4 of 4 episodes seen
Until Taimanin Asagi.
Suddenly, someone at PIXY had a fantastic idea: cast Wakamoto as an all-powerful sex demon in a hentai, and just let his voice do the rest. This is a great concept; frankly, I was sold on Taimanin Asagi simply by that fact alone. However, it seems someone at PIXY didn't get the memo. Instead of running with the idea that Wakamoto's voice would accomplish the (viewer's) goal for most pornographic material, this idiot decided they needed some sort of INTERESTING STORY, excessively EDGY PRESENTATION, and, of course, TENTACLE RAPE. Then this person got it into their head that these elements would carry the show, and that they wouldn't need The Voice of the Heavens UNTIL THE VERY LAST EPISODE.
And this is why Taimanin Asagi isn't the greatest hentai ever made. It's also why I can't simply write "ALL HAIL EMPEROR WAKAMOTO'S HENTAI!" as my review. Well, that and both my dignity and my pride, which dictate that I bore you with two or three pages of analysis when all you really care about is the little number at the top right that tells you whether or not I share your taste in erotica.
Taimanin Asagi is a tentacle rape hentai that focuses on retired demon-hunter/ninja Asagi. A past nemesis, Oboro, returns from the grave and enslaves Asagi, forcing her to take part in some sort of colosseum of rape. For this event, she modifies Asagi's body to take orgasmic levels of pleasure from any sort of tactile sensation. Add in Asagi's younger sister, Sakura, who is also a ninja, then rape them both to hell and back, then also rape Oboro, and finally throw in the Vicious voice of Wakamoto, and VOILA! Taimanin Asagi!
Needless to say, if you're not a fan of rape or tentacles, this is probably going to be abhorrent, and I will say now that if you don't like these things, it is NOT worth sitting through them to get to the tootsie roll center of the tootsie pop (I'm obviously talking about yellow-ball/ninja-master Norio Wakamoto). This is some of the most hardcore rape I've ever seen; it borders on torture. I lack the technical terminology to describe what goes on without painting a picture for those who'd rather avoid the mental image, but let's just say that...uh...you can quite easily see what happens when you insert large moving objects into smaller...uh...female anatomy.
Anyways, the story. It's sort of okay, actually, at least insofar as there IS a story. It doesn't always manage to make sense, though, and the storytelling is quite disjointed. Exactly how the girls were confined or forced into what they did is a bit unclear, forcing me to attribute it to Hentai Female Lead Incompetence Syndrome (HFLIS, for short, but you can just pronounce it SI-FI-LIS, since it's close enough, really). So, yeah, apparently the females all have HFLIS, encouraging demon after demon to rape them. I really don't get it. I guess it's Oboro's revenge, but she works for Bison, known in this anime pretty much only as Black-sama, who facilitates the whole thing for reasons that are completely unknown. Apparently he finds it amusing. Hey, an all-powerful demon has to do SOMETHING in his spare time, and I suppose he has already beaten the 255th level of Pac-Man. Logically speaking, the only things left to do after that are watching girls get raped and conquering the world, and, well, he's just not ready to get around to the latter.
Obviously, I don't have anything interesting to say about the story. It has some tonal problems as a rape and revenge plot, though, namely it rides that line between emotional breakdown for the victims and them actually enjoying it. It wasn't really clear what was going on in the end, since they didn't ACT like they particularly wanted to escape their situation. Granted, stories like this one often have that problem; balancing the two is awkward, and leaning to one side or the other is either crass or a disturbing turn-off. Other than that, I guess the one-and-a-half action sequences in the show were all right, though I guess that more appropriately falls into the realm of animation.
Because I fail at transitions today, I am going to talk about the characters (not the animation: that would have been a GOOD transition). Taimanin Asagi has precisely one good character; you may know him as Senbei, genie of misfortune. By that, I obviously mean Edwin Black, voiced by Norio Wakamoto. He is simply above everything, aloof yet still apparently evil. Not that his character is well-written; it is merely well-voiced. But good GOD, what a voice!
Asagi is strong-willed, I guess, but that does her little good as she is broken by her demonic captors. Rather, she's like on the verge of breaking the whole time, and it is really unclear what her mental state is. This isn't intentional ambiguity; it's poor writing. I find there to be nothing noteworthy about Sakura, and Oboro is basically just a typical evil demon bitch. So yeah, aside from Edwin von Blackenthal, there's nothing here that you haven't seen before.
What Taimanin Asagi has that you HAVEN'T seen before is in its visual presentation. Animators have long sought to replicate the feel of traditional filming techniques to enhance the realism of their works. This led to such things as digital lens flares, artificial changes in focus, and floating the camera to replicate the steadiness problems of hand-held cameras. Taimanin Asagi takes these techniques to their logical extreme. The camera position and focus are both constantly shifting, making it seem like Taimanin Asagi was somehow filmed by a complete and total novice. This is distracting, but it does add to the overall energy of the production, dizzying though it might be.
The animation itself is...interesting. I wouldn't say it is especially fluid, nor is it devoid of still-shots and looping, but the sex animations are on meth. I mean that it's like they animated standard hentai sex scenes, AND THEN DOUBLED THE FRAME-RATE WITHOUT DOUBLING THE FRAME-COUNT. This, too, is dizzying. At that rate, it becomes hard to follow what is going on. Pair this with overly-zoomed-in camera-work and generally lack-luster camera angles (talk about visual clutter and sight obstructions), and you get a show where you could swear that a ton of stuff is happening but be unable to tell (even vaguely) what that 'stuff' is. Regarding the character designs, it's fairly standard stuff, but the eye-designs are...soulless (they look almost like mind-controlled eyes). I don't know if this is an intentional effect or a random art choice, but it's not my thing. On the plus-side, though, the art quality is pretty decent, and the lighting is better than I've come to expect from this style of show.
Back to the sex, though. Although I said it before, first things are first: this OVA is entirely rape (well, save for the scene where Oboro is throwing herself on Black's whole horse, if you know what I mean). Not only that, but it's pretty brutal rape, and it's often gangbanging, whether by human or demon. Taimanin Asagi prominently features ABSURD AMOUNTS of thick, bubbly semen (sometimes with complementary pubic hairs, free of charge!), and the...uh...heroines often...uh...swish it around in their mouths and/or gag on it and/or puke it out in a manner that confuses me a bit (it, like, jumps out of their throats of its own accord; that's right: sentient, mobile semen). This design choice is hit-or-miss, to say the least. It does nothing for me (okay, it does SOMETHING: namely grossing me out). However, it appeals to some people. So does a particular facial expression, one that I believe is called "ahegao," and the females of Taimanin Asagi wear this expression a truly staggering amount of the time. (The ahegao is a face of sexual ecstasy, eyes rolled up and tongue lolling.) Just like this show's bubblegum manseed, the ahegao is hit-or-miss. I do not find it to be erotic. In summary, the big three things about the sex (brutal rape, super-semen, and mindless-ecstasy faces) don't appeal to me. Obviously, I didn't enjoy the sex scenes much.
Aside from the stupid-fast animation speed and what I believe to be poor cinematography, the sex was not...bad...it just didn't appeal to me. There was plenty of oral and vaginal sex, plus some boobjobs and handjobs, as well as tentacle rape of every orifice. The actual positions involved, though not portrayed very clearly, are quite diverse, some of which were made possible only be the amazing power of tentacles to lift and twist. There was also some S&M/Bondage, obviously of the non-consensual variety. After all, since when has hentai shown that actual S&M/Bondage is an agreement between all individuals involved? Anyways, that's about it for the sex, except for Sakura's breasts, which are HUGE. Sorry, let me try that again: THEY'RE. FUCKING. HUGE. They probably have moons in orbit around them due to their colossal mass. Other than her, the average breast size was still pretty large, which is totally normal for hentai. There are no petite builds.
