Sex Craft (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, January 17, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2008
What They Say
When Kumi and her friends play around with a witchboard, they accidentally summon a malevolent ghost. The ghost possesses the girls, using them to steal people's sexual energy. Soon, Kumi is no longer acting on her own freewill and is unconsciously seeking sex with men. Frightened, Kumi seeks the council of an exorcist, Mia Kakuta. Meanwhile, a rapist with other-worldly powers is on the loose. When exorcist Mia investigates, she finds a man with an insatiable sexual appetite looking to fulfill his lust in death that he couldn't in life.
While its credentials of being from the staff behind Bible Black is likely enough to sell it, the show has plenty of merit on its own that warrants a look.
Kitty Media continues to please fans by releasing their adult entertainment in bilingual format. While I'm not a huge fan of dubbed adult anime, I do end up listening to all of them at one time or another and this one is pretty decent. Both mixes are done at 192kbps in two channel form and basically play to a full feeling. There's really nothing here noticeable in terms of directionality or placement, but the groaning and grunting comes across well and the few action moments and music make good use of the left and right channels. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortion during regular playback.
Originally released in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show sports some good production values while avoiding that overly digital "plastic" look that a good chunk of Bible Black had times with things like its school uniforms. The two OVAs on this release look quite good with bitrates averaging in the sevens and eights for most of its run. Colors maintain a solid look throughout with only some minor noise in a few backgrounds. Cross coloration is blissfully absent and there are only a few hints of aliasing during some of the panning or zooming sequences. Overall this is a good looking presentation that shows off the quality of the animation and designs pretty well.
The cover artwork is very appealing as it features Mia on her knees as her uniform has fallen away from her in shreds. That means we get a good look at her bottom, which has a very thin pair of panties on them, and lots of skin without really showing anything. It's sexy without being porn-blunt with the nudity. The background is pretty simple with sigils and the like and the coloring provides for the dark and eerie feeling without coming off too strong. The obvious plug is there with it being done by the folks behind Bible Black which is the only blemish for the cover design. The back cover goes for the obvious – while still hiding these evil nipples – as it features several of the girls completely naked with hands appropriately placed. The summary runs through the basics, the Bible Black plug makes another appearance and the production credits round things out. The technical grid is solid as it runs through everything in a clean and very readable form. No insert is included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design is straightforward as it takes the artwork from the front cover and zooms in on it a bit while applying a bit of instrumental music to give it some mood. The artwork translates well here as it looks richer and more vibrant than the cover itself, though it does feel a bit busy when you add in the logo and the navigation on top of her bottom. The release doesn't have anything to it besides the show itself and a few trailers for other series so navigation is a breeze and problem free. Not unlike a lot of Kitty Media releases, our player presets are ignored and the disc defaults to English with sign/song subtitles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sex Craft, based off the original work by Nariaki Funabori, is a two episode OVA series that reaffirms my enjoyment of adult anime. With strong production values, straightforward writing and good sex scenes, it simply serves up everything that I want in a show of this particular genre of the adult world. Sex, magic and schoolgirls. It's a trifecta of porn goodness.
The series revolves around a school setting in which we meet up with three girls who are all friends. Not unlike most schoolgirls, they're chattering away idly about things while dabbling in some playful "magic" by doing a Oujia board event. They're chastised lightly by Mia, a fellow student who seems to have few friends, if any, and is one of two members of the occult club that the school has. Of course, the trio ends up in more trouble than they expected as they really do call down on something evil when just asking simple questions and that leads to lots of badness. A fox spirit moves into the picture and transfers between two of the girls while playing them up sexually. Mia is of course something of a practitioner of the dark arts and is able to save the girls and deal with the mischievous fox spirit that's infected them.
One of the girls ends up joining Mia in her club because of how she handles herself during the crisis and the way she managed the fox spirit. The second episode brings us an interesting story that's a bit more detailed as it involves a doppelganger that's taking advantage of girls that enter the student council room after hours due to the way the original was treated by his girlfriend. There's a fair mystery to it as it plays out and the way everyone handles themselves is with gusto and apprehension. It's not all about the girls though as the occult club has a male member as well, though he's mostly seen as a means to an end to bring about certain things. For instance, when they want to draw out the fox spirit, they need the person infected with it to climax in order to draw it out and that's what he's there to do.
Sex Craft is not unlike most mainstream shows that play in the supernatural world inside a school setting. If you took out the sex, you'd easily see it playing out there though without anything that really lets it stand out. The sex of course provides the standout moment here for it, but when taken as a whole it's really quite well done. The character designs are very appealing and they work the supernatural angle well enough without it being over the top. Supernatural related sex shows aren't unusual but there are plenty of bad ones out there. With what seems to be decent source material and definite know-how in making an adult show, Sex Craft hits all the right marks throughout. The character designs are very strong and appealing as they look sexy without playing to the cutesy "moe" world. There's some great detail in some of the designs and the costumes themselves aren't outlandish. While that was a strong sell in Bible Black, this gives it more of an air of realism.
Sex Craft is one of those adult shows where, at the end of the second episode, you really lament that no more were made. It's not a standout show with its plot or story elements, but it's very well put together and provided an engaging enough framework for the real draw – the sex. There's lots of sex here that's quite good, with girl/girl material and boy/girl/girl as well. Some supernatural elements are brought in as well but it avoids going for the truly deranged or strange and that works in its favor. While I don't know that I'd put it in the couples-friendly realm, it's certainly one that could be used to test the waters for more intense shows to see how it would work. It's definitely a show I recommend a lot though as I just found it to be very enjoyable and a lot of fun.
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 480p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Kitty Media
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2