Darcrows Vol. #2 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, February 02, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2007



What They Say
The Ravens' attack sparked a full-scale war with Carnia. Lasting for half a year, the two kingdoms were at a loss. During the war, King Dotor of Carnia collapsed from illness and the Ravens were taking hold. In order to defeat the Ravens, Claud will use the princesses as a reweard for victory. Claud manipulates the Queen and Princess Thialis to fulfill his personal ambitions. Every night, a lusty orgy gradually changes the heart of the royal blood into sexual desire.

The Review!
Claude continues his plan for revenge on the King by defiling those he treasures the most.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language adaptation. The stereo mix for the show, which is essentially just the same as the Japanese one, is a very basic piece as it's mostly just dialogue and very little else beyond some music and a few incidental sounds. The track is good though as the dialogue comes across well and was essentially problem free. We did listen to both tracks and they are clean and clear. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions on any of them during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this OVA looks really good with lots of bright vibrant colors and a very solid feel to them during regular playback. The areas that tend to stand out more are the usual ones such as the characters hair or the skin tones and they do look fantastic here. The designs are free of cross coloration and aliasing while showing off plenty of detail when there. This is a very smooth and clean looking release that doesn't have anything to really detract from the viewing, though I do wish they'd keep in the end Japanese credits if they were presented that way originally.

Packaging:
Similar to the first volume the cover artwork here is just spot on as it has the three main women all fondling each other. Their designs are very attractive, the colors look rich and vibrant and their outfits are very... enticing pieces of lingerie. There's a good bit of detail to the designs while ensuring that all of them are properly blushing as well. Everything stands out more due to the very dark background used with it as well. The back cover is very well done as well, feeling a lot closer to mainstream releases than they have in the past. There's a very slick looking logo along the top which is followed by a simple but effective summary of the premise. The cover is given over to more original artwork, presumably from the Japanese release, as well as several shots from the show. While they don't employ a full on technical grid as we like on other releases, between the grid they do have and the features box next to it everything is very well covered. Unlike the first volume there is a reversible cover which has clean shots from the show on the back. The front side of it is identical to the other side.

Menu:
The menu design is nicely done as it splits between a static image and an animated area. The left side has some filtered version of the character artwork from the cover behind the map of the land which contains the navigation menu, one that continues to include the nice bonus of being able to go straight to the sex scenes. The right side has floating purple filtered clouds that shift between that, clips from the show and a full color version of the front cover. Access times are nice and fast and the disc did correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The extras are the usual with the art gallery of clips from the show but also a couple of quick bio pages for the main characters we meet in this episode. The bonus episode is here again but strangely they've decided to do this with hard subtitles on the print.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first installment of Darcrows gave us a standard setup but with some nice trappings around it to help it work. The second installment lets Claude truly work his magic fingers over the women that he now has control over and begins his true domination of them. While there is some minor, and I mean minor, attempts at keeping him at bay the women all find themselves falling for their new master.

Claude's intent of ruining them is still based on the idea that by doing so the King, should he ever wake, will be so distraught and upset that it will ruin his life as well. Right now, the women are all fawning over him and some are even making Claude promise that they are the only one he truly wants. There's a very small bit of psychological domination going on but it's all really just a back seat to the copious amounts of sex that is going on. Claude's able to work his way through all three of the women and ensure that they're now beholden to him. One scene in particular, though far too brief, has the Queen going down on him while they're sitting next to the sleeping King. While all three of the characters are well designed she is the one I now find the most appealing, partially because she seems to be so underutilized here.

The two daughters have their day as well with Claude. Eulicia is finally deflowered in a somewhat forceful manner but it becomes one where she is completely drawn to him afterwards. One of the lengthier of the scenes, it plays out well as she puts up some mild resistance before giving in completely to him. Darcrows also dabbles a bit in some faux incest material as Claude takes Tiaris to his room and strips her down and then verbally forces her stepmother the Queen to orally pleasure her. Amusing the Queen doesn't balk at it all that much and Tiaris gets quite into it as it goes along. Combine that with Tiaris becoming completely smitten with Claude and practically pledging herself to him and he gets an unusually willing victim.

Though it isn't the best out there, the animation for the show is still pretty solid with a very good looking set of colors and movement to it. It looks good here overall and generally problem free though there is a fair bit of noise throughout which isn't all that surprising. What bothered me on a technical level here is how the subtitles were done. The yellow for the subtitles themselves look good but the border surrounded it is either far too thin or almost transparent because a lot of the edges tend to look bad and they lack a solid feel to them. Perhaps it's just the font that they're using but it comes across as weak and not terribly clean looking.

In Summary:
Though the gap between releases hurts the show, the actual content is still fun and enjoyable. There's a slow trend with adult material coming out where it's no so completely over the top and disturbing which is where Darcrows falls under. It has its elements of control and domination to it but there isn't that real level of violence that would turn away most casual viewers from it. This episode doesn't have anything truly new to it in terms of storyline but it does push forward with Claude gaining more control over the women and getting closer to exacting his revenge. It's well done, looks good and has some very attractive character designs that make passing the time enjoyable.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,German Subtitles,Italian Subtitles,Photo Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via DVI set to 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: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Adult Source Media
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 30 + 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Darcrows