Words Worth (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, September 20, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2007
What They Say
God created Light and Shadow and separated them with the power of the divine Words Worth Tablet. One day, the Words Worth Tablet shall be read and all will be understood, and Light and Shadow will join and become complete. But someone has shattered the Tablet.
The Tribe of Light and the Tribe of Shadow each blame the other and war ensues for 100 years. The story revolves around the bumbling but very skilled Prince Astral of the Tribe of Shadow who may be the one to bring the Tribes together and restore peace.
Taking a decent release and cleaning it up in a few ways, Kitty Media does good by Wordsworth.
Retaining the same mixes as the original release, Wordsworth has a decent bilingual stereo presentation that's encoded at 192 kbps. The series doesn't really get too deep into directionality but it has a fair bit more than most adult series due to the various action sequences. Both mixes are pretty solid overall as they're your standard forward soundstage mixes that you find in most adult series. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout on both tracks and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 1999, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Originally released on five discs by NuTech Entertainment, this release brings it all onto one volume with no noticeable drop in quality. Though it isn't as flashy or brightly colored like most of today's releases, this traditionally animated OVA series holds up well with only a few issues that are from the time. The most noticeable is some aliasing throughout the various panning sequences. It's typically when it pans over a cityscape that it's the most noticeable but it creeps into a few other areas as well. The show retains a solid bit rate for the two and a half hours it runs and overall is pretty clean outside of a few speckles.
Using one of the better images to push its fantasy elements, the front cover takes the catgirl character and has her against a dark background of a building while she's there with a massive sword. There's hints of sexuality that work well and having the catgirl elements will certainly draw some casual eyes. If not for the adults only banner along the bottom, you wouldn't think this an adult release at all. The framing and overall design is just solid and appealing. The back cover however lets you know that it very much is an adult release as it's filled with shots of women from the show in various states of sex. There isn't any actual nudity but the shots make it painfully obvious. The summary covers the basics and the remainder of the cover has the technical grid. No production information is included nor is there an insert or reversible cover.
Utilizing the character artwork from the front cover but with a red filter on it, the main menus are decent pieces that are a bit soft and indistinct but set the mood well enough with the music that plays along. I would have preferred to see more varied artwork here since the NuTech release had five covers to play with, but this menu is functional and easy to use so it does the job. It just doesn't do it in a way that stands out. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is easy to navigate. The disc did correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the more anticipated acquisitions several years ago, Words Worth was considered a rarity in the adult realm as it tried to do a solid story and something in the fantasy setting. It usually seems that shows in that genre attempt something a bit more than just simple plots and Words Worth tried to take it up a few notches. In some ways they succeeded but at its core it's still all about the nookie. NuTech Entertainment released it a few years after its Japanese release in a 5 disc box set, complete with actual adult actresses to play some of the roles. After those rights lapsed, Kitty Media has picked it up and done a rather solid job of repackaging it into something far more accessible.
The main draw of Words Worth has to be the fantasy setting, something very few shows do. Few shows go beyond the tried and true modern setting to begin with. And fantasy fans like to see things go beyond what they usually do. Words Worth certainly takes advantage of that. The show is a tale of struggle between the Tribe of Light and the Tribe of Shadows. Our perspective is given in with the Shadows as the main character is Astral, the son of the king of the Tribe of Shadows. Watoshika, his father, won't let Astral become a fully "licensed" swordsman, as he needs him to stay alive for another purpose. Astral can't stand this and tries every which way to prove himself but to no avail.
The Tribe of Light's kingdom is located deep underground while the Tribe of Light is naturally outdoors on the surface. The leader of the Light, Fabris, is pushing through another attack to try and conquer and destroy the Shadow, which is something that has been going on since forever. The original argument over who destroyed the Words Worth tablet is what sparked it, but few even know or remember what it was. Grudges die hard.
It's during another push that we find Astral conning his way into getting "licensed" to fight that we also see his fianc�e, Sharon, fighting hard against Fabris and his troops along with the best male fighter of the shadows, Caesar. The battles are rather bloody at times but go by relatively fast and generally only set up other encounters. While there's a lot of fighting going on, there's a lot of sex going on as well.
During one particular fight, when Fabris is about to take Sharon, Astral arrives to defend her only to have Fabris' daughter Maria, a spellcaster no less, use her magic to essentially destroy him. The spell doesn't work as planned but still removes Astral from the picture. He now finds himself twenty years in the future with no memory and no idea of where he is. This sets up the amusing moments of him getting it on with Maria's daughter and a host of other fun time travel issues.
The main problem with the twenty year gap is an unexplained phenomenon. While everyone in the Light kingdom has visibly aged, with Fabris being gray and a grandfather and Maria being older, everyone in the Shadow kingdom looks exactly the same once the passageway between the two became closed. It's like they were sealed in time to some extent, but that can't hold up as one of the characters had a child that's a couple of years old. And the kid is Astral's no less.
But hey, we're not here for total story continuity are we? C'mon, we're here for the hot girls getting it on with all the guys. Sadly, some of it is with the horse-man and the two pig-guys. Oh man did I just fast forward through that pretty little segment. Barring that, there's a lot of good stuff to watch during these episodes. In particular, I think this is the first time I've ever seen a catgirl in hentai. It brings to mind just how difficult of a job that actress had in trying to both perform the part when Astral was being tender with her and to keep that cat inflection in her voice. I'll admit it, there's something about catgirl nookie.
Rewatching this title again five years later, it was in its own way fairly quaint in comparison to what has come since. The actual character designs and the basic layout of it all is still fun and enjoyable and the traditional animation certainly has its appeal. But it feels like it's lacking some of the rawness of more recent shows that have found what boundaries can be pushed. This is a show I'd certainly love to see a new sequel to or a re-imagining of with current sensibilities and animation techniques. In the end though, this is the best treatment that the series could get from what NuTech Entertainment originally released. I'm hopeful that Kitty Media will rescue some of the other licenses and properly repackage them. The change in shelf space alone is worthwhile.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver 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: Kitty Media
Running time: 150
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Words Worth