Matsutaka Nanako is a normal university student, who happened to enroll in an Abnormal Physiology seminar. She tries to keep her mental state sound, but other abnormal classmates start to influence her personality...
Hen Zemi is an OVA based on its original manga of the same title, which stands for Hentai Seiri Seminar (変態生理ゼミナール, Abnormal Physiology Seminar). Some people may describe this show as R-Rated version of Seitokai Yakuindomo, and it is partly true. However, instead of high school students making frivolous jokes about human sexuality, you will see a team of college students doing live-experience research on perverted behaviors of human under Professor Meshiya’s guidance. I won’t go into specific details what they study for the sake of modesty. Basically, every student in the seminar, including girls, is a pervert of some kind; in a way,
they are kinda of guinea pigs for Professor Meshiya’s grand experiment. The only exception is Nanako Matsutaka, voiced by Kana Hanazawa, an innocent-looking girl who is the only person without any perverted traits. Think of her as a control group in a scientific experiment, and that’s why Professor Meshiya specifically recruited her.
Despite the disturbing content, the XEBEC’s production quality of this OAD was surprisingly good. Even though the OP and ED theme resemble much like SHAFT’s Pani Poni Dash’s OP, they have stylish look and makes a good use of pastel color. For some reason, the OP music sounds like a one from a magical girl anime as it reminded me of Puririn from Welcome to NHK. Oh, the ED even has a reference to the famous music video Baby Baby Baby! :) Even though the characters look very simple and minimalistic, they have very dynamic facial expressions and their body movements are well-animated. It’s probably thanks to the fact that this show is a single-episode OVA, which means the production studio had plenty of time to work on it. You’ll be actually surprised that a show as dirty and perverted as this one has some artistic merit to be appreciated. Oh, if you wonder why this show has a SHAFT-like visual style, it’s because Hen Zemi is directed by Ryouki Kamitsubo, who has worked on SHAFT’s Ef – a tale of stories and Hidamari Sketch as a director under the guidance of Akiyuki Shinbo.
Conclusion: If you have an interest in Japanese pornography culture for some reason, you may want to check out this show. (Whether the purpose is education or entertainment is up to you). Also, avid fans of Kana Hanazawa may want to check this show, because you will hear some embarrassing lines that you wouldn’t normally expect to hear from her. Otherwise, you better stay away from this anime before it ruins your appetite for your dinner.
Let's review the story:
First episode is pretty funny, but the name is too long and difficult! 6.0
Second episode is very funny, pervy, great! That WAS awesome! 10.0
The third episode is really stupid. Why add another girl to the show?! 4.0
The story is fair.
This IS the worst part of the anime!!! I'll explain why the art sucks:
1. If we look at the characters- they are decent, but the detail that do the art not decent, but pathetic is the face. The eyes are TOOOO giant. And they haven't nose!!! They're mutant or what?! What an excuse do the animator have to don't draw noses?!
2. Look at the hands: they ARE HORRIBLE!!! Those hands are Shrek's hands, no other! Stupid!!!!
So, the art - 1.0 - pathetic.
The sound is pretty fair, I don't have to review it, it's fine. 6.0
Now, the best anime's stuff- the characters:
Matsutaka Nanako- the one of the normal peoples, but with pervy thoughts. Pretty great combination. 9.0
Meshiya Kenji- not so good, I'd said pretty decent. 5.0
Musashi Komugi- great! He's sooo pervy. And he IS the funniest character in the anime. 10.0
Miwako- Oh she IS soooooooooooooo funny. I love her!!! 10.0
Anna- the problem of the anime, she doesn't have to be in. 3.0
Is it possible for one to become desensitized to the perversion inherent in society? Is it possible to hear about one's fetishes, their opinions on voyeurism, and whether they think your waste is premium content for a feces farm and look at them the same way afterwards?
Nanako has dealt with this dilemma ever since she joined the Abnormal Physiology Seminar, headed by the eccentric Kenji Meshiya. In this select group, she is among people doing various deeds of illicit sorts for Meshiya. Surprisingly enough, hilarity ensues.
The characters are a very large component of what makes it uproarious more than once, Nanako's naivety providing many
of the laughs when coupled with her classmates' perverse natures.
Hen Zemi was a show that I didn't expect to be any good. Normally, ecchi is synonymous with fanservice flaunted with reckless abandon and every other quality suffering for it. Hen Zemi, unlike other offenders, keeps the fanservice to a more subtle level, mostly present in speech.
It's very much like Lucky Star, if the girls were all studying and talking about abnormalities in human sexuality, in that most of the action is interaction based.
As an ecchi OVA, there are flashes of titillating (Pun intended) bits, but they don't steal focus from Nanako's squeamishness, or her crush Komugi's utterly casual approach to discussing sex. This is how fanservice should be, even in a series that rotates around it: Present, but not show stealing, and not letting the other qualities suffer just for the sake of its inclusion.
Visually, Hen Zemi is very moe, which makes the content all the more amusing when juxtaposed with the character designs. It's a very warm series, colorful and vibrant, and the animation is more than satisfactory. While it doesn't excel, there's nothing to really mark down with the visual quality.
The sound is much the same, being well above average, but not anything worth mentioning apart from the astonishingly catchy chant that plays over the ED.
What's odd about Hen Zemi, is I feel that I walked away having learned something. That those around me are more depraved than I think them, that I'd be shocked and likely repulsed by their fetishes. It's a very startling realization, and it blew me away that an ecchi-based OVA could lead to such a revelation of what should've been obvious.
Hen Zemi is a fascinating, if utterly deranged and depraved, study of the human psyche and human sexuality. It's funny, without pointing out that it is. And really, what more could you ask from one short OVA? It definitely had me eager to watch the actual series, which I can only hope will maintain the zany, yet down to earth appeal of the OVA.