Hourglass of Summer OVA review

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

I love the visual novel Hourglass of Summer. It’s beautiful, has likable characters, and a very interesting story.

My personal copy, bought at Dragon Con 2012.
My personal copy, bought at Dragon Con 2012.

The story?

You play as Koutarou Makimura. It’s almost summer vacation. He’s got a hugh crush on his classmate Kaho Serizawa. During the last week of school, he decides to ask her out.  although his friends do not believe this will work. He goes to sleep that night excited about both summer and Kaho. But when he wakes up, it is the first day of the next school year.

When he arrives at the opening ceremony, he is greeted by his grief-stricken classmates, who mourn the untimely death of his girlfriend, Kaho! Of course, he is very confused. When he faints from shock, he wakes up on a day in the middle of summer. Now Kotarou must live his entire summer with each day being in a random order. He tries to figure out what is going on, and tries to determine if his unique situation can help save Kaho.

That’s the basic summery, anyway. There’s definitely a lot of potential for a good anime series there.  However, the anime would need to be at least 26 episodes long. Instead, Hourglass of Summer got a two episode OVA (Original Video Animation) with a total runtime of an hour.

Needless to say, it isn’t good.

The anime is rushed. Since it’s only two episodes of 30 minutes each, the plot isn’t really explained at all. Everything just happens, and there’s no coherency.

For example, a major character, Mana, in the game barely appears in the first episode and doesn’t appear at all in the second episode.

Game? Major character with her own storyline. Taken while I was playing the game.
Game? Major character with her own storyline. Taken while I was playing the game.

 

OVA? Nope! You're lucky to just be in one episode! Taken while I was watching the OVA.
OVA? Nope! You’re lucky to just be in one episode! Taken while I was watching the OVA.

Moving on, the art is below par. How could such a beautiful game produce such an ugly, off model OVA? The backgrounds are plain, and the characters look like fan art of the game characters.

If you think i’m just being overly dramatic, just look at this comparison.

Kaho as she appears in the original game
Kaho as she appears in the original game. Taken while I was playing the game.
Kaho as she appears in the OVA
Kaho as she appears in the OVA. Taken while I was watching the OVA.

Clearly there’s a notable difference. The game has more detail, and everything seemed better proportioned in the game. The animation is also horrendous.

Finally, the game had an art book that came with the game.

Photo on 10-25-14 at 3.01 PM #2
I love this book.

The OVA? Of course not.

Last but not least, is the handling of more questionable scenes. Unlike many visual novels, Hourglass of Summer is clean. It doesn’t have sexual scenes. Hugging and kissing is a far as it gets.

This is as far as it gets. Taken while I was playing the game.
Sweet tender moments like this are the farthest the game gets. Taken while I was playing the game.

Clearly thinking this wasn’t enough, the OVA adds a ton of needless fan service to the story.

I'm going to need brain bleach. Taken while i was watching the OVA.
I’m going to need brain bleach. Taken while i was watching the OVA.

 

Bottom line? This OVA sucks. It’s too short, rush, looks terrible, and oh god the fan service! It’s no surprise that the OVA was never released outside of Japan. For this review, I watched the OVA on youtube and took screenshots on my computer.

My recommendation is to pass on the OVA and simply play the original game. If you can find the english version of the game (it’s out of print), buy it. It’s amazing! I guarantee that you’ll be more satisfied with the game than the OVA.