Bible Black: New Testament Vol. #1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, October 20, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2005
What They Say
Bringing new meaning to Back in Black! Time has past since the Night of Walpurgis, and the girls of the Witchcraft Club have all graduated and made their way in the world. Imari has become a police woman, who serves as a psychic investigator on a series of horribly gruesome murder cases.
Strangely, witnesses see a ghostly image that looks like the dead school nurse, Kitami, at the scene. Saki restarts the Witchcraft Club with a new crop of girls, but is she fighting Kitami or helping her? Then the women of the psychic investigation squad are the target of murderous robbers, and the stress as likely to cause the devil in Miss Imari to emerge... from between her legs.
Bible Black returns in the New Testament series which takes the series further but manages to alienate a segment of its fans completely.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language adaptation. This is also our only choice here as the original Japanese language track is absent for some reason. The English track is a standard stereo mix that's mostly center channel based for its dialogue but it does use the forward soundstage in a slightly wide way on a few occasions. The music and occasional sound effects flesh out the stereo channels in general but otherwise this is a fairly straightforward mix. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released to video in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Much like the original series, the source materials here are great looking which results in a very striking and vibrant show. The colors are more varied this time around with a number of outdoor and daylight scenes which look great but the dark interior rooms are just as solid and great looking. The animation is good and fluid in this show and it comes across clean and clear here with no real problems outside of some very minor aliasing in a few areas where the line work was a bit busy.
The cover for this release highlights the new uniforms that get added to the mix with two of the leads in their special police outfits as they're laid out seemingly in a state of bondage. The background provides some of the demon imagery that’s part and parcel of the show while the bottom his filled out with the series logo and title. The back cover provides a great illustration of two of the other women in a state of undress while behind them is a good series of images from the show. The summary of the premise runs down along the left and the bottom contains the technical grid which covers everything and is accurate in the language listings. No insert is included with this release.
The menu for this release is similar to most adult releases as it uses the character artwork from the back cover and sets that dead center with some flames and demon imagery behind them set to a upbeat bit of instrumental music. The navigation is lined along the bottom which looks a little sparse without the language submenu but it has the gallery to make it up instead. Access times are nice and fast and the layout simple and easy. And with only one language on here with no subtitles, our presets were pretty much meaningless.
The only included extra is an art gallery of pieces from these episodes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bible Black has always been something of a love it/hate it show. The first series had some gorgeous character artwork, fantastic outfit designs and some great smooth animation for the sex scenes. At the same time, some of those same sex scenes were cringe inducing, such as the enemas, or just more violent than I cared for. This installment plays in a similar manner but the release becomes more of a problem right from the start due to the complete lack of the Japanese audio track from which I'd been familiar with the show.
They do however credit them at the end of the episode. Go figure.
That did impact my enjoyment of these two episodes since I've been so familiar with it being in that language that shifting to English for it felt like a different show. In some ways, that's not too bad. The storyline for this installment moves things forward several years from when the Night of Walpurgis was performed and everything went so chaotically wrong for those involved. The ones that have survived have moved on in life though but there's something that keeps pieces of what happened to them then very much in their lives. Imari for example is now with the police and works in something called the Tokken division where she serves as a psychic investigator. Something from their past has started to appear again as there is a series of murders and deaths that seem to involve a ghost like woman that reminds her of Kitami from the old school days.
As she begins the investigation into this and Saki has apparently restarted the Witchcraft Club which is pulling in a new series of very attractive and erotic girls for some new purpose, we get an interesting side trip that takes some of the characters to a bank that's being held up by some masked criminals. It seems like a fairly normal hold-up at first but then the guys start having all the men and women have sex with each other while blindfolded. There's also a few more personal things done by the terrorists here such as having a few of them in the bathroom where he's taking one of them from behind with the shotgun to truly disgusting results. But these guys have a much bigger purpose to them as they seem to have some of the old ancient words that can bring things from the past into the present and one of the captives becomes the latest dick-girl that is ready to spawn something new with its goods.
The animation and designs for these two installments are simply gorgeous and it just screams quality. The story, while somewhat convoluted as it's not revealing itself all that quickly nor is the leap between the first and the second clear right from the start unless you're intimate with the property, is definitely one that will be engaging to watch now that the cast is older and more experienced but also mixed with a new crop of young girls. The mix of the old uniforms and the new uniforms works nicely and the animation is just slick all around. Across the two episodes we get some really good stuff as the production values are just above and beyond what most other series do, even some mainstream releases.
My disappointment in the lack of the Japanese track here is quite large. With this being such an anticipated show it's surprising that it's not here since it seems like its lack will alienate at least some of the fans from it though presumably there are more dub fans of it and it gets a wide release. But whatever the reason, the lack of it hurts an otherwise stellar release that would be at the top of an adult anime fans recommendations list for sex and story. The English track certainly isn't bad as it keeps things in the right and doesn't seem to really take liberties or at least it doesn't seem out of character. It's still plenty enjoyable but I would have enjoyed it far more otherwise.
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: B-
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Kitty Media
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Bible Black