Vanilla Series: Private Sessions (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, May 31, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2004
What They Say
From Producers Shiyuuta Biwajima, Chikara Niki (DARK/LOVE DOLL/BONDAGE MANSION) with Art Direction by Eiji Utakata (SLAVE SISTERS/DARK/LOVE DOLL) comes a tale of dark desires that one college professor is about to unleash on a campus full of beautiful students!
Professor Saki used to be a normal woman...until her heart and mind were twisted by her sadistic boyfriend Mikami. Fired from his last teaching job for assaulting one of his students, he forces Saki into getting him a teaching position at her all-girl college. With beautiful buxom ladies everywhere, Mikami?s dark desires quickly target his new female students for some very special private sessions ? and this time he plans on making Saki help him. Will Saki?s misguided love for Mikami drive her to help him trap innocent women in his demented little world?
It's back to the campus with yet another of the many dysfunctional men that apparently make up Japanese society, particular in the sector that wants to teach.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Hentai continues to just not seem right in English unless we're looking for some laughs, though I will say that this English track has some rather good moaners and screamers in it. The track is very much dialogue based so outside of some sound effects and the occasional bit of music, it's mostly a center channel based show. We did listen to the entire show in English as well and had no problems there.
Released to vide in 2003, the two part OVA series is presented here in its original full frame format and with the original opening and ending credit sequences. Each episode is followed by fully translated credits. The transfer for the most part looks good but there are a lot of sequences where aliasing shows up, especially during a long panning sequence. Some of the shorter ones, such as when Mikami looks up and down one of the schoolgirls, you can see her outfit shifting during it from the aliasing. Colors look good throughout and their maintain a really nice solid feel while backgrounds don't seem to have any issues with macroblocking.
Since it's revolving around the school them, it's little surprise to have a cover with a young looking girl undressing, though they did have the nice addition of having someone painting her just below there to give it more of a "private sessions" feel. Though the cover is pretty dark for the background, I like the way it's laid out and the style used for the logo, never mind the cute character artwork. The back cover provides a small collage of images from the show and some full color character artwork next to a brief summary paragraph about the shows premise. As this was a review copy, no insert is included but I think that may be the norm for the hentai releases from Critical Mass now, something I certainly don't mind. I'd rather see full color reversible covers with information or artwork there than anything else.
The main menu is pretty simple overall with a static image of what looks to be curtains in the background and a (ew) 4:3 TV set taking up much of the center image. In the TV screen itself you've got the various selections to choose from while clips from the show play behind it in an opaque fashion while some of the instrumental/technoish music plays along to it. The layout is pretty standard though you can only travel up or down in the menu selections. Moving to submenus is nice and fast while being free of transitional animations so it's quick to get there. The layout in general is decent, but a 4:3 set? Ew?
The only extra included in this release is the video art gallery showcasing various stills from the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's back to an all girls college once more as the Vanilla Series dips into one of the deepest wells that the hentai genre has as we get a temporary professor whose come in to have a bit more fun than he was hired for. The difference with this professor is that he's dating a teacher there already and she uses her influence to get him the job there knowing what kind of person he is.
Professor Saki is madly in love with her boyfriend Mikagami and just does everything she can for him, even knowing that he was fired from his last job after he assaulted a young woman there at the school. She believes she can be everything he needs from a woman and does everything he asks no matter how rough he gets. But Mikagami has the craving for younger flesh and pushes her into getting him a job at the college she's at, even if it's part time. She gives in easily enough since he threatens to dump her and move on, something that she can't handle thinking about in the slightest. She's very much under his power but mostly from her own free will.
Once at the college, Mikagami is an instant hit with the majority of the girls due to his fairly good looks and charming smile as well as the way he takes an interest in each and every one of them. Helping out in the art department, he works with the students there and compliments them highly on their work, something their last professor never did. So he wins over many people early on and quickly, gaining their trust and quickly becoming a part of the campus community. With all these young girls there around him though he's lost all interest in Saki but still has a use for her.
As he starts to figure out which girls to go after, he has Saki find out whose got what kind of dirt on them and who he can manipulate. When Mikagami starts going through the student body with a fine tooth comb himself and he keeps them after school for their own private sessions, he has Saki standing off to the side with a camcorder getting it all on tape. She's so much in love with him that she'll do anything he asks even though she wants to be the one he's having sex with and not the unwilling schoolgirls he's conquering.
Mikagami uses his control over the girls and the footage he gets Saki to take of other girls unknowingly to solidify his control over more of them, adding more and more of the young hotties to his list of conquered girls there. Saki continues to have issues with it as it goes on and more and more of the girls fall to his side. Mikagami's fun only increases as he gets more and more into it and the sadistic nature of his personality comes across more clearly, leading him to doing more and more things to the girls. It's a vicious cycle and Saki has it all on tape while still praying for his love for her to be real even though he's doing what he's doing.
Private Sessions is essentially a downward spiral of not only Saki's character as her world crumbles around her as her one true love has sex with anything younger than her but also that of a number of the girls in the school. Mikagami goes for the weakest first and then exploits his entry there into other areas of the schoolgirl hierarchy until he's able to take down the powerful and popular girls, bringing them to his side and ensuring their cooperation for anything he wants from them. The show has some good character designs overall but nothing that's terribly outstanding. Some of them rise a bit above the norm but they're still all fairly typical of the genre. The animation for the show is pretty decent as well but much like the designs, it doesn't really reach beyond itself or try to be better than anything in particular. It's a show that's simply what it is and isn't trying to be anything more.
Private Sessions plays with plenty of explicit sex scenes with boys, toys and girls as it's all being taped by the leads girlfriend. There's a mean and nasty edge to what Mikagami does to the women in general so that'll offend the easily offended but the main scat scene will probably offend even more. Overall, the show feels fairly harmless as we've seen a lot more degrading shows, but this is probably a good "gateway drug" to that genre if it's what interests you. If you can't stomach the couple of scenes here, don't go for the hardcore shows.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery
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: Critical Mass Video
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Vanilla Series Collection