Xpress Train (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, November 11, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, November 02, 2010
There’s something to be said about helping an old man on to the next world by making sure he goes out with a smile on his face.
What They Say
You're in for a wild ride on the bullet train with Kazuo, the master molester! His roving hands pleasure countless lovely strangers in the close confines of a carnal commute. But the master meets his match in Reiko, a woman who shares his love of groping her fellow passengers. Together, they're on an express ride in this erotic travelogue of lust!
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The bilingual presentation has a pair of stereo tracks encoded at the usual 192kbps that works well but doesn’t stand out all that much. The series feature a pretty basic stereo mix that isn't all that surprising since it’s a pretty much dialogue based show. Some of the ambient effects like the train sounds and the music make use of the stereo channels but otherwise it's a very simple mix that accomplishes the job. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2002, the two episode OVA series is presented here in its original full frame format. This release is just a re-pressing of the original Anime 18 release so there are no differences between this and the one released back in 2004. The transfer looks great with lots of solid and vibrant looking colors that stand out well but without being too over the top or day-glo in nature. There's very little in the way of noticeable blocking throughout the show, colors are solid, cross coloration non-existent and even aliasing is pretty minimal except during some of the panning sequences. This is a pretty pleasing looking transfer.
While the disc may be what we’ve seen before, the cover artwork is a much better and enticing design. The front cover gives us a pair of the women that are about to get taken advantage of on the train where they’re in clear focus as their clothes are being pulled away. Off to the sides in a fuzzy manner are a couple of hands reaching towards them to add the threat that they’re facing. The logo is nicely done with it being on a ticket where the passengers are apparently going to Wood City. The little details here are perfect, such as a taco for lunch and 69 being mentioned in a few ways. It’s this kind of cover design that really sets Critical Mass apart from just about everyone else. The back cover uses the ticket stub design to full effect as it fills the layout where we get some decent tagline text along the top and a fun little summary of what to expect. The discs features are clearly listed and there are some mild shots from the show included as well. The technical grid is solid and everything comes together in an easy to read format. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu layout uses the same style as the cover but a bit more expansive as it has one window where you have the cover artwork of the characters being groped while next to it there's a bolted over panel that has the menu selections. Strangely, there's no music associated with the menu at all, leaving you with dead silence. Access times are nice and fast and the menus are easy to navigate. Language selection via presets with my player were very well ignored and we ended up with just English language as the default.
In addition to the art gallery included here, there's a textless version of the ending sequence which is a nice inclusion and something you rarely get with hentai.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Xpress Train is a surprisingly fun hentai title. While the groping situation is and continues to be a very serious problem in Japan, the fantasy world of hentai allows it to almost become a romantic endeavor. We're introduced to Kazuo, your typical hard working young salaryman who works hard all day, makes the last train and feels like he's getting nowhere in the world. During one train ride home, he finds himself standing next to an attractive woman and his thoughts wander to her, but to his surprise there's an elderly yet hip looking man next to him who starts fondling and groping her. Unfortunately for Kazuo, he gets accused of the act and not knowing how to handle it he ends up being coerced into an acceptance plea for it, which results in him losing his job.
To his surprise, the old man is actually considered the God of Groping and has spent years if not decades building up a series of apprentices to teach his craft to. He's introduced to a number of them the next time he's on the train and finds the Old Man and he's quickly indoctrinated as Apprentice #500. There's an amusing group of current apprentices who each have their own fetishes and you see them in action in single and team mode across the trains as Kazuo is taught the basics. Kazuo turns out to be a fast learner and he's quickly picking up all the skills and then going so far as to go after the women he's advised not to, such as ones on cel phones, groups or ones with that special look in their eyes that show a feistiness.
Kazuo eventually meets his match in a woman named Reiko though, as she was the victim of groping many years prior when taking the train from the countryside to the city for "college". She ended up becoming addicted to being groped though and couldn't get into regular sexual acts due to it and now loses control of her body when someone on the train starts groping her. To Kazuo's surprise, she reaches inside his pants when he starts in on her and brings him off. Both of these characters get a good deal of time having their stories explained and there's an almost romantic bent to how they found each other, as well as the third in the group in the form of a young woman schoolgirl who finds herself in much the same situation Reiko did years ago.
The Old Man is prevalent during a lot of this and adds an amusing touch to things here and there. Particularly hilarious is how when he goes after one young woman he ends up having a heart attack and with his last breaths he gets them to give him a hand job – cause all his blood is going there instead of his heart now – and some minor bukkake as well. The crowds fascination over the old man still being so hard and getting a great hand job into the next world is just hilarious. Giving him an almost Force-like existence thereafter is the icing on the cake.
The character designs and animation for the show is pretty good. They don't stray too far from the normal conventions of a hentai series, so there's some obviousness in the designs but they're well done and well animated. There isn't much in the way of reused animation for it and it's fairly explicit when things get to that point. The female characters of course come across the best but I will say that for once, the old man in the series didn't completely creep me out as he got down to business with the various women on the train. And that, my friends, is a big plus.
I wasn't expecting much from this title but ended up pleasantly surprised by it. It's amusing in plenty of places but keeps a sense of danger to it as well with those trying to bust him and his friends. The women are generally attractive and are well voiced in both languages and the sex scenes go for more than just the slam bam method by trying to provide some titillation. This is definitely a good title to progress from simple stuff into the more hardcore and provides some fun with a fairly Japanese fetish. Besides, how many series really have a scene where the dying guy gets a hand-job to send him off into the next world? That's worth points right there and is secretly how most guys want to depart anyway.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Closing
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: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Critical Mass Video
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Xpres Train