Video Girl Ai

Title:Video Girl Ai
Den`ei Shoujo Video Girl AI
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: AMANO Yuri
GOTO Takayuki
KUSAO Takeshi
OGATA Kenichi
Original Concept - KATSURA Masakazu
R1 License - Viz Media (Shopro)
SUZUOKI Hirotaka
Wandering the streets after having his heart thoroughly broken, Youta Moteuchi stumbles across a video shop he'd never noticed before: Gokuraku, as in "paradise." Youta checks out one video that looks promising (but not too promising): The 'Video Girl Ai', telling him "I will cheer you up". But when this tape is played on Youta's broken VCR the boy suddenly has a companion to soothe his grief. Will Youta get his girl in the end? Prepare for romance, drama, and an ending that is not from this world.

[OVA, 1992, 6 episodes, ~29min each; based on a 15 volumes manga of which the OVA covers the first 3 volumes; R1/USA Licensed by Viz Media]
1:53min Series Opening - YouTube Video
Episode Details 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch Xenoknight [series:17#2967]
review coming after I rewatch the anime...

Check out my award list to see some of the best anime titles in the world!

Never forget Xenosaga.

Last updated Friday, December 05 2008. Created Friday, December 05 2008.
Buy 6 7 7 8 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:17#1552]
Don't let the fan service and nudity from Ai in the first episode fool you. Video Girl Ai is a romantic comedy-drama that explores the pains of unrequited love and self-sacrifice of one's own feelings. This can also serve as a personal reminder to those who have faced unrequited love and trying to move on from such painful memories.

The OAV centers only on four characters which eventually creates a love square. With the focus being on these four characters, the series has plenty of time to develop the personalities and thoughts of the characters. The characters of Ai, Moemi, Takeshi, and Youta are fleshed-out enough where the relationships developed through the love square are painfully believable as the characters of Ai and Youta put aside their own feelings to support their friends and suffer emotionally as a result. Takeshi tries pushing along a girl to someone else clearly having no interest in her. Moemi is the friend relying on Youta's help to get the attention of her love interest, not knowing Youta has interest in her. The situation is so easy to understand that those who faced unrequited love and were the "nice guy" with relationships in their youth can relate to Youta's situation.

The aspect of comedy is mostly supplied by the antics of Ai (voiced by famous seiyuu Megumi Hayashibara). Ai often likes causing mischief for Youta stemming from sexually teasing him, beating the daylights out of him, or sabotaging potential developments between him and Moemi. The first two aspects of this comedy are typical of romantic comedies aimed at shounen audiences. The third aspect plays a role in Ai's character as a sign of her jealousy towards Moemi and Youta despite knowing that it is forbidden for her as a video girl to show feelings of love and jealousy for her owner, feelings present in a 'normal' girl.

The artwork and character designs for Video Girl Ai look pretty dated and didn't seem to fit in well with other works of the early 1990s. Such artwork would look like it would fit in for a mid to late 1980s TV anime series. Considering the OAV format the series was made in, such low quality seems uncalled for. The music, on the other hand, features some powerful dramatic tunes and lyrics that flow well with the painful emotions that undergo the characters, especially with the final episode of the series.

Video Girl Ai makes for a solid romance anime to watch. Despite having an unclear ending, the series portrays a painful aspect of love that is overlooked in most modern romance anime titles where unrequited love is a normal part of many lives.

Last updated Friday, March 28 2008. Created Friday, March 28 2008.
Buy Stretch [series:17#628]
After watching it, I was surprised to learn that Video Girl Ai came out way back in in 1992, because that made it about five years older than I was expecting. I think I misjudged it's age partly because I didn't notice any particular flaws in the animation which would make it seem "old", and partly because I am more familiar with relatively old anime (because it has become more affordable), yet I hadn't heard of VGA until recently. I guess the main reason why I liked this show was because like critic Rowena Lim Lei, I too am "something of a sucker for anime romances with a twist". Reading at least one review of VGA beforehand was helpful, not just to convince me that it was worth the money, but also because the synopsis made it easier to keep track of what was going on as the initial episode bounced back and forth between various flashbacks and the present time. I was intrigued to see Yota employ a gigantic mallet to whack Ai at one point--I had thought that gimmick was only used in City Hunter, but maybe it's some sort of Japanese metaphor for arguments between lovers. I also enjoyed the "Omake" theater segments. I thought the ending worked out fairly well--as is usual with anime it's up to you to decide exactly what has happened and whether this is a happy ending or not. At least I think VGA has finally explained to me how rock-paper-scissors works!

My favorite line: "Stupid jerk! Playing me on a broken VCR! I thought I was gonna die!"

