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The narrative of Koukou Butouden closely mirrors the first three volumes of Crows manga. 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, Bouya and Yasu 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 just both boys 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 as charmingly 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 manga.



It's unknown why Koukou Butouden did not continue or evolve into a full-fledged series. In Japan, Crows fandom is rabid. 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 wasn't 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't help but wonder what could have been.

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