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Remember John Carpenter’s 1980s alien invasion film They Live starring Rowdy Roddy Piper? If so, Nayuta, an OVA from the mid-80s, is going to present some a few parallels to that movie (not that it was copying it, as the anime came out two years prior to Carpenter’s film). This is a show about aliens secretly observing the Earth when one day a high school girl, named Nayuta, becomes an esper, discovers what they’re up to, and tries to put a stop to it. It’s an entertaining adventure that can get a bit convoluted toward the end when the story gives viewers its take on how the universe functions and humanity’s role within it. Nevertheless, there’s a good time to be had here.

Things start off with Nayuta happening upon a boy and his mother walking down the street. The mother is in bad shape, so Nayuta gets her to a hospital. Not long after this, the woman and her son disappear and the hospital staff say Nayuta never brought anyone in. Confused, she goes home and before long the boy shows up and teleports into Nayuta’s room. Here she quickly realizes he’s an esper and is quite pleased by this because she always thought they weren’t real. With that, the boy is taken into the family, who are surprisingly nonchalant with the boy’s frequent acts of telepathy. Eventually, viewers learn that the tiara that he is wearing is what awoke these powers inside of him. A short while later, Nayuta gets a hold of the tiara and is eventually able to see green people when she is out and about town (the They Live connection). It doesn’t take too long before she’s swept away in a resistance movement to push back these aliens, but one thing leads to another and she winds up finding herself going to Pluto where everything is made clear and a whole lot more complicated.

Things get a little hard to follow at the end, but it can be figured out. What it leaves viewers with is a reasonably satisfying science fiction adventure with some shoujo manga elements tossed in (Nayuta was originally a manga). That being said, because this OVA does have some shoujo influences, some viewers may be put off by the main character. Nayuta ticks a number of boxes when it comes to helpless, stubborn girl tropes in those sort of manga. She grows out of it during the second half of the show, but during the first 20-30 minutes she can be annoying. Most of the other major characters are well done, though, especially Kiro, the boy she rescued. He has a whole arc of his own that gets very interesting toward the end of the story.

Looking at what’s happening on screen, the art direction is very typical of the 1980s. Detail is simple, as it’s highly unlikely that the studio handling this OVA had much of a budget to work with. Regardless, the major characters still all look quite good with some stand out costumes, especially for the rebel leader Soz and Kiro’s uniform later in the show. Animation quality is okay at best. At times, the frame rate can get a bit choppy, which becomes clear to see in some action sequences as Nayuta is running around.

That being said, looking at who the studio got to voice Kiro, one has to wonder if they blew their budget trying to attract a big name voice actor. Akira Kamiya took the role, and was flying high as the voice of Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star at the time. It would not come as a surprise at all if his services came at a pretty penny.

At any rate, Nayuta is a bit of a forgotten hidden gem of an anime OVA from the 80s. Visually, it’s not much to look at it but manages to present a fun story with plenty of action. The ending takes a little while to wrap one’s head around, but that shouldn’t discourage anyone from checking this out. It’s well worth a watch.

- IroIro
August 16, 2019
Directed by: Masami Hata
Studio: OB Planning
Released: 1986
Episodes: 1

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