Ringetsu Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2007



What They Say
Naoto's mission to seed an heir continues...

While having sex with Ayumi, Naoto sees a "presence" of his former fiance, Suzune. At first, Ayumi doesn't like him calling her by that name... but as her feelings towards him grow, she begins to ignore it. At the same time, she finds herself worrying about the possibility that her other two sisters might win his heart and steal him away. The ceremony draws closer and Naoto does not have much time left. Who will he end up choosing, and will he succeed in impregnating one of the girls with his successor?

The Review!
With different personalities and issues surrounding all of them now, Naoto finds himself even deeper inside the three sisters lives.

Audio:
JapanAnime has provided only one language track with this release and it's weaker than a lot of their usual offerings. While the first volume had given us just a 192 kbps stereo offering, this volume brings things back to where most JapanAnime titles are with a 1.5 mbps PCM mix. There isn't much in the way of ambient noise or music in general outside of a few areas so it's mostly just dialogue and screaming. The track is pretty flawless though as we didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Though fairly recent and with a good bitrate, this release suffers heavily from two problems. The first is that with all the blues and dark colors within it the color banding is very visible. So many scenes stand out because of it, even with flesh tones, that it's very intrusive. The second problem makes the first even worse in that there is a lot of blocking going on within the blue and black banding areas which has it looking alive and constantly moving. There is some general noise to these scenes but the blocking is far worse. Even from a distance of fifteen feet when watching it on a 50" set, the banding issues are just glaring. Beyond that the show looks good but these issues simply dominate it.

Packaging:
Similar in style to the first one but without the school backdrop, Ringetu's second volume continues to look good. The designs look great with lots of detail and great colors as well as providing multiple designs that would appeal to most people. The back cover provides just one full color character shot, fully clothed, but hints at more in obscured designs in the blue filtered background. The summary runs through the basics of the premise and rounds it out with some production information. The bottom strip is the usually solid technical grid though I wish they'd list the aspect ratio here as well as being upfront about the audio track included. No insert is provided nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu layout is somewhat standard for JapanAnime but it does it well by having some of the best seamless transitions out there. Using the image of the four sisters standing together against a school interior scene, there is some very good instrumental music that plays along that sets the tone just right. The moon shows up under the logo which also has the navigation strip just below it. Access times are nice and fast and the navigation is quick and easy to use. In the extras section there is a useful setting that lets you watch just the sex scenes in the show. With only one language track here, our presets really didn't matter much.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ringetsu's story of Naoto trying to impregnate someone in order to be ready for a family ritual continues as he has quite a few choices in front of him. The situation as laid out in front of and under him in the first episode had him trying with his sister in law but getting nowhere. Knowing the importance of what's going on, Yuiko brought Naoto to the residence where her three sisters live in order to provide one of them for him to impregnate. Suffice to say that it didn't go over too well but certainly better than it could have gone.

The differences in the girls is something that works well for the show in that we get exposed to three women in the same situation all handling it differently. Mizuna's curiosity even in her robot-like mannerisms is vastly different from Shino's open refusal to have anything to do with Naoto. The middle ground in Ayumi is a bit more traditional but that situation brings in something new as Naoto loses sight of her when they're together and only thinks of his dead finacee Suzune. While Naoto is rather gentle with the others, his time with Ayumi is a bit more violent and rough which confuses her to no end. At the same time however it seems to draw her more to him in ways that she can't explain.

There are few real changes going on with this episode as it's more focused on the sex aspect than the already sex filled first volume. The show doesn't have a lot of heavy plot to it but it has enough to hold it all together. After the rough scenes with Ayumi in the previous volume that are touched upon here again, there are several more scenes to go through as Naoto finds himself getting closer to each of them in different ways. Mizuna's curiosity after the playing that the pair did in the first episode is stronger as she's now willing to go all the way with him, in a school library no less. Even Shino has warmed up to the idea after hearing Ayumi being taken so forcefully. She intends to sacrifice herself for her sisters as that's the duty of an older sister. Of course, she has to get fairly drunk first but that doesn't take away from the scene at all. After two sisters with no experience, having an experienced if out of practice sister involved brings something new to the table.

The variation between the girls both in physical form and personality is something that just clicks well here. The situation that they're in certainly has its merits even if it does feel forced by having Naoto there but the resulting sex is just solid. The strange nature of the relationship between Naoto and Ayumi is the most interesting since it seems to alternate at the drop of a hat as to what will happen. But more interesting in how she finds herself needing him the more he slips into his Suzune mode with her. At the same time, the more restrained approach by Mizuna has its appeal as does the more forward approach by Shino. With so many scenes all around the same male lead it could have easily fallen into repetition but instead has managed to keep each scene strong and fairly unique.

In Summary:
Ringetsu is weak on story but it really provides in spades when it comes to the sex scenes. With a good cast of characters and a number of situations that all stand out from each other, there is plenty to see and enjoy here. Some shows end up just pairing one set of characters for an entire episode but Ringetsu is intent on having quantity and quality here. Each of the sisters has something to offer and each of them get involved with Naoto in this volume outside of Yuiko so if there was something you liked with the first episode there is more to be found here. With only one more episode to go closure is at hand.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI with upscaling set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.




Mania Grade: B+
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
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ringetsu