Annnnnnnnywho, sound. The score for Taimanin Asagi ranged from unobtrusively minimalist to pulse-pounding techno. It was actually rather good, although I thought the music towards the beginning and towards the end was better than in the middle. In general, the series used synths of the ominous or overbearing variety (often synth-strings), with the occasional oriental-style woodwind. Sometimes there were electric guitars, probably because electric guitars are HARDCORE.
When it comes to the voice acting, Chiyo-chan's dadcat was obviously fantastic, so it's more enlightening to talk about the voice acting OTHER than that of Wakamoto. It was generally competent, although Sakura's voice was HIGH (oh so very high), which is typical yet annoying. However, a noteworthy thing occurs during the sex scenes. Remember the whole thing about ahegao? Well, a funny thing happens when you try to talk with your tongue lolling out of your mouth: you slur all your speech. (This also often happens when hentai ladies attempt to discuss the details of the oral pleasuring of a male WHILE DOING SO.) Also, remember when I said that Taimanin Asagi has a staggering amount of ahegao? Well, this assessment can be heard to apply even when you can't see the characters' faces. Yes, the girls will slur EVERYTHING they say. Your mileage will vary on whether or not this pseudo-cutesy slurring is erotic or not. For some reason, I actually do. Just sayin'. It does still gross me out a bit, but...yeah. Still, though, not as orgasmic as Woodchuck as he chucks wood, if you know what I mean; Wakamoto is still the best part of all of the audio of Taimanin Asagi.
Really, I'm out of ideas here. It's late at night, my brain is fried, and I did not NEARLY get as much hailing of Britannia from this as I had hoped when I learned that the Emperor is the OVA's Big Bad. In summary, Taimanin Asagi is really a hit-or-miss show. A lot of its non-Wakamoto appeal is going to rely on whether or not it is personal fetish material and whether you happen to think that the visual presentation is avant-garde in a GOOD way. My own answers to those are "no" and "no," so Taimanin Asagi did not turn out to be my kind of thing.
ALL HAIL THE EMPEROR'S HENTAI!!! But really, you might want to watch Urotsukidoji instead for your animated sex with a side of Wakamoto. I hear that one's classic, and it ALSO has tentacles. Win-win, right? ...Right? read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
OCY follows our bitter hero, Higuchi Kaoru, as he exacts revenge against his childhood friend, Nanao, for raping him. Yes, you heard me right. (Although of course it's not considered rape by anyone, because men are too manly to be raped, right? Also, for the record, since I'm already abusing these parentheses, any forced sexual activity can legitimately count as rape.) Anyways, yes, his childhood friend, with the aid of her student council cronies, rapes him. Furthermore, when they are discovered by their teacher, Nanao claims HE was raping HER. And because there is actually a very legit reason to believe a girl when she claims to have been raped, Kaoru gets punished for the crime of which HE was the victim.
This is a great set-up, at least in theory. If nothing else, it would certainly justify a revenge plot. Unfortunately, to get a sense for that justification, I had to read into the plot. In the world of OCY (and most hentai, I'm sure), attempted rape is punishable at most by...suspension from school. He was not registered as a sex offender or locked up in jail. As far as I'm aware, this is what would happen in real life (at least in the U.S.A.) and would be legitimate grounds to be royally pissed off. No matter what he would try to do in life, he would forever be haunted by that mark on his record. He would always be known to the public as just a rapist. His life would be ruined. In THAT case, there MIGHT be a SENSE in which he is justified in becoming that which he was accused of being, that which he will always be known as. After all, why not at least get the sick satisfaction of the crime of which you have been convicted?
Practically none of that analysis is actually in OCY. I made most of it up as the missing link between the premise and the contents. It's sad to see something with potential trip and fall flat on its face, but I'm not going to credit this show for being well-thought-out when it clearly wasn't. I'm not saying OCY is BAD; with a little more thought, it could have been a gripping psychological tale of blame, guilt, and revenge, perhaps even a sort of treatise on living with the consequences of one's actions or on the social position of those convicted of crimes. It's NOT, but it could have been. That's gotta count for something, right?
Failure to live up to potential and to connect the dots are not the only problems OCY has in the story department. There's a little problem with proper motivation. As mentioned, Nanao and Kaoru are apparently childhood friends (we learn this out of the blue in episode two, as if it had suddenly been decided by the writers). Well, if you're familiar with anime, "childhood friend" = "unrequited love". If you're not familiar with anime, there are better things you should be watching, even among hentai. My point is, Nanao likes Kaoru. I have absolutely no idea why she decided it was a cool idea to rape him and then pin the crime on him. If she were shown to be mentally unstable, then perhaps, but she is portrayed as rational, if arrogant and egocentric, and even as sympathetic towards the end. I don't know if this is due to poor writing or if it's meant as subtle hint that no one deserves to be raped. Wait, I think I do know, and it's not the latter.
Anyways, I guess I've sorta started talking about the characters. Really, the cast is almost entirely comprised of naive, will-less people (Mayu, Mitsuki) and complete jackasses (Nanao, Misao, Kaoru, Takano). I.E., there's nothing special here, although Kaoru is kind of fun to watch. It is as if he was modeled in part after Light Yagami or Lelouch, as he seems to give off this "All according to plan" mastermindedness, while taking a somewhat sick pleasure in watching the chaos unfold (check out those evil grins: they're priceless). Granted, he's not especially intelligent, but having any functional plan whatsoever in a hentai title is well above par. It's not a plan that would work so well in real life, but the same could be said for Light or Lelouch. I should make sure to remind you that I am not saying OCY is as good as Death Note or Code Geass. Don't be silly. The only way OCY could possibly be as good as those titles is if it added explicit sexual content! Which it does. In spades.
Otome Chibaku Yuugi is typical of modern hentai, in that the focus is sex, there's a lot of sex, and the sex is really explicit. This is not a bad thing. I almost feel like it's not worth mentioning the animation quality, since it's really just what you should expect from recent productions. That said, it's still pretty good. I personally like the art style, although the females' particular designs are not my favorite cup of tea. Kaoru, though, is something of a looker, and it's always better (again, in my opinion) when the male is attractive, even if it's rape.
Yes, this OVA is a rape OVA. If you didn't catch that, I don't think you've been paying enough attention. Kaoru systematically blackmails and rapes each of the female student council members, using each one in succession to help secure a hold over the next in line for revenge. Interestingly (and by which I mean I'm not surprised), Kaoru doesn't bother to take revenge on the male council members who were peripherally involved in his rape. Well, Kaoru is as straight as f(x)=3x+2 within a Cartesian coordinate system, not to mention totally obsessed with rape in particular, so OF COURSE there's nothing he can do to get back at them. Either that, or he doesn't know their names, since they are NAMELESS EXTRAS...who work in the student council with him. Did I mention Kaoru was in (and allowed to be in) the student council both before AND after the incident? Yeah, I don't get it either.
In any case, back to the sex. In terms of level of explicitness, Otome Chibaku Yuugi is not at the top of the list. Bodily fluids are relatively minimal, and the camera angles range from very revealing to more conservative shots. There is a large skew in positioning towards, uh, rear entry, mostly of the, uh, bent-over-an-object variety. This tends to stagnate. That said, OCY does have a fair variety of sexual activities: oral (female-on-male, male-on-female, and female-on-female), anal, vaginal, masturbation (though not much), footjob (okay, this one is more disturbing than erotic), minor bondage, toys, enemas...and I think that's about it. It also features a somewhat diverse cast: a shy, blue-pig-tailed, big-breasted, glasses girl; a spunky, short-green-haired, small-breasted girl; an uptight and arrogant (ojousama-esque), long-light-brown-haired, arrogant, proportionally-well-balanced girl; and a teacher archetype. Okay, nothing really unusual about that. Anyways, OCY does not feature any orgies or boobjobs, so...yeah. Furthermore, OCY features precisely NO CONSENSUAL SEX. Kaoru makes a point of keeping things fairly unpleasant, too, while still asserting his position in a master-slave relationship. Your mileage may vary.
