Cambrian Vol. #1 - 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: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: JapanAnime
  • MSRP: 24.99
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cambrian

Cambrian Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     September 21, 2006
Release Date: August 22, 2006


Cambrian Vol. #1
© JapanAnime


What They Say
In the near future, people discovered the true identity of evolution; however, one mad scientist decided to take it further. Dr. Yamagishi was a genius and well-respected - until the day he decided to try human cloning... a forbidden science. Now working deep in the dark, he decides to take his mad plans to the next level: recreating evolution and the Cambrian Big Bang!

The Review!
An adult anime five hundred and forty million years in the making! Take that Jurassic Park!.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese and it's also the only language available here. The stereo mix for it is essentially what you expect from an adult release in that it's clean and problem free during regular playback. The stereo mix itself doesn't have much in the way of noticeable directionality which is pretty normal and overall it sounds like a standard full forward soundstage presentation.

Video:
Originally released to video in 2005, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials for Cambrian look to be in great shape as the end result here is a very good looking show with hardly any real problems to it. The design of the show isn't very vibrant in terms of colors, instead choosing to focus more on dark shades and a lot of black. Flesh tones, especially during the sex scenes, are when you notice the brightest colors and they look really good. Black levels are very well maintained and the transfer has a very smooth feel overall. Add in a lack of cross coloration and aliasing for the most part and it's a very good looking piece.

Packaging:
Letting you know clearly that this is tentacle porn, which in itself is often fairly violent, Cambrian makes no bones about it as it shows Keiko being surrounded by the tentacles and other creepy crawlies that make up the creatures of this particular age. It's very dark looking and definitely has a creepy feel though they do give Keiko that bit of a look where you can't be sure that she's not enjoying it. The back cover provides a couple of shots from the show that are clean and without any real nudity while providing a summary of the premise in between them. The bottom is filled out with the basic legal jargon and the technical grid. Surprisingly, there isn't any reversible cover this time around.

Menu:
Using the cover artwork along the right half of the menu, the layout is simple but attractive as the foreboding music plays to it. The navigation strip along the right side under the logo uses the same color motif and is quick and easy to use though it's an easy release to leave on the main menu. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The only included video extra here is an image gallery done in slideshow format. Also included is the PSP/iPod video version of the episode. A menu section in the extras describes the method by which to get it in clear detail as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While tentacle hentai has been few and far between the last few years, when they do get around to doing it they often come up a bit creative. Since this particular well has been plundered so many times, there aren't many things that you can do that hasn't been seen before. In a lot of ways, Cambrian falls into that trap but they do it with just enough style to differentiate itself from the others that it works pretty well. At least for this first episode.

We're introduced in the present day to a professor at the University named Keiko, who has a small but decent staff working under her for their research. She's got a thing going with one of the men she works with, which the virgin-like Shinohara observes by accident while at work, but otherwise she's a pretty decent person to work with. She can be a bit hard at times if things aren't going well but at the same time the job isn't her life. The fact that she chews out Shinohara for his screw-up and then has little problem going into the next room to get screwed shows that. Shinohara's definitely the milktoast in this show though since he completely wusses out when another member of the research staff comes on to him but he freaks out on her.

Shinohara does have a thing for Keiko though and he gets rightly concerned when she gets a call out of the blue from Professor Yamagishi. Yamagishi was a very intelligent professor at the University until he started attempting to clone humans and was run out of the school. Keiko used to be his assistant and was even sympathetic to him after the incident. Enticing her with words of his newest discovery, she heads out to his new laboratory; an abandoned building out the middle of nowhere. Shinohara follows along but he's not able to do much since Yamagishi gets to her first. Apparently he's decided that the real place to search for evolutionary information is in the Cambrian age where things really got underway. He's even gone so far as to inject himself with what he's come up with. The good professor is far more than just human now and he wants to share it in a very loving way with Keiko.

Cambrian's surprisingly violent in ways that I didn't expect. During a flashback sequence we see Keiko being raped, something that's shaped her since, but instead of the usual just being grabbed and taken advantage of it's got her being punched several times. Yamagishi's attack on another woman has an octopus like creature that's firmly attached itself to her posterior and it just goes wild on her and turns quite bloody. There's a level of violence you get used to when it comes to the tentacle stuff but sometimes they manage to slip in some even more repulsive things. That said, the actual sex scenes are pretty good for the most part. Keiko gets to move between a couple of guys here and she's definitely an attractive design and a decent enough performance. Add in that there's very little in the way of repetitive animation or seriously bad short cuts taken and the quality of the OVA goes up a notch or two. .

In Summary:
The first stage of Cambrian has a mix of rather good sex scenes but also some violence that will definitely turn off some people. The quality of the shows animation is pretty good and the concept, though not exactly unheard of, is executed well here. This episode is just the tip of the iceberg as it's getting the ideas out there and mixing it with the sex so there isn't a whole lot of plot to deal with. It's certainly more enticing in some ways than a lot of other shows but that extra bit of violence that seems to permeate the edges of it makes me cringe a bit. That said, I'm still looking forward to the next episode to see where they may really be going with it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via DVI 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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