Midnight Strike Force (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, May 15, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, April 04, 2006



What They Say
A super-secret cult of lesbians performs erotic experiments on bodies from the local hospital! Their purpose: to revive the spirit of their ancient leader in a virile human form. Now it's up to the Midnight Strike Force, a team of busty justice fighters, to go under-cover (and under the covers) to stop the nefarious acolytes before they succeed in their diabolically dirty schemes!

The Review!
A cult of lesbians is intent on bringing their leader back to a working body after she's lived for over a hundred of years, unless a team of women can stop them first.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Like most hentai shows, there isn't a lot in the way of very noticeable directionality across the forward soundstage in this stereo mix but overall it sounds good and pretty much problem free. We checked out both language tracks while prepping the review and didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2005, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials for the show look to be in relatively good condition overall. Colors are nicely solid and free of any overly noticeable macroblocking. Some of the panning sequences in the show tend to show a bit of aliasing and chroma noise to them as it pulls back but these are very few and far between. Cross coloration and aliasing is mostly non-existent throughout the two episodes but some of the mid-range character shots tend to be less detailed than other scenes, especially in the faces.

Packaging:
The front cover for this is pretty strong in its sexuality as it showcases the three lead women wearing nothing except for banners across them while set against an otherwise bland orange background with a shatter spot in the corner. The shot is fairly decent but when I look at the characters they just look somewhat strangely proportioned and unappealing. The back cover showcases them again in their unmentionables which looks a bit better and covers the usual layout of the short summary, the discs features and the spread of technical and production information that makes it difficult to quickly check things like run times. The cover is reversible with the left panel showing a black and white full version of the front cover and the right panel providing the bilingual credits and dual production credits for the show.

Menu:
The main menu uses the front cover artwork of the three leads against a light purple background where we once again get a good look at the girls in their birthday suits. The layout is straightforward with basic navigation and a bit of instrumental music from the show but it's pretty solid and problem free. Access times are nice and fast and the layout easy to navigate but our players preset languages were ignored and it defaulted to English language only.

Extras:
The only extra included in this release is the art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Midnight Strike Force is an interesting title in that it's the type that brings back some of the more violent tentacle aspects of adult material but it's also not terribly focused on the sex itself at times. While watching this two episode OVA series, it felt like the first episode was surprisingly weak on the sex and more focused on the basic plot that the balance was off. The second half tries to pick up the pace but when you know that this is a very by the numbers storyline, it doesn't help that much since there isn't all that much to latch onto.

The basic premise is that we've got a mysterious cult that's operating out of a private hospital that's very well funded and takes in patients from all over that may be strange cases. Hidden within the hospital in a large underground structure is a facility where a woman is kept that's apparently been alive for a hundred and thirty years. She's kept in a stasis tube and through her rather young son and a doctor working under his orders, they're experimenting on dead bodies in order to find a way to salvage one so that she can enter into it and regain her life. Her actual history and the why's of what went on in her past is left a mystery and as few people as there are working under her, they're essentially ciphers as well. The bulk of the cult is made up of naked bald women who wear robes and hip boots that serve as nothing more than receptacles for rock hard tentacles that spring from the failures of experimented upon dead bodies.

Naturally, someone will have to stop them and three women are given a go-code during their normal lives that brings them together in a classic sort of Charlie's Angels way. Each of them has their own distinctive angle and look but are still in the end pretty much the same as the villainous leads in that they're ciphers. Even just minutes after the show was over I couldn't recall their names or their specialties. They infiltrate the hospital as nurses " the kind with the poofy hats no less " and strike up a friendship with a young woman there who obviously will be used as a potential host, dig deep for information in secure networks and end up fighting against the distorted and twisted creations that are considered failures. It's a by the numbers storyline where there's some twisted sex, some consensual pieces and a lot of bad things happening to cute women who don't know why.

The animation for the show has a lot of really good looking fluid scenes and some of the designs look interesting but it's also one that doesn't have a lot of good designs to it and the overall infrequent amount of sex scenes lends it to just feeling very bland overall. The character designs don't have anything unique or special about them and even though they don't really seem to be part of the stereotypical hentai designs, they don't have anything that really draws you to them either. It's hard to pin down exactly what it is about the show but something just doesn't seem to click well.

In Summary:
Midnight Strike Force is a title where it feels like they had a concept but really fumbled the ball on execution. It's definitely an adult title but the first episode has a layout where if they excised the sex it wouldn't impact things at all and just had to dress up the nudity a bit. While the show is complete and it tells its tale, it's the kind of plot where it would fill out any basic action drama for an hour or the structure for a very by the book ninety minute action movie. When I found myself looking at the countdown timer more than anything else, I know that a show has lost me and I was looking at that after the first ten minutes of this show. There are better shows that use the same formula that are worth checking out.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: D+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Anime 18
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Midnight Strike Force