Brian Chan June 29, 2007
Around Christmas time last year, a 2-parter OVA from Broccoli sneaked under the radar and its simple brilliance probably was missed by many. I am talking about “Winter Garden”, a Di Gi Charat “gaiden” of sorts (non-canonical). *For those who are not familiar with Di Gi Charat, please see footnote*
Unlike your normal Di Gi Charat, Winter Garden is not a nonsensical, plot-less random drivel (which we can all enjoy ^^); it is a well-told love story of Dejiko and, to a lesser extent, her relationship with her younger sister Puchiko. Note that these two now grew up to be (approx.) 18 and 16 respectively. I won’t spoil the story for you, you can do that on your own, but this little charming OVA contains some of the best laughs (particularly if you are a previous Di Gi Charat fan) and a bittersweet love story to boot. The best change of scenery from the original is that much of this is really believable and just seems like something that comes out of everyday life. If you have hours on end to watch hundreds of episodes of One Piece, Bleach, or Naruto (I hope you don’t watch that, ahem), you owe it to yourself to take an hour to watch Winter Garden.
What’s a Manabi review without seiyuu discussion? As expected, Asami Sanada and Miyuki Sawashiro reprise their roles of Dejiko and Puchiko (since 1998! Wow time flies, Di Gi Charat sure has been here for a while). But unlike their usual craziness in the original (required, because the characters are crazy lol), both are much more refined and sophisticated. Asami-san’s Dejiko sounds softer and more matured, and Miyuki-chan is at her sarcastic best as Puchiko. Top-notch seiyuu work, I’d say these two have come a long way since their debuts (I do believe both made their debuts in Di Gi Charat).
Another great thing about Winter Garden is the music. Granted, it’s an OVA and there’s only a few tracks, but they are well-produced and very fitting for the mood of the series. Dejiko (ED) and Puchiko (insert song) each get a song, and the OP is done by Hiromi Sato. Dejiko’s ED, “Winter Garden”, is a really sweet song and generally sounds nothing like her (if you’re familiar with Asami-san’s roles, like the original Dejiko and Vita from Nanoha), which is a nice change-of-pace. Puchiko tries her hand in French for the entirety of the insert song, a valiant effort, but as a former French learner can tell you, she completely butchers the language. Oh well, the song is nice anyway. Hiromi Sato, well-known in the Broccoli circle for her many songs in Galaxy Angel, rounds out by singing the lovely OP, another warm and fuzzy rendition.
All in all, if you’re looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy without much of the time-wasting crap of a 13-episode (or longer) season, then look no further, Winter Garden is a must-see.
*Di Gi Charat, created by Koge Donbo as a mascot for the anime/manga chain “Gamers” in 1998, became vastly popular and manga, anime, drama CD, video games, etc. sprouted into existence because of its popularity. Over the years, Di Gi Charat has remained a staple in the Gamers stores and periodically releases various products*
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Category: OVA Reviews