Plot: Kazuya Hasukawa has enrolled in the prestigious all-boys Ryukuto Academy and is placed in the infamous Greenwood dormitory, known for having odd students living there (Like a guy who carries around a motorcycle in the dorms because there’s no garage….and yes, he carries it. Like a sack of potatoes.) The reason that Hasukawa has entered into this school is to avoid living at home. He claims at first that it’s because he doesn’t want to basically be a third wheel in a household with his older brother since he recently got married and continues to live in the same house. However, it’s later revealed that he’s in love with his brother’s wife and can’t stand to live in the same house with the two of them because of that.
Now Hasukawa has to deal with his family as well as the students living in Greenwood.
Breakdown: Damn it’s hard to find slice-of-life shows that have male casts.
No, I’m not including sports themed anime, and I’m iffy about including reverse harems. I mean actual slice-of-life. It’s a genre very much saturated with shows featuring all (or mostly) female casts aimed at girls. In fact, if there is a boy in there he’s usually either a target for abuse, a token guy who’s completely forgettable or a love interest. I can’t even think of one that meets the criteria that has an all-male cast besides what I’m featuring today. I’m sure there are some, but I very rarely come across them in my watchings.
It’s pretty refreshing actually. While I do tend to enjoy many slice-of-life shows, I won’t deny that many of them are hard to relate to because the girls seem to look and act more like they’re young children than the teenagers they supposedly are. And it seems alienating to the guys out there. I’m certain a bunch of all-girl slice-of-life shows can be enjoyed by any gender, but the boys need some limelight sometimes.
Did they get it?
Very much so, in my opinion.
Yes, finally another lost gem in OVA town. Here is Greenwood is a show I was skeptical about. It didn’t seem to have anything special going for it in the first chunk of episode one, but the show quickly grows on you, and you soon come to love all of the characters and their antics. This is especially impressive as this is a mere six episode series.
Don’t be fooled by the plot either. The series isn’t centered too much on Hasukawa. There are four other main characters that the show puts focus on.
Shinobu is our resident cool, strong silent type. He tends to offer mature and sometimes blunt advice to the boys when they get into binds. His main shtick isn’t so much his. He has a sister who hates his guts and is completely obsessed with making him look bad. And when I say “obsessed,” I mean she’s perfectly fine with kidnapping kids and holding them hostage merely to force Shinobu into doing something embarrassing and catching it on video. The real joke with that is that Shinobu doesn’t take her seriously at all and takes every opportunity to (cooly) tease her.
Mitsuru is the resident ladies man, though it’s not like you see that much considering they go to an all-boys school. Otherwise, Mitsuru is the troublemaker of the group, but is actually pretty mature and older-brother-like to the group as well.
Shun is Hasukawa’s roommate and the focus of a lot of the comedy when he’s on screen. In fact, he’s the focus of the main joke of the first half of episode one. Shun looks very feminine, so they play a prank on Hasukawa utilizing this. Much of the jokes involving Shun involve his feminine looks and mannerisms. His little brother actually looks and acts more like a girl than he does. I realize that this aspect has not aged well, but I don’t think any of the humor in this realm is particularly offensive. I might not be the perfect person to judge that, though, so take my view with a grain of salt. He’s fairly immature and blunt and especially likes teasing Hasukawa.
Hasukawa himself is a bit abrasive, but he grows on you. He just tends to be too serious and grumpy.
All of the characters have great chemistry, exchange good banter, and they click very well very quickly.
The comedy hits the mark quite often. There aren’t that many instances of stale or cliché humor, which is pretty impressive for a show made in 1991 (and finished airing in 1993. Wow.) And there are heartwarming moments every now and then.
I will mention something that’s not really a negative but moreso a point of confusion. You quickly fall under the impression that this show is more or less a full-on comedy show for the majority of it. You get that idea because little to nothing happens for most of the runtime that is serious at all. Then the last two episodes show up and they’re almost entirely drama/romance. It’s kinda jarring.
However, despite the drastic and sudden tone shift, it’s honestly not a bad point because the final two episodes are handled fairly well. It’s a two-parter (considering most of the show has been more or less episodic so far) that focuses on Hasukawa meeting with an old friend of Mitsuru named Miya Igarashi who has fallen into some trouble with a gang. He falls in love with her, but it turns out that she has a very caring boyfriend.
The arc is very interesting and even suspenseful because you’re really rooting for him to finally break free of his attachment to his brother’s wife, Sumire, and be together with someone actually appropriate who seems to like him back.
The boyfriend in question is one who is a long-standing childhood friend adored by her mother and is seemingly so kind and perfect that you know practically from the first scene that there has to be something wrong with him.
And there is. That’s basically the one big problem I had with the ending. Spoilertown.
They could’ve just worked it out maturely, had Tenma hurt but understanding and still be a good friend to Igarashi and maybe even Hasukawa, but as predicted, the boyfriend, Tenma, just turns out to be a controlling jerk. He does seem to care about Igarashi, but he seems to care more about his stance in Igarashi’s life and family than he does her as a person. He hides a letter from Hasukawa to Igarashi to keep them apart, and when Igarashi admits to Tenma that she loves Hasukawa, his exact words are ‘Really? So what?’ So yeah, he turns out to be a complete jackass that you don’t care ends up getting dumped in the end.
End of spoilertown.
Art and Animation: The art is okay, nothing special. But the color palette is kinda ugly. Maybe it’s just poor aging but the colors seem washed out, and many of color choices just seem awful. Hasukawa was actually distracting me with his apple-red hair and peach-pink eyes. The animation is done by Studio Pierrot and it’s just as eh as you’d think an early Pierrot would usually be. Luckily SOLs don’t require much in terms of animation, but it’s still shaky, jumpy, and you can see several spots where they cut corners like their infamous stillshots.
Music: Nothing really special, but it was kinda catchy.
Voice Acting: Japanese (Though apparently this OVA has two different English dubs, one by TAJ and another by Bang Zoom! Entertainment.) Everyone was very good and fitting in their roles.
Nozomu Sasaki, voice of Hasukawa, was the voice of Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho and Shadi from Yu-Gi-Oh.
Chika Sakamoto sounds just right as Shun. Chika also voiced Nuriko from Fushigi Yuugi.
Mitsuo Imata, Mitsuru, also voiced Cyborg 008 in Cyborg 009.
Finally, Toshihiko Seki, Shinobu, also voiced Legato from Trigun, Watari from Yami no Matsuei and Iruka from Naruto.
Bottom Line: This is a great and funny OVA that I would gladly watch again. It’s a bit old, which may put off some people, but I personally like it. Like I’ve said before, I’m a bit of a sucker for the older art styles and just older titles in general. They just create a homey atmosphere. The show has a little bit of everything for everyone. There’s even a fantasy adventure plotline wonderfully stitched into the show as a movie some of their classmates are filming. At six episodes, there’s really no reason not to give it a shot, and I gladly recommend it.
Additional Information and Notes: Here is Greenwood was directed and written by Tomomi Mochizuki. It was produced by Studio Pierrot, and while the dub was originally made by Media Blasters, it is currently not licensed in America.
Recommended Audience: There’s completely censored nudity once or twice in the bath. One slightly off-putting plotline involving Shun’s younger brother in terms of very light hints of pedophilia. Other than that, nothing really. 8+