Voice acting is pretty competent, although it's not like anyone is going to win any awards. Admittedly, I lack the ability to give any useful comments on the voice acting. Of note were Kaoru's Lelouch-like smugness and Nanao's, uh, screams for mercy. She gets pretty upset as he breaks her. The background music is mostly negligible. I think it involved typical synth-strings and piano, along with occasional solo-pads to set an eerie tone. OCY is pretty dark, so I guess it works, but, again, this won't be winning any awards.
Overall, Otome Chibaku Yuugi isn't bad; it's just not particularly good. Admittedly, the premise is good enough to drive the plot, even with all the holes. Higuchi Kaoru, despite his abhorrent mission, is still a moderately compelling lead, and OCY somehow seems capable of getting its audience to actually root for him. Maybe it's because Nanao and Misao are almost as malicious, and that their irredeemable actions are what drove Kaoru to be the way that he is; as much as it makes me feel like a terrible person, I felt a sense of satisfaction as he broke those two girls. Kaoru does make it clear to them that he is only being as merciless as they were, and that does provide a nice sense of circularity to the scenario.
However, Kaoru also fails to transcend his bitterness and one-dimensional rage, even when the opportunity arises. There are several points at which he could have chosen to just be the better man, so to speak. When he finds out that Mayu has been abused by the other council members, he could have realized that she was coerced into taking part in his rape, forgiven her, and then put an end to the abuse. He does the latter (probably), but it's only by coincidence. Kaoru has no remorse; everything is for the sake of his revenge. His teacher, Mitsuki, is also not to blame, but he doesn't spare her either. When Nanao begs for forgiveness, when he learns she liked him (even considering the irony of the revelation), he does not even hesitate. He doesn't wonder why she did what she did (considering that she liked him), and he has no regret in him whatsoever. The way I see it, he should have had two competing desires: that for revenge, driven by hatred and spite, and that for forgiveness, driven by empathy and regret. It's not that the former wins out; it's that he completely lacks the latter. This makes him unsympathetic, which is something he sort of was at the beginning.
Overall, Otome Chibaku Yuugi was all right, but it isn't anything particularly great. Watch it for a hentai/far-less-intelligent version of Lelouch and for, uh, rape scenes that aren't particularly painful by merit of being a sort of comeuppance. If you're not really interested in those, or if none of the content is personal fetish material, then this probably isn't worth watching, unless you really can't find anything better. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
1) Incredible "vanilla" sex scenes
2) Really painful plotlines
Well, that's Machi Gurumi in a nutshell. It traces out the downward spiral of events for two fairly likable (or at least sympathetic) girls. As such, it might be rather difficult to watch. However, if you can at least tolerate it (as I somehow managed to do, for reasons not entirely clear to me), you'll probably find that Machi Gurumi is hot. Very hot. So very hot that I can't say that it is anything but an excellent hentai. But then again, that's really all it is.
Machi Gurumi follows two very unlucky sisters (unlucky in the sense that they ended up in a PoRO title). The older sister (Takagi Atsuko) has just been hired as a teacher at a school, and the younger sister (Takagi Yui) is a student there. Their father also works as a clerk there. At this school, there is also a problem child, Kenji, and he is also the headmaster's dear son. When a brief series of events ends up alienating Kenji, the headmaster gives Atsuko the task of bringing him back, under threat of their entire family being kicked out. Of course, this being hentai, Kenji uses this opportunity to force Atsuko into having sex with him. In addition, a mysterious third-party starts blackmailing her. Caught between a rock and a hard place (pun intended), she has no choice but to soldier on. Unbeknownst to her, Yui is facing similar circumstances...
I kinda like the set-up. It's not brilliant, but it's pretty solid and rather complex for a hentai title. Other than the third-party blackmailing and separate-but-intersecting plotlines, though, it plays out like a typical blackmail hentai. Due to the nature of the blackmailing in this particular show, it gets pretty creepy; if you can't handle incest, stop a few minutes before the end of episode 1 or face the consequences.
There's a lot left unsaid in Machi Gurumi. A fair amount of background info on the family is implied but never stated outright. This certainly makes the show more interesting and even gives it some small sense of subtlety, but the ultimate lack of explanation results in a certain nagging curiosity. This, paired with the unfortunate fate of the heroines, makes the ending rather unsatisfactory. I was really hoping for some justice, but it simply never came (pun intended).
As far as I can tell, there's no deeper meaning to (or theme underlying) Machi Gurumi. It's just a sex-fest, like some alternate-reality, malicious version of Fukubiki! Okay, it's more like Oni Chichi. My point is, the story exists to provide a context and excuse for the sex. So, if you're not in it for the sex, if you can't handle incest, or if you can't handle rape, then Machi Gurumi has absolutely nothing to offer.
Machi Gurumi's primary draw is definitely not its characterization. The characters have, at most, a shred of personality.
Headmaster: Creepy jerk.
Dad: Disturbing creep.
Kenji: Creepy loser.
Atsuko: Caring, but naive and powerless.
Yui: Spunky, but powerless.
I find it easy to see how these characters could have been deeper. For example, Kenji could easily have been a sympathetic, socially-awkward character who disrespects others in the same way that they disrespect him. (That was actually my first impression of him.) With this set-up, Atsuko could have gradually helped him learn to interact with others in a positive way. But no, that would be an entirely different show. Machi Gurumi is not nearly that deep or that optimistic.
The greatest accomplishment of the characterization in Machi Gurumi is the strange sense of thoughtfulness that the heroines radiate. As easily as they fall into the common traps of blackmail hentai, they just seem more intelligent and pensive. It's hard for me to pinpoint what makes me think this, but it might have to do with the cinematography (a few lonely, quiet scenes), the sheer amount of internal monologue (a lot), or the fact that they just aren't quite as stupid as many girls in hentai (which doesn't say much). The sisters' trust in and loyalty to each other is also an interesting dynamic, but it is not fleshed out. Having only 2 episodes with a plot like Machi Gurumi's is not very conducive to building subtle relationships.
PoRO once again delivers on the visual front. The colors are bright, and the lines are sharp. The background art is actually fairly good, but for the most part irrelevant. The animation is mostly fluid, although it's nothing particularly impressive. Shortcuts like looping and talking-head-syndrome are used unobtrusively. The cinematography is strong, with good use of lighting and camera angles, but there's nothing hugely out of the ordinary. The scene composition is good, even moody at times, and the scene transitions are occasionally notably good.
The character designs are pretty reminiscent of other PoRO works. Suspiciously reminiscent, if you catch my drift. Similarities to other PoRO heroines aside, the girls look quite attractive. Designs are on the cutesy side without being lolirific. Eyes are empty pools of color (typical of recent moe-ish hentai). Proportions are reasonable. The heroines are very distinct in terms of body-type, providing a large amount of variety for only having two girls. In terms of outfits, it's basically just school uniforms and hair ornaments, but they do look good. The main males in this series are pretty diverse in design, but none of them are attractive. There's also a lot less detail given to them, and they don't seem to change their facial expressions very often (most notably the Dad, who has an unwavering blank expression and creepy smile). Interestingly, the men never remove any of their clothes. I think this says something about the one-sided-ness of the sex in Machi Gurumi.
Speaking of the sex in Machi Gurumi, it's all "vanilla," pretty much kink-less. To be honest, the sex is not particularly diverse. We see oral, anal, and vaginal, some inner-thigh action, several of the simpler positions typical to hentai, and a few different settings. Of note, the girls never take the lead.
Machi Gurumi makes up for a lack of diversity with incredibly erotic seximatography, excellent pacing, and a high level of explicitness. Camera angles are daring and dynamic, mixing close-ups with full-body shots. Positions are held for just the right amount of time to prevent stagnation without seeming jumpy or rushed. There is energy in the sex scenes, despite the fact that the girls are not taking any initiative at all. There is a large amount of movement and attention to detail, helping to mask the use of shortcuts like looping. Machi Gurumi is also surprisingly realistic when it comes to the amount of semen released during ejaculation. This means that if you like to see bucketloads of the stuff, Machi Gurumi is not going to do anything for you.
