Mania Grade: C+
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: SoftCel Pictures
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Angel of Darkness
Angel of Darkness Vol. #1
By Chris Beveridge
September 06, 2002
Release Date: October 15, 2002
Angel of Darkness Vol. #1
What They Say
© SoftCel Pictures
Heart-stopping terror and unquenchable desires create a mindblowing orgy of sex, sin and violence in Angel of Darkness.The Review!
After their initial comedic offering of F3, SoftCel now goes for the tentacle fanboys by releasing this little collection.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. This is also the only language track provided here as this release was never dubbed. The track is a pretty decent stereo mix with no issues but nothing to really make it stand out in any way. Dialogue is clean and clear with no distortions or dropouts.Video:
Originally released back in 1993, the materials for this show have held up pretty well with only a few additional nicks here and there. The transfer in general seems to be a bit soft, but with the color design used for it, it may very well be intentional. Colors are solid but are done in a more real-world style with very little vibrancy to them. There�s some slight grain in a few areas that heighten the soft feeling, but there�s no other real issues such as cross coloration or aliasing.Packaging:
The front cover for this release uses the somewhat standard image of the young schoolgirl covered in tentacles and shredded clothing with the imagery of the school behind her in darkness as well as a few other character shots. The images are all from the first standalone story, and are arguably the better of the two designs to use. The back cover provides only a couple of small images of the show and a couple of full paragraphs of the story premise. The discs technical features, what few there are, are slightly obscured since they don�t really make it obvious that it�s Japanese language only. The insert provides another cover shot on one side, while the reverse has the chapter listings and a listing of what trailers are on there.Menu:
The main menu uses most of the cover artwork with some slight reworking to create a decent main menu, which is almost all there is to this release since language selections are set to the default of Japanese with subtitles and no other choices exist. Moving about is pretty quick for what little there is and load times are good.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Angel of Darkness is comprised of two fairly separate OVA�s that run nearly fifty minutes each. The claimed connection is that they both take place at the same school, but even that�s a bit iffy. But frankly, if you�re looking for real continuity in these kinds of shows as opposed to something like a real serial hentai, there are bigger issues to deal with.
The opening tale is probably the better of the two. It deals with the arriving freshman of an all-girls Christian college. The lead characters in this adventure are Atsuko, the outgoing athletic blue haired girl and Sayaka, the somewhat more shy and much smatter brunette. Both are excited about finally being in college and are even more excited to be roommates since they�re lovers. All that really worries Atsuko is that she has to try and hide her relationship from her sister who is also at this school, but as a teacher.
But like most schools, this one harbors its own dark secret. Beneath the altar in the church lies a large undefined area where Darkness Elemental has been doing his nasty work to be brought back to life. He�s taken over one of the male teachers, the already evil looking Goda, and with the willing help of the schools director, the two have set upon a course of retrieving precious extract from the young women in the school to feed the creature and bring about its revival. And with a fresh new batch of girls in the school, the time for such a revival is close at hand.
Of course, you know things won�t go quite to plan as Sayaka stumbles upon their little operation and ends up captured while Atsuko learns of the history of the Darkness Elemental and works with a small but dedicated group of dwarves and a faerie to try and stop it all from happening again. It�s pretty straightforward and a decent little flick, but I think it�s got a couple of lulls in the story that could have used some tightening.
The second episode follows a relatively same kind of nature, expect it�s definitely more in tune with nature. As happens, a different yet similar looking teacher at the college is fascinated by nature and plants, and has an entire large room dedicated to all kinds of plants, most of them looking like they could eat something. His most interesting plant though is a much larger flytrap-style plant that manages to sport some amusingly large wood at the appropriate times, which it uses to ravish the women of the school.
This one was much more difficult to take seriously, or even as an intentional comedy, with the giant stiffie in the middle of a plant. The show is definitely a mix of both horror and comedy though, as this school is co-ed and the characters are in varying degrees of relationships and are doing goofy things at times. But every time I saw that plant, I just had to shake my head. Hentai scriptwriters that went too far.
While this isn�t a bad title overall, I hope SoftCel continues to do the lighter and more comedic materials or less tentacle oriented stuff on a more regular basis. While both certainly sell, we�ve got a ton of tentacle on the market (though, up until this release, no plant stuff, so it does fill a niche) and some of the most talked about shows are ones like F3. Of course, it could also be said that it�s good to work the kinks out of a company that�s just getting into DVD, and this is a good release to do that with.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.