Harvest Night Vol. #1 (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, November 25, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
What They Say
There's a bridge that divides the town, separating violence from non-violence, immorality from morality, sexually abusive lifestyles from ordinary lifestyles. There's no order beyond that bridge. That's where Ryoko enters in search of her childhood friends, Masato and Honoka. What she finds there is Masato, now the leader of a gang that profits from violence and sex.
Rival gangs tough it out with each other in a dark dank city slum where just about anything goes.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The mix for it is standard fare for hentai so there wasn't much surprising about it. Dialogue is good and clean and generally center channel based. There's some use of the stereo channels for music and some of the moaning and grunting as they get creative once in awhile, but otherwise it's the usual routine. We didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
The full frame transfer for these two OVAs looks good in general but isn't without some minor issues. In a number of scenes there looks to be some edge cross coloration trying to expand, so along things like the edges of fingers you can see some very tight rainbow imagery going on. The other is that there's this really weird rolling sensation that shows up during various panning sequences. This was also on the NuTech version so I can only assume it's in the master at this point. It almost makes it look like there's a minor warping of the show as it progresses across a particular pan. It doesn't happen each time but when it does it's fairly noticeable. Colors throughout the show are good and the darker colors maintain a solid feel to them. Aliasing and macroblocking are pretty much non-existent in general.
Using the same artwork found inside the NuTech edition but without all the annoying tags and logos, the cover art here features another shot of Honoka getting her hands on something she likes. The artwork is very good looking, particular the colors and skin tones. The back cover is a bit murkier with a few shots from the show and some larger pieces of the background but there is just too much black and the text in red makes it difficult to read. The bottom portion of the cover is standard material for ASM with the multiple flags, basic technical information and so forth in how its laid out. No insert was included but there is a reversible cover that obscures where Honoka's hand is going on the front while the back showcases the girls instead of the action
Using the same artwork as the front cover off to the side while clips play in the background that's done up in a widescreen layout, the menu certainly appeals with its look. The bit of choral music associated with it gives it the right feel and the clips are reasonably obscured so that you get teased by what you see underneath the navigation strip. It's a bit big on the logos though, with the title taking up a good bit of space plus having the AnimErotica and ASM logos along the bottom. The design is solid though in terms of functionality and easy to navigate. The disc also picked up our players language presets and played accordingly.
The only included extra on each volume is a series of stills from that particular episode in a video gallery. Sort of an extra, a bonus video is included as we see on most ASM discs but unlike their more recent offerings no subtitles are available for it, rendering it generally useless.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The re-release of this title via the AnimErotica label from Adult Source Media takes the work that NuTech did and builds upon it a bit. Coming out at a cheaper price " one that I wish more single episode adult releases would " with some new cover artwork, it also gets a slight bump up by including French and German subtitles. The original language tracks and translations look to be here as well.
Going into Harvest Night, it was a complete unknown quantity but the title suggests something, I don't know, farmland/occultish maybe? Not here. Harvest Night deals with a dank dirty city slum where the inhabitants feel trapped and unable to leave, some with an almost innate fear of crossing a particular bridge out of there. The show focuses around one of two rival gangs of youths who go up against each other on a regular basis.
The gang we follow is lead by a real tough guy named Masato. In fact, if it wasn't for him, the rest of them would probably get their asses handed to them on a regular basis if fights were done that simply. Fights here usually lead to death or more. As each of the gangs has a few women in them, there are obvious spoils to the fights and the women usually end up being playthings for the guys and girls of the other side until they're mentally incapable of doing anything for themselves. During one of the early scuffles that Masato's side wins, they bring back the woman from the group who was high and mighty about her side and proceed to bloat her belly up and then have their way with her. Disgusting stuff in my book.
Masato's group has some changes going on within it though and these are exacerbated by the arrival of a childhood friend named Ryoko. Ryoko is the picture perfect of a young woman with glasses and zero clue of how the world works and she simply strolls into this area. As it turns out, the young gray haired vixen that's coughing up blood next to Masato is actually his sister and she was good friends with Ryoko when they were younger so they're kept fairly well together during all of this. The schism that works into things is now that his sister is seemingly even sicker than before, Masato is looking for some way to deal with it and is starting to turn his eyes away from the gang. This leads to a few others, namely Shinji and Lisa, to try and figure out how to handle things.
Things go so badly for them that when they get ambushed by a rival gang, not only do the women get violently raped, they're even getting their fingernails cut off. The entire act goes so badly that it unhinges Shinji to some extent so that he ends up taking revenge out on Masato instead of the gang that actually perpetrated the act. The plot, which is not only paper thin but written on bad paper with awful ink, is just stupid. There really isn't a plot but rather acts of random violence mixed with mediocre and uninteresting sex scenes. While some of the character designs are good, such as Honoka and Emi, most fall into a bland category. And that's just the women. The male characters are generally scummy looking as well.
This new release of the title is definitely a good thing for those who have never bought before. A fuller set of translation options, some better artwork and a cheaper price make it all very appealing. It won't interest those who own it already though for the most part. Harvest Night manages to fail on most counts that could make it an enjoyable show and then manages to go from mediocre to disturbing with the inclusion of some acts of violence. In some ways, it goes beyond what a lot of the scatological material does. While there are some good character designs for some of them, there is little in this two episode show to merit a viewing, never mind a purchase. Definitely not recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Photo Gallery
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 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: D
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Adult Source Media
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Harvest Night