The Project A-ko series is known for its wacky, wild, balls to the wall action and colorful cast of badass babes. Project A-Ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody should be no exception to this rule, right? Well, we still have the same colorful cast of badass babes, but, unfortunately, this installment in the franchise lacks any of the balls to the wall action, and that’s kind of a shame, as that’s Project A-Ko’s biggest selling point.
The story for this OVA centers around A-Ko, B-Ko, and C-Ko’s spring break. A-Ko is in that stage of adolescence where she’s particularly focused on boys, clothes, and her weight, and despite her earnest efforts in the previous two installments to maintain her friendship with C-Ko (and prevent her from from reaching B-Ko’s clutches), she starts to grow weary of her childish and annoying attitude, as she is worried that hanging around C-Ko will make boys want to stay away from her. While A-Ko tries on a dress and earring set in a store that she feels will make her look beautiful, C-Ko fails to understand A-Ko’s growing interest in finding a boyfriend, and her growing disinterest in putting up with her childishness. This ultimately leads to an argument between the two of them, where C-Ko pulls out one of the earrings that A-Ko is wearing, and she runs away, crying (which C-Ko is constantly known to do). Eventually, C-Ko’s runs into the middle the street, where she is nearly hit by Kei, a super-stud on a motorcycle, who instantly falls in love with her. After the incident with C-Ko, A-Ko runs to catch up to her, thus slamming Kei and his bike into a nearby pile of trash as she quickly slides past him. Later on, A-Ko gets a job at a fast food restaurant (that looks suspiciously like McDonalds), so that she can save up for the dress she had previously seen and tried on at the store. Kei walks in, and A-Ko quickly forms a crush on him when she realized the biker she had run into earlier was so good looking. Meanwhile, B-Ko is using her schoolgirl lackeys to monitor A-Ko and C-Ko’s every move, waiting for A-Ko to strike like she always would in the previous OVAs. She visits A-Ko’s place of work in hopes of figuring out what’s going on, only to find her with Kei. B-Ko quickly becomes attracted to Kei, planting the seed for even more drama to occur.
Much of this OVA is focused on teen love drama, which is such a huge departure from everything that Project A-Ko is known for. Sure, there was teen drama involved in the fights that A-Ko and B-Ko always had over C-Ko, but that lead to some kickass, action-packed battles that were incredibly entertaining to watch. Unfortunately, things don’t really get action-packed until the last 20 minutes, when A-Ko and B-Ko start battling over Kei at a party. The defense force (and then later, every public worker, because the defense force is hilariously incompetent) gets sent to stop any further damage, and, in classic Project A-Ko fashion, this leads to more damage. If the majority of the OVA had been like the last 20 minutes, then this might’ve been simple, dumb fun like every other Project A-Ko installment, but the OVA’s focus on teen drama was its ultimate downfall.
As for the art, it looks like every other part of Project A-Ko, and while the animation is cheap, it is fairly standard for an OVA from that time period. As for the music, the BGM and insert song are alright, but the ending theme is great. I’ve listened to it multiple times outside of the show. One thing that remains consistent about every part of the Project A-Ko series is that each of them features a stellar and memorable ending theme.
The voice acting quality greatly depends on whether you watch this subbed or dubbed. The sub sounds fine, but the dub, much like every part of Project A-Ko (and most of Central Park Media’s dubs) is terrible. I’ve stomached some really awful dubs, so I was able to tolerate this, but for many, the sub would be the preferable option. However, I will say that I think the crappy dub kind of enhances the “cheesiness level”, so if you’re into cheesy experiences like I am, then I recommend the dub.
In conclusion, Project A-Ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody offers little action, and much drama. Unfortunately, loads of drama is certainly not what I look for in a Project A-Ko OVA, and I think most people familiar with the other OVAs in the series would feel the same way. Overall, if you want to complete every single installment of Project A-Ko, then feel free to check out this one, but to those who may be new to the series, this OVA poorly represents what the majority of Project A-Ko is like.