Blackmail 2 Box Set (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 05, 2003
Release Date: Friday, May 09, 2003
What They Say
Aska is excited about her upcoming wedding to her boyfriend, Ryosuke. Her friends, Aya and Tamami, seem excited for her. Howerver, a dark plot is unfolding around the seemingly happy couple... Aska is on her way to a blissful honeymoon when she is abducted by strange men.
Unable to get away, she is taken to their headquarters, where torrid, unspeakable acts are taking place. There, she meets the beautiful debutante, Reika and they are forced into degrading, masochistic acts of shocking depravity. Yumiko, a familiar face, greets her as she watches the carnel event with an evil smile. Meanwhile her younger sister, Miku, is beset by strange phone calls... Followed by perverted demands.
Contains the entire Black Mail 2 series!
After not caring for the original Blackmail series, the second comes around and proves to be much more enjoyable.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. As with other hentai of a similar nature, the show is essentially dialogue driven and uses primarily the center channel. In this respect, things are nice and clear and undistorted. The show makes good decent of directionality across the forward soundstage with the lightning effects and other incidental sounds.
Being very recent, the transfer here is great. Colors are rich and deep without being over saturated, cross coloration is non existent and aliasing is very minimal. There's a number of scenes where things get soft, but it's done intentionally and comes across really nice, giving certain areas like red hair to actually look gorgeous.
Released in three keepcases inside a simple cardboard box, each volume features artwork related to the individual episode. With the wedding and honeymoon theme strong in the show, the cover art for each volume is done similar with the old style colored cathedral glass windows. These are gorgeous looking vibrant covers, some of the best I've seen lately. The box set itself uses artwork from the second volume on its primary panel while the back of the box details each of the volumes and provides cover art for them. The front covers look pretty good, though things are pretty busy looking with the inclusion of the big uncensored lines and bars. 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.
The menus are somewhat in theme in the show, going for the video recording aspect as the menu slowly loads up with a series of video windows where the selections reside in. Once the menu is loaded, things move much faster and without transitions. But that initial load is a killer if you don't skip forward.
The only extra included here is a two minute long video gallery that shows various stills from the episodes to music.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The initial Blackmail series did little for me since it was focused solely on a trapped group within a household that was taken advantage of. The storyline here moves away from that motif, still keeping the dark elements to it though, and becomes something I found much more interesting.
We're introduced to the young newlyweds, Ryosuke and Aska (referred to as Asuka in the dub, strangely enough). They're nervous about it being their wedding night, but for the most part are looking forward to getting to the hotel and getting on with their lives. Their arrival at the hotel goes badly though, as once they're out of the car, both are knocked out and tossed back in, taken to the underground garage. It's here that we find Aska regaining consciousness and trying to figure out what's going on as two punks take advantage of her and try to have their way.
She fights and resists, but it's not until the yakuza group gets to the location that things change direction a bit. Aska is taken in for proper training in serving the yakuza boss as her master. Ryosuke is kept unconscious for quite some time, letting things focus more on Aska. Her training becomes the center point of the storyline, as the boss and the various women in his control all partake in the experience.
At the same time, Aska's younger sister Miku finds herself getting into some trouble. Through flashbacks prior to the wedding, we see how Miku used to try to get Ryosuke to notice her, including grabbing his hand and putting it in her panties. With her sister and now brother-in-law away, she's become the subject of some phone calls that know more about her than they should. She's excited and scared at the same time, at least until she finds herself being given instructions about placing a vibrating egg in her crotch and going to school like that. With her mother taken into training, Miku finds herself subjected to various kinds of erotic torture.
Both of these plots eventually find a way of coming together, though the way they work out is not how I would have expected. The mastermind behind Miku's experiences wasn't what I expected while I liked how the yakuza kept a tight leash on Aska while still letting her go on her honeymoon and off into the air. It also helped that the character designs across the board were generally very attractive and with great coloring and depth of look. It's an attractive looking show that didn't seem like it cut corners to get by.
The entire bondage and control aspect as well as the non-consensual areas will turn a lot of people off with this, but I found it quite enjoyable this time around. While it was dark and had some serious moments to it, it wasn't despicable/nasty in its style. There's just something appealing about part of these episodes as opposed to others of a similar kind.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery
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: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: NuTech Digital, Inc.
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2