If you are new to anime, then you have surely noticed the fandom has a love of acronyms. Newcomers to the community might find the lingo as fascinating as it is confusing, but things really do become bothersome when you can't get a grip on what OVA stands for.
Here at ComicBook, we're here to guide you as a personal anime guru. Once you've got the fandom's lexicon down, you will find that the community makes a whole lot more sense.
When it comes to OVAs, the acronym is a straight-forward one. The blip stands for 'Original Video Animation,' and the term is used frequently amongst fans. OVA additions are common for most mainstream anime series, and each snippet may carry a different function.
Of course, OVAs are different from anime titles themselves. An entire series can run anywhere from 6+ episodes a season, and an anime episode typically last about 25-30 minutes. On the other hand, an OVA is a one-off story that may or may not be connected to an on-going anime. Ranging anywhere from 5-30 minutes, an OVA is often used to test out a story, gauge fan reactions, or to explore additional storylines outside of an anime's canon.
When it comes to testing, OVAs are an easy and inexpensive way to see if a story will resonate with fans. A short animated doodle has helped shows like Little Witch Academia get enough exposure for an entire show to be green-lit, and it gives animators a chance to play with the franchise's art style.
However, OVAs are most commonly seen attached to an on-going anime series. Shows like Naruto and Attack on Titan have plenty of OVA titles which explore gag storylines or even non-canon character encounters. These OVAs are generally reserved for home releases and kept off cable unless a special airing is coordinated by a network. These snippets also have more freedom since they are not bound by network censors, so you may find that some OVAs are more raunchy or violent than the series they are actually spun out from.