Video Girl Ai

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Video Girl Ai
Videogirlai1original.jpg
Cover of volume 1 of the English version of the manga
電影少女
(Den'ei Shōjo)
GenreRomance, science fiction[1]
Manga
Written byMasakazu Katsura
Published byShueisha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
Original runDecember 4, 1989April 20, 1992
Volumes13 (List of volumes)
Manga
Video Girl Len
Written byMasakazu Katsura
Published byShueisha
English publisher
DemographicShōnen
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
Original runApril 27, 1992July 20, 1992
Volumes2 (List of volumes)
Live-action film
Directed byRyū Kaneda
StudioToho
ReleasedJune 29, 1991
Runtime95 minutes
Original video animation
Directed byMizuho Nishikubo
Produced by
Written by
Music byTōru Okada
StudioI.G. Tatsunoko
Licensed by
Released March 27, 1992 August 28, 1992
Episodes6
Light novel
Written bySukehiro Tomita
Published1993
Television drama
Den'ei Shōjo ~Video Girl Ai 2018~
Directed byKazuaki Seki
Produced by
Written byKōhei Kiyasu
Music bytofubeats
Original networkTV Tokyo
Original run January 14, 2018 April 1, 2018
Episodes12
Television drama
Den'ei Shōjo ~Video Girl Mai 2019~
Directed byKazuaki Seki
Produced by
  • TV Tokyo
  • Robot Communications
Written by
Music byKERENMI
Original networkTV Tokyo
Original run April 12, 2019 June 28, 2019
Episodes12
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Video Girl Ai, known in Japan as simply Video Girl (電影少女, Den'ei Shōjo), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masakazu Katsura. It was published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 1989 to April 1992. It was followed by a short sequel entitled Video Girl Len, published between April and July 1992. The manga was compiled into fifteen tankōbon volumes by Shueisha published between July 1990 and March 1993.

A live-action movie of Video Girl Ai was released in 1991. The series was also adapted into a six-episode OVA produced by IG Tatsunoko (now Production I.G.). The series was released in 1992 by Jump Video. It roughly covers most of the material found in the first three volumes of the manga. In 2018 a live-action television drama called Denei Shojo: Video Girl Ai 2018 ran on TV Tokyo.

In North America, the manga and the OVA have been licensed for English-language release by Viz Media. It was formerly published in the anthology Animerica Extra by Viz.

As of 2018, the manga has over 14 million copies in print.

Plot[edit]

The story starts when Yota Moteuchi finds out that the girl he likes, Moemi Hayakawa, is in love with his best friend, Takashi Niimai. Disappointed by this fact, he decides to rent a video from a mysterious video store that appeared in front of him on his way home. The video store was called "Gokuraku" ("Paradise"). The unique thing about this video store was that the videos in the store contained "video girls", girls which literally come to life and out of the user's television when the video tape is played to cheer the renter up. Not knowing about the video girls, Yota chooses to rent the video 'I'll Cheer You Up!', starring Ai Amano. Ai comes to life with the purpose to brighten up Yota's life and encourage him to pursue his love.

However, Yota plays the video on a broken video recorder, which causes Ai to come out "broken"; among other effects she has the ability to feel emotions. This additional feature of Ai causes her to eventually fall in love with Yota; a feeling which, after giving up on Moemi, Yota begins to return. However, a mysterious man related to Gokuraku known as Rolex enters the story and tries to recall Ai as she is faulty, and the fact that Ai's tape is nearing the end of its playing time makes matters even worse.

From this point on, the story changes focus slightly and concentrates on Yota and Ai attempting to overcome the difficulties presented by Gokuraku. Various other complications come into the story; for example Yota's continuing love for Moemi, and his relationship with a new character, Nobuko Nizaki.

Initially, Ai spends some of her time teasing Yota mercilessly in various sexual manners i.e. pretending to initiate intercourse, or joining Yota "innocently" in the bath "to help him wash". Yota's resulting embarrassment and attempt to extricate himself from the situation results, as always, in some slapstick humor and more resulting sexual tension.

