Vermilion Pleasure Night Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Mike Dungan
Review Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Release Date: Saturday, July 15, 2006



What They Say
What They Say: Devious little clay puppets. Sadistic nurses in sexy skirts. A family of zombies. A cute chef with a serious case of the shakes. And a pervy cop picking up a very hot lawbreaker in tight shorts and a lowcut top. It's time for another sense-stimulating volume of Vermilion Pleasure Night. So crank up the volume, sit back, and prepare to be ardently aroused by the sexiest, strangest, most arresting video you've ever watched. Fine art masterpiece or erotically volatile variety show? No matter what you call it or how you describe it, one things for sure... You are going to love it. Again. And again. And again.

The Review!
Yoshimasa Ishibashi goes for the gore in this second volume of his pop-art variety show.

Audio:
For the purpose of this review, I watched the show in both the original Japanese (and a bit of English), and in English (with a bit of Japanese). The English dub never sounds like it's anything other than a dub, with the vocal mix sitting on top of everything, rather then mixed into the show. However, this is in keeping with the Japanese ADR sound mix. The scenes that were dubbed in Japanese, such as "The Fuccon Family" sound just as unattached to their surroundings. Only about a third of the show is dubbed into English. English ADR is directed by Steven Foster who relied on some of his favorite voice actors, such as Shelley Calene-Black, Hilary Haag, Monica Rial, Leslie Tesh and Greg Ayres. All give excellent performances, as is usual for a Steven Foster dub.

Video:
This is a good clean crisp transfer with no problems I could discern on my setup. The colors are sharp, a definite bonus on such an outrageously psychedelic show.

Packaging:
The psychedelic theme continues with a vibrant green and silver pop-art starburst. Over it is one of the female assassins from episode 4. The back cover continues the green theme with several scenes from the show in circles around the back. The disc is green, with a black and white figure of the VPN character on it. The design is not subtle, but then again, neither is the show.

Menus:
The menus are as in-your-face as the packaging. Scrolling bands of text vie for attention while the VPN creature devours them, which are replaced immediately. The problem is that there's no cursor, no change in colors, nothing to tell you what selection you've made. Hit the "enter" button and take your chances. The secondary menus do have a form of cursor, so it appears it was simply left off the main menu.

Extras:
The only extras are previews for various ADV anime and television releases.

Content: (Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Episodes 3 and 4 continue the sketch-comedy art-house stream-of-consciousness of the first volume. Some of the better sketches from the first volume return, such as The Fuccon Family, the everyday life of an American family living in Japan, played entirely by mannequins. Toshio the Starman returns as well, menaced by space amoebas. A new sketch is Zombie Family, the story of a mother and her two daughters, all of whom are zombie. It's filmed as a sitcom complete with fake laugh track. Unfortunately, it's pretty boring. The setup is always the same. Zombie daughters upset Zombie mom, Zombie mom buries an axe in Zombie daughters heads. Cue laugh track. It's also rather gross, making watching it an exercise in endurance rather than entertainment. A much better segment, though arguably just as disturbing, is Quick Girl, the story of 4 female assassins working against each other. It's one of the longest segments in the show, and very well scripted and paced. It also has one of the best segues in the show, becoming a quiz show at the end. Some other segments I enjoyed were Cathy's House, about women dressed and acting like Barbie dolls, which I thought was hilarious, and Head Wrest, about heads in a boxing ring fighting for the championship. Midnight Cooking in another bizarre but funny skit about a psychotic TV cooking show host. Some other skits, such as Holy and Cheap didn't work for me, being rather pointless. Fortunately, when the show works, it works extremely well.

In Summary:
Trying to give VPN a single letter grade based on content is almost impossible, since the quality of the different skits varies so widely. Taken as a whole, though, the show mostly succeeds, with the few artistic excesses outweighed by genuine pathos or comedy. Still, I can't help but feel that this show appeals most to people who believe they're too hip for the room.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: D
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: TV PG
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Vermilion Pleasure Night