Natural Obsessions 2 Vol. #4 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, July 13, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2007



What They Say
Ezaki Hinami is a photographer in the editorial department at the local newspaper.

Her first love was Shoma, who was an intern teacher when she was a college girl. Time went by, and now they work at the same office, but her strong feelings of passion for him have not changed. One day, Hinami takes Shoma into a "love motel", telling him it was for research. This almond eyed hottie unleashes her many years of perverse fantasies upon him. These cock-craving, ball-sucking beauties are even serving up poontang in the park.

The Review!
Adding another story that's generally unrelated to the main arc, Natural Obsessions 2 showcases a bit more of Showa's dark side and how he deals with it.

Audio:
Adult Source Media again covers its bases by providing both an English and Japanese language track for this release. In listening to both tracks, the show sports what you'd basically expect of a stereo mix for an adult title in that it's essentially dialogue driven. There isn't much in the way of really noticeable directionality but both tracks do feel somewhat louder than usual in comparison to other shows. In shifting from a mainstream release to this I had to notch it down by four to get a comparable level and even then it felt louder. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout however and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this show looks fairly poor overall which is helped only by a very good looking piece of animation. The show features a soft look to it which appears to be intentional and but is made worse by a fair amount of blocking to it. Greens in particular come across poorly but there is a lot of noise throughout the program. There is some edge cross coloration going into a few areas but it's very minimal and hardly noticeable unless you're really looking for it.

Packaging:
Ayame is the center of attention here with a great shot of Showa behind her with her completely naked as they have some fun by the side of the road. The reverse side front cover is pretty much identical except for some of her hair blocking what little nudity there is. The back cover and its reverse side follow the same trend with a number of graphic shots on one side and clean ones on the other. The summary covers the basics and the discs production and technical information is listed in the way they've done it for some time. It's not the best layout (technical grid!) but it does let you know what languages are involved and the best way to list runtimes. I want to say this is amusing but it isn't, but the summary ends up providing a completely different spelling for Showa by instead calling him Shoma. Some consistency between the show itself and the packaging would be nice, but at least they aren't calling him Niisama anymore...

Menu:
The menu design for this release is solid and similar to the second volume it's not quite as noisy. With a fairly basic border design over which the slightly large navigation strip is set, it plays out a few scenes from the show focusing around the candle and wax moments. The logo and navigation is fairly standard in layout and there is a bit of instrumental music playing along to it that sets the mood nicely. The animation clips do a decent job of setting the mood as well and avoiding playing anything hardcore which is a plus. The disc correctly read our players' language defaults and played accordingly.

Extras:
The only extras on the disc are a set of images from the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Natural Obsessions 2 series continues to go down the path of side stories with this volume as it introduces yet another woman who can't resist whatever charm and charisma that Show has. The original sisters make a decent appearance in this volume again towards the end but the bulk of the show is focused around other women and an exploration of what Showa is all about.

This episode focuses around Hinami, a young woman who is a photographer for a newspaper. She's working with Showa on a project and has convinced him to check out a story she's working on which turns out to be an expose on a love hotel. Showa's fairly indifferent to her about everything but he's pleasant enough as she tries to portray herself as a party girl. Her blatant come-on's to him just leave him dry even as she basically throws herself at him. It's only when he starts to leave that she reveals that she's actually a virgin and is just incredibly attracted to him, coming up with the ruse in order to be what she thinks he wants her to be.

Showa's time with Hinami is fairly fun, though the subtitles seem to be "dialogue enhanced" for the dirty talk, but their encounters don't last long as an old flame of sorts in Ayame arrives on the scene. Through a couple of flashback scenes we see the intensity of their relationship and she's eager to get that ball rolling in her direction once again. It was amusing to see that they have an outdoor scene that starts off in almost the same way as the car scene from the previous volume with the widow. Ayame fits in with Showa's darker kinkier nature with his controlling needs but there isn't any real spark there to work with. There isn't much of one with Hinami either as she really feels like a throwaway character in comparison to all the other women that have come so far.

Part of that problem is just in her design as she doesn't stand out all that much and plays up the usual slight spastic girl in glasses type. Ayame has a bit of a hard edge to her which works with her character but the use of her in this episode feels more like it was tacked on to make sure we didn't have just one woman getting lucky here. Unlike the previous episode in which that method did work well, Hinami simply can't carry an episode, even if it's a side story. The return to the main points later on with the two sisters is probably one of the better points of the episode but with it being at the end and only a few minutes long overall it's still pretty weak.

In Summary:
Between the lackluster focus character and the poor looking video, Natural Obsessions 2 feels like it's fallen quite far from the first volume. The core characters feel more like bit players here and even Showa feels like he's only observing instead of actually interacting. Hinami simply can't carry an episode by herself and there's nothing really here to get excited about. Some of the sex material itself is decent but nothing really stands out as noteworthy. The series has plenty of great visuals to it and the designs usually are top notch but this one feels far more by the numbers than the previous three episodes.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,Photo Gallery

Review Equipment
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: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: D
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Adult Source Media
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Natural Obsessions