Let me start out by explaining that I’m a dilettante when it comes to this series. I’ve watched every piece of anime that’s been produced (and that’s a lot) but never touched the game and don’t really wade into the whole massive mythos that’s sprung up surrounding it – the side projects and doujins and Federica Bernkastel and all that. So I go into this OVA knowing all the characters, but not what to expect.
The quality of the various TV seasons and OVA projects has fluctuated quite a lot, though generally they’ve been at least decent and occasionally striking a brilliant tone for sheer despair and suspense and shock value. Well, safe to say the first “Kira” OVA is in no danger of doing that – in fact, I’d place it at the bottom of all the anime projects in terms of quality. It’s played 100% for comedy, and while that’s not the first time a Higurashi anime has done that, it’s the first time so much of the humor has flat-out missed.
I’d say this whole 29 minute enterprise was on about the level of an omake. Unfortunately that means they had about three minutes with of material to stretch over the full length of the episode. It consisted almost entirely of Keichi’s fantasy sequences, as he suffers through yet another penalty game humiliation at the hands of the girls. Ooichi, Irie and Tomitake show up as the Soul Brothers (appeared in the Hajisarashi-hen story) a kind of Bro’s Before Hoes Revenge Squad, dreaming up humiliating punishments for the various girls in the club. That’s not a great concept to begin with, but when it descends to the level of Tomitake snapping photos of Rika’s (I believe she’s 10 years old) exposed butt as she cleans the classroom windows with it, you really wonder what DEEN was thinking here. This has to be anime-original, I assume?
Things don’t get much better from there, as the level of imagination that goes into the punishments (even poor Horie Yui isn’t immune, as Hanyuu gets sucked into this silliness) is pretty non-existent. It’s comedy and it’s hentai, which is fine, but it’s not especially good at either. While Rika’s humiliation was the low point, a close second probably goes to an odd and completely gratuitous scene where Satoshi (at least it’s acknowledged that his appearance makes no sense) pops up from nowhere, he and Kei-chan are mysteriously in bunny-girl outfits and Satoshi feeds him yogurt with his mouth.
Hopefully, the rest of the Kira OVAs are considerable more imaginative and smart than this one was. The good news is they won’t have an especially high bar to exceed in order to be an improvement.