Chat room romances and email love blossom into something darker here.
What They Say
One simple email can change everything in a person's life. For Kei? Email is his way of life. His only joy ? Pretending to be whomever he wanted to be. One day while surfing the net, he meets a girl named Eve & their friendship begins to develop into something more. Problem is, Eve is in love with Kei's alternate online identity. Wil Kei be able to confess his love or will he forever be Number 2 to his own alter ego ?
This edition of Pure Mail retains the dub that was originally commissioned by NuTech Entertainment and it along with the original Japanese language track are kept to their stereo form at 192 kbps. With the show being a simple dialogue piece outside of some ambient effects, there’s not much call for more than that and it services the material well. The presentation is a straightforward stereo mix where it has a full feel to it with only a few moments where there’s any significantly noticeable directionality to it. Both tracks come across well and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released back in 2001 in Japan, the transfer for this two part OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The original release was spread across two discs, an episode a disc, with a rather high bitrate. This release is all on one disc which is a significant plus but the bitrate drops down to an average of around six or so. There isn’t any really big noticeable difference between the two, especially with changes in hardware between then, but the release looks solid for the most part outside of a bit of background noise here and there that creeps in. The end credits with the scrolling Japanese credits is the only area that exhibits some cross coloration but that’s about the worst that can be said about the release. The main program itself looks quite good.
I really liked the packaging of the original release with its character artwork design but there’s something really captivating about this cover. The front cover artwork of Midori in her kimono, her fan between her legs, as it’s falling off of her as she blushes is juts spot on. The background is really subtle and adds beautifully to the foreground character artwork as a strong draw. The logo across the middle is nicely handled as well as it feels romantic in its nature. The back cover provides for several very explicit shots from the show from the top around the right side as it lets you see who all is getting what done to them throughout it. The left portion has a juiced up summary of the premise while the bottom is fleshed out with the standard technical information and a very minimal grid to hold it all. The release does have a reversible cover but like a lot of Adult Source Media releases, the only difference is that the back cover is that it’s clean – both in the picture and the text. The differences can be amusing.
The design for the menu is kind of weak for Adult Source Media as it has what looks to be a sort of cartoony monitor in the middle where scenes from the show play out in the background of it while there is character artwork in the foreground. The left side has a hefty list of navigation selections as each episode is selectable as well as a play all feature plus the straight to the sex in addition to the standard areas like extras and language selection. Submenus do load quickly which is a big plus and getting around is easy enough even if it is a bit heavy in the navigation listings.
The only extras included is a brief photo gallery with stills from the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Pure Mail was a title that intrigued me due to its influence from both email and chat applications, since that’s an area I’m familiar with, particularly with the meeting that special someone through that way. Of course, my experiences are nothing like this, and for that I’m rather thankful. Regardless, there are some rather good moments here outside of the one real rape sequence.
The story focuses around Kei Ogata, a quiet and introspective student who almost seems like he lives two lives. During the day, he’s your basic student, usually gloomy and not all that talkative, but not a trouble maker or anything. At late at night, after waking up from nightmares about his parents in the past and the abuse he used to suffer, he logs onto a chat channel and talks with EVE while he uses the nick A,W. EVE has taken an affection to him since she first went online and helped her with a few things. As the two talked in private, they became closer and more interested in each other. But EVE kept talking a lot about her things during school, and Ogata eventually realizes that it’s a classmate of his named Midori. So he starts playing the game of seeing just who she really likes, as she starts expressing an interest in Ogata and telling A,W about it at night.
Ogata’s not entirely mentally fit, but I wouldn’t really go that far in saying that. He’s pretty much a regular confused kid, but is also suffering from the aforementioned parental issues, plus the fact he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Being a computer oriented person, he used his teachers account to log into the schools server to look around and learn more. The woman who manages the servers found this out and has used that information with the threat of making things up to bring him to her service. She’s started training him, albeit somewhat lightly, as a slave to her mistress act.
So when Midori finally asks him out to the school festival, and Midori finds out that her friend Miki actually really likes Ogata, she breaks the date. Miki insists on going with Ogata, so the two head to the festival. With all that’s rolling around in the poor boys head, he finally just snaps and forcefully takes Miki. From here, we start rolling with the repercussions of that, adding more secondary cast members and actually getting Midori and Ogata together. The two episodes for this series are pretty good, though I had hoped they’d avoid the entire rape aspect of it and find another way to deal with it, but that’s almost part and parcel with a lot of Green Bunny shows.
The character designs and animation, while definitely better than a lot of the hentai we’d seen back during its original release, aren’t terribly striking. Mistress Yumi in particular isn’t attractive at all, but Midori and Miki make up well for that. The animation is pretty much the top notch stuff I’ve come to expect from this production house as they’ve really mastered how to do this stuff under a budget. Pure Mail isn’t going to be for everyone, but when a show uses ascii smilies that blush perfectly, well, it’s going to speak to a certain geeky subset of fandom I’m sure.
Going back into this show some six years after originally seeing it was interesting. In a way, the show has aged well as nothing here really seems out of place. It uses basic text chat conversation pieces and a window format that is still used heavily enough today, even if the actual interfaces look a bit flashier and utilize more emoticons and the like. But as a piece that would reach out to those that aren’t part of that culture, it’s quite accessible. The character designs are decent, the sex is generally good though some of the scenes feel really off as there is some punched up and awkward (incorrect) subtitled dialogue as well. I liked this show when it was first released and I still do for the way it deals with the situation, but it’s unfortunate that they saddled it with some things that don’t really fit well with the characters.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Italian Subtitles, French Subtitles, Photo Gallery
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.