctly summer feel, as the girls set about trying to capture the spirit of Jet Racing under the blue skies and waterways of Tokyo, and overall, I had fun watching this. With the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA in the books, I believe that I’ve now caught up completely with the series. I do not believe that there will be a continuation of Kandagawa Jet Girls in anime form, since the anime was really intended as a promotion for the game, and on the game, the Playstation 4 version also released back in January. Having seen some console gameplay footage of the game, it feels like the game is a combination of a racing game with shooter elements and a visual novel, where races form the interactive portions of the game to tell a particular story. The game I’m most familiar with this style is Valkyria Chronicles, and it appears that being able to kick back and relax with the story, in between the races, is Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ main draw. While I’ve had fun in games of this style previously, I’m not too sure if I’ll get the best bang for my buck: I don’t see myself picking up Kandagawa Jet Girls for PC in the foreseeable future, although I’m certain there are folks who are very much looking forwards to the PC release of this title.

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