If you’re a bit scared by the prospect of watching something like a long running TV series, but still have that unquenching thirst to watch some awesome action, yet you still have the need for something with a narrative (after all, just browsing through SakugaBooru can get boring after a while), then this list of reccomendations is perfect for you. Regardless of whether you’re in the mood for a short thirteen episode series, or something just under an hour of fun, they’re all sweet, often insane, and most importantly awesome, and I can almost guarantee you that these 10 OVA’s are sure to fill your need for all such badass things, no matter whether you’re into giant robots, samurai, ancient demons, or military warfare, or all of the above!
Table of Contents
10: Gunbuster (6 episodes, 30 per.)
I’m starting off this list strong, with what is in my opinion, the quintessential action OVA. It’s also my favorite anime of all time! I’ve already written extensively about why I love this so much, so I’ll keep it short: the character writing is great, the animation is stunning and the character and mech designs are top tier. If you want something genuinely amazing, uplifting and something to motivate you to get through the day, I implore you: watch this. The plot is awesome too. The main character Noriko, lost her dad in a war against aliens. Because of this, she decided to try and become a robot pilot, entering into a school made to train young pilots. However, as she fails to live up to her own expectations, she feels bored and constantly compares herself to others, whichin turn leads her to have low self esteem. When she learns about how hard the best student at the school works everyday, she pulls herself up and realises that hard work is the most important aspect to success, and after working hard, she’s allowed to travel into space, all in order to fight the aliens that killed her dad. so many years ago. There’s also a sequel OVA with a similar episode count called Diebuster. Personally, I don’t like it, at all. However, basically everyone else I’ve talked to who has watched both seems to like it, so I’d still give it a shot if I were you.
9: Shin Getter Robo (13 episodes, 24 minutes)
If you like sword fights, giant robots, blood sprays (and I mean LOTS of blood sprays), awesome character designs, and quite literally, interdimensional and planet scale conflicts, well, Shin Getter Robo has you covered. I mean this, It’s so darn cool, and the OST is perfect for it, it’s that kind of “gets your blood pumping” music, and that is what Getter Robo is all about. The plot is fairly straightforward: humanity is under attack by evil creatures called Oni, and while humans are initially powerless and unable to do anything to defeat them, the scientist Dr. Saotome creates a series of giant robots that harness the mysterious power of something called Getter Rays, which gives them the strength necessary to fight back against the Oni. The strongest of these is the Getter Robo, and Saotome must enlist three very different men to pilot it – martial artist Ryoma Nagare, criminal leader Hayato Jin, and monk Benkei Musashibou. These three men must all fight together in order to end the Oni menace once and for all. There are two other OVA’s, but from what I understand, they’re also standalone. Getter Robo is a shounen manga from the 70’s, and if you know anything about those, it’s that the timelines and continuity can often get very convuluted and confusing. The best watch order for these OVA’s is: Shin Getter Robo – Shin Getter Robo tai Neo Getter Robo – Shin Getter Robo Armageddon, although as I stated earlier, any order works. I haven’t watched Armageddon yet, but apparently it mixes up some of the backstories and is quite different from the other two, which is why you should probably watch it last. The second OVA is really great, it’s only 4 episodes, with Armageddon being 13, so I’d reccomend you check them all out.
8: Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still (7 episodes, 1 hour per.)
If you like giant robots, then you’ve probably seen this already, but even if giant robots and super powers don’t particularly catch your interest, I would still recommend this to the highest degree. The production is nothing short of absolute insanity, it looks so darn good. The plot isn’t that big of a focus and the characters are just fine, but if you want to check out some mecha that isn’t real robot, then I’d check this out. The plot, while as I mentioned earlier not being that important, is still very good in my opinion. It takes place in a world where a genius scientists has created what is known as a “Shizuma drive,” which is an infinite source of energy with no negative effects on the environment. With this discovery, the world has been prospering. However, a secret organisation known as Big Fire stands to threaten this peace. The main character Kusama Daisaku is the only one who can control Giant Robo, and alongside many of the worlds strongest fighters, defeat Big Fire.
7: Armour Hunter Mellowlink (12 episodes, 30 minutes per.)
If you’ve ever watched an action anime where most battles are fought by using large weapons, but there are somehow still foot soldiers around, and wondered what it would look like from their perspective, well then this show for you. Mellowlink has an awesome aesthethic and tons of cool animation, with the plot being about the title character Mellowlink himself, who along with his group of comrades, were sacrificed and hung out as scapegoats for embezzlement of military resources at the end of the 100 years war. Mellowlink himself managed to get away, however he’s out for revenge, and intends to kill the corrupt officers who orchestrated this whole ordeal in the first place.
6: Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Tsuioku-hen (4 episodes, 30 minutes per.)
Being a prequel to the popular Shonen Jump manga Rurouni Kenshin, this OVA can thankfully be watched completely standalone, so don’t worry if you’ve never even heard of Kenshin before, you can enjoy this too. The fight sequences are genuinely breathtaking to behold, mostly because of the way the swords clash being so awesome, and not to mention that the plot is very well written too! The give a short synopsis, a young boy witnesses the murder of the bandits who had enslaved him, and is then christened with a new name by the man who rescued him. His name is Shinta, now known as Kenshin Himura, and he is destined to become a swordsman. His burning desire to protect others sadly ends up making him go down the path of an assassin, and, as the title suggests, there is much trust and betrayal.
