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[Baby Love VHS box art, rear]
AKA: ベイビィ★LOVE
Genre: Shoujo romantic comedy
Length: OAV, 30 minutes
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: G (nothing objectionable)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Marmalade Boy, Mizuiro Jidai
Notes: Based on the manga of the same title by Shiina Ayumi, which ran in Ribon.

This OAV was first offered through mail-order to Ribon readers, and later got a commercial release.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars

Baby Love

Synopsis

Arisugawa Seara is an ordinary 6th grader. She has loved Seto Shuuhei ever since she met him when she was younger. However, Shuuhei is three years older than Seara, so he tells her that she has to grow up first. Years later, Seara is now living in the same house as Shuuhei, in order to win his heart. She has also drastically made over herself and grown taller, all to make Shuuhei love her.

However, it seems that the person Shuuhei really loves is his classmate, Ayano. Will Shuuhei ever acknowledge Seara's love?


Review

I honestly don't know much about the original Baby Love manga which this OAV was based on. I read the first couple of chapters a year ago, and while they weren't doinky, they certainly gave off a generic, bland feel, and I could already predict the ending even though I had only read three chapters. Amazingly, though, this manga managed to run in Ribon for four years (1995 to 1999), so it was probably a hit with the little girls that Ribon is targeted to. Based off this response, in 1997 Shueisha made this OAV and offered it as a special mail-order present in the December 1997 issue.

When I saw this OAV offered for download, I decided to watch it and review it. I thought that maybe it would improve upon the manga. But it turned out that it had much the same qualities as the original manga did. This OAV goes through the motions of the typical shoujo romantic comedy plot, and introduces nothing new to the mix. Girl loves boy, boy doesn't love girl, girl tries to catch boy's eye, girl finds out that boy may be in love with classmate...this has all been done before, and at this point, it's just become extremely cliched and tired. As for the characters...well, they are just as bland as the plot. Seara is the Stock Romantic Comedy Heroine, Shuuhei is the Stock Romantic Comedy Hero, Ayano is the Stock Classmate, and there were other characters, but they were so inconsequential that I cannot remember any of their names or features. That really speaks volumes of the amount of character development present in this anime (which is about...one or two). There isn't a lot of suspense in the plot either, as you probably just KNOW that Seara will end up with Shuuhei by the end as they are the main characters.

The art and animation quality are good for a mid-90s OAV, although the colors have aged a little and you can spot some doinky-looking footage in spots. The music, however, definitely comes from Amalgamated Generico or wherever Shueisha gets stock music to use in these OAVs. The ending song is also extremely generic and the singer doesn't even have a decent voice (amazingly, Pioneer / Geneon released this as a single (!) ). The seiyuu are mostly B-list seiyuu, who some may recognize, but their performances in this anime are just as inoffensively bland as the rest of it.

In short, this is just a very, very average OAV. It is not as bad as some other Ribon OAVs (I'm looking at you, Full Moon o Sagashite Special and Time Stranger Kyoko!), but it's not extremely excellent, either. At least it flies by fast, being only 30 minutes. The open-ended ending indicates that Shueisha was probably hoping that a TV series would result from this OAV. But from watching it, I can certainly see why no one was interested in making one.

Not horrible, but there's better stuff out there (and better manga to read, too). Big shoujo romance junkies can add a star.Jennifer Berman

Recommended Audience: This is a Ribon OAV targeted at little girls, so there is just about nothing objectionable to be found in it. I'm sure most kids would get bored of it pretty quick, though.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Baby Love © 1997 Shiina Ayumi / Shueisha
 
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