OVAs, also known as Original Video Animations, are anime with one or more episodes that are directly released to the public without being released in theaters or aired on TV. Sometimes, they are extras bundled with manga or DVD releases, and sometimes they are independent projects. Some of them are even full-length series! Just like TV anime, OVAs come in every genre - including action. Let's take a look at some fantastic action anime OVAs.
Because OVAs are often associated with offshoots of TV series that tell side stories or develop a side character, it might be surprising to learn that the best action anime OVAs include full-length series. Hellsing Ultimate, for example, is a fully realized series at 10 episodes long. Even more surprisingly, the 110-episode Legend of the Galactic Heroes technically qualifies as an OVA. But some great action OVAs do fit the pattern - Attack on Titan: No Regrets does a deep dive into the Survey Corps leader Levi's backstory.
Which action OVA is your favorite? Help other fans of the genre figure out what to watch next by voting up the best ones.
Levi Ackerman is one of the most beloved characters in Attack on Titan, so an OVA that details his backstory is a welcome addition to the series. No Regrets opens with Levi as a young man struggling to survive in the Underground, a hellish slum from which there is seemingly no escape. Because they have so few options, Levi and his friends Isabel and Farlan spend their days committing crimes for cash. One day, they accept an assassination gig - in exchange for taking out Erwin Smith, they'll gain citizenship above ground. As they spend more time on the surface world, they learn that that may not be such a great deal after all - and Levi discovers that Erwin is someone he respects more than anyone else he's ever met in his life.
One Punch Man: Road to Hero serves as a prequel to the original series, and while it's anime-only, it was written by the manga's creator, ONE. It depicts Saitama during his training period. Thanks to his hardcore training regimen, he's constantly destroying his tracksuit, but a local tailor is kind enough to fix it for free. When his tailor starts getting hassled by a local gang and might need to close up shop, Saitama steps in to help him. If you love Saitama, you won't want to miss his early foray into heroism.
Sometimes when you've just watched a cast of characters you love go through hell, all you really just want to watch them have a fun adventure without any crushing consequences. That's exactly what the Noragami Arogoto OVA provides for fans of the series. The main cast goes to Capypa Land, a theme park that's mentioned periodically throughout the show itself. While this OVA has a slice-of-life feel to it, there are plenty of fun jokes, and a few good action sequences that continue the feel of the original series without getting too dark. While it's not necessarily a good place to start for those who haven't seen Noragami, it's an example of OVAs done right for those who have.
Hunter X Hunter is a long story with a rich background, so it's nice to have OVAs dedicated to side stories that are just as exciting as the series proper but are also relatively self-contained. Greed Island is an OVA that provides just that. After defeating the Spiders, Gon and Killua are still searching for Gon's father Ging - but they decide that they need a bit of a diversion, which is how they end up trying to play Greed Island, a game with potentially lethal consequences for those who lose.