11/03 #84

Last updated Sunday, May 11 2008. Created Thursday, October 30 2003.
Buy 8 7 10 7 8 10 Devil Doll [series:17#752]
[Score: 85% = maximum "Buy-", my favourite Romance/Fantasy Drama; episode reviews. Other recommended Romance/Fantasy Drama animes: Kanon, Clannad (TV), Chobits, Shuffle!, To Heart]
  • Drama: High (boy does this story change its tone within a few episodes!)
  • Comedy: Med/Low (starting hilariously and getting ever more gloomy)
  • Action: Low/Med (you'll be surprised to see some blood dripping here!)
  • SciFi: Med (Ai being who/what she is being essential for the story)
  • Ecchi: Med (during the early episodes, almost gone later on)
Yeah, this one works for me - and then having read the books I even became a huge fan of those video girls (yes, it's plural in the manga)!
Like Love Hina before, once more the first part of this OVA series nearly kept me from going on, but fortunately the fan service elements from the first episode aren't representative for the rest of this 6-episodes OVA. So while this show might still be rated age 16 and up, you should just endure episode 1 and then enjoy the rest!
While Love Hina is all about 'Yakusoku', the many promises Keitarou made in the past, VGAi is all about being 'pure at heart' and altruistic: Love is about giving, rather than about taking. If you like this attitude, and like the "nice guy" Youta, you will love the series.
Concentrating on such a small cast of basically four important characters, VGAi has lots of time to elaborate each of them in detail, and show them (and their relationships) develop step by step - that's what I like best here. Of course you have to accept these characters as they are, which was easy for me with most of them - this might be the difficult part for some viewers because so much depends on this aspect.
As for the ending (that AstroNerdBoy is so unhappy about), I think they actually made the best out of the situation. The OVA is very close to manga 1-3 of 15 volumes! So how could they just finish there? Actually, the end of manga 3 isn't that different from the OVA's ending except for one slight but decisive difference; thus in the manga it actually is more like a cliffhanger, for the 'real' story rather begins after the OVA (introducing two new and very important characters, one of which will eventually get very close to Youta ...).
If you at least like VGAi then I absolutely demand you to read the manga and find out a lot more about Gokuraku (Courtney, you are missing out a lot about the 'video girl' aspects that are fundamental for the books!) and keep your handkerchief close, preparing for the saddest scene you have ever seen in a manga. The books are much better than this short OVA storywise, as they have a lot of space for certain ideas to evolve.

When writing my episode reviews about this series (now including images) I found out another 'good trait' of VGAi: All episodes are very different in character, from silly Love Hina to epic Evangelion (!) style, yet strictly follow a consistent story line. Watching the series again I had to upgrade most of my ratings for it.
(And Stretch, if you want to learn about jan-ken-pon, then ask the experts: Katsuragi Misato [Evangelion Ep.2] and Maehara Shinobu [Love Hina Again Ep.3]...)

Last updated Wednesday, August 10 2011. Created Friday, July 04 2003.
Rent 6 6 7 9 9 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:17#436]
I've been on a romantic-comedy kick in my anime viewing of late, so a 1991-1992 series floated to the top as one I should check out. As might be expected, Video Girl Ai is based off the manga of the same title. At six OAV episodes, very little of the manga can be crammed into this series and as such, the anime suffers a tad (though not as bad as Oh My Goddess did).

Video Girl Ai (Ai is Japanese for "love") is another anime series dealing with that painful and joyful thing called love. Our main character is Yota (or Youta). He is in high school and in love with his best female friend Moemi. Moemi only sees Yota as a friend (the curse of the nice guy) and is in love with Yota's friend Takashi -- a guy who is adored by ALL the girls. Moemi confesses to Yota her love for Takashi without knowing that he's standing behind her. He tells her he's flat out not interested and she's not his type. She tries to play it off like it doesn't matter, and fails to get Yota to tell confess whom he loves.

Because Yota is a terminal nice guy, he sacrifices his own feelings for Moemi in order to help her and encourage her in her attempts to win the heart of Takashi. Depressed by this turn of events in his life, Yota stumbles on a video store he'd never seen. Only those with "pure" hearts can see this store. In the porn section, he finds a video with a girl on the cover named Ai. He takes the VHS tape home (and fortunately for him, he has no parents at home for the entire series). Putting the tape into the player, the girl Ai shows up on screen and talks (in general terms) to her single-male audience about unrequited love and how she's take care of him and make him feel better. She then emerges from the TV, and soon reveals that providing nothing happens to the tape, she will be there for him for the next 30 days.

Thus begins Yota's and Ai's life together. At first, she aggressively comes onto him, sometimes teasing him with sexual talk and saying she's joking, then later removing ALL of her clothes and trying to remove his so she can help him bathe and wash his back. That tends to be the nature of their relationship throughout the series. She's nude (descriptive topless mostly) in three of the episodes because she's there to be the perfect woman for Yota -- careing only for his pleasure. This doesn't seem to mean just sex because she and Yota never get it on (and not just because he only has eyes for Moemi) though as I stated, she gets naked for him twice (the third time she had no choice) for the purposes of sexually exciting him and taking his mind off his troubles.

