What it’s about: Haruno dreams of growing up and getting away from her small life in the local inn. She wants to travel the world! But she doesn’t have the will to go through with it. One day a new guest arrives, a gregarious blonde Australian girl named Cynthia who has led the exact life that Haruno so eagerly wants for herself, visiting far-off places with her Honda motorcycle. Will Cynthia’s stories be enough to motivate her to get up and do something?
Why you should watch it: At first glance, One Off seems more like an advertisement for Honda than anything else, but the director (Junichi Sato) soon demonstrates his credentials in establishing an endearing cast and story for this short slice of life OVA series. The scenery is very well-animated and the characters of Cynthia and Haruno both have their own distinct personalities and goals. Cynthia in particular makes for a great comic relief counterpoint to Haruno’s pessimism and daydreaming. Everything just meshes together nicely; the series is a perfect short “pick me up”, motivational without being mawkish.
Caveats: The rest of the cast are mostly just window-dressing. We don’t really get enough time with any of them to get much of an appreciation of their individual qualities, just a single defining trait for each of them. Which is fine as far as it goes, particularly for such a short series, but the show is definitely more about creating a mood than about things actually happening.
Themes: Finding the motivation to live your dreams. Growing up and moving on.