Video Girl Ai

Vol. 2 - first date

Video Girl Ai - First Date
I doubt anyone can argue the fact that Video Girl Ai is one of the best OAV series ever produced. With its heavy character development and imaginitive premise, it's teen angst at its absolute finest. While the first volume of the dub was nearly as good as the original Japanese, unfortunately, the second volume has taken a nosedive.

Ai-chan really, really liked the dress Yota gave her in the last volume, and so today, Ai-chan takes (read: forces) him to take her out. There's just one problem: the VCR, which we already knew had seen better days, is REALLY starting to overheat (a few weeks of constant use does that), and so Ai-chan isn't feeling too hot. After getting Yota angry with her for pretending to fake her condition, he storms off and ends up seeing the chick-flick he already paid for -- with Takeshi. Of course, Moemi just happens to drop by... but once Ai and Yota are reunited, it's smooth sailing.

If only it were that smooth between Moemi and Takeshi. It's Takeshi's birthday, and Moemi isn't one to battle the crowds of girls offering the guy gifts. Yota, painfully nice guy that he is, helps her pick out a present for him, and backs her up as she confesses her love for him. He only accepts because Yota helped out... but the poor guy is already crushed, as his dreams of being with Moemi are no longer possible. Ai-chan does her best to confort him, but after something like this, a mourning period is necessary.

Video Girl Ai continues to be the sweetest, loveliest, most angst-drenched romantic comedy ever, and with this volume we really get into the meat of the storyline covered by the OAV's. The characters' emotions are delicately portrayed, and in a series without too much action, that is really the most important thing.

But the dub... Oh, the dub started out wonderful in the first volume, but with this one, Ocean Group has fallen back into their old habits of overacting any dramatic scene. While I enjoyed the French accents on the horrible movie they go to see, the dubbing brought back memories of the dub of Please Save My Earth, which suffered from similar problems. The characters are stripped of the delicate emotions they had initially, and are instead replaced with hams who turn the situation into mellowdramatics.

Video Girl Ai is an important release, but the dub should be better than this. Viz, let's hope that the third volume can best the second one!
Production Info:

+ It's still a classic
Dub quality has declined steeply

Director: Mizuho Nishikubo
Satoru Akahori
Mayori Sekijima
Kuniaki Yamashita
Tomomi Mochizuki
Mizuho Nishikubo
Jun'ichi Sakata
Music: Tohru Okada
Original Manga: Masakazu Katsura
Character Design: Takayuki Goto
Art Director: Tatsuya Kushida
Animation Director:
Jun Kamiya
Itsuro Kawasaki
Kazuchika Kise
Mizuho Nishikubo
Sound Director: Hideyuki Tanaka
Director of Photography: Akihiko Takahashi
Executive producer:
Tomio Anzai
Hiroshi Watanabe
Tetsuo Daitoku
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa

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Video Girl Ai (OAV)

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