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Synonyms: OAV (Original Animated Video)
See also: anime, ONA
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OVA, or Original Video Animation, are anime specifically created for the home video market. Unlike in the US, where the equivalent term "direct-to-video" is often used as a pejorative, OVA often have higher production values than anime produced for broadcast. OVAs are targeted at more specific fan circles than broadcast anime, and tend to be either spin-offs or extensions of a series that has already had a broadcast run, or else adaptations of manga not popular enough to be considered for a broadcast series.[citation needed] The majority of boys love manga adapted into anime are adapted as OVAs rather than broadcast series.[citation needed]


In the 1980s, the introduction of VCRs meant that the home video market was booming. This, combined with television content restrictions, resulted in the release of many OVA that didn't fit in with the narrow constraints of the TV market.[1] Dallos was the first OVA ever produced, preceding Disney's Return of Jafar by a decade, and setting many standards for future OVA production in Japan.[2] Animated television shows at the time, such as Transformers and the original Voltron series, were often seen as vehicles to sell merchandise (often toys) rather than stories of their own merit, and that left very little opportunity for anime at the time to do the kind of storytelling anime is often known for now. By contrast, Dallos was explicitly budgeted at a level between a movie and a television show and not beholden to toy sales[2] which let directors Mamoru Oshii and Hisayuki Toriumi have more creative freedom.

As television content restrictions lessened, however, the OVA shifted from being an art form in its own right to being a promotional tool.[1] From the 2000s onward, OVAs have mostly been relegated to omake-style content on DVD and Blu-ray releases rather than being releases in their own right and the term has shifted from having a distinct meaning to being relative synonymous with TV specials.[3]



  1. ^ a b Answerman: Brighter Days. Posted 15 Aug 2014. Accessed 7 Oct 2019.
  2. ^ a b Review of Dallos on Anime News Network. Posted 19 March 2014. Accessed 7 Oct 2019.
  3. ^ What are OVAs and how are they different from Specials? Posted 14 Dec 2014. Accessed 7 Oct 2019.