|Title:||Video Girl Ai|
|Episode:||1: A Soothing Girl|
|This is a complete narration of the episode and contains SPOILERS! So be sure you really want to read this...|
We start by seeing an image on the TV of a girl, but the transmission is of very low quality. She talks to her lone male audience about unrequited love. Then as she promises to be with him always, she emerges from the TV. Taking some damage in the transfer due to the guy's VCR being damaged, Ai is not pleased with Yota, the purchaser of her VHS tape.
Ai teases Yota heavily by suggesting she's there for his sexual pleasure, then a little later says she's teasing. He doesn't know what to make of her. Then, she tries her hand at cooking, which is a disaster. However, Yota eats it anyway to spare her feelings, marking one of the good traits Ai likes about him.
The episode then launches into a series of flashbacks where we see Yota and the girl he likes (and his friend) Moemi are sitting together. She confesses to him that she loves Yota's friend Takashi -- a very popular guy who always has a lot of girls around him. Takashi happens along about that time and rejects her, then teasing Youta to confess to Moemi. Despite being depressed about this, she puts on a brave face and attempts to get Yota to confess whom he loves. He can't very well tell her he loves her, so instead he tries to encourage Moemi to not give up on Takashi.
Yota heads home very depressed and comes across a video store (Gokuraku) he's never seen before. He goes in and is told that only the pure in heart can see the store (and he is only the third customer). In the adult section, he finds a video with a cute girl named Ai on the cover. That's the choice he makes ... he receives the tape for free, together with a special membership card (allowing him to make the shop appear when necessary).
Back at his home, Ai explains that as long as the tape plays, she'll be with him to a max of 30 days. When Ai demands Youta to take a bath (and wash his back), Takashi calls on the phone to apologize for "teasing" Youta about Moemi ... and Youta can barely hide that a girl is in his room, because Ai jumps and shouts, not understanding the situation ... Ai suddenly takes off all her clothes - causing Yota to pass out. But the bath is still going to be performed ...
Finally, the night arrives, and Ai crawls into Youta's bed. But instead of teasing him again, she whispers "it's alright, don't give up" into depressed Youta's ear, finally starting to do what she was supposed to: Cheer her boy up.
I found the way this first episode played out not to my liking. Rather than have the flashbacks from earlier in the day, I wish they would have just started back then and worked their way forward. The flashbacks were distracting at best but they do get the story out.
The other thing I could have lived without was the nudity and fanservice. However, OAV's usually are full of this stuff so I guess it was to be expected.
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Devil Doll (2003-07-27):
Yes, the fan service is overdone. Worst scene: "I lied", Ai to Youta - this is what I consider "unnecessary ecchiness". And then, the bathing scene, with the two cats watching from outside ... But before that, when Ai is totally nude (for one second) and Youta's nose bleeding, Ai understands "looks like I overdid it". The scene was necessary IMHO - this is her learning process ... fortunately, mainly in this first episode. And they somehow had to introduce Ai this way to make credible that being played on Youta's broken VCR did some damage to her programming, as well as to allow for her character to develop - or else the forthcoming story wouldn't have worked. I am okay with the flashbacks - the show starts with what's important (the creation of the title character) and adds information from earlier events whenever it is required. This is Youta's point of view, and he is thinking the events of this day over and over ... And the final scene of this episode shows that Ai is very well capable of acting reasonably. This is how things will proceed in later episodes ... one has to endure this first episode before the story is allowed to unfold.