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What is this Japanese Thing? OVA or Original Video Animation

What is this Japanese Thing? OVA or Original Video Animation

Original video animation , abbreviated as OVA  media (and sometimes as OAV, original animated video), are animated films and series made specially for release in home video formats without prior showings on television or in theatres, though the first part of an OVA series may be broadcast for promotional purposes. OVA titles were originally made available on VHS, later becoming more popular on LaserDisc and eventually DVD. Starting in 2008, the term OAD (original animation DVD) began to refer to DVD releases published bundled with their source-material manga.

Like anime made for television broadcast, OVAs sub-divide into episodes. OVA media (tapes, laserdiscs, or DVDs) usually contain just one episode each. Episode length varies from title to title: each episode may run from a few minutes to two hours or more. An episode length of 30 minutes occurs quite commonly, but no standard length exists. In some cases, the length of episodes in a specific OVA may vary greatly, for example in GaoGaiGar FINAL, the first 7 episodes last around 30 minutes, while the last episode lasts 50 minutes; the OVA Key the Metal Idol consists of 15 separate episodes, ranging in length from 20 minutes to nearly two hours each; The OVA Hellsing Ultimate had released 10 episodes, ranging from 42 minutes to 56 minutes. An OVA series can run anywhere from a single episode (essentially a direct-to-video movie) to dozens of episodes in length. Probably the longest OVA series ever made, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, spanned 110 main episodes and 52 gaiden (side stories) episodes.

Many popular series first appear animated as an OVA, and later grow to become television series or movies. Tenchi Muyo!, for example, began as an OVA but went on to spawn several TV series, three movies, and numerous other spin-offs. Producers make other OVA releases as sequels, side stories, music-video collections, or bonus episodes that continue existing as television series or films, such as Love Hina Again and Wolf’s Rain.

OVA titles generally have a much higher budget per episode than in a television series; therefore the technical quality of animation can generally surpass that in television series; occasionally it even equals that of animated movies.

OVA titles have a reputation for the detailed plots and character-development which can result from the greater creative freedom offered to writers and directors in comparison with other formats. This also allows for animated adaptations of manga to reflect their source material more faithfully. Since OVA episodes and series have no fixed conventional length, OVA directors can use however much time they like to tell the story. Time becomes available for significant background, character, and plot development. This contrasts with television episodes (which must begin and conclude in 22 to 26 minutes) and with films (which rarely last more than two hours). In the same way, no pressure exists to produce “filler content” to extend a short plot into a full television series. The producers of OVA titles generally target a specific audience, rather than the more mass-market audience of films and television series, or may feel less constrained by content-restrictions and censorship (such as for violence, nudity, and language) often placed on television series. For example, the Kissxsis OVA series generally contains more sexual themes than its television counterpart.

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What is this Japanese thing? Light Novels

What is this Japanese thing? Light Novels

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A light novel (ライトノベル raito noberu) is a style of Japanese novel primarily, but not exclusively, targeting middle- and high-school students (young adult demographic). “Light novel” is a wasei-eigo, or a Japanese term formed from words in the English language. Such short, light novels are often called ranobe (ラノベ) or LN in the West. They are typically not more than 40,000–50,000 words long (the shorter ones being equivalent to a novella in US publishing terms), are rarely more than a few hundred pages, often have dense publishing schedules, are usually published in bunkobon size (A6, 10.5 cm × 14.8 cm), and are often illustrated, mostly with manga style art. The text is often serialized in anthology magazines before collection in book form. A light novel is a prose book with illustrations. It is called “light” because the content tends to be easy-reading and the size is small and portable.

Light novels are an evolution of pulp magazines. To please their audience, in the 1970s, most of the Japanese pulp magazines, which had already changed from the classic style to the popular anime style covers, began to put illustrations in the beginning of each story and included articles about popular anime, movies, and video games. The narrative evolved to please the new generations and became fully illustrated with the popular style. The popular serials are printed in novels.

In recent years, light novels’ stories have been popular choices for adaptation into manga, anime, and live-action films, though in the case of the former two, usually only the first two novels are adapted. The higher the popularity of the light novels are, the longer the manga will continue to adapt. Light novels are often serialized in literary magazines such as Faust, Gekkan Dragon Magazine, The Sneaker and Dengeki hp, or media franchise magazines like Comptiq and Dengeki G’s Magazine.

Popular literature has a long tradition in Japan. Even though cheap, pulp novels resembling ranobe were present in Japan for years prior, the creation of Sonorama Bunko in 1975 is considered by some to be a symbolic beginning. Science fiction and horror writers like Hideyuki Kikuchi or Baku Yumemakura started their careers through such imprints.

In the 1980s, epic novels by Yoshiki Tanaka — The Heroic Legend of Arslan — took young male Japanese audiences by storm. Also, RPG-inspired Record of Lodoss War novels achieved popularity. All of those were later animated.

The 1990s saw the smash-hit Slayers series which merged fantasy-RPG elements with comedy. Some years later MediaWorks founded a pop-lit imprint called Dengeki Bunko, which produces well-known light novel series to this day. The Boogiepop series was their first major hit which soon was animated and got many anime watchers interested in literature.

Dengeki Bunko writers continued to slowly gain attention until the small light novel world experienced a boom around 2006. After the huge success of the Haruhi Suzumiya series, suddenly the number of publishers and readers interested in light novels skyrocketed.

Light novels became an important part of the Japanese 2D culture in late 2000s. The number of ranobe series put out every year increases, the most celebrated artists from pixiv illustrate them and the most successful works are animated and made into manga and live action movies.

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