Parental Guidance Recommended
1992 Masakazu Katsura/Shueisha.
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Youta Moteuchi is stuck in one sticky love triangle. Heartbroken, he is led inside a video store where he rents out a tape starring a cute girl named Ai Amano. When he pops it into his VCR, Ai appears on screen and proceeds to cheer and comfort him out of his misery. But to his surprise, Ai suddenly decides being on the other side isn't enough! She literally comes out of the screen...with a promise to heal him of his broken heart.
Sakura Diaries--no. Hentai--hell no!. >>> by thundersenshi
Okay, before I start with my actual review, let's get one thing straight here: Video Girl Ai is not hentai! But I don't blame you for thinking it is, because for one thing, the title itself does sound kinky. Little cover descriptions and summaries do little to help change this assumption, too. Lines such as "promises of comfort" gets misinterpreted more often than not. But sorry to disappoint, hentai fans. Video Girl Ai, suggestive title it may seem, is not of lemon content! In fact, if not for Ai's "mature" humour and some nudity, VGA is completely wholesome.
Now that's been said, I'll get to my other point. I can't help but compare this to Sakura Diaries, though I don't exactly know why. Perhaps the romantic situation is a bit similar, or maybe it's the characters. One thing is certain, though: Video Girl Ai is definitely better! I keep remembering how much I despised the male protagonist of that other story. His way of handling situations and love problems is bastardly, in contrast to Youta's. I can't help but appreciate Youta more, and his best friend Takashi, too (I just don't like his voice in the dub). They have personalities that will make you wonder if these kind of guys actually exist in real life (let's cross our fingers and hope for the best, girls). This said, VGA is strongest with its characterization. Whenever three's a crowd, it is usually inevitable to lack fondness for the third party. However, in VGA it is different. You can't help but sympathize with everyone involved, and you have every reason to love each character. Now that was quite a difficult feat to pull off.
The artwork is a cross between cutesy and dramatic. I noticed Takashi most, though, because he has this unusual look...his hair sort of looks like a set of insect feelers. As for the ending, it seems a bit inconclusive but then, some open-ended scenarios are best left that way.
This is highly recommended. Hey, I did finish the whole series in one sitting--doesn't that speak for itself?
Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 8; Characters 10; Sounds 8