Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Central Park Media
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Agent Aika
Agent Aika Vol. #1: Naked Missions
By Chris Beveridge
January 24, 2002
Release Date: March 13, 2001
Agent Aika Vol. #1: Naked Missions
What They Say
© Central Park Media
From the creator of Project A-ko! She's a martial arts expert and a jet fighter pilot ‹ with the body of a supermodel. She's Aika, and for the right price, she'll retrieve anything from anywhere. Armed with her trusty, semi-sentient super-battle bustier, no risk is too great!
Includes 4 Episodes!The Review!
The first volume of Agent Aika contains four episodes. It also contains probably four gajillion panty shots. I'm sure someone's counted. I lost track after awhile. There's a lot of them. I really enjoyed looking for them after awhile too!
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio for the disc is pretty straightforward with a simple 2 channel mix with the majority of the dialogue coming through the center channel and music and ambient effects using the left/right channels. There's not a lot of directionality to the show, but overall it sounded as it should and it works well.
I didn't have a lot of issue with the video outside of the much dreaded rainbows which were on practically every character, sometimes only along the edges and other times all over them. It's quite distracting when you're trying to watch the panties. Other than that, there was hardly any artifacting of any note or pixellation, only a few areas of obvious line noise. Colors looked good without being oversaturated and the black levels looked decent as well.
There's not much on the cover to really give away just how different this show is by the cover, though we do get a bit of a glimpse at Rion's panties here. But you can see things like that on a lot of covers. The reverse side has a couple animation shots and a brief bit about the show and the various features contained within. Overall it's a pretty minimal cover (Especially when you know what the region 2 covers were like).
The menu system is fairly typical CPM with some static shots and some animation playing in the background with music/vocals and the list of selections to the left. Submenu access times are pretty fast and things move around without issue. While not the top menu systems out there, CPM's menus continue to be the easiest and fastest to use.
Aside from the meet the characters pages, the main extra for folks here is the Japanese music video which is fun to watch. Sort of a mini-exercise to count the panty shots. If you can't keep up in the space of the music video, don't try it in the shows themselves.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There is a mode you must put your brain on before watching this show. The closest mode I've gotten to it in the past was with the Hollywood movie "Dumb and Dumber". There's some sort of plot in there, but that's not the reason you're watching it. Agent Aika's much the same way. Instead of idiot humor we're watching this for the sheer amount of fanservice.
And it's there in spades, either in the form of completely naked women or hundreds of panty shots, panty shots from every conceivable angle. You know that saying about being a fly on the wall? Change it to a fly with a camera and a fly that's on the move. On the plus side, this means we often get some nice camera angles you don't otherwise get from anime.
Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll keep watching Aika for the cinematography.
Suffice to say my wife stopped watching Aika after two episodes. She just couldn't take it whereas I was just getting more and more giddy as it went on.
The show follows our two heroines, Aika and Rion. They're a pair of women who perform dives under the sea where Japan now lays, searching for various treasures by commission to bring back to the surface, some thirty years after an event that left many coastal areas completely submerged. Aika used to be a skilled operative of some sort in the past, working with Rion's father, who now owns this small search and salvage company. Rion's always trying for the big score whereas Aika tends to be more realistic about things.
However, when one of the big scores does come along and the money's badly needed, Aika agrees to it. She sets off to get information about a material called "Lagu" for 100 million, and if she can get some of the material, it's worth 100 million as well. Both things? 300 million. Definitely worth her time. Before she's even set off to find it, she encounters those trying to stop them, a brother/sister team (who play well together) with mysterious goals for the Lagu themselves. They're also working for the same people who've hired Aika to find it first, based on their distrust of the brother/sister team. Which of course is entirely warranted.
Through twists and turns, Aika and Rion are captured by the enemy and end up as captives on their boat (which, way kewl, turns into a jet! And a spaceship! It's almost like a transformer!). Aika succumbs to Hargen's seductive ways only to earn the ire of his sister Nena who only wants Hargen for herself. Nevermind that the entire crew of the boat is women whose end goal is to provide him with a willing harem to repopulate the world.
Oh, don't cry that I gave away the plot. You're not watching it for the plot. You're watching it for the panty shots, for the tight costumed enemy guards whose every stance shows off more panty, you're watching it for the amusing transformation sequence Aika does with her Golden Bustier that has a life of its own (and seems to enjoy feeling up its wearer when it transforms). You're watching it because somewhere deep down inside you know that this is simply wrong on some level.
It's a great deal if mindless fun. It's not high art nor does it pretend to be. There's little to know about most of the characters though they do sprinkle some back history here and there. What you see is what you get with Agent Aika. From the opening animation to the slick looking unique ending animation for each episode, I liked what I got. I'll be looking forward to more of it as well.
At least CPM didn't give away a free pair of panties with each volume. I can only imagine how people would have been at the retail level!
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Music Video,Meet the Characters
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.