Master of Mosquiton OVA Complete (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, August 27, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2005
What They Say
Life in the 1920's was a great adventure. And for Mosquiton, so was death. Once a terrifying vampire, Mosquiton ends up blood-bound to a seventeen-year-old treasure hunter, Inaho, who's obsessed with the secret of immortality. Inaho decides to drag Mosquiton around the world on a quest for the O-Parts, magic artifacts that can grant immortal life without the unpleasant side effects of vampirism. However, an army of ancient monsters stands in their way, along with Mosquiton's perpetually naked ex-wife of 300 years!
Bring a lost title back to audiences, Media Blasters has the six episode OVA series that plays with vampires in a bit of a fun way.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The series has a pretty decent stereo mix for the most part that has some noticeable directionality across the forward soundstage in the action sequences but it feels like a standard stereo mix overall in that the bulk of it seems to fill the entire soundstage. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during either language track.
Originally released to video in 1996, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With six episodes spread across two discs, the transfer here looks decent but the source materials are showing their age. Mosquiton wasn't one of the slickest looking OVAs when it came out outside of a few key scenes so that's more visible now with the higher resolution and detail that DVD provides. It's very obvious in a number of scenes where there feels like there's a lighter film on top of the print so that dark scenes look too bright. The blacks in the background do maintain a good solid feel throughout most of it though and there isn't a lot of macroblocking. Aliasing is fairly minimal but still visible and cross coloration is thankfully non-existent. This isn't a bad transfer at all but it does show the flaws in the source.
Though a bit dark and overly red, the cover art here is very nice with the foreground image of the two main women, one of them pretty much naked, while Mosquiton lurks in the background with his blood on and black cloak folding around him. It has a good mix of the dark violence and sensuality that sells most vampire related things but it doesn't let you know that this is something of an action comedy series. You may get that impression a bit more from the background and some of the pictures which is based around a clock style image. The discs features and basic technical information is all kept nicely in the technical grid. The interior of the case has a disc on each side and the Media Blasters booklet in the middle which is unfortunate since any amount of pressure causes the discs to pop out. I wish they'd spend a few more cents and use the hinge style double keepcases since those are more secure for delivery.
The menu layout is built around the same idea as the back cover with a portion of the clock visible with character artwork inside it while selections are around it. It's a good looking simple menu that's effective since there's little on the disc outside of the show and some trailers – and not even any trailers on the second volume. Access times are nice and fast but the disc didn't read our players language presets due to them being labeled as numbers only and not by language.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Master of Mosquiton was a mildly popular OVA series that was previously released in North America by ADV Films in both subtitled and dubbed formats. For whatever reason, the license for that lapsed and rather than let it fall to the wayside, Media Blasters picked it up along with the completed dub and put it out in one single collection. With no new dub needed, that surely cut down on the costs of it and allowed for the nicely priced bilingual collection that we now have.
The premise of the series is something akin to the older movie serials that we used to see a few decades ago. Taking place in the 1920's, we go back and forth in time a few years a couple of times and are introduced to an adventurous young redheaded woman named Inaho. She's intent on acquiring something called the O Part that will bestow upon her immortality and beauty. As a child, her grandmother talked of the device and gave to her granddaughter a cross earring that would help her find it. As she got older, she discovered a crypt that she broke into and through a bit of her blood dropping on what was inside, she was able to awake the creature known as Mosquiton.
Mosquiton is apparently the 3rd generation vampire from the main line which means he's a bit more human than vampire but still has many of the powers and skills. In a nice twist on vampire lore, the person who gives their blood to the vampire is the one they call master. So it's not all that far inconceivable to have Inaho wake him up and someone else eventually take control of him by giving him their blood. Even more interesting, once they're awake and alive they aren't exactly full on vampires at this stage and can handle some sunlight due to their human heritage. Mosquiton only becomes a bloodthirsty vampire when they take a good amount of blood by feeding. When this happens, Mosquiton's nature turns darker as his eyes turn blood red – and even seem to bleed a bit. He's almost feral at this point and will even turn on his master until he's settled or killed. Killing him is like a reset button though in that he simply needs to be awakened with a drop of blood once more by his master or someone else.
