Black Widow - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Anime 18
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Black Widow

Black Widow

By Chris Beveridge     December 01, 2004
Release Date: December 07, 2004


Black Widow
© Anime 18


What They Say
An erotic camping trip takes a turn for the wild when Seiya discovers a mystery mansion in the woods. Excitement turns to thrills of terror as her friends begin to disappear. Too late, they realize they are trapped in the clutches of the Black Widow, a deadly temptress who lures unsuspecting victims into a web of lust, intrigue, and murder!

The Review!
Just like any good horror movie, seven people enter a mansion but far fewer will leave.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series feature a pretty basic stereo mix that isn't all that surprising since it’s a pretty much dialogue based show. Some of the ambient effects like the rain and the music make use of the stereo channels but otherwise it's a very simple mix that accomplishes the job. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2003, the two episode OVA series is presented here in its original full frame format. The transfer looks great with lots of solid and vibrant looking colors that stand out well but without being too over the top. There's very little in the way of noticeable blocking throughout the show, colors are solid, cross coloration non-existent and even aliasing is pretty minimal except during some of the panning sequences. This is a good clean looking transfer that's solid pretty much all the way through..

Packaging:
Going with a mixture of fear and anger, the cover provides a look at two different characters each experiencing one of those emotions. The full color image of Seiya with little of her clothes on anymore looks good as she looks a bit afraid of what's happening while the blue filtered background image of Maya which has a lot of rope like imagery mixed with it has her looking particularly villainous. The back cover has another full color shot of Seiya, though showing off a bit more yet less, alongside the basic things such as the summary and list of extras. The discs features and basic technical information is fairly easy to find but the white on blue text makes some of it hard to discern. The reverse side of the cover is done in the usual split; the left panel has a full black and white image of one of the girls being taken in bondage while the other panel has the chapter list breakdown, bilingual cast lists (yay!) and the mixed production credits. Overall, I rather like the way this release looks, particularly the front cover.

Menu:
The menu layout is very simple with a static image of Seiya again, though fully clothed, with a black widow spider background done in reds and blacks. Set with a bit of haunting music to it, the menu selections are the usual variety with fast access times and decent loading times. With no transitional animations, they're pretty problem free and accurate. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets.

Extras:
The extras are minimal as usual with hentai releases and only the art gallery is what we count as an actual extra.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Black Widow's a fairly amusing little two-part OVA release. It's the kind of show that starts off creepy and then decides it wants to really mix things into it. You get your creepy, you get your sex, you get your bondage sex and you get yourself some dead bodies. What fun!

The story is fairly simple, though it does take a bit for the mystery to get explained. We get to meet seven young friends who are out at a man-made lake that was created when a dam was built there. They're all good friends and just having fun out and about and living it up. On one of the days there, they end up going for a walk down along the railroad tracks that are there and check out some of the area around them. From the old abandoned rail station to some of the paths up through the mountains, they have a mildly entertaining time. On their way back though, they get lost and the bad weather starts to show up so when they come across a fully lit mansion nestled deep in the woods there, they have no problem with going there. The door is even open for them so they walk right on in.

To their surprise, there doesn't seem to be anyone around. But people are there as there are things such as the lights being on, water being boiled and other little hints. The men start going off to explore, leaving the women to sit in the entry area together. But even they can't sit still too long and some of them go off to explore. The mansion is quite expansive with a lot of interesting rooms. A downstairs area has a full bar available with numerous tables, as well as a visible bondage cellar right next to it. The kitchen is massive and has a row of knives all lined up. And to the horror of one of the girls, one of the upstairs bedrooms looks exactly like her own room.

And then one by one, each of them start finding themselves captured and subjected to different things. Two of the men find themselves in an all white room and stripped down when a young woman comes in with a knife and starts to mix the sex and violence with them. One young woman finds herself being tied up and taken by two men on a balcony while others look on, another is tied to the bed and a massive creepy insect is worming its way into her. Toss in some regular bondage stuff and some fun with knives and the sex in this is really all over the place. The people behind the mansion are highly intent on adding a lot of fear into what they're doing and the characters here are pretty well scared, sometimes to the point of near insanity.

The character designs for the show are all rather good, though not the best I've seen. Each of the women come across as very attractive here and different enough from each other, though they all come across as a bunch of princesses in their own way. Each of them finds themselves in different situations so their scenes aren't repeated heavily throughout and they all react different to how they're being treated. There's simply a good amount of variety in here. Where the show does suffer is in the English dub, which is at times wildly different from the Japanese version. It's amusing since there are points where the English version comes across as more supernatural and cultural than the Japanese version which is almost more modern in how they deal with the issue.

In Summary:
Black Widow certainly isn't one of the best hentai releases out there but I'll be damned if it didn't actually entertain me and made me wonder just what the mystery was all about. It's also got one of the weirdest endings with the way the lead characters resolve the situation that just gives you a big "Wha?!" feeling. You almost have to wonder if it's cultural or just a really big case of truly bad writing. The material at the beginning of the show starts this off wonderfully with creating a moody atmosphere and then it just goes full tilt into the sex/horror side. And as an added bonus, it's scat free!

Features
Japanese 2.0 LAnguage,English 2.0 LAnguage,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
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.

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