Characters[edit]

Ai Amano (天野 あい, Amano Ai)
Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara (OVA), Minami Takayama (CD-drama) (Japanese); Maggie Blue O'Hara (English)
Portrayed by: Kaori Sakagami (1991 film), Nanase Nishino (2018 TV drama)[2]
Beautiful, full of boundless energy. Hard to say what she is really like, versus what she was intended to be. Video girls are generally supposed to be comforting, nubile, excellent cooks and socially graceful, but the malfunction of Yota's VCR has made her tomboyish, at times rude, prone to violence, a terrible cook (actually, she learns to cook all by herself), but full of heart and able to feel human emotion. Her chest endowment has also shrunk considerably due to said VCR malfunction.
Yota "Dateless "Moteuchi[a] (弄内 洋太, Moteuchi Yōta)
Voiced by: Takeshi Kusao (OVA), Nozomu Sasaki (CD-drama) (Japanese); Brad Swaile (English)
Portrayed by: Ken Osawa (1991 film), Shigeyuki Totsugi (2018 TV drama)[2]
Yota is the stereotypical loser, unable to declare his feelings to his unrequited love, Moemi, socially awkward, with a tendency to get nervous and clumsy around women. However, he is known to be also very caring, kind, and helpful to those he is close to.
Moemi Hayakawa (早川 もえみ, Hayakawa Moemi)
Voiced by: Yuri Amano (OVA), Kotono Mitsuishi (CD-drama) (Japanese); Jennifer Copping (English)
Portrayed by: Hiromi Hamaguchi (1991 film)
An attractive girl, though almost hopelessly moon-eyed over Takashi, who is too popular to really appreciate Moemi's affectations.
Takashi Niimai (新舞 貴志, Niimai Takashi)
Voiced by: Koji Tsujitani (OVA), Kazuhiko Inoue (CD-drama) (Japanese); Samuel Vincent (English)
Portrayed by: Naoki Hosaka (1991 film)
The typical "tall, dark, and handsome" popular guy. He is one of Yota's best friends, and rejects Moemi's advances because he knows Yota's feelings for her.
Nobuko Nizaki (仁崎 伸子, Nizaki Nobuko)
A girl, one year behind Yota, who developed a crush on him in art class two years earlier and now, with Moemi and Ai temporarily sidelined, can pursue romantic ties with Yota. She first appears midway through volume 3 and only appears in the manga.
Natsumi Yamaguchi (山口 夏美, Yamaguchi Natsumi)
A girl, an orphan and a runaway, who had played with Yota in kindergarten. Her family then moved away. Her theme is misfortune. Her attribute is a hand extended to help one up. She first appears in volume 6 and only appears in the manga. She seems to have a weak heart. Later on in the series she dies in the hospital, and becomes Ai's role model in love.

Len story characters[edit]

Len Momono (ももの 連, Momono Ren)
Star of 'Let's Fall in Love.' A new and untested video girl. She was created by the nameless "Old Man" who once worked in the Gokuraku store. Unlike Ai and the original Video Girls, she's allowed to feel emotions of her own.
Hiromu Taguchi and Toshiki Karukawa
The boys who rent the tape. Hiromu is the center character of this new story arch, and is pretty much as shy as Yota used to be. He has a keen interest on Ayumi, but there are some problems in their relationship because of his shyness and because of the bad reputation she has. Later, they engage, but Hiromu becomes too happy to pay attention to Ayumi, and they break up temporarily until he can "find her again" in his memories. Toshiki, on the other hand, is more emotionally expressive and prone to teenage-typical reactions, like spying on Len (which makes her angry).
Ayumi Shirakawa (白川 歩み, Shirakawa Ayumi)
The girl Hiromu wants to love. However, their relationship is made difficult because of a rumor spread out by her ex-boyfriend, which gave her a bad reputation in her school and beyond (Hiromu and Ayumi attend different schools). Len then devised a plan to reapproach them, just to make Ayumi see who she was dealing with all along. She breaks up with her ex-boyfriend for good and starts dating Hiromu.
Yota "Dateless"* Moteuchi (弄内 洋太, Moteuchi Yōta)
Now eight years older than he appeared at the end of "Video Girl Ai", Yota now teaches at an art school in the afternoon, which Hiromu and Ayumi attend. He is Hiromu's mentor and they talk often about Len. Yota tells Ayumi that Len went through the same experiences that she is going through. He does mention at one point in the series that Ai is doing well.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Video Girl Ai is written and illustrated by Masakazu Katsura. The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 4, 1989 to April 20, 1992.[3] It was followed by Video Girl Len serialized from April 27 to July 20, 1992.[4][5] Shueisha compiled the manga into fifteen tankōbon volumes published between July 1990 and March 1993.[6][7] Shueisha re-published the series into nine bunkoban volumes published between January and May 2003.[8][9]

