Dark Future Vol. #2 (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, June 05, 2007
What They Say
The Relaxation Club's secret is slowly being revealed while they're doing everything they can to keep its dark secret from surfacing into the light... even if it means violating everyone... including the students and teachers.
The Relaxation Club's ulterior motive brings in a few new members this time around for intiation.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix, a linear PCM track at 1.5 mbps, 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 2006, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this release are in very good shape and overall it's a good clean and very pleasing piece of work. It manages to avoid some of the softness that seems to be (intentionally) plaguing other shows that have been out recently while not going overboard with being too vibrant. Colors look good and maintain a solid feel for the most part but there are some problem areas. Banding does show up in a number of scenes but some of them red hued backgrounds introduce some blocking as well. Cross coloration and aliasing is for the most part a non-issue at least. The show hits some very low bit rates on average, down to 1.1 in a lot of scenes, but because of how it's animated it looks good and solid throughout.
Using the same idea as the first volume with a pair of the girls together, this one puts them in a 69 position while being bound up and pressed against each other. Each is covered with plenty of juices and has the right look to them to really highlight what the show is like. The artwork is very well done with lots of detail to it. In a change from the first volume where the back cover warned of mild gay content, this one warns of both enema's and urination. Thanks guys! The layout of the cover is decent but text heavy with the summary and the shows origins. A few shots from the show are included and the remainder is filled out with the production credits and solid technical grid. No insert is included nor is the cover reversible.
JapanAnime continues to have some of the smoothest menu transitions out there though the menus are fairly basic otherwise. Using the artwork from the front cover zoomed in, the good looking illustration works well here as you get to see plenty of the detail to it. The navigation strip along the bottom is simple but looks good. 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.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first installment of Dark Future worked with a familiar plot by having a group of students within the school being part of a club that essentially deals in the sex trade. By drawing in various students of both genders and dominating them, they then sold off the visuals of the events to fund the club even more as they delved into more disturbing territory. While some are trying to uncover what's going on here, it's mostly ineffectual people who themselves end up as the next victims.
While the first episode dealt with Masa and Shion, this one deals with a few more people than that. Shion's return to the Relaxation Club has her doing so in order to avoid revealing anything about what's happened before. Why else would she not only agree to go there but to done the nurses uniform that they provide for her. And why else would she do so after they requested that she not wear any underwear under it. She isn't exactly shocked when the photos being taken of her start to turn more sexual than they already were but she is surprised by how into it she's starting to get. That fascination doesn't last long however as Chayamachi arrives and turns things into more humiliation for her.
As much fun as they all do have with Shion, she's not the only one to be taken advantage of here. The arrival of the teacher, Tsukebe, and Hinoki brings some new playthings directly to the club. Using some subtlety in getting the pair to relax, it doesn't take long for Chayamachi to set things up in a way that allows both women to be trussed up and put into sexual motion. Hinoki is amusing to watch in all of this as she's been so mellow in general and is even more so as she's completely dominated by several men. Her teacher on the other hand tries to resist a bit more but with Chayamachi forcing her into more things and another woman with a strap-on behind her that's titillating her more than she could imagine, her resistance quickly disappears.
While the scenes of domination and general humiliation aren't things that bother me, nor are they elements that have me standing up and cheering, what does bother me is the more disturbing elements. Shion finds herself subjected to numerous men urinating on her while also having an enema performed on her. The teacher's scene has her succumbing to a lack of bodily control as the vibrator inside unleashes all sorts of fluids. It's a wet and messy show to be sure and that's simply never been appealing. For fans of it however it is well done and the things that the women are subjected to is consistent with what was seen in the first episode.
Not unexpected but still problematic is the subtitles for the release. Similar to other JapanAnime titles there is a fair number of typos throughout as well as some unconventional punctuation. Some moments also come across as poorly timed with lines coming a bit late. This only happens a few times out of the entire episode but it was still pretty noticeable even at low volume.
Beyond some extremely mild plot advancement that serves as brief bookends to this episode, the majority of the show is focused on the domination and humiliation of the three women brought into play here. Shion's scene feels longer if only because it was just her and there was a bit more build up to it. The second scene is a bit more complicated since it has two characters but it does a good job of balancing out the younger one in the student and the slightly older one in the teacher. Dark Future still isn't an appealing show for the most part but this one has some good moments to it as well as material that will certainly please a more hardcore crowd.
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: 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: JapanAnime
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dark Future