F-Force (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, November 12, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Set in a fantasy type world, the lead male and his posse of female warriors stand against a plot to submerge an entire continent.

What They Say
Enslaved by filthy fiends! The gorgeous, supernaturally powered Alicia has been kidnapped by demons, enslaved for their unspeakably perverted pleasures. Her only hope for survival: a team of busty barbarians known as the F-Force! Each fabulous, fighting female has her own style and deadly weapon of choice, but all share a love of danger and excitement. And there will be plenty of both as they fight to rescue their comrade from the ravages of evil!

The Review!

Audio: 
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The bilingual release is standard from the time it came out, and hentai in general, with a pair of stereo tracks encoded at 192kbps. The stereo based mix didn't challenge our setup much as most of the dialogue comes across as center channel based. Some of the sound effects and the music made more use of the left and right channels but overall this is a straightforward full sounding mix without too much in the way of directionality. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issues with distortions or dropouts during regular playback. 

Video: 
Originally released in 2001, the three OVAs are presented on this disc in their original full frame format and with their original Japanese credits. This release is a re-pressing of the original Anime 18 release from 2003 so there are no differences between that edition and this one. Making fair use of some of the digital technology of the time, the main issue that this transfer deals with is cross coloration and dot crawl. Heavily visible in the hair of the female characters, particularly the red and pink colored ones, it's fairly distracting throughout all three episodes. It shows up in a few other places along the way and in a number of mid range character shots as well as some minor aliasing. Colors in general look good and they maintain a solid look as do the backgrounds. The cross coloration proved to be the most bothersome aspect of this transfer and will vary depending on your setup.

Packaging: 
While the original release was focused heavily on the domination aspect with Alicia being stripped bare and others looking on from behind. This one gives us Alicia again as the central character, the only character in fact, but she’s fully clothed and looking confident and pretty. Almost like an idol, which gives you the idea that this is a modern day magical girl show almost, or idols taking over. It’s a very busy but attractive cover with a lot going for it as it sneaks in some of the sexuality nicely. The details are really good as are the colors of both her hair and dress, making it quite eye-catching. The back cover is a bit more basic as it has a sky blue background and provides a full shot of the various women that make up the group. I don’t even think we needed the screenshots used here since it just distracts from the excellent character artwork provided. The summary is basic and we get a decent breakdown of what extras to expect since there are a few. Round it out with a technical grid that covers everything well and you’ve got a very appealing cover from front to back that sells the show well, though doesn’t highlight too strongly that it’s a fantasy-era show.

Menu: 
The menu is one of the more simple layouts for an Anime 18 release with half the window showing a few clips from the show set to a fast paced instrumental piece and the other half holding the selections. Access times are nice and fast and the simple menu means easy navigation. The disc didn't read our players preset language selections however, losing some points with us.

Extras: 
Anime 18 continues to be one of the few companies that provides some extras with their hentai offerings. The only one that really gets much use here is the outtakes section which provides some extra amusement. Rounding things out are some art galleries for character sketches, general artwork and some storyboards.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The premise of the show has us following ace adventurer Ash. He hires himself out wherever needed and fights the evils and monsters of the world. He's currently heading for the remote village of Tylling, a place close to the edge of the continent. On his way there, he ends up helping a damsel in distress after her guards are killed by some big nasty looking monsters. He swoops in and slices one in half, causing about a million gallons of blood to flow upwards. At first I thought, this is going to be one of those kinds of shows. Then I realized just how accurate all the blood was. With all the tentacles that come out of these monsters, what keeps those tentacles going other than blood? The only inaccurate part is that the legs should crumple as all the blood flows from it.

Anyway? monster biology 101 notwithstanding, Ash helps the attractive pink haired cutie in the short skirt back to the village where he learns that she's the chief's daughter. As it turns out, Alicia is the last young woman left in the village as the monsters from Demon Mountain have been coming down and stealing away with them all lately and now they're after her. As the chief goes on, he describes a potentially related issue in which a continent not far off from where this one ends disappeared not long ago after some nasty ultra-demons managed to build some pillars of light around it and essentially sunk it deep under the ocean. He's concerned that something similar is afoot here as a villager came across a pillar in the mountain.

Since this turns into something bigger than Ash planned, and he has to do something cause he can't be a popular adventurer underwater, he brings in the rest of his team, a group of unique powerful women who somehow continually manage to end up naked or providing panty shots for Ash. You get ones like the cowgirl, the native american, the Chinese outfit girl, the sailor scout, the schoolgirl uniform, etc. They're not really characters, they're stereotypes that are animated with painted on personalities. Since there's so many of them and so few episodes, there's not enough character meat to really find them interesting enough outside of one or two of them. But with their outfits, it really takes you out of the setting. 

So all of them set off to deal with the issue and it's a problem that only gets bigger as it goes along until they have to deal with even bigger demons. F-Force isn't a bad show, but it's almost painfully mediocre and just too full of too many things to work well. If it had stayed without adding in the "force" part and just kept it down to Ash and one or two others it would have worked better. There's a fair amount of comedy mixed into the show, some that works some that doesn't. For example, the first boss demon and his assistant are panty collectors. When the team is up against the wall, the assistant goes and takes them off of everyone, including Ash. He at least conveniently gets a black square over his privates.

A lot of unintentional comedy comes out of the dub. Oh does it ever. The bulk of this comedy comes from the Elliege character. She's the one that looks like a cowboy, likes gambling and drinking bear and has a pair of six-shooters. Since there's not much in the way of noticeable accents in the Japanese, I'm always curious what they come up with in the dub since they're able to be a bit more, well, authentic. I did not expect to hear a Jersey accent coming from her. And not just any Jersey accent, but a Soprano's profanity layered accent. Every sentence is an effin sentence. It's almost poetically beautiful. You could build haiku from her dialogue.

In Summary: 
F-Force's main fault is that it's too generic and doesn't provide enough of a focus since there's just too much cast to it. The Japanese version provides some minor comedy throughout, some halfway decent sex scenes and not much else. The English version provides more comedy just from Elliege's character and the way her lines are laced and the actual accent used. You almost wonder if she's not really acting but just being herself it flows so naturally. F-Force is what you rent to watch with a lot of friends in English while drunk and free of sharp objects. 

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Audio outtakes, art gallery, storyboards, character sketches

Review Equipment

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

 



Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Critical Mass Video
MSRP: 24.99
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: F-Force