Kisaku the Letch: The Letch Lives (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, August 21, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
What They Say
After his death during a botched escape from a jealous husband, Kisaku somehow ended up in heaven. After running out of women to sleep with there, Kisaku's spirit wanders back down to Earth. There, he sees the grimy, grey-skinned Kusaki: a guy with the "Letch Look." However, Kusaki is hardworking, curteous, and kind to women. Kisaku decides to get his posession on and teach Kisaki a thing or two about the Power of Letch.
After dying in the previous series, Kisaku's spirit returns to inhabit others in order to continue his twisted plans for the women in his life.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show has a pretty standard adult fare stereo mix to it with most of the show being dialogue so that's fairly center channel based as it is, though the music and some of the ambient effects and squoosh sounds come from the left or right channels. We listened to both tracks on this release and dialogue on both of them is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released across 2004 and 2005, the transfer for this three episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for these episodes is unfortunately not all that good looking with a combination of a lot of softness in general and a fairly decent amount of video noise. What's worse is the sheer amount of jaggies across a lot of areas; when you see Kisaku's spirit flying along at night and it has a bright blue aura around it, it's not rounded at all but just jagged. Many bright colors have this happen which means its hitting around hair, special effects and many other areas to the point of severe distraction. There's just so much chroma noise here that it's like many still scenes are very much alive.
Putting him into the background a bit but in such a way that we get the women in the foreground and helpless, Kisaku's return is amusing as you can tell from his pants that yes, he's very excited to be there. The mixture of women in the photographs is a nice touch but too obscured by the warnings while the pair in the foreground look nice all wrapped up in ribbons. The back cover goes with the blue and pink coloring style and drops in a number of other photographs as well as some separate illustration work of one of the girls. The shows summary is minimal but that's standard for a show like this and the discs production and technical information is all clearly listed and easy to find.
The menu layout uses some of the artwork from the back cover in the foreground shot while the background is a comical piece of Kisaku with panties on his head, complete with tiny bow, as he's about to go down on someone, someone whose ass is the basis of the navigation strip. Together with some bouncy and almost infectious music, it's a good looking and serviceable menu that gets the job done while staying well in theme. The menu layout is very simple and fairly standard for Kitty releases these days; it looks good but doesn't have anything special to it. Access times are nice and fast and the menus easy to navigate. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played without issue.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When the Kisaku series ended, you had some sense of finality to it since during his attempt to escape, Kisaku wasn't exactly in the right shape to actually stay alive. Much to everyone's surprise, he's still around as a spirit though which means he's got a lot of time to ogle those he's had his way with before and device nefarious new plans for them. Even worse, he's found that he can take over the body of a salaryman named Kusaki, a man with similar looks but who is generally a nice guy, even though he stinks and people just don't like him.
Kusaki is ideal for Kisaku to take over since it allows him to let that wild side out and Kusaki can't resist whatever it is that Kisaku does. Before Kusaki really understands what's going on, he's finding himself in nasty compromising positions either with completely unwilling women who are shocked or with women who can't get enough of him and end up frightening him away. Many of those who had thought that they had escape from Kisaku are in shock over his return and he does end up doing some nasty things to them, including some really embarrassing public displays of sex over the big TV screens on the sides of buildings. Most of them find that they're unable to resist him much as before but there are others who still can't seem to get enough of his degradation and torment and are glad that he's still alive and capable.
There is some minor storyline material underlying the series that deals with Kusaki and his wimpy ways, either from those around him telling him to shape up and be the executive he is or from Kisaku himself who can't believe that someone is as much of a wuss and wimp as Kusaki is. This is unfortunately fairly mild throughout these episodes though and it could have been much more than it was. Another area that disappointed me, though it was expected, was in checking out the English language adaptation of the show. The previous series was pretty much changed radically for a lot of the dialogue, though it kept to the story, and that's happened here again. It's a heavily localized piece with plenty of pop culture references to the here and now that will be dated by... well, yesterday.
Kisaku's attempt at getting one more series out comes to a close with "The Letch Lives" is fairly decent but with the problems with the transfer quality and a lot of the scenes feeling like it's just a repeat of what he did before he died, there isn't a lot to really jump into here. It feels a bit more like a retreated with a potentially fun concept that's not executed all that well. With the dub being as inaccurate or heavily localized if you prefer compared to the original, you get the main plot but it's got so many references to current situations that it can be annoying if that bothers you, which it does me. Having enjoyed the previous six episode Kisaku series, I was looking forward to seeing where this one would go but, well, it left me pretty bored.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray 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: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
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: Kisaku the Letch