Inma Seiden Box Set (of 2) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, June 24, 2002
Release Date: Thursday, May 16, 2002



What They Say
The Kameyama family and the Otori family are relatives. They are both trying to compete for control over Otori Academy. Violent crimes are happening inside the academy.

There are rumors that someone wearing an iron mask is assaulting female students inside school grounds. Senna is attacked by writhing tentacles, and is raped by a demon. The man in the iron mask suddenly appears in front of Mao! Will she face the disgrace of the other girls? More horror is awaiting everybody as this shocking story unfolds!

The Review!
Inma Seiden is probably one of the more story driven hentai series out there at the moment. While it’s got the fairly typical demons taking over to bring in their overlord style plot, there’s lots of characters driving the plot here.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. There's little beyond a basic stereo mixing here with the majority of the sound coming through the center channel. Dialogue is nice and clear and the music and ambient effects make decent use of the left/right channels. There's little here to really do much more than a basic track anyway.

Video:
Though released in 2001, the animation for the first two episodes seems to avoid looking like a lot of the more CG flashy styled shows out there in the hentai world these days. Only during the third episode does it feel like they were trying to save some money and use the technique. For the most part, the show has a real-world color palette to it, so it’s somewhat muted without much vibrancy, until the more demonic side of things pick up. Colors look good and free of macroblocking. Cross coloration is non-existent and aliasing is very minimal. While not flashy, this is a solid release.

Packaging:
Released in three keepcases inside a simple cardboard box, each volume features one of the principal girls from the show being accosted by some form of demon. The box set itself contains different images though. The front covers look pretty good, without having the actresses on them they look less busy than usual, though the logo seems to take up a bit too much space depending on how you look at it. The back covers show off some animation shots from each show and have a good summary of each episode. Features and technical information is nicely listed as well. As with all NuTech releases to date, there is no insert included.

Menu:
The menus are pretty decent, with the shows logo and selections around the outer edge and animation from the show playing inside it. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is pretty standard for NuTech releases.

Extras:
The main anime related extra is the inclusion of a video photo gallery showing various pieces of artwork from the show. This is the same on each of the three discs.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Much like the demon invading hentai series throughout the years, Inma Seiden (which is not complete here, there are more episode to follow) takes place in a high school. Changing the venue a bit, it takes place more specifically in an Academy, the Otori one. In this private academy, two related families are using very different means to gain some form of control.

The acting principal is using beings from the Land of Death to bring about the great King from that land to this one. To do so, they need to find women whose bodies allow them to find certain items. For example, we see one particular encounter where a woman in the school is taken by a demon with its tentacles, and when climax occurs, a sigil appears on her body and the location of an item is shown. Various women, for unknown reasons, are considered “sheaths” that must be opened to find them.

So the academy has been subjected to a number of disappearances of late of students as well as a teacher or two. But the principal and her aides in this endeavour are being countered by the other related family, which is mostly just made up of the school age girls. Himiko is the one who seems to know the most about what’s going on, and has the help of a teacher named Yamagashi. Both are trying to shield this knowledge from her sister Mao, but Mao becomes embroiled in all of this when her friend Senna is taken by one of the demons.

There’s also Hitomi, Himiko and Mao’s cousin, who seems rather disinterested in all of this at times, but still helps out her family when there’s trouble. When Mao tries to investigate the area where Senna was taken, she becomes subjected to the main horror of a man in an iron mask that is causing most of the trouble. Before she can even really do anything, she’s captured. But Hitomi can’t let her cousin go down that path, regardless of how she feels about the whole situation.

And things get progressively more complex as the episodes go on, with more people disappearing and several encounters between the two families bring things up a bit beyond the typical human vs. demon things. While the show is fairly dark, a lot of it takes place during the day, brushing away the really dark imagery until it’s needed, which increases its impact. There’s also precious little humor in this series, so that helps it to maintain its mood as well.

This is definitely a hentai with some story behind it, and only a few of the secrets are really given here, mostly just hinted at. It’s done enough to draw my curiosity to actually look forward to seeing more of it.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Photo Gallery

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: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: NuTech Digital, Inc.
MSRP: 59.95
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inma Seiden