It was spring 2009. Code Geass had been over for many months and nothing had filled that void: a show which unified otherwise disparate fans. Production I.G. had long since wrapped up the Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex project, following them up with two other Masamune works of varying popularity and polish - Ghost Hound and Real Dive. Kenji Kamiyama meanwhile had completed the respectable Serei no Moribito and was then attached to a new project. Could this be? All the signs pointed to another A-grade production, so was Eden of the East The Next Big Thing?
Lifting off directly after the first season of Genshiken, the OVAs unfortunately have to the play the middle-child by introducing two new characters and settling them into the storyline in evident preparation for the second season. Handed over to the Kujibiki Unbalance studio Ajia-do, the OVAs suffer from sometimes atrocious animation but thankfully keep the charm and humour that made the first season so good.
Note: The aspect ratio for the screengrabs is incorrect, this is due to a combination of the way I capture screengrabs and the source I took them from; I have corrected this in the thumbnails and a pixel aspect ratio aware program (such as Adobe Photoshop) will display the screengrabs in their canonical ratio of 16:9.
the voyeuristic novelty of peering into an oft experienced group dynamic
The core characters remain unchanged however the focus has shifted away from the ambiable Sasahara and the entire three episode run is dedicated almost entirely to Kasukabe, Madarame and Ogiue. This is not as detrimental as it sounds and by concentrating on these characters the OVAs serve as a peninsula to the main series' continent, never feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of personalities available and not retreading old ground. It would be absurd to the view the OVAs as anything more than an extension of the first series and the soap opera appeal remains as does the down-to-earth comedy.
I mentioned in my review of Darker than Black that it's a series which is as complicated and metaphorical as you wish it to be really and given the ending which seemed to finish the series without completing it, there's plenty of tid-bits to sift through and question. It was made clear that another episode of the series, number twenty six, would be released on DVD, however word is that this is a side-story rather than the much anticipated explanation so many desire.