Cool Devices Anniversary Edition Vol. #3 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, April 26, 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 brand new DIGITALLY REMASTERED 10th Anniversary Edition! Now, for the very first time, this hentai masterpiece is FINALLY AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH!

Sex and depravity shatter the illusion of innocence and replace it with the unquenchable flames of desire...

YELLOW STAR
The notorious episode returns! The beautiful Ayana just isn't ready for sex. She keeps begging her boyfriend to wait just a bit longer. But when her mom marries Mr. Fujisawa, Ayana isn't going to have much of a choice anymore. A famous (but also very corrupt) detective, Mr. Fujisawa has recently acquired a potent new date-rape drug known as Yellow Star " a drug he plans to use over and over on his beautiful new step-daughter...

SLAVE WARRIOR MAYA PART 1 & 2
Maya was a normal girl, until the day she was sucked into another world and sold as a sex slave! Tortured and degraded, Maya's only wish is to be able to return home. But destiny has more in store for her " she might be the only one who can destroy the evil Zotos!

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

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:
With the two part Maya storyline on this volume, she gets the cover here with an action piece and a bondage piece that looks decent with the layout design used and the green lighting to enhance it from the logo. The character art itself is pretty good and definitely one of the better ones of the series. 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 front cover artwork except that the menu selections are lined along the right 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 blue 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)
Of all the volumes in the series, this is the one that will probably sell the best by itself or would be the driving force in getting people to pick up any box set release. This volume contains a single episode that's been rather famous for years due to the people involved with it as well as a two part swords and sorcery and bondage story that plays out like a lot of regular anime series but adds the right amount of naughty flair to it.

The opening tale has long been seen as a precursor to Kite as the character designs and animation was done by Umetsu in one of his earlier forays into the adult anime world. Yellow Star really stands out among the set as it's the one that really doesn't look like the other shows at all. His style and the use of music sets it apart so completely that it's like a highly polished piece among other more average shows. The story focuses around a young woman who finds herself subjected to a yakuza type who uses a drug to keep her under control so that he can have his way with her. Eventually, it expands to him bringing in his buddies so they can get a taste of such beautiful young flesh and it just gets worse and worse for her as the spiral sends her downward.

The story isn't terribly deep and the characters aren't all that engaging, but it really comes down to the designs for it in both the characters and the backgrounds. We've seen where Umetsu has gone since then and it's only become more polished and slick for the most part, at least when working on OVA material, so getting to see what he had to work with way back when is interesting from an evolutionary standpoint of his style and works.

Presented in two parts, this release also contains the Slave Warrior Maya storyline. This is a rather fun little sword and sorcery adventure that has plenty of sex mixed into it that uses a fairly standard plotline and could have been something that was greenlit ages ago for regular broadcast. We're introduced to the pretty and perky young Maya who finds herself being accidentally transported to a fantasy world. When she arrives there, she's taken advantage of by a couple of creatures who turn out to be slave traders and they take the opportunity to sell such fine young flesh at the nearest fair that they can get to. Maya ends up fetching a high price as expected but they were surprised to find that a dark creature wanted her and was willing to pay far more than anyone else.

While Maya deals with the problems of being captured and held hostage by some of the evil creatures of the land, we learn that her arrival has actually been long foretold. According to legend of a certain religious group, Maya is the spitting image of a legendary druid that was supposed to arrive and make everything right in the land. Many of the followers had doubt of such an event ever happening, particularly in their lifetime, but they cling to Maya once they realize she's the one and events begin to swirl around her as she escapes from the clutches of evil and tries to find her place in the world, which often means being penetrated by the forces of evil.

With this being such a straightforward story and one that you've seen done in varying degrees in other shows, the homage/parody plays out well and it maintains enough of its own story to really stand alone and on its own merits. The character designs are decent for it, though they feel woefully average coming after Yellow Star, and the sex scenes are pretty good and with some interesting twists to them.

In Summary:
As the 10th anniversary release continues it's proving just how much really can change in ten years, especially in terms of what's considered hardcore and fetish-worthy. This volume has what's considered the cream of the crop of the series and they've managed to hold up fairly well over time. While the animation can't stand next to a lot of what comes out today, the entire package does and this is the volume that will get the most replay over the next few years from most people. It'd been awhile but it was certainly good to see both of these stories again and be reminded why I enjoyed them the first time around.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,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: 29.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cool Devices