Fobia (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, July 31, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2004



What They Say
Iijima is no ordinary coed. She's a tempestuous time traveler from a future ruled by hideous replinoid monsters. She has come to this past to find a hero, a man strong enough to wield her futuristic sword and save the women of Earth from a grisly doom!

The Review!
Time traveling tentacles from the future!

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The simplistic stereo mix is decent though everything feels much more like a full center channel mix than anything else. From music to dialogue, everything comes through nice and clear though with hardly anything noticeable in terms of directionality. Dialogue was devoid of dropouts or distortions during regular playback of both tracks.

Video:
Originally released in 1995, the transfer for the two OVAs here shows the age of the materials. The biggest issue with this transfer is that it's very heavy on the screen door effect that shows up throughout the transfer. Much of the backgrounds and character animation suffers from this and it's very distracting. It causes a lot of what little detail is there to be lost, especially in mid range shots where things like faces start to break up and get blocky from it. Add in the aliasing to it from the movement and panning sequences and there are enough areas that just look like VHS quality throughout here. Cross coloration is at least very minimal and the color palette decent if not terribly vibrant.

Packaging:
Going back to the old days, we get a cover that has the naked female character, who is relatively minor to the show, wrapped up in tentacles against a starry purple backdrop. It's not much of a cover and the artwork doesn't really give you much to go by to see how the show might look. The back cover provides the other half of the wraparound cover that has the usual things such as the all too brief summary, the simple listing of features and the basic technical information. The reverse side of the cover has one of the women being undressed while the other main panel features the chapter listings and English cast; no Japanese cast is known for this apparently. Add in the mix of production credits and you've got a fairly typical Anime 18 release.

Menu:
Using elements from the show itself, there's a soft image of the lead male character being attacked by a series of clawed tentacles while clips play in the background from some of the sex scenes while it's all set to some music. The layout is fairly standard though it's amusing that the selections are on the moving tentacles. Access times are nice and fast and the menu easy to navigate. On the downside, the disc did not pay attention to our players presets and went with English language only.

Extras:
The only included extra for this release is a brief video art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Going back into the mid 90's went tentacle hentai shows were still all the rage, Fobia brings two episodes that run a fair bit longer than normal together and mixes in some time travel and an almost fantasy style hero to save the day. Unfortunately with a lot of the hentai shows that run longer than a typical 30 minute episode, it ends up feeling like it's slow and meandering a lot of the times.

The show centers around Enoshima "college", a place where we're introduced to the childhood friends of Narita and Megumi. Narita's your average "college" guy and is generally having dirty thoughts about everyone, especially a young woman named Saotome but also some light thoughts with Megumi. Everything fits your normal college routine until suddenly one of the female students is killed, her body essentially withered away, and two other students, including Saotome, go missing. For Narita, this means he must find out what happened and starts going into a detective mode to figure it out.

What we learn along the way is that Megumi is actually from the year 2112 and has come back in time to stop an evil race of creatures called the Replinoids from invading the Earth. They've done it in the future but are now looking to come back in time to cause more trouble, especially with their penchant for young women. Megumi's come back to stop them while also looking for a fabled hero who can take the sword hilt that she has and become the person that can save the day from these things. She's gone so far as to alter all the kids minds in the school so that she seems like she's been with them for ages and even with the parents she's living with in this time.

Fobia plays out pretty much like you expect once it gets rolling and the basics are out in play. You know Narita is going to be come the fabled here and able to activate the sword. You know he'll help Megumi try and defeat the creatures as they continue to try to make their presence secure in this time. You know that the tentacle creatures are going to wither some more people while taking over others that they can control. It's just so highly predictable and it feels so overly drawn out due to the episode lengths that it's almost boring. Add in some average or below character designs and the screen door effect with the transfer and this is one of those titles that you'd hesitate to pay even ten bucks for.

In Summary:
For those who miss the good old days of tentacle anime and the entire "college" gig. Unfortunately, this isn't even one of the good shows from those days and barely qualifies as average. There's little to really say on this show other than it's the kind that you've seen and done several times over the years and doesn't hold up well almost ten years after its original release.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung P341 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: C-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: C+
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Anime 18
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 94
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Fobia