Cool Devices Anniversary Edition Vol. #1 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, January 27, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, February 01, 2005



What They Say
COOL DEVICES, a series that redefined adult anime in the US and became one of the best selling hentai titles ever, has returned in a new digitally remastered edition and, for the very first time, this hentai masterpiece is FINALLY AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH!

A world of forbidden pleasure tightly bound together inside five erotic tales of lust and desire. An innocent young woman gives into her darkest desires as she is seduced into the world of bondage and S&M... A voyeuristic young man longs for the sweet caress of his beautiful sister who masturbates before his hidden cameras... A very naughty kitty and one very slutty bunny are about to be punished for their forbidden passions... Slicing up a new swimsuit leads to a steamy time at the local pool... Over-studying leads to a serious need for some sexual relief in the school's bathroom...

Contains Operations 1-3: Curious Fruit / Sacred Girl / Lover Doll - Winter Swimsuit - Enema

The Review!
What was once considered some of the nastiest hentai you could find out there, Cool Devices returns for its 10th anniversary.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its new English language dub track. As the original release was Japanese language only, Critical Mass went and dubbed the series for this tenth anniversary release. The mix is pretty standard hentai material though which is a fairly basic stereo mix that's generally center channel based. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there's a good range of low to medium-high coming through here. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released back in 1995, the transfer for these OVA episodes are presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. Much like a lot of regular and hentai releases of that time, there are elements to it that haven't held up as well and are visible here such as some scratches, the roughness in some of the animation and a bit of aliasing. But for the most part it's a decent looking print and leap years ahead of the prior release which was basically a VHS port to DVD. The transfer is clean and free of the dirt and dust problems from what we could see and the colors look solid even if not terribly vibrant. Cross coloration is virtually non-existent and overall it's a good looking transfer considering the age and source.

Packaging:
Utilizing the same artwork as the prior release which has the really slick image of the catgirl and bunnygirl in bondage, it's stylized up a bit more with some neon lighting with the newly designed logo and has a much fresher appearance. This particular piece of artwork always stood out as the representation of Cool Devices so I was glad to see it return for this re-release. The back cover goes for the same style with a neon box that keeps a couple of shots from the show and some other artwork together in a nice layout while below it is the summary of the shows premise and its features. Like many other hentai releases, no insert is included in this release.

Menu:
The main menu is laid out like the back cover artwork except that the shots from the show are replaced with menu selections and there's a bit of driving porn music going along to it. It's a neat looking menu though if you stare at it for too long the pink really begins to blur and merge together. Access times are nice and fast and the navigation is easy and problem free. The disc correctly read our players' language presets as well. This release earns an extra kudos for having the menu loop for over two minutes so I hand have most of the song to play.

Extras:
The only included extra in this release is a manual art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the fun things about most things sexual in nature, particularly those that push the envelope, is revisiting them years later to see just how things stand up against a more current time. Back when Cool Devices first came out, it was listed as one of the most disgusting and perverted hentai releases you could get. The things in it would shock people. Shock them! So while it had some popularity on the raw side of things, it gained a bit more when it was licensed and then released as it was ahead of most other hentai releases out at the time. With each volume containing a number of self-contained stories, the possibilities seemed limitless and unending, which is one of the things that scared a lot of people.

But now ten years later, in rewatching the first three episodes, it just shows how much things have changed since then. No longer cutting edge but still with a bit of bite, it's lost a lot of what made it so unique as others followed in its footsteps and out did it continually. With the opening episodes, there isn't anything here that's truly disturbing anymore or that's really out of the ordinary for what gets talked about on cable TV in some areas. In a way, it's unfortunate that some things like this can't continue to have the outrageousness that they once had. At least they don't feel quaint yet.

The three episodes each tell their own tales, though the last one has more than one tale to it. From the opening one to the last one, there is some tantalizing material in here that goes all the way. The first tale has a twist on exhibitionism and dominance as a young blue haired woman finds herself the subject of much sexual exploring while at a bar as she's wearing a simple plastic dress that allows others to do with her as they want. This ends up titillating one of the girls watching with her friends and she ends up following her afterwards only to be caught up in what's going on, which is that the woman was the one in control and letting the others do what she wanted them to do to her. Her fascination with one of the men there ends up getting her involved deeply in this kind of training and soon she finds herself living the same kind of life and pleasures, letting the cycle begin anew with her.

A more interesting tale is the second one where a brother and sister have inherited a mansion and lots of money due to the deaths of their parents. The brother has become something of a recluse and withdrawn as he doesn't go into the outside world much anymore but manages the family finances. He hosts nightly parties that are really just massive orgies and he keeps it all on video tape and watches from afar, never participating. His sister and his tutor both have the hots for him though and each try to get into his pants in different ways but all he wants to do is to watch things, including his sister. It's a fairly standard voyeuristic tale but there are some really nice character designs mixed into it and the voyeurism is nicely done for it. Combined with the third episode that provides a few shorter stories together, including a really cute one of two girls cosplaying as animals, the show has a really wide range of stories to be told.

In Summary:
Though it's tamer than it was when first seen years ago, this release is a leap above the previous release with its burned in subtitles and lack of an English language track. The visual quality is up a few notches though there's only so far you can go but the differences in encoding alone from them to now would have ensured a better looking release. Combined with the neat new packaging, the series has had some new life breathed into it but it's almost sad that it can't be called the nastiest think out there anymore since it hasn't been in a few years. It is however a fun trip down memory lane to some good traditionally animated hentai and some stories that generally aren't told any longer.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B-
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
MSRP: 29.95
Running time: 77
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cool Devices