Cambrian Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: D

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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: JapanAnime
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cambrian

Cambrian Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     March 30, 2007
Release Date: March 20, 2007

Cambrian Vol. #2
© JapanAnime

What They Say
A few days have passed since the incident at the lab. It all seems like a dream until one day Keiko feels an awkward sensation all over her body. At the same time, her boyfriend starts acting differently around her, starting arguments that lead to violence. Why is her boyfriend suddenly acting differently? What does Haruhiko, Keiko's former professor, truly want to achieve? What is the Cambrian big bang? Let the evolution begin!

The Review!
The violence and sex continues in Cambrian as the dark side of humanity is explored.

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.

Originally released to video in 2006, 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.

Similar to the first volume in that it lets you know squarely that it's all about the tentacle material, this volume puts Keiko in the limelight once more as the slippery tendrils wrap around her. 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.

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 left 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. The instrumental music used for the menu is unfortunately completely overbearing and several notches too high as well. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Unlike the first volume, not only is there no longer a photo gallery but they also removed the PSP/iPod option. This one is bone dry for extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first installment of the series, Cambrian looked to be a show that would take a standard plotline and try to work something a bit interesting with it. Tentacle shows tend to have large epic style stories associated with them, even if the sex is all very much on the personal level. Cambrian wanted to run with forcing a kind of evolutionary change on the world, one that's filled with the core desires of sex and violence.

In the time since the first episodes, the main character of Keiko has felt like everything that happened was a dream. She's still feeling out of sorts however and her body doesn't seem like it's right. Add in a few bad dreams that make her hyper-paranoid and she's completely on edge. It doesn't help that her boyfriend has seemingly undergone a transformation as well as he's now quick to anger and rather violent. He's also continuing to grab some fun on the side though some of it is unintentional at first, such as the sequence in the car during the opening of the episode.

Haruhiko continues to use his new found abilities to his own goals, which often seem to include his own version of pleasure. The lab itself seems to be rife with potential as some seem like they'll go along with him easily enough and others can just become pure fodder for his goals. One of the more useful ones for the twisted games that get played is the young scientist who has a serious crush on Keiko. When she's brought in and strung up to be tortured, he's forced to watch as they slice into her. To both his and her surprise though, this begins to formulate the change in her body as she starts to become something more.

While the first episode wasn't exactly plot heavy, it had an interesting angle for a change. The second episode is continuing with it, but with the length of time between episodes and a lack of clarity in storytelling, it's hard to reconnect to the show. What made it a bit less fun to watch this time around as well was the changes that they put Keiko through. With the effect in her body, stimulation causes her to change quite drastically. She ends up becoming quite unattractive with her newfound pointy nipples. The violence that's used on her with the saw blades was also a huge turnoff. The torturous nature of the first episode was interesting at times because of how they tied it to the raw nature of the Cambrian, but in this one it's just the darker side of certain humans coming out into the open.

In Summary:
While some shows can manage well with the one episode at a time format, something like Cambrian that wants to use a plot suffers a bit. With it being over six months between releases, it's easy to forget exactly what was going on. Once it gets going though, much of it comes back but it doesn't feel quite like the same show in some ways. More overtly violent, less appealing sexually, Cambrian has lost a lot of its energy going into this episode. The premise is still interesting but the execution has fallen short.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 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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