So what does Inaho need with a vampire? What better bodyguard and all around tool to use to search and acquire the O Part with. The two have traveled over the years from their Shanghai office to other places in search of it and have developed a really good relationship. In fact, though she doesn't quite admit it sometimes, she's in love with him and wants the O Part in order to become immortal with him and spend her life with him. So when pyramids start appearing around the world, starting in London, they rush into them to search for the O Part and end up stumbling into something far bigger.
The bigger is a fairly interesting plot about some Star Gods that apparently seed planets with devices that allow them to track when it will be ripe with life in order to cultivate for a feeding and has been passed down as a legend. Inaho and Mosquiton stumble into this when they find themselves in the London pyramid with a man named Saint Germane who is working for an apparently immortal man named Rasputin that's seeking revenge against the Star Gods. This plot is interesting in a number of areas since it plays to the megayears concept and the idea of aliens cultivating life is intriguing but it is such a background piece that it's only really relevant during the final episode.
What makes up most of the other episodes? Once they get past the first pyramid incident and get the lead on the O Part, things become heavily sidetracked in the comedy area as a woman from Mosquiton's past comes back into play. Some three hundred years prior, apparently his master at that time was a woman named Camille who by amusing coincidence has the middle name of Inaho. The two were deeply in love and pledged to each other so much so that she became immortal like him but things kept them apart until he woke up again a few years ago. During an ocean transit the two come across each other again and it sets the stage for all sorts of comical stuff to happen as Camille tries to reignite the past while Inaho tries to keep her away from Mosquiton.
Naturally, there's things that happen across these episodes that keeps the action up in the main plot line such as Saint Germane showing up and the search for the O Part. Another nicely done area is that Mosquiton has something akin to two familiars that are with him when he's alive and reside with the both of them in Shanghai. Going with the fire and ice theme, the boy type is named Honou while the girl is Yuki. Both of them have adult forms they take on when they use their powers to any meaningful level and they add some fun moments to the comedy but also something for with powers to help Inaho when Mosquiton goes into feral mode.
Master of Mosquiton is a fairly fun little series and though it's somewhat predictable at times, they pull some interesting and amusing material out of the thin air at times and the larger plot is definitely interesting. But at the same time, once you get past the opening episode, it's easy to feel that the direction of the show is somewhat listless and meandering. The comedy works well enough, the characters are attractive enough and there's enough action to keep you interested in that, but at the same time it doesn't really engage you to hit the next episode as quickly as some other shows. Each episode was fun to watch but there wasn't enough to make me want to get to the next episode. In fact, it took a few days before I got the motivation to put in the second disc. It's fun while on but once off it's fairly forgettable.
One of the best things about this release though is that it's an affordable one that rescues a show from being lost to time. With an already completed dub done by ADV that was able to be used with it, with actors that were starting out with them back then and others who are long gone, it's like a look into their past at the same time. With no new dub to make since it would be really pointless to do one, Media Blasters is able to do this up cheaper than it would otherwise and keeps a show that's a favorite to a lot of people in the market. I'm all for making sure shows aren't lost to the ages.
While Master of Mosquiton isn't entirely my kind of show, its salvation from being lost is good for its fans and hopefully the title does well enough for Media Blasters that they'll help those fans out by looking into the TV series that came out a year after this. Mosquiton's OVA series is nicely complete and plays with a number of interesting ideas, particularly in how they conceive vampires and that their time period is in the 1920's. It's not the standard kind of vampire show that we've seen in the last few years. Mosquiton's not something I'll revisit any time soon but the release here is pretty solid all the way through and is definitely something I'm glad has finally made its way onto DVD and finally seen for myself.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, 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: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Master of Mosquiton