What are “ONA” and “OVA” in Anime? Should You Watch Them?

You’ve probably been asking yourself what do that “ONA”, and “OVA” terms I keep seeing in the anime title mean? Well, for starters I’ll let you in on a secret. That word represents what type of format the episode, or series you’re watching followed.

Should I watch them? Is the OVA a part of the canon story? Will I miss any pivotal point of the story if I don’t watch the them? These are all queries you’ve been eagerly searching answers for. Luckily, you’ve landed in the perfect place. We’ll break down both terms bit by bit so you get a better understanding.

The first term we can see is ONA, which is abbreviated for “Original Net Animation”. The second term stands for “Original Video Animation”, an OVA. Now, let’s take a deeper look at both.

Breakdown of ONA & OVA Anime!

What is an ONA Anime?

An Original Net Animation is an anime that releases directly on the internet, or any streaming platform. All of the animes Netflix releases are usually considered as original net animations. Why? Well because they are releasing it on the internet, and everybody who owns a subscription can watch every episode through an internet connection. Animes that even Crunchyroll releases on its website are going to be considered ONAs as well.

You might’ve seen some series being broadcasted on television, and they might have the ONA tag besides them as well. That’s because they were first released as a web anime, and were later aired on cable.

Chika from Kaguya Sama Love is War

Web series weren’t that popular a decade ago. Ever since streaming services like Netflix have started producing anime, they have since become a very popular source of consumption.

Is an ONA a part of the original story? Yes, it could either be a continuation of a previous series or be a totally new story. So these are basically anime series with their own complete plot, but just released on the web instead of being broadcasted on television.

You’re probably curious about some good ONA series right? We’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best ONAs out there, below.

What is an ONA anime
ONA Anime: Great Pretender, Castlevania, and Baki

Baki ONA (2018)

The Baki ONA was produced by Netflix. All episodes were released on the same day, and are available to stream right now. Baki (2018) spanned an enormous twenty-six episodes season, and the story was a direct continuation of the 2000s Baki The Grappler.

It’s full of barbaric fights enriched by “punchy” visuals, so be sure to give it a try.

Castlevania ONA

Produced by Netflix yet again. This ONA consists of four visually stunning seasons. Each unfolding events of the dark ages brought about by Dracula’s reign.

Great Pretender

Personally my favourite ONA among this list. It features the misfit cast going on an anthology of heists. If you’re a big fan of Oceans 8, then give this gem a whirl.

Honourable Mentions (ONA)

  • Saiki Kusuo
  • Jojo Stone Ocean
  • Ginga Eiyuu

What is an OVA Anime?

An Original Video Animation is usually an anime episode, or special featurette that is bundled with home releases. Take Attack on Titan for instance, its home video release came with multiple side story episodes added. OVAs were very popular in the 2000s due to limited internet availability. Even though they’re still released, they aren’t watched by many fans due to them not being that pivotal to the story.

At the plot continuation side of things, OVAs bundled to anime Blu-rays barely contribute much except for further developing side characters. Some OVAs on the other hand adapt a full novel/manga. This can be seen in the case of Legend of The Galactic Heroes, which consisted of 110 episodes released in physical discs over the course of ten years.

You might be intrigued about OVAs after reading about them, so take a look at some OVAs worth watching listed below.

What is an OVA anime
OVA Anime: Attack on Titan, Hellsing Ultimate, and Galactic Heroes

Legend of The Galactic Heroes

In the future, two states make up the universe. The Galactic Empire, and the Planets Alliance are the two nations in question, which have been locked in stalemate for over a century. Viewers embark on a trek about how two fated rival, Reinhard and Yang, rise to power in their respective nations.

The series was released from 1988 to 1997 in the form of physical discs. Only 110 episodes had been released over the course of a decade. The series gained critical acclaim with a rating of 9.03 on MyAnimeList, ranking it at the eleventh best anime of all time.

Hellsing Ultimate

Witness the dreadful story of Alucard, the son of Dracula, who works for the infamous Hellsing organization. Alucard helps the Hellsing Corps keep tabs on all Vampire activity throughout the globe.

You’ll love this OVA if you’re intrigued by themes of horror, action, and brutality.

Attack on Titan: No Regrets

This OVA is a side story that is focussed on the past of Levi Ackerman, Captain of the Survey Corps. It depicts Levi’s rough childhood, as well as the events that led him on to becoming the most feared soldier on Paradis.

Honourable Mentions

  • Gintama°: Love Incense Arc
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
  • Akatsuki no Yona OVA

Our Thoughts

You’ve finally been able to decode the ONA, and OVA theorems thanks to our help and your persistence. Now, what to do with so much power? We’ll suggest you try out some above listed series, which we’re sure you’ll like.

Yuta Okkotsu from Jujutsu Kaisen 0

If you still can’t figure out a part of the article, or just have difficulty getting a better grasp of things. Then just give us a comment down below and we’ll reach out to you in a flash.

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Written by Tayyab Shah

I like to play games, watch anime, learn about tech, and write about it all when I can. I like going to eat pizza sometimes. Also coffee is cool.

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