In North America, Viz Media announced the license of the manga in August 1998.[10] It was first published in the anthology Animerica Extra by Viz until the cancelation of the magazine in December 2004.[11] The manga was first released in a left to right edition and this version was compiled into seven volumes published between January 2000 and January 2004.[12][13] The fifteen volumes were released in a second edition in its original right to left version published between May 2004 and April 2006.[14][15]

List of volumes[edit]

No.Original release dateOriginal ISBNEnglish release dateEnglish ISBN
01 July 10, 1990[6]ISBN 4-08-871801-1January 5, 2000 (1st edition)[12]
May 26, 2004 (2nd edition)[14]
ISBN 978-1-56931-431-9 (1st edition)
ISBN 978-1-59116-074-8 (2nd edition)
02 September 10, 1990[16]ISBN 4-08-871802-XAugust 30, 2000 (1st edition)[17]
June 2, 2004 (2nd edition)[18]
ISBN 978-1-56931-536-1 (1st edition)
ISBN 978-1-59116-075-5 (2nd edition)
03 November 9, 1990[19]ISBN 4-08-871803-8September 9, 2001 (1st edition)[20]
October 12, 2004 (2nd edition)[21]
ISBN 978-1-56931-632-0 (1st edition)
ISBN 978-1-59116-103-5 (2nd edition)
04 January 10, 1991[22]ISBN 4-08-871804-6February 9, 2002 (1st edition)[23]
October 19, 2004 (2nd edition)[24]
ISBN 978-1-56931-715-0 (1st edition)
ISBN 978-1-59116-104-2 (2nd edition)
05 March 8, 1991[25]ISBN 4-08-871805-4March 6, 2003 (1st edition)[26]
January 11, 2005 (2nd edition)[27]
ISBN 978-1-56931-855-3 (1st edition)
ISBN 978-1-59116-146-2 (2nd edition)
06 June 10, 1991[28]ISBN 4-08-871806-2July 1, 2003 (1st edition)[29]
January 11, 2005 (2nd edition)[30]
ISBN 978-1-56931-895-9 (1st edition)
ISBN 978-1-59116-607-8 (2nd edition)
07 August 7, 1991[31]ISBN 4-08-871807-0January 28, 2004 (1st edition)[13]
April 12, 2005 (2nd edition)[32]
ISBN 978-1-59116-203-2 (1st edition)
ISBN 978-1-59116-748-8 (2nd edition)
08 October 9, 1991[33]ISBN 4-08-871808-9June 9, 2004[34]ISBN 978-1-59116-303-9
09 December 3, 1991[35]ISBN 4-08-871809-7October 5, 2004[36]ISBN 978-1-59116-304-6
10 February 10, 1992[37]ISBN 4-08-871810-0January 11, 2005[38]ISBN 978-1-59116-305-3
11 May 8, 1992[39]ISBN 4-08-871701-5April 12, 2005[40]ISBN 978-1-59116-306-0
12 July 3, 1992[41]ISBN 4-08-871702-3July 12, 2005[42]ISBN 978-1-59116-307-7
13 September 4, 1992[43]ISBN 4-08-871703-1October 11, 2005[44]ISBN 978-1-59116-308-4
14 November 4, 1992[45]ISBN 4-08-871704-XJanuary 10, 2006[46]ISBN 978-1-59116-309-1
15 March 4, 1993[7]ISBN 4-08-871705-8April 11, 2006[15]ISBN 978-1-4215-0295-3

Live-action film[edit]

A live-action movie of Video Girl Ai was released in 1991.[47]

Original video animation[edit]

Video Girl Ai was adapted into a six-episode OVA produced by IG Tatsunoko (now Production I.G.). The series was released in 1992 by Jump Video. It roughly covers most of the material found in the first three volumes of the manga.