5: Violence Jack: Harlem Bomber-hen (1 episode, 37 minutes)
It is near impossible to discuss series with a focus on cool action without bringing up the name of manga legend Go Nagai. I was a bit unsure of whether to reccomend this or not, or any of the three Violence Jack OVA’s really. That’s not because of the grutiotos amounts of blood, but because the show just *had* to include rape. I’m not a big fan of the inclusion of it, and there are some quite uncomfortable scenes, but if that kinda stuff doesn’t bother you, and you love excessive violence, I’d recommend it. The plot itself is about Violence Jack, an enormously large man who roams the earth, which has now been devastated by natural disaster, essentially turning it into a wasteland. He travels around, coming into contact with fearsome opponents and fighting. There are two other Violence Jack OVA’s, Evil Town and Hell’s Wind, although I’d only reccomend these two if you already liked the first one, as they’re pretty much all the same in terms of content. Violence (duh), blood, rape, and comically large men fighting.
4: Devilman: Tanjou-hen (1 episode, 51 minutes) and Yochou Sirene-hen (1 episode, 56 minutes)
If Violence Jack is too much for you, then I definitely reccomend the two Devilman OVA’s. The production on display here is insane, the vibrant and varied colour palette is beautiful, and it contrasts so well with the many more grey and dour scenes the show also has. The animation and character designs are great, and most importantly of all: the fights are awesome. Seeing demons being ripped apart and blood sprouting everywhere is really cool. To return a bit to the Violence Jack comparison, rather than being a diet version, I think a more apt comparison would be to call it refined. Devilman actually has a plot and its characters are genuinely well rounded and interesting. The plot itself is about Akira Fudou, a young boy who’s rather weak and gets bullied a lot. One day, his old friend from middle school, Ryou Asuka, shows up and shows him a disturbing truth: before even dinosaurs, devils ruled the Earth. But they did not die, they were simply frozen in ice, and have now awaken from their sleep, and intend to destroy all of humanity. In order to stop this, the only way is Akira has to overtake the consciousness of a devil, and become Devilman.
3: Soukihei MD Geist (1 episode, 47 minutes) and MD Geist II: Death Force (1 episode, 48 minutes)
While I said earlier that Gunbuster was the quintessential action OVA, I feel inclined to call MD Geist a very close runner up. While Geist doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of character writing, it doesn’t really even attempt to concern itself with that, but what it does have is action. And you know what? I gotta admit, it’s really darn cool. The plot is about the title character, Most Dangerous Geist, who was imprisoned in a satellite orbiting above earth for being so out of control that he would kill basically anyone, regardless of whether they were friend or foe. His title of Most Dangerous was given to him by the military, who genetically engineered him to be as strong as possible. In turn, making him almost incapable of complex thought. Now that he has escaped, he has only one goal in mind: killing.
2: Kakugo no Susume (2 episodes, 37 minutes)
If you’re really into action/horror, then I’d say that this right here, is the pinnacle of that, at least in OVA form (Berserk is a thing, after all). And I think it’s important to stress the horror aspect, because if you’re not into that, well you definitely won’t like this. In the Devilman OVA, there’s some body horror, while there’s a ton in this. Still, the main character’s combat suit is awesome, and the animation is very enjoyable to look at. Similiarly to Devilman, this is an adaptation of solely the beginning of a much longer manga, so if you’re expecting to get any kind of closure, or ending without having to consume an alternative version, then sorry to dissapoint. The plot itself is fairly simple: Kakugou and his sister, Harara, trained under their dad for a long time, both with the goal of saving humanity after natural disaster had reduced the world to rubble and created dangerous monsters. However, his sister decided to take another route to saving the world, wiping out all humans. With the Zero suit at his side, it’s up to Kakugou to kill all the monsters, and eventually: his own sister.
1: Kyoshouku Soukou Guyver 1989 (6 episodes, 29 minutes)
I will say, the animation in this probably isn’t going to blow you away. But that’s not to say it doesn’t look cool, the designs for the various transformations, and the Guyver biosuits themselves look really ncie, but this isn’t Gunbuster, and neither is it MD Geist either. It feels very tokusatsu to me, which doesn’t really mean that much considering that I’ve barely watched any Toku, but it has that vibe, with the main character transforming and fighting againts aliens. To got into more detail on the plot, one day, the two main characters, Shou and Tetsurou, who are normal high schoolers, stumble upon a strange orb-like mechanism, called the Guyver Unit. It physically bonds with Shou and allows him to transform the alien soldier, Guyver. His mission is to protect the Guyver Unit from the powerful corporation known as Chronos, who are after it and two similar units. In order to retrieve the object, they send out vicious monsters known as Zoanoids, which Shou must defeat in order to keep on living. There is a 6 episode direct sequel to this specific OVA, as well as a 26 episode TV show if that’s more your thing. I haven’t watched those though, but if I were to guess, I’d say they’re probably pretty good.