Imma Youjo Vol. #1 (of 5) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, September 29, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2000
What They Say
Throughout history, an elemental force roams the world, bringing death and destruction. Upon seeing her, men and women willingly bring down their societies for just a few moments of contact with her body. She exists only to destroy and legends precede her appearances. She's as evil as she is innocent, as retiring as she is seductive, and as beautiful as she is terrifying. She is--Maya. Warning: Contains graphic violence and sexual situations; absolutely not for viewers under 18 years of age.
Hers is a tragic destiny: even she is powerless to stop the destruction that she brings. Not a demoness. Not a witch. She is far more powerful than either. She is a force of nature who possesses a horrible sexual talent to utterly destroy everything she comes in contact with. Many have tried to if not stop her at least slow her down and escape, but how does one slow a Hurricane or Earthquake? And Maya is more powerful than either�and more seductive than anyone ever seen!
There�s a building in the middle of a desert city that everyone sees yet no one ever talks about, a cloud piercing tower that the locals all know means trouble. They�re content to stay away from the thing since it doesn�t appear to mean them much harm�but that�s because there appear to be only men in this city!
There are stories about what happens to you if you are young and female here it the Master takes an interest in your body! All of those tales end the same: the women wind up being taken to some vast pleasure chamber and are never seen again! The men never question the status quo, since to do so invites a horrible death�still, there is a persistent story that something both unseen and horrible lives in that tower!
It's not all that often that hentai comes out on DVD in the US. And when it does, it almost always arrives via NuTech, one of the few companies that will deal in the adult material and has the ability to get the stuff pressed. Many replication facilities simply won't accept this kind of material, often causing it to be replicated overseas.
Imma Youjo is a five episode OVA series, with one 45 minute OVA on each disc. The discs are actually DVD-10's, but we'll touch more on that later.
With it being only 45 minutes or so, there's plenty of space for video and this does look pretty solid. Originally released back in 1994, the animation for the OVA varies from piece to piece. Some of the more high quality sections look very good while the low cel count areas look decent. We didn't notice any artifacting during playback on our main theater. Colors looked pretty solid with no over saturation. There were a few instances where the screen seems to waver with a few black lines, but this was also on the VHS release, so it's pretty much a source material issue.
While some will bemoan the lack of a dub on this, I can't find myself complaining too much. Hentai in English just never sounds quite right and the actresses rarely really get into it. The audio track for the Japanese here is solid all the way through, with a decent amount of directionality across the front soundstage. We couldn't detect any hiss or distortion throughout the presentation or any drop outs.
While not as strongly noticeable as it was with Cool Devices, Imma Youjo definitely lets the consumer know it's not for kids! Once you get past the warnings, you've got a fairly dark but well done front cover that's not really that big on titillation but more on danger with Maya running away with her clothes in tatters. The back cover gives a series synopsis as well as an episode synopsis and a few shots of the animation. No insert is provided.
These are pretty well done menus. There's music playing in the background and the main page has a pretty decent amount of animation playing throughout it. Selections are accessed quickly, though a bit awkward with some on their side. Maybe it's just to get you ready for when you turn your head to the side during the program. My only minor complaint with the menu is that the audio is significantly louder than the program itself, which can be quite jarring upon first loading the disc or when returning to the menu after the show.
The main extra on the disc is a video photo gallery containing a few shots from the show framed by some backgrounds. Curiously, NuTech went and made this disc a DVD-10, or double sided single layered. The "B" side contains a bunch of playable anime trailers. All the trailers are from existing adult anime available on DVD from both Right Stuf and Central Park Media.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As anyone who has followed my reviews for a good length of time will know, I enjoy hentai. Yep, a "mainstream" reviewer who doesn't hide his enjoyment of the material. I'm certainly not ashamed of it, though I can understand why others may not care for it.
Imma Youjo is definitely something of a step up from the usual types of hentai that gets brought over to the US. Yes, there's tentacles. Yes, there's scantily clad and naked women. But there's also some semblance of a plot and plenty of things left up in the air. It's like Naked X-Files without Mulder and Scully.
The show opens with a once peaceful town that is now thrown into violence and general naughtiness. A young woman stands off to the side, smiling. She's also the only one wearing clothes while this madness goes on. She turns and heads off, while the male lead, Chaos, tells how the town changed once she showed up.
Flash forward some time later, and Maya has entered a sizeable city that has a massive tower at the center. The street thugs end up taking her down in more ways than one, but they end up dead through mysterious means. Maya awakens to find herself inside the tower, now apparently a prostitute for the owner. And as luck would have it, Chaos is her first and seemingly only customer.
The show then explores the mysteries of the tower and why the town is as calm as it appears to be for the most part. There's the introduction of a couple of bad villain types and their harem of naked women as well. There's the usual fair share of violence, bit of blood and plenty of moaning and groping throughout.
One thing that really works well for the show is the character design for Maya. In comparison with the VHS I have, the clarity and sharpness of her design with the coloring is really striking. The fleshtone layering looks wonderful and the green used for the eyes is very vibrant. Between a great looking character design and several very attractive outfits, this character is a winner. She's even got a few moments where she hints at knowing exactly what she's doing, belying the notion that she's just being used constantly.
Imma Youjo certainly isn't for everyone and plenty of people will balk at the 45 minute disc. But for those who need their hentai fix, this will definitely fix that craving.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Photo Gallery
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Critical Mass Video
Running time: 45
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Imma Youjo