In North America, Viz Video released the OVA on VHS in 1999 and on DVD in December 2001.[48][49][50]

Drama[edit]

In 2018 a live-action television drama called Denei Shojo: Video Girl Ai 2018 ran on TV Tokyo. The series is set 25 years after the original manga and the main character is the nephew of Yota Moteuchi.[2] TV Tokyo continued the live-action adaptation with a second series Denei Shōjo: Video Girl Mai 2019 focusing on the character Mai, played by Mizuki Yamashita.[51][52]

Reception[edit]

As of 2018, the manga has over 14 million copies in print.[53]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This nickname is based on a pun with the Japanese verb 持てる (moteru), which means to be well liked or popular (or to have something). A second way to read Moteuchi would be "Motenai," which is the negative conjugation for moteru (in other words, to not have something). An attempt to get the joke across to English speaking audiences was made by Ai, who reads his name and declares, "Motenai?!? As in LOSER?" Yota corrects her, but the image has already been planted into the audience's mind.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Official Website for Video Girl Ai". Viz Media. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Live-Action Video Girl Ai 2018 Series' Promo Video Streamed". Anime News Network.
  3. ^ "週刊少年ジャンプ 電影少女 VIDEO-GIRL-AI(桂正和)". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  4. ^ "週刊少年ジャンプ 1992/04/27 表示号数19". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "週刊少年ジャンプ 1992/07/20 表示号数31". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "電影少女  1" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "電影少女  15" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  8. ^ "電影少女 1" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "電影少女 9" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  10. ^ "Otakon 98 Wrap-Up". Anime News Network. August 15, 1998. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Macdonald, Christopher (December 17, 2004). "Animerica Extra Canceled". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 1". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 7". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 1". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 15". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  16. ^ "電影少女  2" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  17. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 2". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  18. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 2". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  19. ^ "電影少女  3" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 3". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  21. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 3". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  22. ^ "電影少女  4" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  23. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 4". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  24. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 4". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  25. ^ "電影少女  5" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  26. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 5". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  27. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 5". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  28. ^ "電影少女  6" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  29. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 6". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  30. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 6". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  31. ^ "電影少女  7" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  32. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 7". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  33. ^ "電影少女  8" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 8". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  35. ^ "電影少女  9" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  36. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 9". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  37. ^ "電影少女  10" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  38. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 10". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  39. ^ "電影少女  11" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  40. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 11". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  41. ^ "電影少女  12" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  42. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 12". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  43. ^ "電影少女  13" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  44. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 13". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  45. ^ "電影少女  14" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 28, 2004. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  46. ^ "Video Girl Ai, Vol. 14". Viz Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  47. ^ "電影少女". Japanese Cinema Database. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  48. ^ Sevakis, Justin (February 10, 1999). "ANN 1999 Spring Anime Preview". Anime News Network.
  49. ^ "Viz Press Release Extravaganza!". Anime News Network. June 5, 2001. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  50. ^ "Video Girl Ai". Amazon. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  51. ^ "萩原利久、ドラマ「電影少女」第2弾で乃木坂46山下美月とW主演". Natalie (in Japanese). February 28, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  52. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (January 18, 2019). "Live-Action Video Girl Ai Series Gets Sequel in April". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  53. ^ Komatsu, Mikikazu (March 17, 2018). "Time-Limited "Video Girl Store" to Open in Tokyo Next Week". Crunchyroll. Retrieved May 11, 2019.

External links[edit]