Dramatic Tension leads to sexual release! Sayaka Shirakawa is the daughter of an art professor who specializes in death-themed paintings. She is dating one of his students, Souji Kamishiro. For some reason, Sayaka seems to be harboring hatred for her father. One day, Mie Wakabayashi, who has romantic feelings for Souji, tells him what she's heard about the Professor: that he has been killing his models so that he can paint their corpses. Meanwhile, Mie happens to witness Shirakawa purchasing poison, and she runs to find Sayaka...
I highly doubt I will ever have the pleasure of watching a hentai as excellent as Suika ever again. Suika consists of three short, dramatic, variably supernatural, and somewhat melancholy stories with small amounts of sex. In terms of quality, these stories are a cut above pretty much everything else I've seen in hentai, and the sex is not too shabby either. The sex is not terribly explicit, but it is definitely well-drawn and had a decent budget put into it. Were it not for these sex scenes, it could probably pass for a collection of short, non-explicit OVAs, and it would be fairly well-respected, at least for 25-minute shorts.
As it stands, Suika probably won't garner the respect it deserves, since it is neither the most erotic of hentai, nor the anime with the greatest narrative elegance. It is, however, probably the HENTAI with the greatest narrative elegance, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Anyways, let's break it down:
Suika consists of three short, melancholy stories with a touch of the supernatural. These tend to be varying amounts of low-key and dramatic, and are the main portion of each episode, i.e. Suika is NOT primarily about sex. It's mainly about young lovers getting through harrowing situations, usually by getting together. In my opinion, episode 2 is the best, followed by episode 1, and then episode 3 (I like to call it the lolicon episode, and that doesn't float my boat spectacularly well, if you know what I mean: sexual innuendo totally intended). Episode 3 also seemed very rushed, probably because building a romance from scratch is nigh-impossible to do in one episode. Anyways, if you pay decent attention, you can see how all three episodes tie together.
Suika is surprisingly gripping. Also, it can be surprisingly depressing. Or hopeful. Anyways, this diversity of emotion is a sign of good storytelling, I think.
The art is great, albeit rather generic in overall style (if it ain't broke, don't fix it, perhaps). While the animation itself is not as stunningly fluid as some recent productions, it gets by, and the sex itself is solidly animated, with a minimum of looping. Speaking of sex, it is very, very vanilla: no kinks, which can be good, bad, or neutral, depending on personal tastes. Vanilla is fine with me. The overall artwork is sharp; the colors are bright; and the background scenery is pretty detailed and colorful. Character designs are modest (which I personally like), and all the main players look good (both male and female). Also, there are no outrageous hair colors to be found (if you don't count albino as outrageous), so if you don't like living in a pink bishoujo ghetto, this is one of your best stops on the railroad to sexville.
The background music of Suika is generally very pleasant, light-classical pieces, mainly solo piano. This kind of BGM really successfully enhances the mood. I have little to say about the voice acting, other than that it's the typical, solid, Japanese performance according to my native-English ears. The sound effects are typical but understated, like most of Suika. It fits well with the content, especially since the sex is rather (refreshingly?) vanilla. Oh, one thing, though: DEAR GOD THE CICADAS!
Suika, unlike many hentai, actually has these. There is no one you want to punch out, except those who get punched out (you'll see what I mean, especially the literal interpretation in episode 2). The male protagonists have actual hints of personality and lives beyond being glorified sex toys, and the women are pretty lively, and in some cases surprisingly lovable. All the characters have pretty understandable motivations, which makes the story flow much more smoothly than is often the case in hentai, even flowing nicely into sex scenes for the most part (the exception pretty much being episode 3).
This is the closest I've seen to a masterpiece so far (I've seen about 70 hentai in all at this point), so I do say I enjoyed Suika rather much. Were it not for the fact that episode 3 fell a bit short (I find lolicon to be a bit on the creepy side when played this straight), I would call this a hentai masterpiece. I was pretty much hooked from beginning to end. The storytelling was fantastic and the sex was nice; what more can I ask for in a hentai? It does help, however, that I like this sort of innocent, softcore-ish fare as much as I like hardcore hentai titles, but for different reasons. If you're looking primarily for awesome sex scenes, this is not the place to look. I'd go check out After Class Lesson, Body Transfer, Stringendo, or anything by PoRO (I recommend Lucky Draw Triangle, as it is the least RAGE-inducing of their works that I've seen).read more
Am I reviewing a hentai? Well, yes...yes I am...and I'm not sure why I feel a little embarrassed about that. Since I am a pretty big fan of Key's animations and KyoAni projects, I decided to try something a little more hardcore. You know, something like Clannad except with a little more sex. Well, I can honestly say in all my years of watching anime and yes, even hentai, Suika is probably one of the closest I've found in the hentai genre that's been able to follow the same mold as a Clannad, Kanon, or ef-a tale of memories/melodies.
