G-Taste Vol. #01: A Taste of Honey (of 2) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, January 25, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003

What They Say
Meet Moe, Nana and Mai, three of the sexiest, hottest women ever animated. And they all have a common problem: when it comes to sex, they just can�t get enough. They�re ready and willing to get it on with whatever comes to hand.

Although she tries hard, lovely office worker Moe bungles her assignments more often than not. She�d fare better if she spent more time working and less time playing with the office equipment, but it wouldn�t be near as much fun. Nana�s so cute in her maid�s outfit that it�s easy to see why everyone wants a piece of her. And while domineering Mai is used to being the boss, she�s going to discover the joys of humiliation. A taste will only leave you wanting more, so obey your sweet tooth.

The Review!
After having dealt with part of their back catalog, SoftCel moves into new licensing with G-Taste being the first offering.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Japanese is also the only language available here as this show was never dubbed. The dialogue track is nice and clean and we noted no dropouts or distortion during playback.

Released in 1999, these three OVA�s come across very well with an excellent transfer. The opening episode is the one that will look arguably the weakest, mostly because it�s done with such a soft lens that it lacks what is normally associated with anime. The second and third episodes feature a sharper image, but not by a whole lot, but noticeable enough. Colors throughout all three episodes are excellent, black levels retain nicely and there�s no visible cross coloration. A few areas had some aliasing show up, such as up and down pan sequences, but otherwise this looks very good.

The front cover here provides a great shot of the three girls in their sexy outfits set against a blue backdrop of subtly hidden lingerie. The colors look good, if a bit on the dark side, but provide a lot of detail and, well, my eyes are definitely paying attention. The back cover provides some more skin shots of the girls set against more of the blue backdrop while also providing a nice summary of what the show is like. The discs features are clearly listed and I like the way they did up the technical aspect of it, though I still hope for the simple grid format. The insert shows off the front cover again while the reverse side has a shot of each girl, which is also used in the extras menu.

The main menu has a nice static piece of animation showcasing the three girls, much the same as the cover artwork. Episode selections and other menu items are lined up along the right. Access times are nice and fast as there aren�t any transitional animations or language setup menus. Everything is nicely accessible and quick to load.

There�s a good amount of extras here, far more than most hentai titles receive. Each of the girls has a promotional piece, which talks about their episode release and then on the popularity of the show and its related items. You too can learn that G-Taste is one of the more popular rentals out there, with about 40 rentals per volume. The character sketches section is wonderful as it provides some great artwork and a translation of what was said about it. The original artwork section provides a look at the very up-front covers used for the Japanese release, as well as the inserts and some of the standee�s that came with it. The most surprising extra is the Mai pencil test section, which is a twenty two minute extra that is essentially a rough cut of one of the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Up until this release, my only real knowledge of G-Taste was admiring the high quality figurines that have been made over the years. Based off of a very popular manga that was published by Kodansha, G-Taste graduated to the anime level back in 1999 with an OVA series.

These three episodes are definitely interesting, especially on a hentai level. I had no idea what to expect going into it, and if there are more episodes, I have no idea what to expect with those after seeing these.

The opening episode is a standalone piece, and we�re introduced to a young woman named Moe Yagisawa. Moe�s an office lady who�s usually a bit late for work, doesn�t like her looks but is generally a good person. She also got herself a very uncommon fetish, and that�s a lust for railings and poles. Almost anytime she sees one or gets in the right mood, she just wants to straddle that pole for all its worth. Part of the fetish is nearly getting caught over it, such as when she lets her breasts straddle the subway pole by the seat. Part of the allure is the chance of being caught, so she knows she�s being seen and wonders who sees her.

The one day we follow her about her office, she gets into all sorts of trouble with co-workers and with her clothes. From spilling coffee to messing up the copier and finally to having her skirt zipper fail twice and ripping her pantyhose. She tries to deal with it, but those around her are secretly laughing at her and making things worse, or so she thinks as she tries to come to grips with the world and its adult ways. But there�s always that relief of a pole somewhere, so she manages by.

The first episode isn�t explicit at all. It�s almost hard to qualify as softcore, since there�s barely any nudity. The next two episodes are a bit better, as the two part storyline has the girls going at things a bit more, but still just the girls.

The two part set of episodes are a bit more traditional in the hentai arena, as we follow Nana Morimura into her life as a maid in a large mansion. Her arrival is a scheduled job and she gets to be shown around the place by Rika, apparently the senior maid there. Rika gives her the quick once over, noting that even she hasn�t seen all of the 100+ rooms in the Lord Baron�s mansion. But she also neglects to tell her some of the rules, and it�s not long before Nana gets herself in trouble by going into a room she doesn�t belong. Nor does she pay much mind to the fact that the room is filled with monitors showing every spare inch in the house.

So not only does Rika get punished for not teaching Nana properly, but Nana has to take some punishment and dish it out to Rika, which causes an interesting erotic situation as she forces Rika to get off by straddling Nana�s shoe tips. And from there, it only gets a bit weirder as Rika and Nana start to get along very well after hours, and we start to get a feel for the Baron�s plans as more girls are brought in for some apparent masquerade showcase�

After these episodes, G-Taste is a show I�m not quite sure what I think of. I really like the character designs and outfits that they all had, but it almost feels like there�s even less plot than normal for a hentai show. The characters are well drawn and the settings are good, but it just feels weird somehow, something that I can�t quite pin down. I�d definitely watch more though, just to see what they have in mind and where they think they can go with it.

Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Character profiles,Pencil test animations,Original artwork

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 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: B+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: SoftCel Pictures
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: G-Taste