Widow (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What They Say
Kaori comes to his late brother's estate to visit his widowed sister in law, and finds a mysterious video. It shows his brother with his wife and the two other ladies of the house, Chiyoko and Miyuki. In what looks like an underground room, he submits the women to constant sexual perversions until they can't live without it. Will the secrets of his late brother provide the key to Kaori's mysterious headaches and sleepless nights?

The Review!
Kaoru returns to his brother's home to settle his affairs some time after his death but instead gets caught up in a tangled web of sex.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix that's used is fairly standard for an adult title with most of the dialogue being center channel based. The music and some of the sound effects do use the left and right channels though and provide a good warm full feeling but the bulk of the dialogue doesn't have much of a real sense of depth or placement. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally released to video in 2004, the transfer for the two episodes included on this release is presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this release look fantastic throughout and showcase some great looking current digital animation techniques and colors. The show is filled with lots of shades of blue and other softer colors but they all look great here and maintain a solid feel. There are one or two brief scenes where some like light cross coloration going on but it's pretty negligible in the long run. Aliasing is minimal and overall this is a very smooth and good looking transfer.

Providing a shot of Taeko being strung up in one of the bondage pieces from an absolutely priceless angle, the cover for this release is very eye-catching as she shows off plenty of skin but not enough to really get her in trouble. The background is pretty indistinguishable and hidden in shadows but it allows the focus to remain on the character artwork. The back cover provides a number of shots from the show to display what the actual animation looks like and has a very short summary paragraph of the premise. The remainder of the cover is filled out with the production information and the ever solid technical grid. No insert was included with this release nor a reverse side cover as the keepcase is a clear one.

The main menu basically expands on what the front cover is by getting rid of a few shadows or streams of light and having another indistinct background all around. A bit of music is set to it from the shows instrumental track and the menu overall is decent and not one you mind lingering on too much. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played properly.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If there's one thing you can count on in Japan besides nurses and maids it's that nubile young women will end up having dead husbands on their hands which leads them to becoming creatures of desire that must be sated. Widow brings us the latest of these women as we're introduced to an attractive young woman named Taeko who lost her husband some time before but still wears that funeral outfit of hers.

She actually has some kind of reasoning for this as her husband's brother that she's never met still hasn't paid his respects yet. He's been out of the country for some time and even when he was in Japan, he and his brother always were so busy that they rarely got together in general. Taeko is waiting for Kaoru's arrival at the estate so he can finish out the paperwork and the inheritance issues and then Taeko can move on from there. Before he arrives though, life continues on since Satoshi's death and Taeko keeps up on her younger sister Chiyoko's education by having a pair of tutors comes to work with her. So on a seemingly daily basis, Toshiki and Miyuki come by to help out together to work with Chiyoko. On the day when Kaoru is due to arrive however, Taeko makes a move on Toshiki by talking about how they used to play doctor when they were kids and how he can do that now if he wants.

Kaoru's eventual arrival to the residence opens up some interesting bits of the past and some new avenues in the present. Apparently Kaoru had known Miyuki from before and we see flashbacks to when they were together as well as a new hookup now that he's back in the country. This conflicts Miyuki since she's interested in Toshiki and really wants to get his attention but she knows that he's got an interest in Taeko, even if Taeko is unaware of it. When Miyuki and Kaoru end up in the same place together again though it opens up everything once again and sets her to wondering where she really wants to go.

Kaoru's ready for the most part to settle the estate issues and get it done and over with but he intends to stay there for awhile otherwise. This brings him into close contact with Chiyoko who is all over him in a friendly way but has no issue with it when Kaoru starts to fondly her while watching a tape of the wedding. They keep their relationship a secret while Kaoru tries to deal with the legal side of things but he's sent a videotape that shows an underground room in the house where Taeko is given over to an S&M lifestyle, something that he can't pull himself away from watching and dreaming about. Over the course of the two episodes, everyone is getting involved with each other though they're all keeping it secret from everyone else.

Based on the cover, I was expecting a lot more S&M material but that looks to be reserved for future episodes as it's really only hinted and touched upon in an off hand manner and more second hand than anything else. There's a brief bit of scatological stuff here when one of the girls has the need to go to the bathroom while walking through the park and there are no bathrooms around but even that was very minimal. What we're left with is a number of high quality animated sex scenes featuring a lot of very attractive female characters. There are a lot of very erotic and hot scenes here, though your mileage may vary depending on the language you choose. I was highly amused at the "ride me like John Wayne in a western" comments there were. I guess that works for some people though.

In Summary:
Widow has a lot of really great sex scenes throughout it and a fairly decent plot to string it all together with. There is a darker aspect to this series overall but it's not covered in much detail here in the first two episodes of it. The show is filled with great looking characters, some very fluidly animated scenes and an overall sense of direction and style that makes for a good hours worth of enjoyment. I was expecting something more hardcore going into it but ended up with something much more enjoyable.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Kitty Media
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Widow