In 2002, "UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie" has been a series that has generated its fandom with its magical girl, harem genre storyline.
The anime series is based on a manga by mangaka group Kaishaku (Hitoshi Ota and Terumasa Shichinohe) who have created manga series "Steel Angel Kurumi", "Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto", "Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora" and several other titles. The manga was published by Square Enix from 2002-2007 on Monthly Shonen Gangan and has spawned a first and second season which were 12 episodes long, a two episode OAV, season three (six episodes) and season four (two episodes).
Both season three and four were released as multiple volumes through ADV Films back in 2007. But the the rights to the series has been transferred to FUNimation Entertainment and thus the third and fourth seasons will now be available on two DVD's via a OVA collection and will be released on August 11, 2004.
The main storyline of "UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE" takes place on a future Earth where interplanetary travel and alien encounters are commonplace. The story focuses on high school student named Kazuto Tokino who runs a bath house with his sister while his parents live in the U.S. Life was going quite well for the teenager until a UFO crashed into the bath house. Kazuto was near death until Valkyrie (who piloted the aircraft) gave up part of her soul to keep Kazuto alive. By doing this, the adult Valkyrie has been turned into a younger version.
And because now they share this special bond, Kazuto and Valkyrie are close (and it looks weird for a teenager to be with a young girl all the time). And throughout the first season, ultramaidens have attempted to bring Valkyrie back home to no avail. With the first two seasons, the Valkyrie and other princesses now residing on Earth work together to take on a nemesis but also focusing on the growing relationship between Kazuto and Val.
This time around for seasons 3 and 4, the series shifts to more character development featuring the other princesses of Valhalla and also the big wedding between Kazuto and Val.
The main characters of "UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE" are:
Valkyrie (Val) - An innocent maiden who is deeply in love with Kazuto but is often not sure if she would make a good girlfriend/future wife to Kazuto. Despite reverting back to a child, on the TV series, it is revealed that a kiss from Kazuto can make her an adult. A member of the royal family of Valhalla
Kazuto Tokino - He runs a bathhouse with his sister Rika and shares a bond with Valkyrie after his near-death experience and was given a second chance at life after Val shared half her soul with him. Now, Kazuto does his best to run the bathhouse while preparing to be a husband for Val following their customs and being a good future son-in-law.
Hydra - Val's younger sister who followed her sister to Earth because she doesn't want to be forced to get married. Similar to Valkyrie, she has crashed into a temple where a priestess named Akina (Kazuto's friend) lives and because of the trouble caused, Akina seals her power and is reverted to a child. Very brash in behavior and always at odds with Akina, who she now lives with. Like Val, a kiss can revert her back to an adult. Hydra is a member of the royal family of Valhalla.
Sanada - The chief made of the royal family of Valhalla who has catlike features. Sees herself as a protector for Valkyrie. In charge of the catgirl maids and develops a superhero persona in season 3.
Akina Nanamura - Kazuto's neighbor and childhood friend. She's also a priestess at her temple and has developed an ability to attack the supernatural and seal powers. She is secretly in love with Kazuto and has to put up with Hydra, who lives with her.
Spot - Val's pet that resembles a dog and has the ability to talk and is a veteran fighter pilot.
Chorus - One of the eight princesses of Valhalla and is known for her headgear. A sci-fi nut who has the ability to sync with technology.
Laine - One of the eight princesses of Valhalla who is affectionate to both Val and Kazuto. Has the ability to change her appearance and is quite perverted at times.
Mehm - The eldest of the eight princesses who visits the Tokino family quite often and is somewhat the head of the Royal Family.
Inarba - The serious princess who is an adjudicator of the royal family and punishes other princess if they are not fulfilling their duties and their laws. A by-the-book princess who wants to uphold Valhalla traditions.
Nesty - One of the princesses of Valhalla who hunts down pirates in space.
Pharm - A princess of Valhalla who teaches class but she also has a fetish towards women wearing eye glasses. She can be seen trying to put eyeglasses on Val while she is sleeping but is stopped by Sanada and the cat maidens.
Disc 1 consists of six OVA episodes for Season 3. This season focuses on the preparation of Kazuto and Val's marriage. Included are:
1. About the Relationship Between Girls and Glasses - Princess Pharm who may seem so innocent and smart unleashes her plan to have the girls that she teaches all to wear eye glasses (her sexual fetish) but Sanada and the cat maidens are on to her.
