I don’t know the manga all that well, but I know that it’s much beloved. And I know that the TV adaptation left me just barely interested enough to slog through to the end. The character design and animation felt flat, and there serious pacing issues and flaws in the narrative style. I figured there had to be something more here that never made it on screen.
Turns out I was right, and the new Hoshi no Umi OVA bears that out. This is very much a signature work of Ryochimo Sawa, who both did the character designs and directed. While the look is still different from the manga, I love it – it’s angular, distinctive and vaguely surreal. The pacing is leagues better than the series too – the OVA does a great job of introducing all the characters and setting up the plot without rehashing everything the TV did. Everything about this version is sharper, snappier and more interesting, and it makes for a very agreeable re-introduction to the material. I won’t bother explaining the rather complicated premise – suffice to say, it’s a rather unique look at the inter-relation of humans and youkai in a very special town – but if the TV series is your only exposure to this story, I highly recommend you give the OVA a try.