Bible Black Vol. #1 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, January 17, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2002



What They Say
At a harmless looking College, the teachers and staff are practicing a dark religion. By devoting their bodies to perversity, they chant their dark spells and control the lusts of the student body.

Everywhere the students turn, they are drawn to acts of perversion, even in public. Perhaps the school nurse has the answer, as she holds special counseling sessions for the female students.

The Review!
Bible Black takes the occult, adds high school to the mix and tosses in some gorgeous looking animation and character designs. The result? A rather interesting piece of hentai work, but with at least two caveats.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though it’s a very recent show, it follows the simple motto of almost all hentai shows and has just a basic stereo mix that’s pretty much all center channel based. Dialogue is nice and clear through and the music, which is fairly subtitle, is the main user of the left/right channels. We listened to the English track while writing the review and noted no issues there either.

Video:
Released in 2001, the transfer here is just gorgeous with its rich colors. Fleshtones are greatly layered. There’s very little in terms of jaggies during camera panning sequences and gain is non-existent. The only problem you’ll find is varying amounts of cross coloration throughout the two episodes here. It’ll be somewhat strong for a few second sin one scene and then disappear completely for the next.

Packaging:
The artwork for the cover is spot on and looks really good. Taking the traditional schoolgirl image and putting the mysticism symbols around her with the heavy focus on black creates a great picture. The back cover provides several animation shots of the female cast as well as a decent summary of the shows premise. Technical and production information also show up here while the insert shows the chapter listings on one side and boxart adverts on the opposite side.

Menus:
The menus are pretty basic here with just a simple static background using the mystical imagery with the black background in a sort of spastic way. Submenus load quickly and since there’s nothing here besides the show and a few trailers, the layout is simple.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As mentioned earlier, there’s two caveats to this release for potential buyers to be warned about. Each one is something that can turn you off from it completely.

1)It’s actually the first two episodes of four. The second two episodes have not been announced yet, though they are presumably licensed.
2)It’s got a hermaphrodite. The second I mentioned this on the chat, you could feel the wave of people rushing to retailers to cancel it.

Bible Black is a rather interesting story. The show opens in a dark dank closed room where a group of women in dark robes are around a small altar, all of them chanting in unison. On the table lay a naked woman who doesn’t know what’s going on. The chanting intensifies and then the woman who seems to be leading the group takes a sword and begins to gut the one on the table. Screams and more chanting, and then we suddenly flash to a new scene, something that quickly feels like it’s taking place much later.

It’s here in school that we’re introduced to our principle characters. Our male lead is Minase. Minase is the kind of high school boy whose dabbled a bit in the occult stuff but still comes off as a regular guy. Add in some good looks and you’ve got someone who a few girls will really lust after. And lust they do, particularly XXX. She lives next door to him and helps out there a lot, since she has such a crush on him. Minase though doesn’t seem to really think of her in that way and is usually noticing other girls.

One of his tricks that he performs early on is to take a simple paper doll and have a girl think of someone they want to fall in love with and then put their initial on the doll in their own blood. It’s a harmless little trick, but with Minase’s influence, it actually works. We see Murai do this over Asada, a boy she really likes. Later that day, we find that Murai came across Asada and his girlfriend in the hall, but he cast her aside quickly and then stripped Murai down on the spot and they both just kept going at it over and over until some students eventually broke them up. Minase’s powers are definitely ones that work, though you have to wonder how much is coming from this mysterious book that he has.

Minase also finds himself being pursued by the attractive Shiraki, who he manages to have some fun with at the school. And even later that day, Saeki, the somewhat mysterious fellow classmate, convinces him to come to her place. It’s here she finds out about his “Bible Black” and its powers, but to gain that knowledge, Minase has her perform various acts upon him. It’s through this that we learn that Saeki is starting up a magic club, something that hasn’t existed in the school for nearly twelve years. Not that you’ll get anyone to admit there used to be a magic club, as there are ominous things said about it.

Add in an attractive school doctor who seduces various girls looking for the right virgin for a great purpose and another teacher in the school who seems to sense that something bad is going on as well as a few other secondary characters here and there and you’ve got the main cast of the show. The second episode is where things start to build in terms of real plot, but that episode suffers from having the first several minutes be flashbacks of portions of the previous episode instead of actually moving forward.

There’s a lot of really good scenes throughout this show as well as some really gorgeous looking character designs. Media Blasters seems to have found a new source of hentai from “Milky Animation”. Their work on this and 9 O’Clock Woman have shown some gorgeous looking materials and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they’ve got in the pipeline. It’s unfortunate for this release though that the final two episodes weren’t included on this disc as most hentai buyers tend to buy complete and not serials and the simple fact that the next two haven’t even been announced yet, which means at least three months or more before the ending to this series can be seen.

But for those who like horror and occult mixed into their hentai, there’s a lot to like here barring the two caveats we mentioned. If you get past those, you may just find a new favorite hentai series.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Kitty Media
MSRP: 29.95
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Bible Black