As the series progresses, Ai suddenly finds herself liking Yota more and more, but as a video girl, she can not fall in love with him as that would violate her programming directive. Around Yota's friends, she poses as his sister (huh? I guess his friends are pretty stupid since he didn't used to have a sister) and in private, she attempts to be a friend and more. Will Ai fall for Yota? Will Moemi realize that Takashi will never love her and go for Yota? Will Takashi and Yota remain friends?

Due to the age of this anime, the artwork isn't as visually appealing to me (if you've seen Yu Yu Hakusho, you know what I mean). Ai wasn't that cute to me but that's OK. I didn't like the nudity or other excessive fan-service in this OAV, but then what did I expect? OAV's are almost always full of fan-service. Those of you who are nice guys will be painfully reminded of all the girls you were "in love" with but who only saw you as a friend and confident. I think at least some nice girls will be reminded of those guys they fell for but who treated them poorly. That's where this series works -- characters. The complicated relationships between all four of the main characters strike a strong chord of realism.

The failure of this series is in the final episode. I doubt many will find the ending satisfying. Make sure to watch the end credits though. I suppose you can then decide for yourself as to what happened.

Last updated Sunday, March 09 2003. Created Thursday, February 27 2003.
Watch 6 6 8 6 6 Courtney [series:17#80]
Theres an undeniable sweetness to the OVA VIDEO GIRL AI because so many people know what its like to pine for that object of unrequited love. Yota knows such a pain as hes in love with a girl whos in love with his best friend who wont even give her the time of day. So what does he do? Tries to help bring the two together. Sigh...I think too many people end up in an equally torturous situation during one juncture or another of our youth.
Like I said, theres a lot of charm to be found in VIDEO GIRL AI as its intertwined with sincerity, tenderness, and perverse humor all in the name of looking for (and sometimes finding) love through less than conventional means. Yes, I liked much of the content in the series, but, surprisingly, the fantastical element of video girls simply didnt do much for me. Not to say that Ai wasnt entertaining in and of herself, but I think the series could have been, for the most part, just as entertaining and endearing if Ai had just been a normal girl trying to help Yota. Oh well, maybe Im alone on this.
Overall, I think this is a title worth watching if you have the opportunity, but as far as it being the Must by title of the decade well, its one of your standard the course of love never ran smoothly, true love conquers all tales which has an if-youve-seen-one-youve-seen-them-all quality to it.
For other above-par romantic comedies with an unconventional twist:
Anything TENCHI

Last updated Saturday, January 12 2002. Created Saturday, January 12 2002.
Buy 9 8 8 CatWoman [series:17#65]
Well you all know how I hate to fallow the crowed...but, this is actually really good. Very touching story with really good characters. Scary as it might sound...and this is kind of sad, I relate better to Yota then Ai! I really like both, but Yota outweighs Ai in my opinion as far as character (sorry Coyote!), though I do really like Ai! The story between the two is wonderful and gets even better, though more gut wrenching in the manga! I do have to say it has a down sides to it, and this is DEFFENTLY NOT ONE FOR KIDS. It is not as dirty as I had thought it would be, though it could be a lot better in that department. It's worth seeing. But I worn you, like Ranma (though not quite to the same extreme) it is ADICTING!
P.S. I love this guys art!

Last updated Tuesday, January 08 2002. Created Tuesday, January 08 2002.
Buy Robbie [series:17#192]
Video Girl Ai is definately an anime series that everyone should at least watch once. However, the entire series is now on one DVD, so who wouldn't go out and buy it!?
Anyway, Video Girl Ai is an excellent anime series with a unique story line. The characters and plot are great and will keep you glued to the TV waiting to see how everything will work out. It's a great "roller coaster" type series where one minute you're laughing like crazy, and the next you're ready to cry your eyes out. Which girl does Yota really love: Ai or Moemi? And of the two which one feels the same way? You'll have to watch to find out.
This series is highly reccomended, but mostly for teens and above due to the ecchi style humor and some nudity. Overall a must see show!

Last updated Friday, January 04 2002. Created Sunday, December 09 2001.
Buy 8 8 9 6 8 The Coyote [series:17#64]
Wow I started watching this thinking I would watch half of the dvd and finish the rest the next night. Needless to say hours after I should have stoped I finally finished this great Dvd. Now my Dvd says #1 on it but it also says the compleate oav series so I think I have seen all of it and it was excellent the chemistry between Ai and Yota is superb. the Romantic storyline keeps you going the whole thing through Ai herself is a masterpice she grows on you so fast and she has become one of my favorite anime charaters I do wish we knew more of her world and would love to see more video girl Ai. I would rate this R though but a definate buy.

Last updated Tuesday, December 04 2001. Created Monday, December 03 2001.
Buy 9 9 9 9 9 9 Dingle [series:17#35]
Their is nothing I do not like about this show. Stop reading this and buy Video Girl Ai. Warning! Watch the sub because the dub sucks.

Last updated Friday, June 16 2000. Created Friday, June 16 2000.

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