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What Does OVA Mean In Anime? (Detailed Explanation)

Nowadays Animes are the most popular, captivating, and favorite of all viewers, which can keep you hooked for hours. Anime is a bit different from routine Web Series, T.V serials, Movies, and Online Video content. There are a few jargons that you must know before watching Anime to get the best out of the anime entertainment world. One such term is OVA, around which there are a lot of questions from viewers. If you are among them, read here to know what does OVA mean in anime.


What Does OVA Mean in Anime?

From watching movies on the projector to the handy HD display of our smartphones, entertainment options evolved a lot over some time. All thanks to technology! Yup! This is the era of technology where one can keep himself entertained on the go. OVA Anime is one of the popular zones and is liked by all.

OVA stands for Original Video Animation. OVAs are Anime movies or series which are not broadcasted anywhere on TV or in theaters before they launch for home viewers. OVAs are usually released on media like VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blu Rays. In other words, it can be said that OVAs are released in video markets. However, just for promoting OVAs, producers prefer to utilize T.V. and theatre for releasing small trailers to catch more audience attention.

OVA & Filler Episodes – How Both Are Different?

Many people think of OVA as a filler episode in Anime, but both of them are quite different from each other. Specials and OVAs are two different and unique terms that can’t be used interchangeably.

Filler episodes have nothing to do with the Manga Anime stories (Manga is a Japanese Anime Comic & Series). Fillers are reduced to giving back the story to the characters and places of original Anime or sometimes to some humor or adventure to the original story. However, it never gives progress to the original story. On the other hand OVA in itself is a full-fledged series the purpose of which is story building only.

No. of Episodes, Length of OVA, And Format

Just like any other Anime, OVAs are also run in episodes. Usually, in one OVA media (VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blu Rays), there comes only one OVA episode. There is no fixed length of OVA episodes. It may vary depending on the title or storyline of the episode. Some episodes finish in less than 30 minutes while some run even an hour long.

In general, an OVA episode is 30 minutes but that’s not a standard time. It may be more or less.’GaoGaiGar Final’ is an OVA series in which all the episodes are 30 minutes long but the last one is 50 minutes long. Similarly, in another OVA ‘Key the Metal Idol’ all the 15 episodes were run in different lengths where the shortest episode was 20 minutes long and the longest was 2 hours long. So, you can get an idea that the length of an OVA episode is not predefined.

The same is the case with the number of OVA episodes. Sometimes it may end up in single episodes while sometimes it may have a series of multiple episodes of different lengths. So far the longest OVA series is ‘Legend of the Galactic Heroes’ which has 162 episodes. Generally, an ideal OVA has 5 to 8 episodes but again this is not the benchmark.

All the episodes are linked through a plot that ties up the audience right from start to end. To enjoy at its best, watch all the episodes in sequence. Unlike this fundamental nature of the OVA format, some OVA producers release only 1 or 2 episodes in a year which stretch its story.

OVA Vs Special Anime

The primary and fundamental difference between OVA and special Anime is telecast media. OVA is not telecasted on T.V or video channels but is sold through VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blu-Rays media for home viewing. On the other hand, special anime is aired on television. Besides this most basic differentiation, the two are connected also. It is being said that OVAs sometimes are the prequel or sequel of other special Anime but the content of OVAs is always original. 

Talking about the visual quality, many times, the quality of OVA is better than that of special Anime. The reason is more resources and freedom to increase the quality with the studio owners. The storyline is also much better in OVA as compared to special Anime. OVAs are binge-watch beautifully narrated stories. One more major differentiation between the two types of Anime is the issue of Censorship. OVAs are uncensored because they are not displayed publicly on television or in theaters while other Anime are subject to censorship terms and conditions.

More About OVA – The History

The history of OVA begins in Japan in 1980 but soon it takes over the entire world gaining huge viewership and fan following. This is the reason that producers are also taking interest in making more OVAs. In the 1980s, VCR used to be a very common asset in every Japanese home and so Japanese anime entertainment grew rapidly. People were going crazy about Japanese Anime as a result of which OVAs came out into the picture with better picture quality. It was termed as direct-to-video by the USA fans.

Top 5 OVAs From 1988 to 2022

Crisp, entertaining, and short OVAs are liked all over the world and not only in Japan. OVAs are engaging video content with a short and sweet storyline and fabulous Anime characters. Here is the list of the top 5 OVAs released which will never let you get bored. Explore the list so that you can decide where to start watching.

#5 Kamisama Kiss: Past Arc

This OVA started on August 20 in 2015, and lasts till August 20 in 2016, has a total of 4 episodes aired in 1 year. The story revolves around the Nanami and Mikage of the Past Arc series. Nanami goes back in time to find out whom he loved.

#4 Hellsing Ultimate

This is quite sought-after OVA series that started on February 10 in 2006 to December 26 in 2012, has a total of 10 episodes aired in more than 6 years. This OVA is about the character of the Ultimate Vampire, Alucard, the role of whom was an exterminator. If you wish to watch something dark and action-packed, watch this for sure.

#3 Gintama: Love Incense Arc

This one is the shorter OVA with only 2 episodes within 4 months. from August to November 2016. It is a comedy series with the title character, Kagura and Shinpachi. The story is about finding an Incense by the 3, sniffing which anyone falls in love with the person they first see after sniffing the incense. The whole plot is comical.

#2 Rurouni Kenshin: Reminiscence

This OVA is quite old from 1999. This OVA series is about the title character whose name is Kenshin and he is a wandering Samurai. The plot details all about the dark past of Kenshin. If you are a comedy lover, these series don’t have much for you but for viewers who like intense drama, this is the one for them. Each of its episodes is half an hour long.

#1 Legend Of The Galactic Heroes

Another one of the oldest as well as longest OVA series is from the year 1988 to 1997. Although the oldest but yet this is the most beloved series in Japan and overseas. This series has a total of 110 episodes.

FAQs on OVA Anime

What is the Idea Behind Launching the OVA concept in the Japanese Entertainment Industry?

As per the history of OVA, these were released for people watching media at home. Earlier the source of media was DVDs and VCRs, so film and TV series producers found a way to entertain people through direct-to-video format. This way OVA became popular among viewers and became a prominent part of the Japanese Anime industry. Some anime has its own storyline and plot. some are. produced just to promote the original. story of an Anime movie or TV episode.

Are OVA Worth Watching?

In simpler words, OVA are extra episodes that are independent of the original episodes and its story. Usually, so far the history of OVA reveals that OVAs are good entertaining stuff and are worth watching. Some of the popular OVAs that are binge-watching are Hellsing Ultimate, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, Rurouni Kenshin, and many more.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is an established and independent voice dedicated to providing you with unique, well-researched and original information from the field of technology, SEO, social media, and blogging. He has in-depth knowledge of computers and tech as he pursued computer science.

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