No Money Vol. #2 (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, June 26, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, June 10, 2008
What They Say
Ayase, still deep in debt, continues to be at the mercy of Kanou and the dark underworld that surrounds him. In order to reduce his debt, Ayase has to subject himself to humiliating situations that he never could have expected. Meanwhile, the relationship between Ayase and Kanou grows more and more complex. How much more can Ayase endure, and will he ever be able to regain his freedom?
Kanoh continues to do his best to bring Ayase over to his side and what better way than by putting him into adult films.
This release has gone the route of a single language, which isn't a surprise for a boys-love title as the market there is still small and hard to grow with dub fans. The included Japanese mix is pretty good even at 192kbps as it provides a good forward soundstage in its design. It is mostly just a dialogue piece but there is some good placement and sense of depth along the way that adds to a couple of scenes. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and the opening and closing songs are some of the stronger moments. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2007, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. No Money has some solid production values to it and it shows in the transfer here. It averages in the high sevens for the bitrate and has a very clean look to it. Outside of a few instances of line noise during panning sequences and some background noise in solid colors that are often difficult, this is a very attractive and smooth looking presentation. The animation isn't exactly active often so there is an advantage to that but the colors and solidity of the program really works well here in presenting something that stands out. Interestingly enough, the original end credits are given a constant bit rate of eight and maintain a very theatrical feel to them with the scroll. When the English credits roll afterwards, it drops down to four and looks horrible with how fast they go by.
With a few brighter colors this time around and utilizing the manga style artwork, the cover for the second installment of No Money is quite good as it features both men in some wonderful finery with hints of a mean in place. There's a lot of great detail and warmth to it in general which makes it very appealing. The back cover is fairly traditional in that there are a few pieces of character artwork shown softly in the background while the foreground has the usual summary material and a few shots from the show. The extras are clearly listed this time around and are actually on the disc which is a nice change from the first volume. The bottom portion is rounded out with the standard production credits and an accurate technical grid.
The menu design is simple enough as it uses the money theme to good effect. Thousand yen notes are spread out across the background while the logo itself has some coinage to it, all of which is set to a portion of the opening song. Though it's a static piece and it doesn't feature any of the characters from the show, it works well since the money is a major issue within the show. No setup menu is included and everything defaults to Japanese with full subtitles. No sign/song subtitle track is included. The extras are also accessible from the main menu which is a plus in navigation for a show like this.
A couple of really good extras are included in the form of omake shorts. These take place after the two main episodes and serve as a comedic follow-up to events. The first couple are mildly animated for shorts but after that it shifts more to stills. They still have some good moments to them though as it gives us an idea of how life progresses for the characters.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the first volume of No Money with its two episodes were pretty well self contained, there is always more room for story when you're dealing with a very pretty man and an absolutely pretty young boy. No Money doesn't dig deep into things here in terms of their relationship, but it rakes young Ayase over the manly coals in order to break him. And just like the first volume, there's really not a lot of explicit material to be found here but they do introduce a good bit of funny material towards the end to balance all the serious stuff.
The relationship between the two men has been amusing to watch as Kanoh has really worked him over and marked him pretty severely at times. Ayase still isn't a willing partner in all of this, though he is certainly changing his tune little by little. But that fighting back aspect is something that's likely appealing to Kanoh since he gets to truly dominate the rather fragile young pretty boy. Ayase's intent on getting out from all of this however and is apparently willing to do anything and everything he can outside of having rough hard sex with Kanoh.
It's not a surprise however that he balks when Kanoh introduces him to his brother, Gion. The rather outgoing blonde man is brought in to put Ayase to work in one of his adult videos, which will in turn earn Kanoh money that Ayase will use to pay him back with. Since Ayase refuses to have sex with him, it's certainly one way to do it. Ayase naturally balks at this but the whole situation goes into left field when a local "entrepreneur" named Yoshizumi arrives in the hotel lobby demanding his stolen master tape back from Kanoh. It's an amusing series of events as you have a tough guy like Yoshizumi establishing his territory and street cred with Kanoh who is simply completely confident in his position and authority over everyone he sees. The difference in their approach says quite a lot about the two of them.
Across the two episodes and for about forty-five minutes, it's something of a battle of wills as Kanoh deals with Yoshizumi and his benefactor as they try to put Kanoh in his place. Some of it is fairly predictable in how it plays out because of what we saw in the first volume, but the fun is in watching it happen, knowing that Kanoh will go the distance to make his point, consequences be damned. And that, naturally, along the way Ayase will realize that he really does have the hots for Kanoh and only wants to be touched by him. To balance this out though, a portion of the second episode is devoted to fantasy video sequences as imagined by Gion that involve everyone. Some of them are amusing, such as the army of chibi Ayase's roaming around, but there are also historical bits as well such as a Taisho era boys love situation involving the cast in proper clothes of the time. It's all designed to really hit on the fantasies of the fans and they do a really good job with it.
No Money isn't exactly a deep show nor is it one that has a whole lot of plot. It is in its own way a rather typical boys-love show that plays at the more serious yaoi aspect but never really gets there. It doesn't have any blatantly explicit scenes, but that's not what the fans of the genre are looking for. It's all about the mood, the feelings and the atmosphere of it all as you have a dominant male and a submissive male being thrown together. In that regard, No Money is good stuff, especially since Ayase is a perfect sub while Kanoh plays the dom role very well. No Money is a very solid looking production through and through and you can see they put the money into the show. As a straight male, it doesn't do much for me but I can certainly appreciate it and how it all comes together. As a straight male that watches a lot of hentai, it feels weak without a lot of payoff. For boys-love fans though, this is definitely worth checking out since it's probably one of the best releases out there on all counts.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Omake Episodes
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: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
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
Series: No Money