Overall, the sex scenes are very, very, VERY hot, assuming you can get over the fact that it's all rape. I'm not a big fan of rape scenes, but Machi Gurumi somehow doesn't portray rape as overwhelmingly harrowing. It's a welcome break from reality for a title such as this; I like not feeling awful.
Overall I'm quite impressed with the sound. The background music consists almost entirely of synth-strings and piano, which sounds classy. The score also capably supports the mood; the music is hopeful and regretful at its happiest and eerie and menacing at its darkest. The ending theme is different for each episode, although both are fun little piano concerto thingees. The first is rather joyous, while the second is agitated. Both are good, but I wish the first were more appropriate to the mood of the show. By which I mean that I wish the show were happier.
The voice acting is a mixed bag. The girls deliver excellent performances in and out of the sex scenes. They're very expressive during sex, emitting all sorts of cries of pain and pleasure. The men...are passable. Kenji's voice is really breathy, and it sounds very, very creepy. The heroines' Dad kinda sounds like he just took a fistful of valium and is in happy tranquil fun land. Pair that with his permanent smile and somewhat blank expression, and he is on a whole new level of creepiness. He's like an evil, serial-killer version of Mr. Rogers. It's probably all intentional, but still, it's really unpleasant. Anyways, moving right along, the sound effects in Machi Gurumi are super-understated. If squishy sounds are important in your sex scenes, then Machi Gurumi is not going to be your kind of thing.
WHAT I MEAN BY ALL THIS:
I'm not going to kid myself into thinking that Machi Gurumi is good for anything but the sex. That's really all there is to it. It provides a decent set-up, a fairly intriguing story, and pretty good presentation, but these do not drive the show. They merely support the sex. And what sex it is!
It's a painful and creepy story, but the sex scenes flow from it in a way that works fairly well. It's rape, but it doesn't scream "PAIN!!!!" and "ANGUISH!!!!" at you until you feel like a terrible person. The men are ugly, but the cinematography minimizes their role. Machi Gurumi takes a story-type full of unappealing conventions and carefully downplays them in order to reduce them to non-issues. It's a bit surprising how effectively it does that.
As such, it's very possible to enjoy the sex scenes even amidst the horrifying context. And that's the whole point. So, if you want something that's mind-numbingly hot and "vanilla," and if you can deal with rape scenes, then Machi Gurumi is a pretty stellar hentai. Highly recommended for the sex, but not much else. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
In Aisai Nikki we see a man (Keisuke) admitting that he is not pleasing his wife (Sanae) and asking another man (Ryouichi) to please her in his place. This is the first subversion of the NTR subgenre. Second, Keisuke watches it all, arguably for the RAGE, which may make him an NTR fan himself, yet another subversion. The third and fourth are both SPOILERS, but the fourth is really worth mentioning.
xharemxendingxforxsanaex (parse at "x" obviously)
Talk about unusual. Anyways, fifth, there is use of condoms, which is frighteningly rare in hentai.
I really have to give credit where credit is due, and Aisai Nikki actually deserves some praise for ORIGINALITY. Yeah, this is something you probably haven't seen before.
The story itself is simple (it's really just the set-up for a sex-fest), but it is very solid and plays out in an unusual way. It never fails to make sense, even when it may seem a bit odd (although the pregnancy vs. safe day mixed message is a bit puzzling). It also does a good job leading to the sex scenes. I mean, really, what more can we ask for in a hentai storyline? That was a rhetorical question; I kinda miss the 1990's, when even hentai often had fairly engaging (if silly) plots.
In case I haven't established it firmly enough, Aisai Nikki is all about the sex. Despite any praise I give to the story, it's not deep or complex or even intriguing in any way. It doesn't really raise any questions or address any themes. But it never even TRIES to do any of this. Aisai Nikki is clearly meant for titillation, not literary analysis. It knows its selling point is sex; it just happens to give us a solid, non-traditional premise and resolution.
Anyways, the characters are really nothing special. Keisuke is our erectile-dysfunctional lead, who loves his wife enough to do something most men wouldn't dare do. Sanae is the typical hot wife, who loves her husband but discovers she also really loves sex. Ryouichi is...um...a pretty cool dude.
The cast earns points with me for generally being more open-minded than most hentai characters. So, I guess, in a way, the characters ARE kinda special. Just remember: don't expect anything deep, complex, or compelling.
The art looks good at a glance, but it quickly becomes fairly obvious that there wasn't much of a budget behind this. The color palette is fairly dark, but it works decently. Lines are sharp, as always. Backgrounds are totally unnoteworthy. Lighting is okay, but occasionally has those weird shading gradients that I find a bit nauseating. The animation itself is decent, and nothing more. A number of shortcuts are used, even in the sex scenes (okay, most of Aisai Nikki consists of sex scenes), such as looping, repeated animations, and some minimal movement. Granted, there's quite a bit of drippy detail, if you know what I mean, but still. Sanae's character design is pretty typical for hentai; she's thin and very, VERY well-endowed. One noteworthy detail is the way she blushes, which is very sexy. The two males are somewhat unusual in that they are both pretty hot. Granted, they basically have the same design below the neck, but I'm willing to pay that price at the moment. Also, Keisuke's hair always covers his eyes. This tends to dehumanize the eyeless character, and I'm not sure why Aisai Nikki does that to Keisuke.
The sex in Aisai Nikki is pretty decent, but definitely not top-of-the-line. It's of the rather explicit variety seen frequently nowadays, not shying away from revealing, hardcore camera angles. The positions are generally the basic ones, but they're fairly erotic, with a good amount of energy in the sex, expressed by arching, moaning, cries of pleasure and throes of passion. There's a fair amount of attention to detail and bodily fluids. We even get some internal views, which may or may not be your kind of thing. I find that they don't really do anything for me. Anywho, the downside to the sex is that there is a lot of looping and a lot of repeated footage. I challenge you to NOT notice it, especially now that I've drawn your attention to it. Also, the camera angles, while generally good, tend to linger too long on any one shot, which can be a big problem since not all the camera angles give us a particularly erotic view of the situation. These problems are not deal-breakers, but they are troublesome and a bit of a mood-kill.
Almost all of the sex in Aisai Nikki is completely consensual, the one exception being dubiously consensual, tending towards consensual. It's nice; after all, I find sex scenes to be hotter if the females really get into it. It's ESPECIALLY nice because we get one of the very few consensual double-penetration scenes in hentai. Hot. In terms of type of sex, it's all "vanilla," though there's some element of voyeurism involved. Oral, anal, and vaginal sex are all present and accounted for. There isn't much clothing in this, so this is not going to do the trick for clothing fetishists, with the exception of aprons.
I really don't think there is anything noteworthy about the sound. Voice acting is competent but by no means the best I've heard in hentai. Sanae slurs her speech a LOT during sex, which may or may not be annoying. Keisuke seems angry most of the time, but that is kind of his character. Ryouichi sounds...like a pretty cool dude. The BGM is practically nonexistent. The sound effects are moderately heavy on the squishy and slurpy sounds, but otherwise unnoteworthy.
Overall, Aisai Nikki is a fairly solid hentai, it's most special strength being its somewhat original story. I'm not a fan of NTR, so seeing the subgenre twisted like this is rather amusing and satisfying. Other than this, though, Aisai Nikki does not stand out much. Its sex scenes are just enough to keep the title afloat, but many other recent hentai (and a few older titles) can just blow it out of the water in terms of sexiness. And, of course, since Aisai Nikki is pretty much all about the sex, this means that it will have limited appeal.
If you're looking for something that gives a middle finger to NTR or for something a bit different from what you usually see, Aisai Nikki may be a good choice. If you're just in it for the sex, or if you're looking for a really compelling story to go with your hot animated sex, then Aisai Nikki is not what you're looking for. That's how I see it.
