If there was ever a show that was custom-built to translate well to an OVA, it’s Gokukoku no Brynhildr. Most OVAs are more irreverent versions of the parent series, and Brynhildr was a screwball comedy passing itself off as a horror thriller to begin with. Switching into goofy side-story mode (which this OVA definitely is) should be as easy as slipping into a comfortable pair of slippers, and as expected, the transition is pretty seamless. Interestingly, though, the contrast between what Brynhildr truly was and what it was posing as was missed here, I think – there was no pretense at all, and with it a layer of what makes Brynhildr so fascinating was missing too.
That said, this OVA was a lot of fun, as you’d expect. I really did enjoy this show a lot – some call it a guilty pleasure but I see nothing to feel guilty about in finding an entertaining series entertaining. Given the ecchi nature of the series itself it’s no surprise that in OVA form Studio Arms (it’s an all-Pierrot day today) chose to take us in a fairly hentai direction, the theme being the main cast of girls (minus Kana) as it existed after Episode 11 going to battle over who would become Ryouta’s wife (and giving him no say in the matter).
First off, if you’re easily offended by old-school anime sexism you might want to take a pass, because the Brynhildr OVA is swimming in it. It’s not misogynistic in that there’s no malice towards females here, but it’s certainly not dignified and I’d make no apologies for it. There’s plenty of gratuitous nudity – two of the main plot elements being an endurance test in a hot spring and a cooking contest wearing nothing but an apron – and the idea itself os a hardly an enlightened one. But given Kazumi’s personality and the girls’ situation, it at least makes some sense in context.
It’s Kazumi who’s the driver of events here, namely her reaction to Hatsuna stealing a kiss from Ryouta. Kazumi has always been the most open about getting with Ryouta (she manages to steal a kiss too) and the contest is her idea. It’s all quite silly, but every episode of Brynhildr always gives me at least one utterly nonsensical moment of abject hilarity – and over time I noticed that a great many of those moments were provided by Kazumi, as is this one. During the cooking contest (the naked apron thing is her idea, naturally) she and Hatsuna (the others are too embarrassed to bare their derrieres to Ryouta) prepare inedible monstrosities for Ryouta. That’s not entirely surprising given they likely never received a cooking lesson in their lives, but when Kazumi presents her dish and announces with evident pride and confidence “I put a swallow’s nest inside a shark!” I lost it.
Don’t go in expecting to see a lot of character or plot development here, because that’s not the purpose of this one. Kuroneko sees Ryouta kissing other girls and blows stuff up, Ryouta says “Hah?!” a lot, Kotori is ditzy, Hatsuna is cocky and Kazumi is her usual unhinged and uninhibited self (even Kana’s tsundere voice simulator is in fine form). I’d also add that it was great to hear the instrumental OP again – I really missed it after it was bumped in favor of a J-Rock single the production committee wanted to promote. This will be the last we see of Gokukoku no Brynhildr in anime form, I’m sure, but I enjoyed this show a lot and it was nice to have one last visit from this strange but likeable cast of characters.