While yes, this is technically a hentai, I will warn you right now that this isn't a "typical" hentai. What I mean by that is its not porn for at least 12-15 minutes an episode with a million different relationships going on at once. For only being a three episode OVA, it does a nice job of capturing three compelling stories in a short period of time, and the sex scenes are fairly short and to the point. This OVA series, with the limited time it has, does a nice job of developing its characters and relationships.
If I had to use a statement as to what Suika is about, I'd say imagine ef-a tale of memories, except its relationships are episodic and has Kanon-esque supernatural elements. It's much like ef-memories with how all of the relationships tie into the same universe (Tokiwa Village), even though they aren't directly connected. It's supernatural elements, especially in the second and third episodes are quite similar to Kanon and a little bit like Clannad: After Story.
The first episode revolves around Souji Kamishiro, a young aspiring painter that is under the tutelage of Ritsu Shirakawa and is good friends with his daughter, Sayaka. Souji and Sakaya's relationship becomes stronger as the episode progresses and especially after Sakaya reveals the tragic past revolving around her mother's death. The second episode revolves around a young man named Akira Kazama, who returns to Tokiwa Village to visit his grandmother after leaving the village six years prior. Upon returning, he runs into an old friend at the shrine named Itsuki Minase, who is working at the shrine as a shrine maiden. The two meet several times in the episode and discover they have feelings for each other, but a tragic past rears its head when the memories of Isuki's twin sister Sayo come into the picture. The third episode revolves around Hiroshi Inaba, a young man who returns to Tokiwa Village to attend his father's funeral and to visit his sisters, Chitose and Kako. Chitose is his younger sister and is suffering from an illness and Kako is his older sister and is rarely seen due to handling the family matters after the father's passing. While visiting the shrine to pray, Hiroshi meets a young girl that goes by Ojo hiding underneath the shrine and runs away when Hiroshi addresses her. By coincidence, the two meet up again later on and Hiroshi and Ojo start to develop a relationship with each other. However, Hiroshi starts to become suspicious of Ojo when he realizes only certain people can see her and he gets the suspicion he has met her in the past.
Each episode is fairly unique in their own right and each character seems to face their share of tragic moments. I found the first episode to be the strongest of the three since it seemed the most clear cut and the most realistic (and I use that term loosely) of the three episodes. I also thought it had the most fundamentally sound relationship of the three couples introduced in this series.
As far as the positives, I can say that each story was fairly unique and the writing did a nice job of capturing each character's motivations. It was also interesting seeing the little nuances of how the stories tied into one another through random cameos. The animation was pretty good if we're going by "hentai" standards...in fact, it reminds me a lot of the ef series with its character designs, but also seems to have that "KyoAni" feel with its animation.
When it comes to the negatives of this series, I found some of the episodes had some loose ends that the writers didn't do a very good job of explaining. While episode 1 seemed pretty decent with its writing, episodes 2 and 3 were somewhat confusing. Episode 2 was confusing in regards to Sayo and her "status" in the episode...as well as Itsuki's wish which seemed just as confusing and the payoff was somewhat nonsensical. Episode 3 in particular didn't make a whole lot of sense, especially in the explanation as to who or what Ojo and Chinatsu were. I'd say these two episodes and their vague explanations are a big reason why I didn't love this series as much as a Clannad or Kanon. I just had a hard time buying into Itsuki and Ojo's characters as well as their motivations. There is a "bonus" episode, but unless you're looking for more gratuitous fanservice, I'd say avoid it. It's a prequel to the series and essentially adds nothing to any of the plots. To be honest, I don't even know why Kitty Media poured their budget into this 15 minute short when they could've added 5 minutes to each episode to make them a little bit better.
Overall, I really can't complain much about Suika because if we're going by typical hentai or OVA standards, it's pretty damn good. I'd even go so far as to say it's the best hentai I've ever seen or at least one of the best. This series could fair a little better if it had a few more episodes to work with. I'd say if they spent two episodes revolving around each story, they would have a very solid OVA series. However, it's fairly rare for a hentai series to have more than three episodes. The only ones that do seem to be the higher budget series like Bible Black. It's a shame Kitty Media didn't put a little more effort toward this series because it did have some potential. Although, I will say it's a shame more hentai aren't done like Suika, because I think there would be a little more respect for the industry if there were more OVAs like this. It's one of the few hentais I'd say captures more of a "romance" than "gratuitous sex." I know I've made several references, but I think if you enjoyed a series like Clannad, Kanon, or ef, I do think you'll at least get a little bit of enjoyment out of this OVA series. I honestly can't put Suika on the same page as something like those, but if you're looking for something in the hentai genre that at least comes close, than Suika is the closest you'll find. Even if you're not a fan of hentai but still like the aforementioned series, I don't think you'll be too bothered by it. In my experience, it never hurts to try something new. The sex scenes aren't too gratuitous and don't interfere a whole lot with the series as a whole. Sure, they could've spent that time developing a little more character and clearing up a few of the holes, but I still feel it would've taken at least another whole episode each to completely explore each story. If you're like me and like some of the Key anime adaptations and are looking for something a little more hardcore with its romance, I'd say give this a shot. read more