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[ café reviews ]

[ Takeshi, the local jock and Yota's best friend. ]
[ Video Girl Ai title ]

Video Girl Ai

Episode 2: Present

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1992 Masakazu Katsura / Shueisha, © 1999 Viz Video
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Japanese Language/English Subtitles

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Another, day, another day of school... Yet this one's going to be a little different. Yota wonders if the events from yesterday were merely a bad dream, or if they really happened.

A quick look at the breakfast table confirms his worst fears -- Moemi did hear that Niima wasn't interested in her, and there really is a Video Girl living with Yota. Now, if only she could learn to cook!

But all's not lost for his friends -- Moemi decides that Takashi was really only kidding, and enlists Yota's advise and help in landing the popular school athlete. In return for all his troubles, the girl of his dreams offers to cook a meal for Moteuchi at his home. Little do they know that someone else has been hard at work, trying to prepare a good meal of her own...

[ capsule review ]

After the obligatory character introductions, this series gets down to what's really important -- relationships, and how people react when faced with the decisions of personal wants versus loyaties to friends. It's a well-worn subject, but we don't often see it presented with as much tenderness and internal conflicts as we see in this second episode. We often get to see various anime shows were the girl makes all sorts of personal sacrifices for the boy, but how often do we get to see the opposite? There's a lot of sexism prevalent in anime (including this series), but every once in a while, a show will try to break the stereotypes in a realistic, and suitably angst-ridden, awkward manner.

The actors have also settled into their roles a little more. Hayashibara Megumi was more than over-the-top on several occassions in the first episode -- especially where provided for comic relief -- but she's much more palatable here. Amano Yuri's Moemi is pretty much a stock secondary character -- she provides the unattainable love interest for Yota, and it's suitably played in a traditional shy, demure manner. Some of the translations from Japanese are rather loose, and might be a little misleading at times. It's an attempt to "mainstream" the dialog, but really didn't have the desired effect. (Some of the specific instances are now trivia questions.)

Like the story, the overall direction and screenplay is wonderfully executed. It's gentle, with several 'vignette' type scenes providing backgrounds about each character, and how they feel about each other. A wonderful BGM, Ano Hi Ni... ("On that day..." sung by Kimura Maki) accompanies these scenes (which is also the trailer song at the end of each episode). All of this development leads to the inevitable conflict situation at home -- and Yota's handling of what could have been "just another wasted effort" turns into a wonderfully sensitive, touching and romantic resolution.
- AN, 1999.11.28

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/R N/R
Direction: N/R 4 stars N/R
Acting: N/R 4 stars N/R
Animation: N/R 4 stars N/R
Music: N/R 4 stars N/R
Translation: N/A 3 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/R 4 stars N/R

[ café trivia ]

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