Akiba Girls Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: JapanAnime
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Akiba Girls

Akiba Girls Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 02, 2007
Release Date: January 05, 2007


Akiba Girls Vol. #3
© JapanAnime


What They Say
Nikita's life has changed ever since he met Ren. Before meeting her, he was just an ordinary Akiba-style man who had never been with a girl other than the ones on his computer screen. But now, within days, he's slept with several! Nikita's still getting very lucky with the girls, but there is a big secret Ren has kept from him for years.

Wait, years? Didn't they just meet? Is there something Nikita has been hiding...?

The Review!
Bringing the series to a close, Akiba Girls goes out in left field with the way it wraps it all up.

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 straightforward mix. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2005, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Though a couple of years old now, 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. Unlike the first two episodes we had seen via JapanX, this installment doesn't have the same kind of overly bright feel to it and comes across as we typically expect shows too look. Having this fixed and gaining back the detail is a good thing but there's a trade off with some fairly noticeable compression noise during various panning and zooming sequences.

Packaging:
Retaining the same logo from the JapanX release but tweaking the design a bit, it's reminiscent of some older releases and some manga with the stripe down the right side that has the series logo and the warning. The remainder of the cover is given over to the artwork which is a good looking cute illustration of the characters that's very light on the fanservice overall. If it wasn't for the age warning and a hint of sexuality on the back cover you couldn't tell this was an adult release. The back cover provides a decent summary of what to expect and a few pieces of artwork highlighting the various characters. The bottom portion is standard for JapanAnime releases with the production information and a solid technical grid. No insert or reversible cover is done here.

Menu:
The menu uses the design from the stripe on the cover and turns the artwork sideways, placing it in the center. The artwork again looks decent here, though not quite so solid, with a bit of music playing along. Just below the image is the navigation strip that's easy to use and quick to access. Strangely, below that is the entire production credits information from the back cover " including the warning. It really feels out of place here and sort of clutters it up. It's not something JapanAnime has done with previous releases that I can recall and it really stands out here. Access times are solid and due to it being a monolingual disc our player presets were basically useless.

Extras:
Beyond the PSP and iPod versions available on the DVD-ROM side of things, there are no extras on this release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's been two years as of this since we saw the first two episodes in a release from JapanX. The original release didn't strike me too strongly so that I recall the details from it but I do remember the video issues with how washed out it was. Going into the third episode from that perspective, there isn't a lot to really connect with other than seeing it as a mild sex comedy with some cute and fun characters. And sex, there is sex. With the twist that they decide to bring into it at the end though it causes the sex to get sidelined a bit which is unfortunate as it was doing well as a sexy romantic comedy.

Nikita and Mei have been doing fairly well living together and getting their relationship into a good place but Nikita is still pure male in a lot of ways. He doesn't want to do much at the moment and he's still far too interested in anime for his own good. The opening scene is a perfect example as Mei comes in to wake him up since he can't just sleep all day but he refuses to budge. She finally realizes that she has to coax him out with the promise of some sexy fun but it's something she wants too. The usual shyness ensues but Nikita ends up really getting into it, especially when his favorite anime show is on with the transforming girl who wears a bunny outfit. Every time she wears something sexy he gets even more, uh, into Mei.

As much fun as Nikita has with Mei, he's still got a serious infatuation with Ren and continues to pursue her. Where his troubles lay is that he's continually being sidetracked by others and in this episode has a very fun threesome that he can't seem to say no to. But he keeps coming back to Ren even as Mei follows him about trying to figure out how to ensure that he'll stay with her. For Nikita though, his time with Ren isn't quite what he thought it would be as she finally sneaks him off for a bit to reveal something about herself that he'd never have guessed. Nor would most of those who have been enjoying the show I think as it completely changes what little memory I have of the first two and puts it more "out there" than the slice of life romantic comedy that it was.

The animation for the show is decent but not spectacular. It has good character designs and some good fluidity to it but there are obvious shortcuts in some places. There isn't a lot of repetition which is a plus but it lacks some of the really good looking scenes that you get in some of the higher quality adult releases. Most of the character designs are solid though with only one of them sporting large breasts but even those are still within the realm of reality. The situations that Nikita ends up in are amusing enough, especially with his attempts at fending them off (in his mind only) and it plays out nicely for the wish fulfillment aspect.

In Summary:
Akiba Girls isn't a bad show but they make some unusual choices in this episode that closes out the series. The characters alternate between cute and sexy, the actual sex scenes are fun to watch and it's entirely consensual. But with the gap between releases which left me going into this episode fairly cold, it left me to not really connect at all with the storyline or characters. Yeah, yeah, it's just porn, but anime porn tends to have at least a decent story structure to it. There is one here but since I didn't pick up the re-release from JapanAnime I'm a bit more disconnected from all of it. For those that want to finish it out, this will definitely provide more of what we've seen before and bring it to a strange conclusion.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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