2. Inarba, The Goddess of Judgment - Princess Inarba is upset to see how the princess are not following their own laws and have not been representing themselves as good princesses. So, now Princess Inarba wants to punish those who are not doing their job that well.
3. The Caped Catgirl is Here - Sanada who is always there to protect Valkyrie as the chief maid of the royal family has adopted a super heroine disguise.
4. Laine, Laine, Laine - Princess Laine goes back into time to fix a problem from the past. In the process, she encounters various versions of herself.
5. Runaway Princess Valkyrie - Val is again feeling that she may not be up to being a good future wife to Kazuto. Val goes to the princess and Akina and tells them about her dilemma.
6. The Battle of the Wedding Chapel in the Sky - It's the big day (again)...the wedding of Kazuto and Val!
Disc 2 consists of two OVA episodes for Season 4. Included are:
1. Valkyrie Reunion - It's a reunion of princess from various worlds and this time it will be held on Earth.
2. Stars of Wishes, Stars of Thoughts - Akina is selected by Princess Inarba to be the priestess of an event that coincides with a star that shows up every 900 years. Despite not wanting to do it, for Kazuto's sake she goes through the training for the event.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE" season 3 and 4 were created back in 2004 and is presented in a 4:3 original aspect ratio. For the most part, the anime features a good amount of shading and cool character designs. If anything, compared to a lot of anime released now, one may feel the video quality is a bit soft at times. But the fact is that this is a OVA and thus the production designs are much more detailed and evident compared to the television series.
Both audio tracks are featured in Japanese and English stereo. For the most part, both Japanese and English vocal work are well-done but the primary difference is the dialogue. The English dialogue lends to a more American feel that includes a more mature dialogue. For example, in one scene, women are complimenting Hydra's adult look. In the Japanese dialogue, they are just complimentary of "you look great!" but in the English dialogue, the dialogue features women saying "I wish I had boobs like yours!". So, suffice to say, the English dialogue is a bit more mature and because of the nude bath house content, it does fit.
Subtitles are in English.
The special features on both discs are primarily the textless opening and ending themes and trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases. The original commercials to the OAV's and "message from the voice actors" that were featured on the 2007 DVD releases are not included in this OVA collection.
"UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE" is an enjoyable, fun and sexy anime series. One can see this series as "Ah! My Goddess" or "El Hazard" with more women and more fan service. But for the most part, this anime series is quite fun to watch.
For those wondering if this is the same DVD that was released in 2007 (through ADV Films), the episodes are the same but the fact is that instead of multiple volumes, all episodes from season 3 and 4 are compiled onto two discs and sold for a great price. Fans of "UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE" who originally held out because of financial reasons, will feel much more at ease of finally getting all eight OVA episodes in one release.
Now the positives and negatives of "UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE". The positives of the series is that the characters are quite fun to watch and each episode is wild, crazy, fun and outright enjoyable. In fact, these episodes can still be enjoyed by people who have not seen the previous seasons since the OVA's focus on a variety of characters and situations.
It's also important to let people know that the TV MA rating is due to the bath house scenes and thus a good amount of fan service via panty shots or T&A seen through the anime series. Also, Princess Pharm is a bit more unrestrained in the OVA series, so you'll find her fetish at an all time high and you will see woman to woman kissing scenes at times.
A negative that some people have had with the series since the anime first came out is that Kazuto's dedication to Val and his love for her. Although Val is a young adult, because she gave up half her life force, her age has been reduced by half and is a young girl. And thus, in order for Kazuto to make Val into her adult form, he has to kiss young Val. Some people may feel a bit uncomfortable by this, especially a high school guy with a young fiance. If you are disturbed by the mention of this, then this anime series is definitely not for you.
I will say though that this is played down much less for the OVA series and something significant does happen at the end of season 3, episode 6 that changes the dynamics of the show, especially when it comes to Kazuto and Val's relationship. Or primarily, what happens to Val after that episode.
But for the most part, I have enjoyed the series since the first episode of season one and it's awesome to watch the OVA series and see storylines developed for the other characters. Again, you don't really need to watch the previous seasons to enjoy the OVA series but it does help learn the backstory of why Kazuto and Val are a couple and why the other princess from Valhalla are residing on Earth.
But if you have watched "UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE" before or have been curious about the the characters since the TV series, "UFO ULTRAMAIDEN VALKYRIE: THE OVA COLLECTION" is a fun, crazy, sexy and entertaining!