I pretty much summed up my feelings about Gaworare in my write-up about the finale, but it’s worth repeating that I have a real affection for this series. I enjoy shows that defy expectations, and this one certainly did. It wasn’t a masterpiece by any means, but it was often hilariously funny, full of likeable characters and rather clever and inventive. Having a first-rate director like Watanabe Ayumu certainly helped enormously in making this adaptation of an ongoing LN series coherent and entertaining.
One of the reasons I was looking forward to this OVA is that in its plot-driven final few episodes, Gaworare had almost none of the screwball comedy and satire that made its first several episodes so enjoyable. Even if, as I noted when it aired, this show as a tragedy disguised as a comedy it can still be very funny when it wants to be. It didn’t want to be in the final arc, but OVAs tend to be comedy-driven affairs so this figured to be something of a return to that earlier incarnation. And in most respects it was.
The theme here is Christmas, more specifically a Christmas party in Quest Dormitory. There’s plenty of trademark Gaworare weirdness here – like why was “CHRISTMAS CANCELLED” in the first place, and how did Souta save it? Is that something that was ever answered in the LN, or is not telling us the joke? But the pretext is to get everyone (including Serika and Miyuki-sensei) together as part of Souta’s massive harem for an off-kilter party (with off-key singing) at the dorm.
The hook with Gaworare of course – though less in the later episodes – is that this harem is satirical in nature. We have the ojou-sama, the gal-pal, the lolimouto, the onee-san, the trap, the idol, the yandere, several shades of tsundere, etc.. That’s what the flag gimmick is really all about, and this setting is a great way to play off the series’ cutting but never mean-spirited (that’s the key balance) spoofing of these tropes, and how they tend to present in LNs. The party gets pretty crazy, especially where Akane is concerned – her game of “Lipsticky” gets quite raunchy – and eventually we end up (as did the finale) with a “reverse cat-fight” – a round of everyone having some alone time with Souta.
If you’re concerned with series canon, there is some development here – Serica (Aoi Yuuki is really off-the-hook) finds out Souta is the “Purple Flagman“. And again it’s Akane who has the most obvious romantic development. But interestingly, we get what seems very much to be a near-kiss between Souta and Nanami – and I very much thought that ship had sailed, based not just on the sibling vibe of their relationship but on the literal sibling nature of it. I’m not sure what to make of that moment to be honest – though it’s not as if the anime is ever going to answer that question. Mostly, the OVA (as most of them are) is an excuse to get together for some silliness with old friends – and with Gaworare, that’s quite a pleasant experience.