Vanilla Series: Bondage Mansion (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, September 29, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2002
What They Say
It began as a game ... or at least, as a competition.
Yukio Mimura came from a wealthy family and never wanted for anything. Kind and gentle, he obediently fulfills his dying father's final request: find a previously unknown cousin and allow him to live in the family mansion. But his cousin Hayato has other ideas for the family's mansion, its fortune, and especially Yukio's girlfriend Reika…
Woefully unaware of his family's sadomasochistic history, Yukio is forced to agree to a sexual competition to avoid the exposure of the family's dark secrets. A competition where Reika has become the playing field: the first to break her (as one would break a horse) is the one who gets both the mansion and the money.
Caught in the middle of a bizarre ritual between her current boyfriend and his sadistic cousin, it is Reika who will ultimately decide the winner of this twisted competition... the one who puts her in bondage or the one who ... loves her.
The beginning of a new set of fantasy erotic anime in the tradition of "Cool Devices," the Vanilla Series presents disparate themes of erotica by various authors and artists which will take your breath away...
Bondage Mansion is the first in a new series from the Critical Mass label, designed to pick up where Cool Devices left off. If that isn’t enough to either scare you off or bring you in for more, I’m not sure I can say much more.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Being hentai and one with average production values at that, it wasn’t surprising to get a basic stereo mix that feels like it’s using the center channel pretty heavily. There’s various bits of music throughout and some sound effects that use the stereo channels, but otherwise dialogue and other sounds are pretty much through the center.
The transfer for this show is very nice with my main nemesis, cross coloration, being hardly apparent at all. With this bane of my existence not here, I got to enjoy the show much more. Colors look good overall with some splashes of vibrancy here and there throughout (such as the candle and certain clothes), but a lot of the show is very dark with shadowy rooms and hallways and exteriors. There’s hardly any line shimmering during camera panning either, so the only place most people will have problems is in how your player will handle the dark black and blue backgrounds.
Ah, isn’t this a cover you’d be proud to place on the counter at your local retailer. With the main woman in her early stages of bondage here and mostly naked, it’s definitely eye-catching to say the least. The back cover provides a few more shots of the show and a big summary of what to expect inside. Features and production information is all listed clearly along the bottom. As with all Right Stuf releases at this point, there is no insert in the package.
The menu is essentially a segment of animation playing on the screen with the episode selections and language selections on top of it. Access times are nice and fast and getting where you need to go is easy as there’s little here.
The only extra is the slide show which is a video gallery really, but when it shifts from one image to the next, the music stops for a split second before continuing.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first entry for the Vanilla Series definitely moves things in the direction that several episodes of Cool Devices were playing around in. The basic plot of Yukio and Reika arriving at his newly discovered cousins mansion to live with as is his fathers last request. Yukio’s cousin is the older Hayato, someone who has taken advantage of the mansions and family history of bondage. Essentially, Hayato challenges Yukio to a game of domination over Yukio’s girlfriend to see which of them can break her first. And Hayato plays very dirty at this game.
That’s what really is the basis of the show and it doesn’t go far beyond that. With the hidden areas of the mansion, we have Hayato taking Reika there and having his way with her along with other menu while he has Yukio succumb to some prostitutes he brought in, using them to break him and Reika by telling her what her boyfriends is up to. It’s not the most outlandish plot in the world, but it moves along fairly well in the scenes where there’s no action. With this kind of hentai, story really is secondary, being only a motivator to get to specific scenes.
The character designs for the show are pretty nice overall with the women getting the most attention paid to them. Between their designs and the clothing, they come out on top. The actual sessions themselves vary with some being nastier than others, but some also feature some violence to some extent and there was one segment where yard tools are used against their implied design. There’s also a few moments of the old golden showers which made me reach for the fast forward button.
For those looking for something beyond the normal hentai you see and have been waiting for something that’s trying to be like Cool Devices, this is probably a good series to check out.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Slideshow
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: C
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: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Vanilla Series Collection