Ryo heads to an isolated island where there's a rather strange sex death life god cult operating in order to figure out what happened to her mother.
What They Say
A Forbidden Fantasy Island; Lured to a forbidden island by a carnal cult, victims are brought to the throes of ecstasy, then brutally sacrificed in a bloody occult ritual! When sexy Ryo visits her late mother's island home, she's in for a terrifying surprise. Can she escape with her life - and her virtue intact? Contains episodes 1-2.
Critical Mass has kept the same audio tracks as the Anime 18 release which means we get a pair of stereo tracks encoded at 192kbps. The show has a fairly basic stereo mix that's mostly center channel based for the dialogue and special dialogue while a few ambient effects and the minor bits of music tend to make use of the actual stereo channels. This isn't an overwhelming mix by any stretch but it's clean and clear throughout and we had no problems 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 materials for this look solid overall but it's not a problem free release. The bulk of the show looks quite good with lots of solid colors, particularly the numerous black areas, and some really vibrant moments throughout. Cross coloration is non-existent and aliasing is a non-issue as well which leaves most of the transfer looking good. Where the problem lies is in a lot of the red colors, outside of the flowers in general, look to suffer from chroma noise and look like they're interlacing a lot. Beyond this it looks good though and is an otherwise enjoyable print.
If there’s a reason to be happy with this release over the Anime 18 one, it’s the simple fact that it doesn’t have the taglines the other had. The front cover really goes for the creepy angle here with the soft lights floating around the young women who are in minimal outfits overall while the whole thing really pushes a slightly supernatural angle but not with an in your face style. It’s simple but effective. The same can be said about the back cover which works with a clean style in having several shots from the show, not tiny shots either, alongside a brief summary paragraph that leaves you wanting to know more of what’s going on. The technical grid is standard for Critical Mass along the bottom as it also brings in some of the basic production credits as well. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reverse side cover.
The main menu has Hotaruko crawling across an obscured background that doesn't seem to be of anything in particular except maybe the doll bodies while music and English erotic dialogue plays along side it. Selections are lined down along the right in a quick to access and easy to use menu. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is simple to navigate but the disc didn't read our player's language presets unfortunately and defaulted to English with no subtitles.
The only included extra is a brief art gallery video piece.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When it comes to adult titles, I'm always a bit more interested when I see those little green bunnies bopping around at the start of a volume that indicates that Green Bunny is involved in it somehow. While I'm not saying all of their release are stellar, I do feel that I'm going to get something a bit more professional, a bit better looking and a bit more interesting at the least than something put out by someone else. Crimson Climax certainly seems to fall into that category going by these first two episodes.
The plot for Crimson Climax is actually a bit convoluted and takes some time for it to unfurl. We're introduced to Ryo, a young woman who has lost her mother and has decided to return home to the island where her family came from. It's an isolated and secluded place and has been for generations but she feels the answers she needs to find are from there. Her mother had been going through problems for the longest time and seemed unable to control her desires, causing her to bring all sorts of men home. But as Ryo got older, Ryo found that she could be substituted for the men in a pinch if need be, which only throws her off even more no matter how hot her mom is. But with her gone now she's intent on figuring out if there's a connection and what to do.
Her return to the island is most welcome, especially by her cousin Hotaruko who has an obviously big crush on Ryo, something Ryo doesn't notice in the slightest. All while Ryo checks out the place she hears the echoes of her mothers' words about not coming to the island no matter what. And her time spent looking around reveals things to her, such as the various families who live here have taken on the form of interesting little dynasties. There's also a religious side to the island which is kept from Ryo for the most part but she is curious about it and adds it to her list of things to figure out the deeper she gets into things. One thing is for certain is that some groups really like to control all aspects of sex.
What Ryo doesn't see but we do is that there's something of a sex-death-life cult going on here and that Hotaruko, through the help of the priest, have various events that go on that bring them new young women to the island so that they can be used in service to an ancient god that resides in an underground cavern. The god is interesting in that it's done up in robes and a ceramic mask but it cannot move. It's attended to by Hotaruko but also by a number of life-size dolls that roam down there which are given life by the doctor and the maidens that they sacrifice here. What's done is that young woman have their tendons and sinews removed and placed into the dolls where souls have gathered and they sort of feed on other creatures which are drawn to the place through the scents of certain flowers that are only on this island.
So there's this cult of an ancient god that needs to kill people in order to give them eternal life but the head of it likes to have her people screw around with them until they're in the throes of ecstasy since apparently that's the best time to get the goods from them. There's some power plays going on amongst the various women who seem to lead the different bloodlines and the priest gets involved but usually just enough to screw which ever sacrifice is next.
The plot isn't exactly linear but it's not really confusing either but it does mean there's a fair amount of gore here. For instance, one of the first scenes has a woman racing down through the caverns to the god as she can't help but be drawn there but she's gone against things so her legs and other parts of her are simply lopped off the closer she gets. No wonder more mainstream shows when they try to do gore simply don't work with me since I've already seen far worse here. The gore factor goes up a bit more in a few other scenes where sacrifices happen and the dolls feast upon the flesh but where the show really excels is in the solid sex scenes. These are up to the usual Green Bunny standards with crisp clean animation, gorgeous character designs and some very erotic moments in what are mostly lesbian scenes. There is a male character that's important to the show and he gets lucky a few times but the focus is definitely on the women here.
Crimson Climax starts off pretty strong here with the first two episodes of the series and it mixes in an interesting story that deals with a strange life/death cult with key interests in sex. There are strong ties between the characters that are slowly being explored and it's filled with some very creepy and disturbing moments. But it also has some very strong and solid sex scenes as well that help carry it all along. There's plenty going on here and it's a welcome change of pace from the standalone type stories we've seen lately which barely have a whole sentence worth of plot to them.
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.