Of course, with only one episode out at the time I write this and with no clear direction for future episodes, I'm really jumping the gun with this review. Oh well, I doubt anyone really cares. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
Debts of Desire is an example of the lattermost. Its appalling visual presentation utterly destroys its sex appeal, and its inability to link events together in a logical way makes the feeble attempt at a story into a joke. Yet despite this, Debts of Desire is not strictly an abominable mess. Sure, it's pathetic, but it's not a TOTAL failure. Sometimes it's amusing to watch. Sometimes it's grippingly dark. And, every once in a while, some character acts in a way that seems surprisingly real. Most of the time, though, it's just exactly what you've seen before, only more poorly executed. MUCH more poorly executed.
Debts of Desire takes a simple and often-used idea in hentai - blackmail - and tosses it randomly up into the air, just waiting for it to fall...somewhere. Anywhere. So here's the low-down on the story:
Masaki is cramping his rich dad's style, so his dad threatens to disown him unless he can do something competently for once in his life. His father gives him the task of collecting on some old debts. This gives Masaki a BRILLIANT idea: he can blackmail girls at his school into sex by waving their parents' unpayable debts in their faces!
I have no idea how this is supposed to accomplish Masaki's task. I don't even think he plans to, I don't know, condition them into sex slaves to be sold to repay their parents' debts. I've seen other hentai do something like that. Debts of Desire is not other hentai; it does not seem to have that kind of foresight. That is kinda telling of how bad the plot of Debts of Desire is.
Anyways, his maid agrees that this idea is GREAT, and he proceeds to blackmail one girl into sex, and then he runs into a childhood friend whom he...doesn't really blackmail into sex. He kinda guilts her into it. Then he tries to more-or-less-gradually subordinate these girls into his obedient slaves. And then the ending. Oh boy the ending. I'm not going to spoil it, but it comes kinda out of nowhere, starts to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling of satisfaction, and then resolves strangely. Or not. You're probably already familiar with anime's special talent for endings. In any case, it's the most amusing part of this title. Okay, pretty much the only amusing part of this title.
If Debts of Desire is about anything (deeper than blackmailing girls into sex, that is), then it's about how being a jerk will come back to bite you (pun intended, but you'll only get it if you watch). Unfortunately, it is incapable of establishing any sort of thematic groundwork more subtle than yelling: "it happens, so watch out!" I could perhaps argue that it's a look at how rape can wreck a person, but the second episode tosses that perspective out, turning the case into sex-you-didn't-know-you-wanted. Debts of Desire seems to have a problem committing itself to anything, be it theme or plot or even mood.
The main character is similarly erratic. One thing can be said, though: he is an unlikable, manipulative jerk. This does not make him fun to watch; in fact, it makes him hard to tolerate. He will play any role to get sex with as little resistance as possible, but he doesn't do this in a way that is remotely clever. He is not smart. In fact, it's possible that his plan makes no sense because HE never thought it through that far. As in-character as that would be, I hesitate to credit the narrative with that kind of...complexity.
There are a few other characters, with little to say about any of them. The stars of the sex of Debts of Desire are a blonde-twintail childhood friend character (Mai) who will do anything to help her love, and a cheerful, brown-haired beauty (Mizuki) whom Masaki blackmails. Mizuki is the most well-developed character in this title; she goes so far as to TELL us about part of her personality! Strangely, though, what struck me most about her was her sense of resolve (an episode 1 exclusive feature!). Also, the final scene of episode 1, which I interpreted as her coming to realize the full weight of her situation. This scene almost managed to say something thoughtful. It lasted for about 2 seconds, and then the thought was abandoned.
And then there's the maid. Best character in this title by FAR. This will only become apparent right before the very end.
I guess I should talk about the sex. Hentai, sex, seems relevant. But first, you need to know something about how the show looks.
Debts of Desire looks terrible. And that may be a compliment.
Debts of Desire has only three visual aspects that are passable: line-work, colors, background art. None of these are very good, but they at least aren't bad. The character designs would be passable as well, except that facial designs are hideously reused even among the main players, and there are just...problems, not the least of which is how frequently the characters go off-model. Cinematography? Debts of Desire doesn't know the meaning of the word. Animation? Only in the vaguest sense. Debts of Desire uses every, I repeat, EVERY animation shortcut in the book, almost at every opportunity. Panning? Check. Talking heads? Check. Minimal movement? Check. Minimal detail? Check. Looping? Check. Repeated footage? Check. Sliding images to replace motion? Check again.
The sex scenes improve on one of these aspects just a tad: cinematography. We actually get some significant angle shots! Other than that, the sex is totally uninteresting. All the shortcuts mentioned above can be seen in the sex. One particularly jarring example is that many times, even in full-body shots during sex, large segments of the characters' bodies would remain motionless while others move. This looks stupid, and it just MURDERS the sexiness. So, what about the composition of the sex itself? Boring, generally. It's hard to describe the sex positioning, since we are given such limited camera shots. The second episode improves on this by occasionally zooming the camera out far enough and for a great enough length of time to kind of show off the full positioning. The notable exception is the final sex scene, which has so much movement, so many full-body shots, and so many different positions that it might be mistaken for a scene from a hentai of MIDDLING quality. It's still looped to the end of the earth and back, but wow, what a difference. The animators must have really loved Mai.
Anyways, as for type of sex, there's a wide variety. Vanilla, cosplay, bondage, toys, masturbation, oral, anal...pretty diverse, but none of it particularly interesting due to the poor quality of the presentation. As I implied, the genitalia are not drawn with much detail at all, and bodily fluids are not as...forthcoming as they are in more recent productions. In terms of consensuality, Debts of Desire is all over the map, but I'd say generally dubious or ambiguous.
What little strength the sex scenes have is provided mostly by the voice acting, which is, as far as I can tell, pretty good. Nothing extraordinary, though. It's just that I noticed that the voices are pretty expressive. There aren't a lot of moans and such during sex, but there's a good bit of heavy breathing, and a fair amount of talking. The sound effects were generally weak. Really weak. The only thing I remember about the background music is that I occasionally used it to figure out if a sex scene was intended to be creepy or happy or sad or whatever.
Debts of Desire is not a hentai that I think is terrible by merit of being utterly abhorrent in some respects but decent in others. Rather, Debts of Desire is just pretty bad all around. It fails as erotica. It fails as porn. It fails as a story. It fails as entertainment.
It's just not worth your time, unless you really want to either A) figure out what's up with the ending and the maid, or B) understand that pun I made earlier when trying (and failing) to talk about themes. If you want a blackmail hentai, try After Class Lesson. They kinda play out the same way, but After Class Lesson has a larger cast, more explicit sex, and, most importantly of all, way, way better art.
Erodude's Righteous Final Judgment: Avoid. There are just too many better hentai. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
I'd leave it at that, but I don't think that makes for a particularly helpful review. My mind is totally numb from watching it, but I'll try my best to provide a good look at one horrifying hentai. This title is DEFINITELY not for everyone.
Seifuku Shoujo is a hentai about girls getting raped. Constantly. And that's all there is to it.
The art in Seifuku Shoujo is probably its greatest asset, and even then, it isn't perfect. Colors are bright, and the lines are sharp, and the animation is fluid when it counts (and even sometimes when it doesn't count). The lighting, however, comes across as dim, which not only darkens the whole show but washes out the colors in a sort of nauseating manner. It doesn't help that there are shading gradients that make no sense and simply increase the haziness and nauseating visuals. The character designs of the girls are generally pleasant, although the eye designs are weird, and the head-design occasionally takes on a strange inverted-raindrop shape (bulbous at the top of the hair and tapering off with a pointy chin). As there are five different lead girls, expect a bit of variation, although only one has short hair. The character designs of the younger guys are not repulsive, and that's pretty much all I can say here. The older guys, however, definitely do not come across as attractive, and that's really a huge understatement. The general cinematography is really inconsistent, running the gamut from interesting to boring.
