Video Girl Ai is a manga series created by Masakazu Katsura and published by Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump. It also has an anime adaptation. The manga is published in English by Viz Communications and in Spanish by Grupo Editorial Vid. It was formerly published in the anthology Animerica Extra by Viz.
It was started in 1990 and continued until 1993, and fifteen manga volumes were produced. The first 13 volumes tell a story about a video girl named Ai Amano. The last two volumes, which came years later, focus on a video girl named Len, hence the new name for these two volumes – Video Girl Len. In fact, a pun is present here which is lost in translation; the two video girls' names, "Ren" and "Ai", combine to form ren'ai – a Japanese word used to describe the type of romantic comedy that Video Girl Ai is. Although they have different protagonists, the "Ai" and "Len" sub-stories are not entirely unrelated; they take place in the same setting, with a similar premise. Two characters from the first 13 volumes also appear in volumes 14 & 15. Volume 15 concludes with a bonus chapter about Video Girl Haruno. Her story is totally separate from the stories of Ai and Len.
A live-action movie of Video Girl Ai was released in 1991.
The Video Girl Ai anime is a six part OVA series which was produced by I.G. Tatsunoko. The series was released in 1992 by Jump Video. It roughly covers most of the material found in volumes 1 and 3 of the manga (and some of Volume 2). The character designs for the anime remained faithful to the manga style.
It is commonly speculated that the author, Masakazu Katsura, used this series as what could be described as a pilot; although he wanted to write a straight romantic comedy, he included sci-fi and action elements, so that the series would guarantee to be a success with both his publishers and (teenage male) audience.
Video Girl Ai was followed in 1993 with another sci-fi/romantic comedy manga DNA² and by the straight romantic comedy I"s in 1997.
Sexy Magical Girl Ai Vol. 1 - Magical Girl Cometh DVD
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