Watching the first episode second didn’t help, but man, I don’t think it’d help watching it in proper order either.
What They Say
Also known as "Shitsurakuen" or "Paradise Lost," Sinners Paradise is a two-part, original video animation produced by Digital Works.
Longtime friends Erika and Akino have a difficult road ahead of them. One minute, they're basking in the warm summer air, and the next, they're sucked into a strange dimension. There, an army of mysterious soldiers declare that the two women are allies of an enemy nation and put them through all manner of perverse torture. But even if they could escape their captors, where could they run when they don't even know where they are?
Sinner’s Paradise gets a straightforward presentation with its audio as the bilingual mix has both tracks done in stereo at 224kbps. The show doesn’t have any sort of really big epic moments or anything, rather keeping to the smaller more intimate pieces for the most part. That lets it use its stereo design fairly well with a minor bit of directionality to a couple of scenes. It’s by and large dialogue and moan focused, or rather some cries of pain, so there isn’t a lot of need for anything all that well placed here. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2007, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show has a very muted color palette for the most part with lots of earthy and dull tones so it isn’t a show that really stands out. Even when it uses more vibrant colors, they tend to err more on the soft side. Purple hair is more lavender and the blood that flies freely during a couple of scenes is very dark, keeping it in tone with everything else. The transfer here isn’t bad by any stretch, but the design of the show keeps it from looking all that inviting and appealing. The transfer is good and captures the feel of the show but the feel of the show just doesn’t appeal all that much.
The second volume of the series was quite unappealing but this one is a bit more towards the middle as it has the three main women in various states but it mostly focuses on Erika as her uniform is undone and she’s covered in thorns. With the bright red background it has a lot more color to draw the eye and the character designs almost look normal. The back cover is made up of a scene from the show with the devilish monster standing in the shadows against a darkened room which looks a bit soft and not terribly engaging. The summary has some information about part of the show but it’s a small chunk of what the episode is about in general, but probably the only section that makes a small amount of sense. The remainder is given over the technical grid and the production credits. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design reworks the front cover artwork to tie everything together with the characters while giving it a dark feeling because of the background colors. The layout is straightforward enough with selections lined along the bottom that are quick and easy to use and the submenus load quickly. The main menu doesn’t do all that much for me since the cover artwork and characters aren’t all that appealing so it doesn’t do much for setting the right mood for me personally. On the plus side, like just about every Critical Mass disc, it does read our players’ language presets and plays accordingly.
The only extras included is a brief art gallery and the US trailer for the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For whatever reason, I ended up getting the two volumes of this series out of order and because they aren’t numbered, well, I didn’t notice. That doesn’t say a whole hell of a lot for the story since I’ve watched the second episode already and it didn’t feel like a second episode. It felt like a strange first episode. So after the second chaotic and mostly nonsensical and nonlinear episode of the series, I was curious to see how the Genesis volume of the series would turn out. While it wasn’t worse and it wasn’t better, it at least kept to the same level of strangeness and lack of appeal that the other had. The series seems to want to tell an epic tale with the fate of the world in the balance but has laid it out all so poorly and without any kind of engaging structure that after two episodes I haven’t a clue as to what the show is really about. Well, other than a bunch of guys in military uniforms abusing young women.
Since we covered a lot of what the plot was in the other review, it’s interesting to see that this one seems like it takes place alongside it in terms of how it plays out. The second volume largely followed Akino’s story and what happened to her when the world went wonky and she and her friends were kidnapped. This one is given over mostly to Erika with much the same kind of situation set to it as she finds herself captured by the military men who aren’t really human and can’t understand the stupidity of humans. After we get some mild slice of life bits that show us what kind of woman she is and some of her friends, we basically have her waking up in a stone cell and discovering that she and Akino are now prisoners in separate rooms. They’re more than that though as she sees Akino being raped and abused by a number of men.
The same fate awaits Erika as well as the men have their way with her, first in an a large setting and then again later with one of the guards that’s checking on her. But it’s at this point that she’s given an out by a mysterious voice in her head that helps her escape into his arms. Of course, once in his arms she discovers that he’s not entirely human but something else which seeks only to use and abuse her for some grand mystical prophecy of some sort. The scene with him allows for some fun tentacle action to enter the show after we’ve mostly just had straightforward abuse and domination material used. On the plus side, Erika is the better looking of all the girls in the show though I really can’t find the appeal of her huge tan lines being shown, though I can understand why others may like that.
Watching this out of order likely hurt my enjoyment of it, but I don’t think I would have gotten much out of this anyway. This first episode really doesn’t seem to have much to it because like the second one, it plays out in a fairly disjointed form and isn’t exactly clear about a lot of the details. It’s a cruel and crude piece with alternate dimensional male characters that are generally faceless and without any kind of actual character to them to make it a compelling epic story that they seem to want to tell. There’s little that I can find to recommend here as I didn’t care for the character designs overall or the plot, never mind the non-consensual and uninteresting sex scenes. Vanilla tends to be pretty hit or miss with their stuff, but I’ve found when they have a miss they generally are a big miss for me. And this is one of those.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Art 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.