Mystery of the Necronomicon (2010 Edition) (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, December 16, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The mixture of sex and violence certainly has its appeal, but when it involves removing eyeballs, well, that may be a limit for some.
What They Say
From the director of Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend! A mad scientist has taken prisoners for a terrifying occult ceremony. His lust for perversion will unleash a forbidden magic... and raise the dead. A private detective will expose his shameful secret, but knowledge may come too late to save the innocent!
This release retains the original bilingual audio presentation so we get a pair of tracks that are in stereo and encoded in 192kbps. Like a lot of hentai, there isn't a whole lot of detailed material with the mix but it handles most things well. The action scenes don't involve a lot of real action to it, more just the swelling of the music, so that just leaves the dialogue. With the show being rather dialogue driven and minimal on the music score, the majority of the show is through the center channel. Overall, we noticed no problems with it other than maybe being a bit low. There's hardly any directionality at all across the front soundstage and what few ambient effects there were sounded decent.
Originally released in 1992, the transfer for this four part OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This release uses the same transfer and masters from the original Anime 18 release so there are no differences between the 2003 release and this new one. There's a fair amount of cross coloration throughout, more prominent in some scenes than others, but when it's prominent it's very distracting. There's a bit of edge enhancement causing a number of jaggies along otherwise smooth lines throughout the show as well. Line noise is pretty minimal. The show does look good overall since it was done in 1999 and the animation style used is very CGish. There are a number of scenes early one that make the show feel like a really high-grade hentai video game. The CGish feel to it does ease off as the show progresses, but it's still very much there.
This show had one of the worst looking pieces of boxart when it first came out and it's apparently the only piece that's available. With the Critical Mass release, the artwork doesn't look like it's stretched and distorted poorly though as it features one of the women with her outfit being torn from her while her mouth is taped over. It's an indistinct background overall and because of the murky nature of it, the use of a white border around all of it works well to draw the eye to the character art. The logo along the bottom avoids some of the more expected fonts and instead looks a little more clinical almost. The back cover gives over the majority of its space to shots from the show that highlight the sex and a touch of the violence. The summary is painfully minimal overall, which is unfortunate since there is a bit of a story to be had here. The discs are cleanly listed in the technical grid and it's all easy to read and find. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu system is slightly awkward here, with the main page laid out like book titles on a shelf. Since they're at an angle, it helps if you're laying at an angle too! The menus are otherwise pretty typical of CPM releases which means they're easy to get around in and access times are good. Unless you hit one of their age rating screens, which you can't scan through and you can't skip past. Then you're stuck sitting there watching this endless screen.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Mystery of the Necronomicon was one of the first hentai titles that I had seen that made me simply disgusted. And that's saying quite a lot since none of the others in the past have. But this one makes me disgusted in much the same way as Silence of the Lambs did as well. Ew ew ew!
The story revolves around Satoshi, a 28 year old private detective and his assistant and adopted daughter Asuka. Asuka, who appears to be about twenty going by what's in the show, was adopted five years earlier by Satoshi after her parents death in Maine, in a situation where Satoshi may have been involved if not the murderer himself. The only reason he was never fully accused was he lost his memory during this time and after spending time in a mental institution, was finally let go. He returned to Japan and adopted Asuka out of some form of guilt.
The story picks up with Satoshi and Asuka staying at a winter resort. An interesting cast of secondary characters is introduced and it doesn't take long for a murder to happen. And it's quite the grisly one, with the victims face being torn off and the eyeballs being plucked. Ew ew ew! Any time the whole skin of someone like this is brought up, it just makes me shiver. Ew!
The story then moves quickly into a murder mystery with hints that go back to Satoshi's incident six years earlier in Maine. With hints that come throughout the show, we begin to unravel the mystery of a mans quest to grant immortality via a book of pure old evil magic, the Necronomicon. But it's not the ending, but the journey that proves to be the interesting part.
The show, told in four parts, is fairly interesting. The sex scenes aren't bad, though somewhat brief in a few of them and they are fairly explicit for the time. The animation as mentioned earlier is very early digital style in its nature and will give some people an uneasy feel in how it simply glides across the screen at times. The character designs are pretty good, though nobody changes clothes during the course of the month that this mystery takes place. While the Mystery of the Necronomicon won't rank high on my list of hentai shows that I'd recommend, it's one that's completely demon free and without tentacles. The characters are interesting and each have their own motivations and the overall storyline works fairly well. Except for the whole face removing thing. Ew ew ew!
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.
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Critical Mass Video
Running time: 120
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mystery of the Necronomicon