Makoto has been best friends with the beautiful Une since they were kids. Every school morning, he rides his bike over to her place, picks her up, and takes her to the train station where they catch the train to high school. He`s very much in love with her, but doesn`t do anything until he discovers another guy in his class is about to make a move on her. Is it to late to tell her how he feels? Will fellow female classmate Nonoka confess her love to Makoto?
Since the mods removed my review of the astoundingly bad hentai Aki Sora (I'll reupload it later), I'll just review another piece of smut. This is the utterly mystifying hentai known only...as Stairs. Why is called that? I have no idea.
It's not a secret that I love to write comedy reviews of terrible anime. I've always wanted to be MAl's version of The Cinema Snob or Bennett the Sage. This means that I've sat through some of the worst hentai to ever exist in order to write snarky reviews, which maybe 15 people are ever going to read. Stairs is utterly unlike any hentai
I've ever seen before. There is no tentacle rape. There isn't ANY rape. There is no bestiality. Our "hero" doesn't sell women into slavery. It's just a high school romance with likeable characters and actually has surprisingly decent writing. This could have been an above average drama/romance anime and for some reason they threw in a few sex scenes and made it a hentai. WHY?! Was it a last minute move to salvage a scrapped project? Even more mysteriously, this king of all hentai has only 1 episode. Consider that Boku no Sexual Harrassment had 4 episodes! The superhero spoof Rapeman had 4-5 episodes. The furry yiffing incest hentai Wordsworth had 5 fucking episodes. This is the only time in my life that a hentai ended and I actually wanted to see what happened next...and it gets just 1 episode. Life's a bitch.
There is actually a plot besides people fucking! A highschool student named Makoto is deeply in love with his childhood friend, but has never had the courage to tell her how she feels. One day, she starts going out with an older guy who dropped out of medical school. As an aside, I found this amusing since that happens to be my own background. Finally Makoto is upset enough to confront his childhood friend and tell her how he feels. However, she says she never knew how he felt and now it is too late. She becomes pregnant and drops out of highschool to be with her new boyfriend, who I'll just name "Dr. Cocks". Clearly we all know where this is going. Dr. Cocks is going to abandon her for getting pregnant and our hero is going to beat up Cocks (or try to) and convince her to go back to school while agreeing to take care of the baby. We're going to see a hentai version of Last American Virgin/Lemon Popsicle. Only that's NOT what happens! Instead, it throws a massive curve ball and Dr. Cocks is actually a decent guy! He is overjoyed that she is pregnant and gets a working class job to support his new wife and child! Makoto instead winds up with his crush's girlfriend who has always had feelings for him and never had the courage to say anything. They have sex for the first time, which is awkward and frustrating, but she gently guides him though it in a surprisingly touching scene. Realism in a hentai?! What even ARE you Stairs!? Makoto ends up with the friend and never gets back together with the childhood crush. The hentai ends completely subverting ALL of the audience expectations.
Art and sound:
I am not able to find what studio produced this. I can't find a single Japanese voice actor listed for this on any site. I can't find who wrote or directed this. Everything about this hentai is a complete and total mystery. I can say more about the Aurora spy plane than I can about the production of Stairs. The animation is pretty damn bad, but that's not surprising considering this is a low budget hentai from 2001. The soundtrack is also nothing great.
Stairs is a hentai that's actually...kind of good. I thought that was an impossible contradiction like a man who is shorter than himself, but here it is. Everything about this 1 episode mystery show goes against expectations. Somebody out there actually made a decent hentai and the world will never know his or her name. Thank you mysterious hentai emperor!
If you're one of the very few who watch hentai for the story then congratulations, "Stairs: Houkago no Album" is the hentai for you. For a 30 min. 1 Episode OVA you get a coming of age, love-triangle, melodrama that involves some sex and perhaps little unrequited love. On the other hand, if your looking for "something to get a good wrist work out to", Stairs may come as a disappointment.
I'll admit, I first decided to pick up this title because of the cover art. It looked good and the fact that it was uncensored was a bonus. I was curious as to what it
had to offer. But I felt cheated when I skimmed through it, as I sometimes do when watching hentai, to find that the content was nowhere near as good looking as the cover. The art was so-so, the animation was rather poor, and there wasn't a whole lot of sex scenes. However, seeming how difficult it was to located this obscure title, I decide to give it a try anyways. In many ways I was glad.
The story of "Stairs: Houkago no Album" is, perhaps, a glimpse back into the past when love was fresh, innocent, and intense. It's a love triangle, a story about not realizing what you've had until you've lost it, and about unrequited love. I'm reminded of that old song by Glenn Frey - The One You Love:
"Are gonna stay with the one who loves you? Or are you going back to the one you love? Someone's gonna cry when they know they lost you. Someone's gonna thank the stars above..." It probably would have made a great ED.
The characters were true to life and not some fantasy MOE blob (not that I have anything against fantasy MOE blobs or anything). True characters with real feelings but sometimes not so true to their own feelings. Did that make sense? Well, to be honest, 30mins wasn't enough to portray a story with such depth and character, but the producers were able to wrap it up by the end of the episode. Although it was a bit unsatisfying, I have to say that the story of Stairs was really what brought me through the show. I would have given this title a "10" if it weren't for such poor art and animation.
Anyways. Bottom line: Great story. Good characters. Poor art and animation. Wished it were longer.