Spa of Love Vol. #2 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2007
What They Say
It was once a spa resort, now it's a sex filled brothel. It didn't take long for Yuji to achieve his goal of sleeping with all the women at the resort. Now that they are all his personal sex slaves, he must do his best to please them as he tries to save the resort.
Yuji continue to work the women of the spa to his desires and everyone simply has a good time.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is essentially what you'd expect from the show as it handles dialogue well and the few music pieces and ambient sound effects are well placed. There isn't all that much in a real sense of directionality but it works for the content at hand. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we did not have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2005, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. While no fault of the authoring or transfer itself, the materials here are simply soft across the board. By design likely to add to that kind of feeling of a haze you get from a hot spring, the colors look good and maintain a solid feel but they just aren't as vibrant as you would expect. This is a good change in general from when a lot of adult shows went digital a few years back and the colors were far too vibrant. The softness here like helps to minimize the digital gradient issue though, which while visible isn't as strong as it has been in some other shows. This is kept to a few areas such as clothing and occasionally some backgrounds but it doesn't stand out as strongly.
The illustration for the front cover artwork is rather solid as it has the visual of Ryoko sitting at the side of the spring while holding a very loose bath kimono to her chest. It manages to show off a great deal of skin while still providing something of a tease. Overall, it's very enticing, particularly when combined with the simple but good looking background to all of it. The back cover is a bit simple in design with another image of Ryoko but this time with her robe falling off around her. The cover is otherwise basic with a couple of shades of gray, a brief summary and a few shots from the show. The production and technical information rounds out the area.
JapanAnime continues to have some of the smoothest menu transitions out there though the menus are fairly basic otherwise. This release uses the artwork of Ryoko from the front cover as its main image that shows a bit more nipple than the cover did. Where it's nice in its animation is that there is a good bit of steam rising from off screen. The menu selections are quick and easy to use and the transitional animation for them gives the entire menu process a bit of a smooth feeling. Access times are nice and fast and due to there being only one language, our player presets were a non-issue.
Other than the inclusion of an "all sex" chaptering feature and the standard and still welcome PSP/iPod options, there are no extras to be had here.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first episode of the Spa of Love was one that while not truly impressive, it managed to entertain using a tried and true story idea. The mix of good looking characters and a mild twist on a standard premise worked well as it had a competent feel to it. It also achieved the end goal of getting the viewer into what was going on. The second episode, as most second episodes in these kinds of series go, have a bigger problem to work with.
With the introductions out of the way and the plot basically established, the writers get to slack off a fair bit because now all they have to worry about is providing more sex scenes. Plot doesn't exactly figure much into things once everything is established. With Yuji having conquered several women in the first episode, he's back to putting his sister in her place as well as making sure the staff is entirely under his control. And as they say on the back cover, it's less of a spa now and more of an actual brothel. Yuji's playing things just as he wants, such as having a number of guys watch from the window as he takes his sister. He's also continuing to dominate the rest of the women who find that he's able to please them all in ways like never before. This leaves most of them fawning over him in a master/slave fashion almost.
With just the single episode and a lot of sex mixed into, including a sizeable orgy among the women, there isn't a lot to really say about it. The character designs continue to be attractive and the sex scenes a lot of fun. They aren't all consensual and they're not all "happy visions" of sex but they do a good job with them. The animation holds up well as there isn't a lot in terms of repeated sequences or motions though there does seem to be some lack of detail in a few scenes that's off-putting at times. There are enough shortcuts mixed into the show that it comes across easily as an average level adult title but it doesn't feel like it's being done by the cheapest of the cheap either.
Spa of Love's sophomore episode is like a lot of adult series in that it isn't exactly sure where it wants to go. So it opts for lots of sex, which isn't a bad thing. Like the first volume, there isn't anything new here in terms of setting or story or in the fact that the women find themselves unable to live without Yuji's mighty member. What is here though is another entertaining episode that delivers on what it's selling " sex.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
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: B-
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: JapanAnime
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Spa of Love