Japanese Title: Den’ei Shoujo Video Girl Ai
Similar: Ah! My Goddess
Watched in: Japanese & English
Length: 6 episodes
- Remote control of the video girl.
- No foundations to the infatuation.
- Dumb as bricks characters.
- Little happens.
I feel like a broken record at this point – when you write a romance, you must give reason for the characters to love each other. Starting with lust is fine, common even, but if you want the audience to believe in the ‘true love’ your characters profess, there must be more. Video Girl Ai is yet another romance without foundations.
Homeward bound after a heart-breaking rejection, Youta stops by a video store to make a purchase in the hope of a distraction. He gets more than he bargained for when a video girl called Ai emerges from the TV. He can control her with the remote – slow-mo, rewind, frame-by-frame, and even adjust boob size. He flattens them. She’s supposed to be meek, but damage to the VCR gives her a feistier personality than intended. Even so, she promises to help him find love.
Youta’s object of obsession is Moemi, a girl at school who only has eyes for the popular Takeshi. Really though, the key player in this relationship is Youta. He will do anything for Moemi, even help with a gift for Takeshi. He has the classic “nice” guy mentality. “If I do everything she wants, eventually she’ll break up with her boyfriend and realise I’ve been beside her the whole time!” Thankfully, Ai makes fun of him for it and Takeshi calls out Moemi’s selfishness, which points to the writer almost getting it right. Had the story been one of a wimpy guy realising he’s acting the loser, clinging to a bimbo with no interest in him, it could have been interesting. As is often the case with wimp romances however, this isn’t meant to reflect reality. It wants to give false hope that having no spine will make you attractive.
The cringe reaches new heights when he confesses to her loudly in public, but she thinks he’s just practicing to tell someone else… Really? Forget him having no spine – why would he be interested in such a dimwit?
To no one’s surprise, the twist is that he should have realised he had a loving girl in Ai beside him this whole time. Gasp! And he sure jumps into her arms quickly after it fails with Moemi. What a nice, considerate guy. After this, the finale involves a test of true love decreed by the villain in a visually creative setting. But remember what I said about foundations? Well, when you have no foundations, the audience is unlikely to make an emotional connection with the couple in a life or death struggle. Youta is screaming about his love for Ai, yet his words are hollow. He never showed us he loved her when he had nothing to gain.
Did he once get to know her?
Did he ever do anything selfless for her?
Did he share an interest with her?
He’s so obsessed with doing frivolous favours for Moemi that he ignores Ai until the end, where – if realistic – would have made her little more than a stranger, not the object of true love.
Never forget your foundations. There is more emotion to be found in a man asking a woman how she has been lately than in a grand stunt off the Eiffel Tower to impress her. Yes, the stuntman is more impressive, but emotional resonance is about more than being impressive.
Art – Low
Video Girl Ai looks the same as DNA2, down to a girl cloned across both series.
Sound – Medium
The acting is average either way, as is the music.
Story – Low
A heartbroken teen thinks that watching a video will get his mind off things, only to have a girl emerge from his TV. What should have been a fun anime devolves into a romantic drama with no foundations.
Overall Quality – Low
Recommendation: Don’t bother. Video Girl Ai needed a lot of work in the draft stage – more chemistry, conflict, and complexity. DNA2 is so much more fun.
Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)