F3: Frantic, Frustrated & Female (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, July 07, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What They Say

Sexy Hiroe Ogawa is cursed " no matter what she does, she can't get any satisfaction from sex. And it's driving her crazy! Her one desire is to be able to hit the peak of physical pleasure with her boyfriend Sumio, but her little problem is keeping her from ever reaching her goal.

But not to worry! Hiroe's "sister" Mayaka has plenty of ideas to help her achieve her goal. Fortune tellers, sex-crazed scientists, even a few of Mayaka's special "hands-on" techniques... no avenue will go unexplored! Anything's fair game, 'cause Hiroe's ready to do anyone and anything in her search for ultimate fulfillment!

Don't miss the wildest sex comedies ever as one lone woman braves mad scientists, sex-starved lesbian duels, and demon possessed rubber dolls in search of the ultimate fulfillment!

The Review!
Originally released by SoftCel, F3 finds itself a new home as well as all of the episodes being dubbed at last.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its English language adaptation. Having enjoyed it in Japanese before, I wanted to see if they could capture some of the humor in the English version. The track is essentially similar to the Japanese in that it's a simple stereo mix that's mostly a full soundstage piece that doesn't have much in the way of noticeable directionality. It is in good shape though as it's clean and clear throughout without any noticeable dropouts or distortions. The Japanese language track was in good shape as well from what we sampled.

Originally released in 1994, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this show looks good for the most part, with solid colors that have a few vibrant spots and no real bleeding to it. Cross coloration is almost non existent but there is some aliasing in a few panning sequences here and there. It's not a bad transfer by any means, but it is showing its age and the general budget keeps it from looking like a stellar show. Beyond looking a bit sharper and cleaner than the VHS version and a bit more solid altogether than the Softcel version, this is looks good for what it is.

Using the same artwork as previous releases but with a much brighter background and overall layout that works far better, F3 looks a lot more appealing and less dark than it did before. The older designs with their style sets it apart from many other shows today and I think actually helps it to stand out a bit more. The back cover is nicely laid out with some more shots of the girls in different outfits as well as a few scenes from the episodes. The summary runs a couple of paragraphs and covers the basics while the discs features and technical information is all clearly listed. As is usual, no insert is included with this release.

Using the same artwork from the cover and the same design elements but rearranged a bit to be more pleasing, the main menu is a simple static piece that has the bouncy ending theme music playing along in a good loop. It's a bright and colorful menu without being too far gone and the navigation is laid out easily enough and is problem free. Access times are nice and fast and we had no problems with language setup on our system.

This version has a few more extras than the Softcel release but there isn't too much that you can do with an older show like this. Thankfully, the original dub that SoftCel did for the first episode is here as a bonus, so that bit of aural amusement is still safely intact. In addition to this we get a new line art gallery as well as a series of outtakes from the show which are just way too short. These are often some of the best extras out there, particularly when the show is already a comedy..

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
F3, or Frantic, Frustrated and Female, is one of the earlier Pink Pineapple/AIC collaborations that focused more on the comedy side of things than anything else. While just about every hentai show these days is very explicit, a show like F3 doesn't go into as much detail and plays by the laws for the most part. While there's plenty of sex to go around in these shows, it's the comical aspect of the situation that makes it such a classic.

And it is indeed a classic. The three episodes play out as pure comic gold, as it follows the exploits of Hiroe, a young woman who simply cannot climax. No matter what she does or tries, she can't do it by herself or with any kind of toy. Even with the Wave Motion vibrator (which her sister points out is the latest model). During one instance where Hiroe is trying to get her body to achieve its proper state, her sister catches her and decides to help out. Hours later, Mayaka is completely undone by Hiroe hasn't had her shining moment yet.

She ends up leading Hiroe off to such varying places as a fortune teller to try and figure out what's wrong to a mad scientist who plays like a second rate Barbarella villain. What eventually does the trick is hypnosis, but with very amusing side effects to the entire situation. And that's all within just part of the first episode!

What makes things work so well in here is the absolute lack of regard for normal rules in storytelling by the creators. When we get to the second episode, Mayaka and Hiroe become housemates instead of sisters and their mother becomes a landlady/substitute mother. These changes occur throughout the episodes and relationships continually change, often with Monty Pythonesque insistence about it.

So much of the humor in these episodes is visual and hard to explain, as well as spoiling much of what makes it fun. My very first viewing experience with this show was with a checkdisc version during Otakon 2002 with a small group of friends and it went over extremely well in that situation. In watching it just with my wife, it still went over very well with lots of out loud laughing, even after repeated viewings. Now watching it again three years later, it still makes me laugh and makes me lament that there aren't more shows like this. F3 is a rare hentai treat in that it's not terribly explicit, over the top in humor and well animated. There's definitely a reason it's considered a classic.

In Summary:
There are very few adult anime shows that merit much replay and the few that are tend to be comedies. F3 is one that ranks among the top of those in replay value and one that you simply want to shake people with and share among them, especially if they like weird reality bending comedies such as Excel Saga or Abenobashi. The Critical Mass release of this title is solid overall and it keeps a great title in print that may have otherwise disappeared into history. And they kept the original dub to it as well which earns them even more points. F3 is the kind of title that you can share with friends easily without feeling like they're going to stick a porn stigma on you. It's a great sex comedy.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Outtakes,Bonus Dub

Review Equipment
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: A-
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: Critical Mass Video
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: F3 - Frantic, Frustrated and Female