The sex...is well-animated. Positions are varied, there's a lot of energy, and the seximatography is very erotic. It's fluidly animated and quite detailed, especially when dealing with bodily fluids, of which there are a lot, and I mean A LOT. The way semen is drawn is going to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing, I'm guessing, since it tends to be very off-white and lumpy. There's a little cosplay (ep 2) and bondage (ep 3), for people who are into that. But now, here's the deal: almost all of the sex in Seifuku Shoujo is the rape of the heroine by a repulsive older man. In addition to rape not floating many people's boats, it's not even very hot because of the disgusting images of the males involved. Also, in general, the females do absolutely nothing during sex. They are being raped, and it is clear that they don't enjoy it at all. In fact, it is clear they are suffering. There are all kinds of people in the world, but I do NOT find this sexy. I find it painful. THIS is what really kills Seifuku Shoujo for me.
Part of why I find Seifuku Shoujo so painful is because the voice acting of the girls is fantastic. They make you feel what they feel, and what they feel is pain and anguish. As impressive as that is, the effect is not good. I have nothing to say about the male voice acting other than that the male lead in episode 3 sounds appropriately creepy and disturbed (which is to say, VERY). The BGM for the most part does a great job supporting the mood, generally consisting of creepy ambient breakbeats, occasionally developing into faster techno and drum 'n' bass, often to match the pace of the sex. Speaking of sex, it is generally well-acted, although the girls aren't doing much but breathing heavily and expressing pain. The sound effects did their job. The ED is okay, upbeat happy J-Techno or what-have-you. Overall, the sound is quite good.
The stories in Seifuku Shoujo are generally pathetic, just excuses to have the girls raped a lot. They aren't even very good excuses, often seeming like they come out of nowhere. The plot in episode 4 is a little better than in episodes 1 and 2, in that the setup is a little more complicated, but it's still atrocious. Episode 3, however, deserves something of a special mention. Its plot, while simple, is executed in a way that is hypnotic in its creepiness. Like the other episodes, #3 is disturbing, but it adds a psychological aspect to it. This episode may actually be good, but it's probably just less bad than the others. As I write this, I'm still rather dazed, and the context I have for comparison is the rest of Seifuku Shoujo. Anyways, in that episode, it's the characters that make the difference.
The characters in Seifuku Shoujo are impressively one-dimensional. Pretty much all you have are the female leads and the old men who rape them. In episode 1, there's a loyal boyfriend and a sex-crazy girl, and in others there are...oh, what's the point? I can't describe the characters because there's nothing special about them AT ALL.
Except, of course, in episode 3. This happens to be the one episode with a rapist from the same age category as the victim, but that's beside the point. I can't fool myself into thinking that the characterization in the episode is anything but shallow. So then, what makes episode 3 special? The male lead is genuinely insane. If I HAD to draw a parallel, I'd say he's a male, hentai equivalent of Yuno Gasai; he's a male yandere, except instead of lethal violence, he uses rape (because this is hentai, duh). This makes for a stunning contrast to the female lead, who seems astoundingly sane and lucid. Perhaps this is only by comparison, but it's still quite an effect. It's a rather fascinating thing to watch, but don't get me wrong: it doesn't make the episode even remotely pleasant or enjoyable.
So, no, I did not like Seifuku Shoujo. I couldn't even find it sexy, despite how explicit and erotic the sex scenes are. No doubt there are people who will like it. If you can filter out (or take pleasure in) the screams of pain and pleas for mercy, then you'll probably greatly enjoy Seifuku Shoujo. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
Quick summary: I did not enjoy I☆Can.
I☆Can is the story of a girl (Miyu) who is just starting out as an idol. Her manager (Ryouta) is also her high-school sweetheart. They are in a slowly progressing, supportive relationship, when Miyu's producer (Terada) decides he wants a piece of her. If you are familiar with NTR, then the rest is obvious. If you aren't, here's a summary: Terada repeatedly rapes Miyu. Ryouta finds out but is powerless to stop it. Then finally, when Ryouta manages to confront Terada about it, Miyu decides she'd rather have Terada and abandons her former lover.
I do not consider that summary to be a spoiler. Someone I know made the point that, in order for a statement to be a spoiler, it must, by revealing information about the plot, make something less enjoyable than it would be were the viewer to go in without knowing that information. I think knowing what happens in an NTR hentai is the only chance for it to be at all satisfying. That's my disclaimer.
So, to begin with, I have to wonder why I put myself through I☆Can in the first place, since I don't even like NTR. The answer is that PoRo makes very, very hot hentai. I've also found that the sex in NTR works tends to be hotter than average. This is kind of disturbing under critical analysis, because NTR usually consists of pretty much nothing but rape. So, for starters, I☆Can is only going to float your boat if you can deal with (or are totally into) rape scenes. I can deal with rape scenes, but I am most certainly NOT a big fan of them.
Let's start the standard review with the art. The art is pretty good. Bright colors, sharp lines, everything you've come to expect from a recent production. The animation is pretty average for a recent hentai, which, in terms of non-hentai productions, would qualify as mediocre to decent at best. The female character designs are nothing special, really, although, because we're dealing with idols here, we get to see some pretty intricate clothing. Ryouta's design is average (not unattractive, but he's no ladykiller), and Terada, well, he's an older, not-so-incredibly-attractive fellow, typical of most of the NTR I've seen (surprisingly much). He does look the part of the rich, Hollywood director (money is sexy, right? RIGHT?), and he has some pretty cool shades. Not even remotely close to Kamina-level, but I'll take what I can get to make him less repulsive. The cinematography, overall, is nothing short of utterly mediocre.
Sex is where hentai gets a chance to shine. The sex in I☆Can is AVERAGE. It isn't particularly interesting. The positions are somewhat lacking in diversity; the sex is devoid of enthusiasm, energy, and passion; and the seximatography (cinematography during sex, for those who aren't familiar with my totally made-up lingo) ranges from uninteresting to downright boring for anyone who has seen any other recent hentai productions. Granted, as is the norm in recent productions, I☆Can is pretty darn explicit, with a lot of drippy detail, but, seriously, there's far more interesting stuff out there.
The sound is up next, and it is not anything exceptional. I don't remember anything about the BGM, which means that at best it merely did its job setting a mood (and the moods weren't particularly strong, I might add). The voice acting was decent; there's not much to criticize on that front. During sex, it was all the usual erotic vocals and noises for a recent hentai production, maybe a little light on the squelching sound effects or whatnot. There's a fair amount of talking during the sex, often involving something along the lines of not liking being raped. Go figure.
The story is next in line for my rant--I mean, review--and boy, do I have something to say here.
THE STORY SUCKS.
Now, I'm not even saying this from the perspective of someone who doesn't like NTR. Even if I liked NTR, I would have to admit that the story is utterly generic. I have additional firepower in declaring the story's suckitude for those of you who, like me, are not into NTR. However, if you like NTR specifically for the RAGE aspect (those of you who like NTR probably know what I'm talking about), then what I have to say next may actually be a positive.
I☆Can is more RAGE-inducing than most. Let me start out with a question:
Is it right to get angry at or blame someone for something they are not responsible for?
The answer is no. A second question:
Is a victim of rape responsible for being raped?
The answer, again, is no.
Why ask all this? So you can fully understand how disturbing the following is. The primary reason Miyu abandons Ryouta at the end of I☆Can:
He doesn't get angry at her for being raped.
You heard me right: Miyu abandons Ryouta because he doesn't blame her for something beyond her control. Not only that, but Ryouta did nothing but try to be supportive of Miyu. He never pressed her about it for fear of hurting her (it is painful to talk about stuff like that). However, he showed concern when she was troubled, and tried to get her to talk to him of her own accord, if she was ready for it. Then, in the end, it's like she said to him, "You shouldn't have been caring and concerned; you should have hated me instead!" That is just plain wrong, and it's the take-away message of I☆Can.
