Sexy Magical Girl Vol. #4 (of 5) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, March 13, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2006



What They Say
The Yuragi is more powerful then ever and Akitoshi and Ai are in grave danger! Just as it seems like there was no hope of winning, a dark and powerful presence takes over Ai and escapes a near death situation. However, at the same time she also tries to kill Akitoshi, a strange light glows within Akitoshi and brings her back to her senses.

Ai now knows that she can not win this battle without Akitoshi's help. The final battle between Sexy Magical Girl and Yuragi draws near!

The Review!
Filled mostly with action and some disturbing sexual scenes, Sexy Magical Girl builds up its storyline before the finale comes.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Unfortunately, this is also the only language track on there as no dub was produced for the release. The Japanese track is a decent sounding stereo mix that doesn't have a whole lot of activity going on in terms of directionality but does have a nice full sounding effect overall. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this release gives us with a very clean and smooth looking piece of work other than a few minor things here and there. During the episode, there's some minor blocking going on during one or two of the fast paced action scenes such as when the tentacles fly fast but it's more apparent on our lower end player and TV than the higher end setup. Colors look good and maintain a solid feel even during the dark blacks and blues, cross coloration is pretty much a non-issue and the show is presented with the original opening and ending. At the end of it, a translated section of credits rolls as well.

Packaging:
Another dark and not so pleasant event for Ai, this installment has her being caught up in a multitude of tentacles with their eyes leering at her as they stretch her apart and tear away at her clothes. There is some good detail here and it's definitely an appealing cover to tentacle fans. The back provides numerous shots from the show and plenty of nudity and tentacle action. The summary is fairly short but well done while the bottom half is a much cleaned up and nicely laid out technical section and production information piece. The reversible cover is essentially the same as the main cover but her clothes are torn away more to reveal her breasts and her crotch area has less clothing as well though it's still kept somewhat discreet. No insert is included with this release.

Menu:
The main layout utilizes the artwork from the cover in a zoomed out and much brighter manner so that we see more of her body. The level of menu animation and transitions is something that JapanAnime really seems to be mastering more and more with each menu to the point where they're often doing better transitions than the mainstream studios. This one has a great flow with the dark edges and the transitional moments. Selections are lined along the right and are quick and easy to navigate while a brief loop of music plays along to the menu. Access times are decent considering the minor transitional animations and the layout very simple to navigate as there isn't much here beside the show and the trailers.

Extras:
The only included extra is a slideshow of artwork from the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sexy Magical Girl's fourth installment picks up where the action left us last time with a lot of rather nasty things going on. Touru's been doing plenty of the dirty work for the Yuragi now and he's managed to work the situation by drawing in Ai's friends to the auditorium where he's screwed them over nicely but also using them as bait for Ai. Akitoshi continues to be the wildcard in things but even his presence only manages to go so far.

So much of this volume is focused on the lengthy fight between Ai and Touru that there isn't a lot to really say about it. The fight sequence itself is brutal and it really pushes the limits in what you can find attractive in some material, but then again, it's not really trying to be attractive but rather trying to provide that mix of sex and disturbing violence to blur the lines and test your own limits. Touru's a nasty character and he's seriously screwed over people so far but when he takes on Ai now, she gets the brunt of it. The most disturbing sequence is with her being held in mid air by the tentacles he controls and having what looks like a foot wide pole jammed up her from below to the point where not only is a bloody mess, but it as her back arches in pain from it, the pole is pushing out from her stomach. It's not pretty and it's disfiguringly disturbing as it plays out but it serves as the final straw that snaps Ai's mental state and she's simply berserk.

There's something amusing about the phrase "a berserk magical girl" but it happens here and her retaliation against Touru is quick and effective but also surprisingly funny. It's one thing to see his body cut in half with the staff she has, but it's another for her to then just start beating on his head with it while she screams and growls in a primal way over it. It's intended to be dark and serious but the way she goes about it just left me laughing at it, which I'm sure speaks volumes of my own civility. Between the fighting and disturbing torture moments, we do get more information about what the Yuragi are up to here and the people behind everything. The secret place where things are plotted is interesting just in how they use the girls that they've captured and how they feed upon them, but for the most part it's the last bit of information needed before the finale where it'll just be a bloody and violence filled sex fest.

Am I in the wrong for being eager to see it?

The animation quality continues to be great here with Ai's character design still being one of the best things about it. She gets disfigured a few times here in some really bad ways but when she's in good shape while in combat or in the quieter scenes with Akitoshi as they make their own plans, it's just exactly what I want out of a character like this. The animation overall is really solid and it has a good flow to it with all the darkness and bloody moments. I don't know that I could stomach too many shows that do what this show is doing but I'm definitely enjoying this one at the moment.

In Summary:
Sexy Magical Girl hasn't been for the weak of heart before but this is the volume that really pushes it over the line and will more than certainly completely turn off some people. I have to admire a production that does just that and takes some chances. Ai's motivation for the violence she unleashes is certainly understandable in this as is the reactions of others who are undergoing such awful treatment. There are a lot of really pretty moments in the show in how the characters look and act but this series has taken an even more significant dark twist than it has before. You may never look at magical girls the same way again.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Slideshow

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set at 480p, 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: B-
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: JapanAnime
MSRP: 24.99
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sexy Magical Girl