Blogging OAVs and such has never been easy, and it’s gotten harder in recent seasons for me (though for different reasons than it used to be). In a busy season it’s mainly a matter of finding the time, though that’s certainly not looking like a big issue in 2017. There’a also the matter of so many of them being likely the last hurrah for their parent series (Akatsuki no Yona on line two), which always makes me put off watching them for sentimental reasons – though again, that’s not an issue in this instance. With Kekkai Sensen it comes down to the wait for the subs (which was long, but not this long) and the creeping sense that by the time I can watch and write about an OAV like this, most readers have moved on.
Still, I am awfully fond of Kekkai Sensen and have been since it premiered. And we do have another season coming from Bones in Spring 2017, so it’s nice to reconnect with the series. And in a sense “Ou-sama no Restaurant no Ou-sama” is a last hurrah – because its brilliant young director Matsumoto Rie is not involved with the second season. She’s apparently leaving TV anime to work on theatrical features, and while she certainly has the talent to succeed in that arena, as a fan of TV anime I really bemoan the loss. Along with Tachikawa Yuzuru, Matsumoto-sensei is the greatest directorial talent of her generation.
But anyway, I did finally get around to watching the OAV (duh). It’s based on a side-story from the manga, but one gets the sense that as with so much Matsumoto works on, the final product has very much taken on her character. It’s both a reminder of what she brought to this series and how hard it will be to replace her. But that said, this OAV is Matsumoto at her most frenetic and stylized – honestly, if every episode of the first season had been this relentlessly busy I’d have been exhausted by the end. The plot, such as it is, sees the gang from Libra being invited to the most exclusive (and expensive) restaurant in Hellsalem’s Lot by a sultan who Steven very much hopes will become the group’s patron (to the tune of $3 million in funding).
There’s some “pearls before swine” comedy here (mostly with Leo and Zapp) but mostly it’s a parade of Shirow’s bizarre alien character designs and Matsumoto’s hallucinogenic free associations. The most interesting chunk of actual story has Femt and Leo becoming allies in order to fend off a terrorist attack, but really, the meat of the episode is sight gags and incredible scenescapes. Fortunately Matsumoto is good at those so it totally works, but if that were all Kekkai Sensen was it wouldn’t work as a full-length series. I’m glad “Ou-sama no Restaurant no Ou-sama” exists, but I’m also glad it’s only an OVA.