What Is an OAD in Anime? Meaning Explained

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Whether you're new to anime or a long-time fan, you might have seen the acronym OAD being used to describe some Japanese animated works. With the terms OVA and Special also frequently in use, things can get confusing. To clear up any misunderstanding, here is the full explanation of OADs, their purpose, and how they differ from OVAs.

OAD Acronym Meaning

The acronym OAD stands for Original Animation Disc or Original Animation DVD. Sometimes the term is pronounced as ODA or Original Disc animation instead. An OAD is an anime, these days normally in the form of a DVD, Blu-ray, or similar type of disc that is sold along with a limited-edition manga volume.

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OAD Vs OVA: How Are They Different?

OVA or Original Video Animation describes Japanese animated works be them normal episodes, long episodes, or movies that are distributed for home-viewing in the form of DVDs, for instance, without having been previously televised. While an OVA can also be a Special, a Special is only an OVA if it was originally intended for home-viewing and never broadcast on TV or shown in cinemas.

A Western example would be many Disney film sequels, such as Mulan 2, which were only distributed in physical form and never shown in theaters.

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So, does this mean that OADs and OVAs are basically the same things? While the two are quite similar in purpose, there's a key difference: while both OADs and OVAs come in the form of a DVD or Blu-ray, the former are special because they come with a manga volume – normally a limited edition.

A recent example of an OAD would be the forthcoming new content of Ancient Magus' Bride known as Ancient Magus' Bride Nishi no Shonen to Seiran no Kishi. For this three-episode OAD, each episode is going to be bundled with the special edition of volume 16 of the manga. Similarly, later episodes will be bundled with newer volumes.

While not the most common form of distribution when it comes to anime and manga, OADs are definitely a great perk for devoted fans of a particular show. As is the case with OVAs, OADs are more likely to work well for already well-loved works, with fans who are willing to invest in this little bit of extra content of their favorite manga and anime.

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