Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: D
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: C+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: JapanX
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Akiba Girls
Akiba Girls Vol. #1-2
By Chris Beveridge
January 31, 2005
Release Date: January 25, 2005
Akiba Girls Vol. #1-2
What They Say
Nikita Shindou loves the world of animation more than anything; he puts his life into it. He has never fallen for a real, living girl, until the day he meets Ren Aoi.The Review!
Living the life of a young man in love with Akihabara, Nikita Shindou ends up becoming one of the luckiest fools to ever live.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The release here is not dubbed so we only get the Japanese language and it's a pretty standard stereo mix. Without much being added to the mix outside of dialogue and a couple of ambient sounds and various sound effects, this is a very center channel based mix with the forward soundstage. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout but it's a very simple and strightforward mix. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this two OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With this being a very recent production, you can tell that there's some very good looking animation here and other than a few shortcuts here and there some nice character designs and overall decent fluidity to their movements. The problem with the transfer is that it seems like it's so overly bright and exposed that practically all of the detail is lost and a lot of the scenes take on a very milky look. When you compare the shots on the back cover with what's in the show scene for scene, you realize just how bad this looks, it's like someone had a lamp over it during the entire time and it's even worse during all the sex scenes. With it being so bright and so much detail lost, the colors feel very washed out and pale. There's nothing in the way of cross coloration and only a bit of aliasing here and there but otherwise this is a hard transfer to watch without wondering why it looks so awful.Packaging:
Presumably using the Japanese artwork, the cover layout is nicely done for the most part and the artwork used is highly attractive. Featuring two of the girls from the show in a very finely detailed illustration, they look fantastic here with lots of detail and great colors and some very sexy lingerie. With two companies behind the release, each of them get their logo along the bottom and the show's logo looks good along the top. Strangely, the running time is placed right underneath the Akiba Girls logo itself and is nowhere to be found on the back of the release. Amusingly, the tagline for this release (and everything else from the JapanX line) is "The Greatest XXX Anime Ever Made!! The back cover provides a number of shots from the show that are very explicit and showcase various girls from it while also providing a decent summary of the shows premise. The technical section is fairly straightforward though there's no listing for the running time and I am highly amused that one of the sections in the features is "High resolution quality". They also list bonus footage and preview trailer but I cannot find either such thing. No insert is included in this release.Menu:
The menu starts off briefly as a piece of video that shows a pixellated image of the Japanese cover and then settles on the same front cover as we have in the US version with it being a close-up of the two girls. All the selections are quickly available on the main menu including turning subtitles on or off and accessing a particular episode. No other selections are available here but the access times are nice and fast and with as little as there is it's easy to move around. The disc did read our players' language presets fine though and played accordingly.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Akiba Girls is the first release I've seen from the JapanX line after they got themselves some additional distribution via Hustler Video and from what I've seen of it, they definitely needed to spend more time in obscurity before trying to move out into the masses. While I'm not a follower of Flynt and his products, I'd assume that things with his name would have a bit more of a sense of quality control around them than what we got here.
The show itself is decent enough if a bit chaotic. We're introduced to young man Nikita Shindou as he's making his way through Akihabara which is his main haunt and the place where he gets all his naught bishoyjo games that he plays in his room all alone in the dark. Keeping them a secret from his sister who just moved in a few months ago after their parents had died, Nikita loves playing up the characters having sex with each other and manipulating them as he can. To his surprise on his way home though, he comes across a park he hadn't remembered before and sees a beautiful woman there, one that reminds him strikingly of an older Tita from Lapota Castle in the Sky! Even more amazing is that she comes into his room in some sort of dream sequence not to much later and keeps calling him Pazu and the two fool around quite a bit.
For Nikita, he's got an overactive imagination but his reality all of a sudden has changed considerably. Deciding to join a local club, he ends up stumbling in on a woman changing into a maid outfit for a comic market convention the following weekend and the two talk for a bit as he waits for the club president to come by so he can join. In order to pass the time, she decides that she wants to have sex with him and the two go wildly at it. This sort of things keeps happening to Nikita as he goes from place to place, finding another woman later who is a voice actress for the games but has little sexual experience with which to properly perform. So all he can do is to help out of course and teach her the ways of moaning and sex. Even better, he's got a slightly drunk older sister who was adopted and likes to mess with him so she takes him around the block a few times as well.
Honestly, from the way we're introduced to Shindou and his nerdy ways, he goes from no sex to far too much sex way too quickly and scores it far too easily. In between all of this, he ends up meeting the woman from the park who looked like Tita and learns her name is really Ren and she likes him a lot. But he's got competition because his younger sister, also adopted, really has the hots for him and has been trying to get into his pants and gets jealous when he starts getting really close with Ren. So there's all kinds of issues there, everyone gets together for comic market and cosplays together which leads to lost of fan service there and so forth.
The character designs for just about everyone is decent to really nice though all the women do suffer from large breast syndrome, the kind where you know they must be crying in pain from how their backs feel. This of course allows for some fun sex scenes and lots of bounciness to occur. The problem with the character designs of course comes in the poor video quality which has so much of the detail lost that you can't see anything at times. One scene has Shindou looking down at the girls breast and he's licking air because you can't see the nipple that it got lost so badly in the whiteness.
The quality of this release is seriously in question beyond the video though. The subtitles here is an area where quality control simply does not exist. A number of sentences end with the period one, two or three spaces removed from the last character. Spaces show up throughout words and extend them in unnatural ways. Proper grammar is shot. It's like it was done by someone who not only doesn't know how to type but doesn't know what a subtitle track is supposed to look like. It's not Engrish, everything is understandable, but it's like they had no clue what they were doing and didn't care. And once you get that feeling about something you just bought, you only think less and less of it.In Summary:
Between poor video quality and awful subtitles, Akiba Girls is a hard sell. If it had been a beautiful clean transfer and the subtitles were problem free, this would have been a good basic screw-em-all hentai release and given me some faith in how JapanX is going to handle their titles. Instead, I'm left dreading whether to even try anything else that they've put out already and am now very leery of any future releases. It's a release like this that makes me appreciate the other releasing studios all the more and wish they had saved this title from JapanX's clutches. Unless you have nostalgia for a tenth generation raw copy of a hentai which is what this looks like in places, pass this up for something that'll make your evening all the better.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.