I don’t want to seem ungracious about finally getting the first Hoozuki no Reitetsu OVA subbed (thanks, FFF! Hope this means you’re subbing the third), nor do I want to be a broken record. But the occasion of this article requires that I ask once again – where the hell (pun intended) is the second season of this series? How can an anime adaptation of a huge-selling manga average almost 20K disc sales in this commercial age and not have a sequel announced after this long when there’s plenty of source material? I know Wit is a small studio, but they can surely get massive assistance from Production I.G.. It’s one of those mysteries I’d rather not have to ponder.
second first OVA is every bit as good as the first second, which is to say solidly in-line with how good the TV series was (which is to say, damn good). It’s true that Hoozuki is a series very well suited for OVAs, because it’s mini-episodic in format and is blessed with a huge cast and a seemingly limitless choice of comedic styles at which it excels. There’s no risk of repetition here, though Peach Maki does seer her plotline run through both OVAs.
The first story here is in-fact the one that sets up the second story in the second OVA to some extent, and it represents the first screen time for lovable scamps Karauri and Nasubi as well. Hoozuki-sama is in full goldfish-otaku mode here, and the goldfish themselves are as creepy as ever (especially when they scream when plucked). There’s an upcoming fan event – think “Oh-gyaamiket” – and Hoozuki proudly shows off his goldfish swag to the boys, including goldfish supplements (which have also caught Hakutaku’s eye). Eventually Hoozuki ropes Maki – who has the good sense to be creeped out by the subject matter – into being a spokesidol for the event, and her scream after Nasubi feeds her one of the goldfish pills gets her branded as the official goldfish spokesmodel (see OVA 2).
Next we get a visit from Koban, the sleazy paparazzo pussycat, and even a bit of his backstory. Turns out in life he was the tabby of a Yoshiwara courtesan named Ooban (which explains his name) who, along with her lover, committed a rather embarrassing suicide by diving into a pit of manure (they tried to take Koban with them but of course, he landed on his feet). It was rage over not just the suicide but its preposterous nature (and the ridicule it brought down on Koban) that drove him to become a Nekomata. And now Ooban has showed up in Hell’s pleasure quarter, with her own clip joint (which has caught the attention of goody-goody Yoshitsune).
Against that backdrop we also have the host club being run by Koban’s Yakan pal Gon, featuring three hilariously awful hosts who think because their names end in “-ya” that makes them idols. The idea here – and the joke – is that the theme of the club is “S” hosts, but these guys clearly have no idea how to be a convincing sadists. But the real joke is that Hoozuki may as well be describing himself when he talks about how true sadists don’t even know they’re sadists. And his treatment of Koban certainly amounts to sadism, though I can almost believe Hoozuki doesn’t realize that himself. Is he brilliant or does he just have a screw loose?
Sometimes the arrival of an OVA is bittersweet because it mainly serves to remind us how much we loved the show itself. But in the case of Hoozuki no Reitetsu it’s hard to be too depressed, since there’s another OVA on the way at the very least and it seems almost inconceivable that there won’t be another season of the anime sooner or later. The wait has been irritatingly long, but the reward will come eventually – and that makes it a lot easier to savor the little reward that 22 minutes of brilliant comedy represents.