Oh, of course, there was also the standard NTR break-up reason: supposedly, post-repeated-rape, only Terada is able to satisfy Miyu sexually. If you think about it, this is also just plain wrong, but it's the usual in NTR. And, in fact, a lot of hentai.
Anyways, some interpret Ryouta's lack of forwardness (forwardness defined briefly as anger, possessiveness, murderous jealously, etc.) as him being an idiot, which thus justifies the overwhelming betrayal. This, I think, is due to the internalization of really bad standards about male behavior and ownership of females. After all, his behavior was not very manly, right? No, I see Ryouta as a sort of paragon who is hated for the very virtues that make him likable. He even goes straight to Terada and offers to sacrifice his own career to save Miyu. By hentai standards, no, even by real-life standards, he's a something of a saint...
...and yet he's still not a very interesting character. What a great transition to the characters! Someone give me a high-five.
No one in this show, except perhaps Leina, is at all interesting. Leina herself is something of an enigma, since it's hard to tell for sure exactly what motivates her. Is she Terada's pawn? Or is she after Ryouta? Or is she just a concerned friend, schoolmate, or coworker? Who knows, since she is not remotely the focus of the show. Miyu is unusually infuriating, but not INTERESTING. I've already said my piece on Ryouta. Terada is, well, just yet another creep in a position of power that he likes to abuse. I...I really don't have anything more to say about them; they're that uninteresting.
It should be fairly obvious now why I did not enjoy I☆Can. Are there any reasons, though, why I might have actually enjoyed it? After all, if I have nothing good to say, why not one-star it?
Well, the sex was okay (in the grand scheme of hentai), and I☆Can, overall, wasn't as horrible as I can imagine a hentai being. And, to an extent, it was, somehow, kind of gripping. And, after all, I'd rather save my one-star rating for something that REALLY, REALLY deserves it. There's a lot more hentai out there than what I've watched.
So, in summary, the only reason to watch I☆Can is if you love NTR especially for the RAGE. Otherwise, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. You have been warned. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
Step Sister (Gibomai) is one of those cases where the story somehow manages to be the main appeal. Well, more accurately, I find that the dark, partially self-analytic TONE of the story is much more fascinating than the sex is exciting. But still, my point remains valid.
Step Sister is about a young man by the name of Kyosuke whose father dies. His father, a famous painter, leaves to his son his entire fortune and his paintings. However, Kyosuke's stepmother, Megumi, whom he blames for his mother's death, seems to be after one of those paintings. She is willing to cut a deal with him: she gives him her daughter, Yuna, to do with however he pleases, and he gives her the paintings in exchange. Sweet deal, right? Wrong. What proceeds is kinda messed up, by real-world standards. For hentai, eh, par for the course.
Kyosuke basically turns Yuna into his S&M slave, and she begins to like it. Then Kyosuke turns his attentions to Megumi. All the while, Kyosuke wonders what the meaning behind his father's last piece is.
The story is somehow very engaging. It may have to do with the dark tones of the series, as well as the Kyosuke's acknowledgment of both his own sadistic tendencies and the fact that he is kind of being a huge dick (pun intended). I don't really know why, but I was glued to the screen.
The characters may help this. The star of the show is perhaps Kyosuke, who is manipulative and sadistic, as well as strong-willed in a mean way. And yet, he seems to have some sort of heart under all of it. Some sort, at least, as he is still a really big jerk who more-or-less blackmails people into sex (AKA rape). Despite behaving in a very typical way for a hentai "hero" when it comes down to the wire, his way of thinking about things, including (especially?) his own behavior, places him a cut above the rest.
Megumi is the second-most-interesting, I think. She, too, is manipulative, but she cares more than she lets on, and this will backfire on her sooner or later (watch if you want to find out). She seems to be an art dealer or a curator at an art museum, and is torn about showing a painting (by Kyosuke's father) entitled, "The Yearn of the Morn." Why? You'll find out. Sorta.
The last main character is Yuna. She was kind fascinating at first, since she seemed a bit more strong-willed than your typical hentai "heroine" (which doesn't say much, I know). It's somewhat interesting to watch her own descent into a masochistic delirium, and her sense of priorities lead her to some very irrational decisions, but, again, hentai, par for the course.
The sound in this OVA is a mixed bag. The voice acting is pretty typical, which is to say it works well, as far as I can tell. However, I'm not a big fan of Megumi's voice during sex. I find her voice hard to describe, other than perhaps as scratchy or annoying, but, again, this is only really during sex. Oh, and expect quite a lot of screaming during sex, especially in the second episode. And, I guess, while on the topic of sex, it's pretty well-acted (plenty of squeals of delight, squishing and squelching sound effects, and whatnot), previously noted exceptions notwithstanding.
The BGM, for what may be the first and last time, is worth a mention. Step Sister starts off with an ambient, dark, brooding string piece that really sets the mood, and the music throughout is consistently creepy in nature. The ED, "sensitive" by KOTOKO, is actually rather good, if J-Techno is your thing. Eh, I guess it's more J-Eurobeat. I should know better, right?
The art for this OVA is fairly good, although it does kinda show some age. Colors are pretty deep (although it has a pretty dull color palette, somewhat fittingly for something dark in tone), and lines are pretty sharp. The animation itself is a mixed bag, with some scenes being amazingly fluid, while others are not impressive in the least. The cinematography actually merits some mention here, as it is occasionally quite dynamic. Occasionally. The character designs are okay, but not fantastic in the least. There are two things I'd like to note about the designs: 1) they are fairly modest, and 2) watch out for the Visual Arts/Key eye-spacing, especially on Yuna. One more thing to note is that characters are generally on-model, which kinda surprises me, given the overall inconsistent nature of the visual aspects of Step Sister.
I suppose this leaves the sex. I have one, very important thing to say about the sex:
This is a S&M/Bondage OVA. No way around it. And there's some issues of dubious consent. What a surprise.
Step Sister is middlingly explicit, with much more detail on the sex organs than was given in the 90s, but with nowhere near the dripping detail of today's productions. Also, the seximatography is actually a little modest by today's standards. Not very modest, though: the camera angles are all pretty revealing, as are most of the sex positions. The sex itself is fairly hot, with a good amount of movement, but the production quality seems low, with what could be considered animation shortcuts like occasional looping. There is also not a huge amount of position-changing, which leads to a bit of stagnation. Step Sister tries to make up for this by being kinky. As mentioned before, this is S&M, and we get a fair amount of physical abuse, unwanted penetration, as well as humiliation. We also get toys and bondage. It's almost needless to say, buy your mileage may vary. Furthermore, as stated earlier, it's not exactly a shining example of consensuality, so your mileage may vary even more.
This kind of sex is...not really my thing. It is bondage and abuse, only consensual towards the end, which makes a lot of this OVA abusive rape. This has its appeal to some, but not really to me. I'm also not that into May-December Sex. This makes it a little more disturbing to me. All of this combined is probably why I consider the story to be the best part of Step Sister.
Overall, I actually enjoyed Step Sister to an extent. It is, after all, a rather intriguing and entrancing story about a broken family coming together (pun totally intended). I recommend it to those looking for a surprisingly gripping story to go with their questionably consensual S&M/Bondage hentai.
Oh, and, Kyosuke has one hell of a sturdy ceiling. Just sayin. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
Classroom of Atonement is a very, very odd hentai, and I don't think I mean that in a good way. The animation is really underwhelming, the sound is nothing to write home about, making this kinda fail as erotica. The characters and plot seem a little reminiscent of School Days, except this is ACTUALLY a hentai. I should mention I didn't like School Days, so I do NOT mean that in a good way.
CoA follows our leading lady, Nanase, as she gets raped repeatedly (as atonement) because her dad is a murderer.
"Wait, what?" you say? Nope, it's exactly what it says on the tin. Rape, rape, one consensual sex scene out of nowhere, and more rape. Sometimes other girls get raped, too, because they're concerned about Nanase and/or nearby. Yeah. That's it.
