Not every anime fan is a hardened otaku, so there maybe times where some fans may wonder what does ova mean in anime. A good thing in being an otaku is undoubtedly the possession of a common vocabulary. A collection of acronyms, expressions, and idioms in which the others, non otakus/weebs, sometimes get lost. The latter, in the various forums and social networks, are immediately recognized. They ask for explanations on what for an otaku is obvious.

Some shortcomings, in fact, are not excusable. On others, however, you can also compromise. For example, ignoring the meaning of ‘dropping’ a show will not preclude you from the Kingdom of Heaven. But the gates of hell are ready to open wide for those who do not know what a ‘spoiler’ is.

We know that SAO stands for Sword Art Online, and AOT is the obvious acronym for Attack on Titan. Let’s move on to abbreviations that are even more commonly used. We are talking about terms such as OVA, ONA, OAV etc. However not everyone knows their meaning. In this article, let’s clarify our ideas on what do ova mean in anime a bit.

What are OVAs in detail?

Many times you will have read that a series has, say, 13 episodes, plus four OVA. What does that mean? That’s easy to say: Original Video Anime. You can also call them OAVs, reversing the last two words. They are works made directly in the home video version, such as VHS (how many memories!) or DVD/Blu-ray disc. Basically, they are episodes that have not been previously broadcast on TV. For this reason, they differ from Specials. But perhaps some concrete examples will be useful.

In the case of Kokoro Connect, the series came to include 17 episodes. Japanese schedules, however, are usually calibrated on anime of 11-13 or 24-26 episodes. Therefore, after the thirteenth episode, the conclusion of the misadventures of Taichi & co. was entrusted to 4 specials, aired on AT-X in a single day (December 30, 2012).

Fans of ReLIFE were also waiting to follow the developments of the plot. Here, however, a different solution was opted for. Those who have not read the manga were looking forward to the release of the 4 OVAs on DVD/BD in March 2018.

But OVAs can appear on the market even after a series has ended. If so, they are often intended as a sort of paralipomena. See Orange Road, where the 8 OVAs re-adapt chapters of the manga not transposed in the 48 episodes broadcast on TV. 

Finally, an anime can also be presented only in the form of an OVA. That’s what happened with Video Girl Ai. And also for “Dallos” (1983), the first OVA in history which had 4 videotape episodes of 30 minutes each, produced by Studio Pierrot.

So, what does OVA mean in Anime? 

OAV and OVA are interchangeable acronyms in anime. However, until not too many years ago, the former term was the most common. 

Later, the juxtaposition of the letters A and V in succession led to some misunderstandings. AV actually sounds like Audio/Video or Adult Video (imagine the double entendres). Therefore, nowadays, the term OVA is the most used in the anime community. 

But there are portals that, perhaps out of nostalgia, have remained faithful to the old acronym and still use it today, a classic example being the anime portal AnimeSaturn in Italy. And it’s probably not the only one on the web.

OVAs are just the tip of the iceberg

But that’s not all. There are other ways to distribute anime, as an alternative to traditional television networks. We’re talking about ONA or Original Net Anime. These are episodes intended to reach the viewer initially through streaming on-demand or Web TV.

ONA is an abbreviation first coined by the creators of Lingerie Fighter Papillon Rose, a demented parody of the majokko genre.

The project began as a sort of well-packaged prank. The creators, from their website, leaked some details about an upcoming anime. A community of eagerly awaiting fans soon grew up around the initiative. Finally, after capturing the attention of the public, the big announcement came. It would be the first anime entirely conceived for Internet distribution. A series of 25 ONAs. It was released on January 15, 2001.

In fact, nothing more was heard of it. But by then the machine had been set in motion and a market demand had been created. An OVA was released in 2003 and then a 6-episode TV series in 2006. But then, what was the first authentic ONA to come to light? According to several sources, Azumanga Web Daioh. A short 4-minute episode was produced by GENCO and J.C.Staff and published on December 28, 2000, on the website of the manga of the same name. Since then, ONA has experienced increasing popularity. 

Finally, we would like to mention the OAD, the Original Anime DVD. These are OVA released on a physical medium along with the corresponding paperwork (manga or light novel). And now that you finally know what does OVA means in anime, as well as many more acronyms, are you feeling a little more otaku?

Like to explore more Otaku words? Check out my massive list of such words and their meaning in this article!

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