Amateur filmmakers who have a vision aren't rare but the men in Chains of Lust certainly try to keep their audience in mind when casting for their films.
What They Say
Blackmail, lust, and unspeakable acts are performed in a secret room when two adult video store workers create their own erotic film with a cast of unwilling women. Soon the police start sniffing around the scene, but not to stop the illicit movie magic - they want a piece of the action!
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Like most hentai shows, there isn't a lot in the way of very noticeable directionality across the forward soundstage in this stereo mix but overall it sounds good and pretty much problem free. We checked out both language tracks while prepping the review and didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2003, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials for the show look to be in relatively good condition overall. Colors are nicely solid and free of any overly noticeable macroblocking. There are some scenes where there's a bit more softness to things than elsewhere but it looks more like a style choice than an authoring issue. Cross coloration and aliasing is mostly non-existent throughout the two episodes but some of the mid-range character shots tend to be less detailed than other scenes, particularly the faces.
Unlike Maison Plaisir which was released at the same time, Chains of Lust keeps the same artwork as the Anime 18 release but darkens up the background and gets rid of the majority of the text. The cover artwork for this is very dark which works well with the design of the logo as it shows a leather bound Hiroko in a fairly good close-up that's nicely detailed. The layout and colors look really good here as it gives the show a very dark feeling. The back cover provides a full body shot of Hiroko in what little she's got on while surrounding it with the minimal summary of the premise and the discs features. The bottom section of the cover is the usual breakdown of the technical grid which is done far better than the Anime 18 release. Unlike the Anime 18 release, this cover isn’t reversible and there aren’t any show related inserts included.
The menu layout for this release uses similar artwork to what's seen on the cover as it has the bound up illustration of Hiroko showing from behind as the central image while a fuzzy version of Miki bound and gagged is used as part of the background. The layout is straightforward with basic navigation and a bit of instrumental music from the show but it's pretty solid and problem free. Access times are nice and fast and the layout easy to navigate but our players preset languages were ignored and it defaulted to English language only.
This release has a couple of decent extras to it such as the standard art gallery, a section of character sketches and even the clean version of the ending sequence.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Chains of Lust was one of the releases in the "Xtreme Series" from Anime 18 and it pretty much does deserve that label as it's a two part OVA series that focuses on the strong material involving the capture and rape of women while filming them for their own pleasure as well as that of others. The girls they capture are also used once they're dominated for sex parties for older men so it covers a fair range of material that's non-consensual and rougher than usual.
The story focuses around two men, Koji the filmmaker who always has a video camera in hand, and Masaki the star who is more in control of the situation as he takes down the various girls they pick. Their latest star, having gone through their previous subject to the point where she was eager to perform instead of showing the right kind of fear for being raped, is a young woman from a private university that they pick up on the street after she and her attractive mother part ways. Miki's your standard schoolgirl virgin in this and she's taken down hard in the van when she's picked up but the goal with her isn't just to get her but to also bring her mother into play. They use her capture as a way into the house and dominate this beautiful older woman named Hiroko as well as her sister Shizue that eventually visits.
The trio of women for the show goes through some interesting states along the way, since we start off with the deflowering of Miki and then move on to two older women who are more pliant and experienced. Masaki has a different approach for all of them and Koji has plenty of film to ensure that he gets all of it. While Masaki enjoys dealing with Hiroko and Shizue, Koji finds himself becoming very enamored of Miki and it leads to some divisive situations between the two men as they decide what kind of things should be in the film that they're working on. The women for their part tend to end up in their bondage outfits and go along with everything after being mentally worn down by the two men though there's the usual standard element where they start to fall for their captors/masters.
The character designs for the girls are pretty good though they do play up the breast size aspect well enough but not to monstrous proportions which is a plus. Their designs are pretty standard, especially for Miki, but they're appealing standard designs that get put through the paces here. The bondage uniforms that they get are well designed to accent the skin aspect and if you're into the scat side of things, it's more implied than actually shown here so there's a clean factor to a lot of the scenes even as detailed as they are. If there's an area of the show to take issue with it's that the English language adaptation of the show is the kind that takes some liberties along the way, the worst being that Koji has a really bad German accent to it that's used to give him a film auteur feeling. The adaptation doesn't hugely stray from the storyline itself but there are many lines changed for more humorous reasons and the accents just leave you rolling your eyes.
Similar to Maison Plaisir, Chains of Lust is simply a re-packaging of the 2006 release from Anime 18. The show certainly has it’s moments at time but like a lot of the old Xtreme Series titles that they put out, it wasn’t the kind of material that I’m heavily drawn to. The two episodes for this have some good moments and three good looking female characters that are taken to task by the two male leads and those that are their clients but it's not a show that I think has a lot of long lasting replay value. There's some good mother/daughter/aunt aspects to this mixed into the bondage so there are several fetishes that are touched upon which I'm sure a number will find appealing but there's a lack of focus beyond to them that in the end has them all feeling a bit weaker than they could have been. Critical Mass has done good in rescuing another adult release and giving it a new life, one that I hope helps them to license some newer titles so we get some fresh material as well.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.