I can't tell what CoA is trying to say about anything, and I don't attribute this to excellently artistic ambiguity. Is it saying that children are responsible for their parents' crimes? Is it saying that sinfulness is inescapably heritable? Is it saying that eye-for-an-eye punishment is a good method of justice? Or is it showing us the aftermath of these attitudes as a warning not to accept them? It's hard to tell, because the presentation is just so bad.
For one, the art has not aged well. CoA is an exercise in dynamic panning, which does not work nowadays, especially in hentai. So anyways, as such, there's a lot of still art, which goes off-model very, very often. I'm not entirely sure there WERE models. The colors are dreary, although not in an X TV sort of way where it's intentionally nearly grayscale. Overall, CoA is nothing much to look at. This goes for the sex as well, the seximatography of which is bland.
The sound was, well, for the most part not there. The voice acting was okay. I can't even remember any of the music or anything about the sound effects, not even during sex, when I usually pay attention. As said before, CoA has a bad presentation, and there's really little way to get around that.
The characters aren't much, either. Most of them (read: non-main) have so little personality that I honestly couldn't understand WHY they'd do such things. Cookie-cutter is the very best I could say about them, and that's a stretch. Not that humanizing rapists is necessarily a good thing. After all, that might make the viewers, GASP, think!
Nanase, the main heroine, is somewhat intriguing in how she deals with the stress of being assaulted and her own feelings of guilt, whether about her father's crime or about her own predicament, for which, of course, she is entirely unresponsible. How realistic you think her reactions are might make all the difference. In my opinion, episode 2 developments didn't quite take things the way I expected, which is to say I became a bit skeptical of her character.
There's one other interesting character, whom I shall call The Organizer, who facilitates but doesn't participate in any of the rapes. He's also the one who guilt-trips Nanase all the time. A lot of my interest in CoA came from wanting to know what was up with him. Come the end of episode 2, we find out. I was not hugely impressed.
The story is largely intertwined with the character development of Nanase, and, as mentioned earlier, it basically revolves around her getting raped and wondering why she has to atone for anything and/or feeling guilty about just about everything. This is kinda hard to watch, unsurprisingly. It's partly because Nanase ends up walking the line between starting to like getting raped and just plain shutting down emotionally. This is a bit awkward, because that's the line between typical rape-based erotica and something psychologically dark, and those two types of stories are meant to produce very different feelings in the viewers. And, since CoA walks this line with approximately the same grace as a drunken pit bull trying to chase a runaway tennis ball, we don't get a complex, deep, and titillating piece of cinema. No, what we get is bad hentai.
And yet, for all this ranting about how bad it is, I've not totally bomb-rated it. Why? Well, despite how cumbersome it is about it, CoA brings up a number of philosophical questions, as well as presenting what might be a realistic portrayal of a repeated-rape-victim's mindset. It's gripping, in a way, and I can imagine some viewers finding it very interesting.
Regardless, however, CoA fails as erotica, which means it's hard to recommend it to anyone. I mean, what would I ask? "Hey, do you want to witness the psychological deterioration of a girl who is explicitly raped and guilt-tripped about both it and other things in her life that aren't her fault?" Not exactly going to grab many viewers, I'd say. Oh well. read more
1 of 2 episodes seen
Lucky Draw Triangle ~Miharu After~ has the sexiest pair of hentai heroines I've EVER seen, and it has some of the sexiest sex I've EVER seen. On top of that, there's not really any rape or lolicon, which makes me totally comfortable with it. This should be my favorite hentai ever.
And yet, despite this, I can't bring myself to think of Lucky Draw Triangle as a masterpiece. Why? Because of Nameless Male Protagonist #38567049. He has two impossibly attractive girls lusting insatiably after him, all because...um...he is a master of the art of inconspicuousness? Sure, he's moderately attractive-looking, but I can't forget this one scene where Futaba comments on NMP#38567049's wonderful facial expressions during sex, and HE LOOKS LIKE HE JUST DIED FIVE MINUTES AGO. In fact, he pretty much acts as if he were dead. As in, he basically doesn't act. He seems to be the definition of a human sex toy, except capable of occasional banal dialogue. As much as I love Miharu and Futaba, I feel a bit uncomfortable watching them lust after what is essentially an inanimate object.
Yes, if only NMP#whatever had a personality, I could love LDT~MA~ with all my heart and gonads. But, alas, I cannot. And, on that sad, depressing note, I move forward to the break-down:
Girl likes guy. Guy likes girl. Girl gets amnesia. Guy wants to cure amnesia. Girl's sister puts the moves on guy. Girl gets the moves put on her by guy. LOTS AND LOTS OF HAPPY, SUPER-SEXY SEX.
That is all. Seriously, it doesn't matter much, as LDT~MA~ is just a sex-fest. A glorious, consensual sexfest. If you're trying to watch hentai purely for engaging, complex stories, you've obviously made some sort of horrific reasoning error. As far as the story goes, it is solid but far from extraordinary. At least it doesn't NOT make sense, right? Although, really, in real life amnesia doesn't quite work the way it does in LDT~MA~, but since when has amnesia EVER been given a realistic treatment in anime? That's a rhetorical question; I'm sure it has been done at least once.
Oh dear lord, PoRo (the production studio) knows how to make me happy. Sharp lines, bright colors, designs that are slightly modest in the grand scheme of hentai. Animation is fluid, oh so sexfully fluid, and the seximatography is wonderful and pretty darn hardcore. Lots of positions, fluid animation, arching, wiggling, throes of passion, and it's all vanilla sex. My god, this is my hentai nirvana, as poor a combination of words as that phrase is. Words just cannot describe what I think of Miharu, the sex scenes, and Futaba (in that order), which perhaps explains why I am failing so hardcore at this review. To round out the art section, the backgrounds are colorful but pretty darn boring, BUT WHO CARES LOOK AT THE HOT ANIME GIRLS!!! Seriously.
In all honesty, I was too busy looking at the HOT ANIME GIRLS to pay attention to anything but the sex SFX (read: BGM? What BGM?), which were juicy and wonderful, as were the moans. But I find this to be typical of hentai. Oh, and Futaba talks a LOT during sex. It's kinda weird, since our Nameless Male Protagonist says nothing. It's awkward cause it's hard to remember that he's just the most realistic sex toy ever. Oh, and female voices are a bit on the high-pitched side, but any watcher of moe-ish hentai will probably be used to that by now.
Miharu is our main female lead, and she's amazing. Sexually liberated, playful, not really shy; a huge contrast to her amnesiac self and most other romance heroines (hentai or otherwise). I think she'd be a fun character even outside of hentai.
Futaba is Miharu's sister and rival in love and...well...kinda selfish and manipulative. Not very much so, but it's hard to get a reading on her.
NMP#huh is NMP#huh (his name may be Ushio in this anime). He is spectacularly bad, even for a Nameless Male Protagonist. Not only does he basically not exist most of the time, but also when he DOES exist, he cheats on his girlfriend and later sorta forces her into sex. No one is really unhappy during any of this, but it's still a bit unsettling. If this were a more serious show, I'd kinda expect Miharu to be seriously psychologically screwed up even when she recovers her memories. And for that there would be no forgiveness, since Miharu is a little sexy ball of sexy awesomeness. Sexy. Yay.
It's easy to see that I love this hentai far more than it deserves. That's because I think it is hot beyond all belief as well as not disturbing for the most part. In light of that, I generally forgive it for its flaws, which are many in the writing department. Oh well; this will simply go down in my books as legendarily sexy. The only thing in my opinion that is comparably sexy to LDC~MA~ is After Class Lesson (with its also-super-sexy Akari Mizuno), but After Class Lesson is also a bit disturbing and/or uncomfortable.
This could all change if PoRo manages to somehow engineer a RAGE ending, or to totally screw over Miharu (Miharu in the act of screwing is GREAT; screwing over Miharu is DOUBLEPLUS UNGOOD). read more