Everything comes to a head as confessions are made and feelings are laid bare.
What They Say
After Shizuku catches Shin'ya in bed with the voluptuous Sayumi, she struggles to come to terms with her secret love for Shin'ya and finally confesses to him. But Shin'ya is still trying to work out his feelings for Akane after their passionate night together. Will his heart go to his longtime friend or the girl from the promise long ago?
While some adult releases are starting to skimp, Destined for Love doesn’t fall into that category as we get a bilingual release here. The show is presented in its original stereo form with both the Japanese and English language tracks encoded at a somewhat standard 192kbps. The show isn’t exactly one that’s aggressive in any way when it comes to the audio as it’s a very simple and no frills forward soundstage affair. Dialogue doesn’t have much in the way of placement and it has a very center channel feeling to it. It is completely clean and free of problems though which makes it a good release since playback is without issue. It simply doesn’t have a lot going for it in terms of placement, directionality or depth. That’s for the show itself.
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Destined For Love is one of those adult shows that’s very minimal with the animation so the transfer here does show the jerkiness a bit in how it moves about, but that’s the only real issue and it’s in the source material itself. The colors are bright and vibrant while remaining very solid throughout. The bitrate is fairly average for the most part, which isn’t a bad thing considering there’s little change in the animation itself a lot of times. When there’s more active scenes, the bitrates are quite a bit higher and that helps it to look as best as it can. Destined For Love is not a high end or even a mid range title with its animation, but the transfer does its best to represent what it is.
Destined For Love had me interested from the moment I saw the cover artwork, though I figured the animation wouldn’t live up to it. There’s a certain appeal to these kinds of designs and their origins that continue to interest me. The front cover has a very appealing shot of Akane and Shizuki together, though it’s basically a big potential spoiler since Akane is in a wedding dress. Shizuki looks good though with her school uniform falling away from her and the overall design of the artwork with all of its detail. The back cover works with a lot of the same colors with pinks and purples abound for borders and backgrounds. The summary is simple but effective and there’s a good mix of shots from the show – nothing explicit – and a large piece showing Shin’ya yanking at Akane’s bloomers, something she apparently enjoys a lot. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design takes elements from both the front and back cover to provide something very appealing and almost romantic with it. The front cover artwork is used to the right side where it’s given a rounded purple border to frame it all nicely. The artwork looks even crisper and more vibrant here than the front cover itself. To the left, we get the basic menu navigation under the soft but cute logo for the series. The layout of it all is quite nice and the colors are very appealing and inviting. Submenus load quickly and it’s easy to get around and do what needs to be done. As is the case with most Critical Mass titles, this release read our players’ language presets and played accordingly.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second part of the series, which does bring everything to a close in fine dramatic order, is pretty good fun when all is said and done. The first episode set up some predictable situations and character interactions, going with a promise from the past for marriage, and it doesn’t really deviate much from that with its concluding episode. Formulaic and predictable as it is, a show like this is a fairly good one because it has a somewhat nice and simple innocence about it that sometimes gets lost among all the hardcore scatalogically oriented shows out there with demons, serial murders and more. Whatever happened to love?
This episode kicks off with the ramifications of Shizuki catching Shin’ya and Sayumi in bed in the doctor’s office and reacting poorly to it, which is to be expected. Sayumi does play it nicely as she understands what Shizuki must be going through and tells Shin’ya to leave it to her. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way and Shin’ya catches up with her first. With Shin’ya now having sex with Sayumi and Shizuki understanding the lust in his eyes towards Akane, she does the only thing she can to try and get him back, and that’s to offer herself up. Of course, she wants him and has wanted him for a long time, so she gets exactly what she wants as Shin’ya is a healthy and loving young man. The experience seems like it’s going to change him as he pledges himself to her, but still admits that he loves Akane.
Hentai makes yet another case for open relationships…
Akane isn’t going to give up without a fight though, and she uses herself as the weapon of choice as she can’t be without Shin’ya. The two have a rather fun little tryst on the rooftop of the school, bloomers and all, that leads to her having quite a nasty fall which in turn provides for some memory loss. This puts everyone in an awkward position as promises made in the past may not apply now but feelings are still there. The small cast of characters make their own little revelations, even Shogo gets in on the deal, and Shin’ya is in the position of really having to make a choice since it’s not socially acceptable to not choose. There’s some nice little interpersonal drama that plays out here among the main three players with Shogo as a side attraction before it gets down to some good fun sex to cap it all off before a wedding. It is amusing that they close it with the wedding shot and that one key character doesn’t even show up there, which makes you want to see more of the story to see what happened.
While the animation for this is somewhat weak compared to other shows, it is one that is appealing overall. Destined for Love does deal in the realm of love and what the characters want, rather than a series of depraved scenes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it’s refreshing to get something that doesn’t involve lots of intense hardcore action. The characters are shallow, but the designs are appealing and the sex is decent. It’s a straightforward situation with no real surprises to it, but it was pleasing on the eye in general and it delves into matters of the heart at least superficially, which is more than many shows do. Destined for Love isn’t a classic, but it’s a fun way to pass some time and enjoy a bunch of fun consensual scenes.
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.