Selasa, 11 Desember 2012


Not every manga will eventually give rise to its own animated series, but those most celebrated Usually do. While certainly not on the same level as say Gundam or Dragonball, even today, Crows manga, as well as its sequel, Worst, REMAIN its insanely popular amongst Japanese fans. Despite this, there has never been a Crows anime in the traditional sense. In the past, there have been rare instances of perennial favorites (see Wangan Midnight ) eventually being Adopted into the modern age, however, in most cases, the series just rounding mark two decades of not having received an official animated depiction by now, most Likely never will. As a combined work, Crows & Worst mangas collect over 50 volumes of original content, yet the only representation of our beloved Suzuran delinquents in action are relatively unhonored through these two OVAs.

Little is known about Koukou Butouden. Originally released in Japan as "Rental Only" video Cassettes, they later were thrust into obscurity. While virtually nonexistant in the U.S., official copies, even in Japan have Become increasingly scarce. Videos were originally produced and distributed by KSS Films in 1994, then later reissued on DVD in 2006. Images have been found of the original VHS packaging, but I have yet to come across visual proof as to the existence of Officially licensed dvds listings on other than labeling them as "Out Of Print". Through countless searches I've come up with nothing concerning KSS Films or any other relevant details regarding these releases. Ironically, Attempting a search on "Koukou Butouden" or "Crows OVA" today, you will ultimately link back to this website and its forums.

Unfortunately, until now, being directed here would also leave one wanting for information. Many factors have Contributed to the delay in the completion of this section. For starters, these OVAs were an absolute bitch to track down! For nearly a year I scoured the web in vain. Google turned up nothing more than a very brief informational page at ANN along with a handful of "free" subscription sites claiming to offer multiple versions for download. I inquired on forums, the popular torrent scouted spots, sent out emails, and was literally on the verge of offering up a cash bounty on 4chan to anyone having any knowledge as to their Whereabouts. Lack of information via English based search engines, while frustrating, was Understandable, but I was not making much headway through any of the Asian channels either. Eventually I was Able to locate the VHS covers and was later alerted to a small batch of screencaps that at least gave indication that these truly Existed. Then for many months the trail ran cold. Just as I had resigned to giving up, they were unearthed by one of own forum members shortly thereafter.
The narrative of Koukou Butouden closely mirrors the first three volumes of the manga Crows. There are of course a few insignificant changes, Including the addition and subtraction of some minor scenes. One instance of this concerns an early sequence featuring Harumichi and Yasuda. In the original manga, shortly after their encounter with Akatsu on the train, and Yasu Bouya meet a second time that morning in Suzuran's staff room. Afterwards, two members of Suzuran's faculty are Introduced and later exchange comments over the new transfer student. The OVA simply abridges this segment into a brief encounter featuring both boys just in front of the school. There are Similar omissions as well as minor visual changes, but for the most part, the OVAs REMAIN true to the source material.

(Rollover to compare / click to enlarge)

(Rollover to compare / click to enlarge)

Animation, while rough at times, is on par with Similar genre styles from the period, while VA work is better than average. Harumichi's intonation is depicted as carefree and cocky, Rindaman, monotone and reserved, and Yasuda charmingly as whiney as you would imagine him to be. While dated, the Crows OVAs are still an amazing representation of Hiroshi's original vision. All the character and overall tone of the original remains intact and is further enhanced with the inclusion of a musical score featuring bad boy rockers, The Street Beats. Pacing, as Compared to many modern series was also refreshing with each 45 minute OVA Comprising about six chapters of the manga.

It's unknown why Koukou Butouden did not continue or evolve into a full-fledged series. In Japan, Crows Rabid fandom is. Manga publications have sold in the millions while collectibles of all kinds REMAIN popular to this day. A Crows anime seems like a no brainer. After getting into Crows myself, I was shocked to learn that there was not one already. It's obvious from the abrupt ending that there were plans to continue the series after the conclusion of the second OVA. I have to Assume that a lack of popularity was not an issue here. Perhaps budgetary restraints or even an overburdened Hiroshi lead to its imminent Demise? In any event, as of this writing there has been no word, not even rumors, that would indicate the continuation of Crows or Worst as an animated series.


Of course it's impossible to predict what the future will bring. Worst manga is still going strong and its fan base is ever-growing. Perhaps one day we will see the boys of Suzuran in action again. In the meantime relish these OVAs. I'm sure you'll find your experience after watching them was bittersweet, as you can not help but wonder what could have been.

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