Princess 69 Vol. #1 (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, July 29, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2004
What They Say
Intrigued by the hot erotic potential of the Gymnastics of Darkness, the board chairman's granddaughter Tomomi helps Nikusuke pick unwilling ladies to be their first students. These young ladies are forced to learn the meaning of excruciating pleasure under Nikusuke's gymnastic training...
Gymnastics takes the center stage as a secretive team is formed by bondage training various regular teammates.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a standard stereo mix that's mostly center channel based for dialogue. There isn't a whole lot of noticeable directionality across the forward soundstage but when the really good musical score kicks in it comes across well using both channels. Both language tracks sounded good during regular playback and we had no trouble with dropouts or other distortions.
Originally released to video back in 2002, the first two OVAs are presented here in their original full frame format using some really good looking materials for the transfer. Other than a general softness to the print which may be intentional, these episodes look fantastic and have a lot of really fluid sequences. There's a richness and warmth to the color palette used, between the greens and the pinks, which give this show an interesting feel. The show is free from cross coloration but does have some noticeable aliasing in a few scenes. Beyond that and the general soft feeling, this is a really good looking show.
Showcasing some of the shows really great character designs and artwork, though the first cover doesn't really have any of the main characters from these two episodes, the covers for this series are just gorgeous. The use of the circles and line work with my favorite shades of blue tied in with the bits like the roses and the ribbons works really well. The back cover provides a number of screenshots from the show and a decent short summary of the shows premise. The usual round of production information is near the bottom along with the always useful technical grid. The insert uses the style from the front cover darkened up a bit to list the two volumes chapter stops while the reverse side is just advertisements. This release is in a clear keepcase but there isn't anything but white space on the reverse side.
The menu layout uses the style of the front cover and keeps it in static form while adding the selections along the left with a little bit of rearrangement. With no music playing, this is a very barebones menu setup but it's quick and functional and does look good. Access times are nice and fast and navigation easy to do. The disc however did not read our player presets and played with just English language and no sign/song subtitles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I have to wonder how many people got suckered into this one due to the name and thought it might actually be a parody of another series. Princess 69, renamed from its original title, is actually about gymnastics as opposed to baseball and is both one of the more interesting shows I've seen recently while also being one that gives me the shivers.
The premise of the show is fairly straightforward. The gymnastics team has as one of its top stars a young woman named Tomomi. She's attractive, intelligent, limber and the daughter of a wealthy man who apparently owns or runs the school. She can't stand the competition that fellow teammate Miku presents to her, especially since Miku comes across as pure and innocent compared to the slightly more scheming feel that Tomomi comes off with. So with plans in mind for something bigger, she decides that she'll use her power and influence to start her own Dark Gymnastics Team.
In order to break the minds and wills of those on the team to do what they need to do, she gains control of a physical education teacher named Nikusuke who can only be found wearing his sweatpants and jacket. Keeping him under control, she gets him to perform the training on Miku once he captures her and secrets her away on the first night. His training of Miku eventually leads them to the gymnasium where she's trussed up bondage style and Tomomi is there to pull on the rope that flexes her body in different ways while Nikusuke has his way with her. The continual training over the first night breaks the innocent girls will easily and she falls under his sway.
Amusingly, as the disgusting Nikusuke has his way with her, Tomomi finds herself becoming increasingly turned on and frustrated with the way her body is reacting to the sight.
Tomomi has plans for her Dark Gymnastics Team and Miku is only the first of those that she wants to bring on board and break and the show starts moving to bringing more of them in while continuing with the training of Miku and then the others. Between seeing the other regular teammates shudder at the thought of having to do anything with Nikusuke and those who are now under his sway, the team is slowly getting divided up. This doesn't take much time out of the show though as the bulk of it is really kept going with all the sex and bondage moments.
The animation quality for this show is really good. There is such fluidity to a lot of the scenes, combined with some really great looking character designs that even when it's at its most disgusting, generally some brief scatacular moment, it's all quite appealing. Mixing with the soft feel of the show, these are some very attractive character designs. There's a great sequence early on where Nikusuke is watching the girls practice during a regular session and he's in dreamland imagining Tomomi and Miku going down on him. One morphs into the other and back, each showcasing their personalities as he imagines them to be. It's so well animated that it was surprising it was a hentai show really. With one person behind a lot of this show, they managed to infuse a lot of what they wanted into it and the quality really shows.
While there are some really ick moments in here that simply don't appeal, the rest of the show was definitely worthwhile checking out. With great looking animation, character designs and an admittedly interesting plot, Princess 69 surprised me but had me intrigued just from the cover artwork. I doubt that this will be a show for all types of hentai fans though but it's one that didn't fit with my own interests yet managed to work really well. Here's hoping the second installment doesn't suck in a bad way.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung P-341 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: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Kitty Media
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Princess 69