Sacrilege (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, February 06, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2004



What They Say
A carnal cult uses illicit drugs to transform men into sex-crazed monsters. Police partners and lesbian lovers Atsuko and Kei are investigating a shady drug deal when they stumble upon the shocking truth. Can our frisky friends interrupt their love-play long enough to cuff the criminals?

The Review!
Cults, drugs and old men vying for power make up the backdrop to this surprisingly old looking recent show.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The mix here is a very basic stereo one that like most hentai releases are basically center channel based. The music and some of the ambient sound effects during the two episodes make use of the stereo channels to help flesh out the track a bit. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout with no noticeable problems during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2002, Sacrilege looks like it’s a good five or six years older than that and done the traditional way. The transfer doesn’t have much in the way of vivid colors, instead going for a softer more real-world palette for the most part. Cross coloration and aliasing are minimal throughout, but there’s a feel of grain through much of the program that causes some noticeable macroblocking in a few of the areas that are solid colors, such as some of the night time sky scenes or some of the completely black areas.

Packaging:
The front cover is an amusing piece that has the lead female cop, Atsuko, held in bondage but with the series logo placed oh so perfectly over her chest. Below her we get a series of women in dark outfits with various weapons giving off a mean vibe. Behind all of that in the red is various scenes from the show but fairly muted. There’s just something about how Atsuko looks here, complete with the less than stellar artwork, that makes feel so comical. The back cover has an animation shot ofAtsuko taking down a birdlike demon with her hands while wearing a mini-skirt, and that image alone will give you a sense of what the show is like. The summary paragraph is rather short, much like the show, while the discs extras and features are all clearly listed. The running time is a bit hard to track down at first though. On the reverse side of the cover, there’s a hazy black and white image of one of the religious icons from the show set against the chapter stops and a listing of the English voice credits and other production information.

Menu:
The menus here are really nicely done in a creative way; the top half of the menu shows the two lead women from the show just below the logo, while the bottom half with the selections are made up of lit candles, and you move your cursor along the various flames to reach different areas. All of this is set to the eerie chant style song used from the show. The menus load quickly and access times are nice and fast without any transitional animations.

Extras:
The extras section is pretty much standard material for a number of CPM releases. There’s a brief art gallery showcasing some scenes from the show and material provided for the covers and there is also three storyboard to animation segments, which have them playing side by side. And if you haven’t learned the anime art form yet, the amusing “why there is porn cartoons” piece is once again available here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
From the moment Sacrilege started, it felt like it was a show that had been done in the mid to late 90’s as opposed to something as recent as 2002. With its look and feel of a traditionally animated show, complete with rather bad looking character designs, there was just something off about it.

The plot is painfully simple. We’re introduced to a pair of officers who manage to get away without wearing uniforms for the most part. Atsuko and Kei are not only partners in law but they’re in love as well and play hide the evidence in creative ways. Atsuko, the towering blonde amazon-like woman, is an outgoing woman in just about every way while Kei tries to be a bit discreet. Since they’ve partnered up again, they’re off to investigate a case of drug deal that’s gone wrong. What they don’t know at first is that a group of powerful men who are seeking what’s likely immortality have a program running to create a drug that allows men to turn into sex-crazed monsters. They’ve been having their subordinates release this drug to a number of people across a wide area so that it’ll confuse the police while they get the results they need to move on.

So when the duo investigates the problems that aerobics instructor Kenji is having, as he’s been infected with the drug, they find themselves getting drawn into this mystery even deeper. There’s a whole cult of young bald-headed women who serve the old men behind all of this in ensuring that everything goes right, so it doesn’t take long before they come after our two heroines who find themselves being trapped, captured, molested and more. Unfortunately, the majority of the show is so mind-numbingly dull that it doesn’t take long to nod off here.

The two episodes here play out fairly straightforward and with little surprise, but also little that really grabs at you to keep watching. There’s a fair amount of predictability, but the real killer is the overall very unattractive character designs. If you’ve got that, you’ve got bigger problems than plot when it comes to hentai. And both Atsuko and Kei fit that bill as do just about all the women here. And while we certainly have nothing against older character designs, since a number of early and mid 90’s hentai are among our favorites, the throwback feel of this show did not help it in any way at all.

In Summary:
Sacrilege tries to play up a variety of standard angles from lesbian cops to secret cults and demon style transformations of men for a higher purpose. Unfortunately, none of it comes together well when tied with some weak looking animation and poor looking characters. The two episodes here play out in a formulaic way and bring the story to a conclusion, but I doubt most people would make it through much of this before they nodded off.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Storyboards to Animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: D
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C
Packaging Rating: C
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Anime 18
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sacrilege