What Does OVA Mean In Anime? (Find Out)

For Anime fans, there is nothing more exciting than getting a new episode of their favorite show. And for those who love Anime, OVA episodes are the cherry on top!

The first official OVA was published in 1983, and it quickly became popular in the Anime industry. With a few exceptions, most OVAs contain an original script. They are a type of direct-to-video production that does not require censoring because they are not shown on television or in theaters.

OVA episodes may or may not be part of the original storyline but you might have seen them from time to time. Just like the recap special episode aired between the 5th and 6th episode of The promise in Neverland.

OVA is short for original video animation. They are episodes or clips that are released separately from the actual movie or series, you can find OVAs on Bluray, DVD, and VHS tapes.

In this blog, we’ll be discussing what ova episodes are, why they’re important, and what their purpose is. So stay tuned!

What is an OVA?

OVA is an acronym that stands for “original video animation,” the first of which was possibly 1983’s Dallos.

These products, as the name implies, are developed just for home release and have never been displayed or shown in any other media previous to now. They were initially distributed as VHS cassettes, then DVDs, and more recently, Blu-rays, similar to the straight-to-video business in other countries, giving rise to the acronym OAD (original animation DVD).

OVAs are usually – but not always – longer than one episode and can range in length from a few minutes to many hours. Though they are usually roughly 30 minutes long, like a television episode of a sitcom.

What exactly is anime, and why has it become so popular?

Anime is a term that is frequently used to characterize Japanese animation.

It is a tremendously popular genre all around the world, with many people appreciating its distinct style and stories. While the definition of anime is debatable, it is often accepted to refer to animated works having distinctively Japanese characteristics.

These can include artistic decisions like huge eyes and characters that are frequently highlighted in black, as well as storyline and thematic themes unique to the country’s culture.

What is an OVA episode?

OVA is a short-length prequel or bonus episode released before or after an Anime series or film for promotional purposes.

If you’re wondering what an OVA episode is, or why they’re sometimes called bonus episodes you’re in the right place!

A shorter version of an Anime series is called an OVA episode.

Original video animation or OVA is basically a prequel or a special episode. That is released before or after a theatrical release or TV broadcast of any Anime. These can be in form of small clips of the Anime series available on VHS tape, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs.

In other words, OVAs are distributed through video marketplaces. However, when it comes to advertising OVAs, producers prefer to use small marketplaces to release brief previews to capture the interest of a specific audience.

An OVA episode is a shorter form of an Anime series. They typically run about 15 minutes long and are meant to be watched after the main story arc has been completed. OVA episode is an extra long episode that typically stands at around 25 minutes in length to even an hour-long episode.

They’re usually released separately from the series’ final season, and often serve as an alternate scenario to the story arc. So, if you’re wondering what actually OVA means in Anime, you’ve found the answer!

What is an OVA?

Are OVA important in Anime?

Yes, OVA is important in Anime to hook the viewer for the main plot or to give the element of Fanservice to the audience.

OVAs in films and series typically follow an alternate storyline than the series itself. But it can be a good way to hook the audience, build some suspense, or fan service. Some OVAs are even more popular than the actual series itself.

They can be enjoyed on their own, but are often considered more important to fans as they offer a deeper insight into the characters and world of the Anime. Whether you’re a fan of Anime or not, it’s worth checking out some of these excellent stories!

Some popular examples of Anime with OVA stories include:

Like an Anime with a dark and brutal storyline with no fun element, producers often introduce a lacking OVA to add the fun and the fan service element.

What is the purpose of an OVA?

OVA’s main purpose is creative freedom. OVA are originally designed to promote the manga that inspired the Anime series.

Their purpose is to make the audience more deeply involved with the characters and show the plot line in a new light. Because OVAs are not shown on television, they are not bound by any of the censorship regulations that come with them. That gives them greater creative flexibility.

OVAs are the chance for producers to explore and play with the original material. Think of all the Anime that received “Wonderland” OVA episodes, like Kuroshitsuji and Code Geass.

The lack of broadcasting can relieve some of the pressure on producers to produce high-quality work, enabling them to have fun with the subject. After all, OVAs are frequently part of pre-existing series and are intended for fans willing to pay on DVDs for extra material from a plot they already enjoy.

They can have extra scenes or plot lines not included in the televised version of the Anime. While OVA isn’t as popular as it used to be, they’re still a popular way for Anime creators to monetize their work. If you’re a fan of an Anime series, it’s always worth checking out the OVA episodes.

Are special episodes and OVA the same?

Anime: Noragami OVA 2
Although there are no content restrictions for OVAs or Specials, this is also one of its distinctive characteristics.

Special and OVA are used interchangeably by some fans, these two terms are often confused to be the same but they are not.

Specials are extended one-shot episodes that may or may not be included in mainstream Anime. Both OVAs and Specials have no content limits, yet this is also what makes them different.

If an OVA is distributed as promotional content on television, it can be considered a Special, while Specials can be considered an OVA if they are only intended for home viewing and are not aired on large screens.

Release platformBlu-ray, DVD &VHS tapeBroadcast on Television
Visual QualityBetter than the Original SeriesSame as the Original series
Based onCharactersOriginal plot 
Connection to the original plotIndependent of the storylineDepends on the storyline
Difference between OVA & Special episodes

Are OVA’s technically canon?

Specials are cannon since they are related to the original plot line and OVA are not since they are just a source of fan service.

Some fans argue that OVA is not as important as the original series and should be treated as such.

Are OVA’s technically canon? OVA is not canon. That’s up to the production to decide and it differs from Anime to Anime. These episodes are “beta-tests” or they may be anything unrelated to the Anime itself.

For example, in the Anime “Clannad,” there is an OVA episode where Tomoyo and Tomoya have a love connection. But this relationship does not exist in the real series. It only happens in the OVA.

The OVAs are typically unrelated to the original Anime series and can be watched separately from the series. They are a bonus from the producers, and a quirky fun watch.

Anime: Bleach OVA: Memories in the rain
OVAs are simply a producer’s bonus and have nothing to do with the original Anime series.

Are OVA worth watching?

If you’re tired of the same old stuff, try OVAs for the most underappreciated experience.

OVAs do not require an episode synopsis. They’re mainly for fun, and the comedy is usually mild. Nowadays, you can watch OVA online on several streaming platforms without having to pay money for DVDs.

An OVA comprises a story/plot in and of itself; it can be about a certain topic or theme, and it will maintain that feeling that will keep you interested throughout the episode.

OVAs are brief and to the point. So there’s no need to rely on modern broadcasting and instead opt for home formats. The task will be done by OVAs.


  • They can also serve as a bridge between seasons, or as a way to flesh out characters and storylines.
  • OVA lends creative freedom to Anime creators since they are not regulated by any censor board.
  • OVA’s can provide an opportunity for new fans to get to know characters and storylines in a more detailed way
  • OVAs provide an additional layer of storytelling to an already epic series!

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