Slave Market Xtreme Series (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, July 30, 2004
Release Date: Friday, June 18, 2004
What They Say
Looking for some flesh? Then you've come to the right place. Welcome to the slave market, where all of your perverted fantasies can be fulfilled... for a price!
Working with its title material, Slave Market manages to be a surprisingly interesting title up until one particular scene?
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Following the tradition of most hentai releases, the mix is a basic stereo one with most dialogue coming through the center channel. There's some throws to the left and right front speakers with some of the moaning and groaning and the music makes full use of them as well, but dialogue is pretty much anchored to the center channel. During regular playback, we had no issues with dropouts or distortions with either language track.
Originally released in 2002, the three episode OVA series has some rather good looking materials for this transfer. The show makes good use of standard digital animation and some more blatant CG effects, though some of the effects don't blend together well. The transfer is free of problems like cross coloration and chroma noise but there's a bit of aliasing during some of the fast sequences with panning action shots. The color palette looks good as they make use of both a vibrant set for most of the show but also a much softer form for some of the key emotional moments where it's more of an illustrated style. The transfer maintains some excellent looking blacks and backgrounds look nice and solid.
Part of the Xtreme Series, the cover artwork features a great looking illustration of one of the slaves from the show whose clothes and hair swirl around the bulk of the cover while also letting her show off some ample amounts of skin. As a plus, there are no goofy taglines on the cover. The back cover provides a similar shot with a different girl from the show and gives you the rundown of the discs features and brief technical information along with a small summary of the premise. The reverse side of the cover has a black and white action shot from the show taking up one panel while the other provides not only the chapter listings but a bilingual cast listing. The rest is filled out with the standard production information.
Though simple, the menu layout works nicely here as the camera pans up a dank looking wall where one of the girls is chained in the center. Putting the selections around her on the wall in handwriting form adds to the image nicely. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is easy to navigate. As is usual, the disc did not use our players preset language settings and defaulted to just English language.
The extras for this release are pretty minimal with only a storyboard to animation sequence included.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Right from the start I wasn't expecting much from Slave Market. Typically it's not the kind of material that appeals to me. As it progressed it actually managed to get more interesting and different characters were brought on but then it hits a crescendo and nosedives into the exact kind of stuff that just makes me cringe.
The premise is something out of the norm. We're introduced to a young effeminate man named Casius who has come from Venice to the capital city of Constanivole. Rich in middle eastern culture, Casius meets up with his longtime friend Falco who shows him the city sights so that he can adjust to his stay there while on a mission for his government. The first thing Falco shows him is the slave market and picks him up a little something to get him used to his new home. Casius' job in the kingdom is to act as an informant for when it seems like the country is heading towards war. He's not keen on having a slave but even the ambassador is good with the idea since it gives the impression that he's there for the long term and cuts down on the chances of his being thought of as a spy.
Casius is your basic nice guy, but the time spent with the slave, a young woman named Bianca who calls him her older brother, eventually turns his thoughts impure so to speak. In dealing with the problems related to her, his frustration eventually leads him to taking rough advantage of her and chaining her up in the dungeon that was located in the house that Falco acquired for him. Bianca's past in Romania has come back to haunt her now and an evil that had plagued them has come searching for her.
Over the course of time, Casius ends up acquiring more slaves. Each of them has their own pasts and problems though and whenever he finds a little bit of happiness with one of them something invariably goes wrong. One of the better episodes focuses on a young peasant royal named Cecilia that he ended up acquiring and falling in love with. Both were really just running away from their problems and enjoying the city and its sights and sounds as well as the pleasures of the others flesh. But as it happens, what Cecilia was running away from comes back once more and threatens to take her away from Casius. And falling into the routine that's beneath his pretty boy exterior, he gets her chained up in the dungeon. This leads to some mild watersports moments with her. And I mean really mild compared to a lot of other shows. But then they crank it up several notches and hey, lookit that, it's the poop flying!
Bzzt. No thank you.
While it didn't get back to that bad level, as it goes along with the slaves, Casius only gets nastier and nastier as he begins to live just in the routine of despair that he only briefly fell into before. What a lot of it comes down to is that far too much ends up happening to Casius via his slaves than is believable. Well, ok, a lot of this in general isn't exactly believable but there are elements that you can work with. But when three out of three slaves all end up causing him problems, that's when you hunt down the slave dealer and teach him a proper lesson.
With a good looking transfer, the character designs for the show really shine through at times. Some of the best moments are when the slaves are first brought home as they're delivered in some nicely detailed and colorful finery. Cecilia in particular is given a lot of detail to her design and hair which helps make her stand out nicely. The sex scenes in general are surprisingly decent for the most part and while there are some brief sequences with the degradation you'd expect from a title like Slave Market, the scenes between the girls and Casius that don't lead to his fall tend to be passionate and energetic and nicely done.
With so many shows still focused around the school age girl in modern times, a trip to the past like this is a nice change of pace and setting. While there are some huge sticking points to this show that just completely disgust me, it's a pretty good show for the most part. While not for everyone due to the scatological moments and some of the degradation material, this is a good one for those wanting to try out something new and to see if these kinds of shows are within their realm of taste or not. For me, this was a real mixed bag.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Storyboards
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: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Anime 18
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Slave Market