Mistreated Bride Vol. #3 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Release Date: Monday, June 30, 2008

Though not exactly coming to a conclusion, Mistreated Bride does work through a rather different bride this time around.

What They Say
Mitsuko can no longer do without her secret new lover, Kouji. However, after Kouji reveals his feelings to his stepmother Sumie, she admits that she lusts for him as well and the two embark on a secret relationship. Mitsuko finds out about their relationship not long after and throws herself into the love triangle. But this isn't the only dark secret this family keeps hidden...

The Review!
Mistreated Bride makes out pretty well for what it is as it has a solid lossless PCM track for the stereo mix that’s included. Only the Japanese language track is present at a solid 1.5mbps encoding and it has a good rich sound to it, even if it is a pretty standard adult mix. Dialogue is very clean and clear throughout and certain scenes do provide a fair bit more impact than a standard 192kbps encoding. While it won’t stand out hugely, it’s something that’s a bit more noticeable if you’ve got the setup to take advantage of it.

Originally released to video in 2007, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this show are very similar to most other releases from JapanAnime in that it's a very clean looking print that's free of the usual troubles such as cross coloration and aliasing. There's a touch of blocking going on in a few scenes, notably when there’s a lot of gradients in the background such as when dealing with Kouji in his emotional state, and that gets rather distracting. The show isn't quite up to some other recent releases in terms of fluid animation quality but it comes across well with its fairly pale and shadowed settings that use a real world color palette. The character animation is where things look the best in general and holds up well across the episode.

The cover designs for the series have certainly been appealing and make it clear what kind of basic concept its working with and this one is no exception. While Mitsuko is minimal in this episode, she gets the front cover again in a very appealing bridal lingerie outfit which has her set against a dark and foreboding background. The back cover provides a few shots from the show that are clean and without any real nudity while providing a summary of the premise in between them. The bottom is filled out with the basic legal jargon and the technical grid. Amusingly, they include the Dolby Digital logo even though there really isn’t any to be found within the main program itself.

A bit better than the first menu, this one uses the main artwork from the front cover and does up some dark areas above and below to create a mild faux letterbox feel while letting the character artwork and lighter colors from it provide the focus. The same background as the cover is used as well with the navigation lined along the right side of it as a bit of mild instrumental music plays to it. The only downside to the menus is that since so much of it is locked in the pre-load section, it takes a bit to actually get to it. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Mistreated Bride had a rather lengthy wait between releases for the US distribution side of things. The third and final episode doesn’t bring the show to a conclusion but it does wrap up a particular subplot fairly well and sets the stage for more to come, not that there will be. On the downside, Mitsuko is kept pretty minimal for most of this episode as the focus is more on Sumie. On the upside, there’s a rather good if short threesome scene to be had here.

The second episode focused heavily on the action going on between Mitsuko and Kouji which is pretty disturbing on a few levels, particularly for the awful character design that Kouji has. He’s not exactly old man getting lucky with hot young thing bad, but it’s not exactly someone you want to watch for any length of time. He’s still getting things on with Mitsuko in this volume but it leads to an odd place as the two of them are fooling around in a small closet and they end up seeing Sumie being taken advantage by a couple of men that her husband has brought in to humiliate her with. This is his kind of thing and she’s grown to love it over the years and practically crave it, even as she knows and feels that it’s pretty wrong.

This causes all sorts of internal conflict for Kouji who has been secretly lusting after his mother for an age. To see her like this only confuses him but also makes him more aggressive with her, especially after she reveals her background story to both her and Mitsuko. That seems to make her more appealing to him as well as simply more available. What’s surprising, or not since it’s an adult title, is that she’s entirely receptive to the idea for the short term and lets her son have her way with her. And she enjoys it intensely at that. They manage to keep it relatively hidden from Mitsuko at first, but it doesn’t take long for others to notice or for Sumie to decide that she needs to change her life and move forward in a different way.

The sex scenes for this episode are pretty decent overall considering what kind of material the show plays in. Mitsuko and Kouji has a good if brief encounter in the closet which is pleasantly intense in a way, at least until she passes a little gas. That it occurs while Sumie and those taking advantage of her are in the next room and they can see them is fairly well done. Kouji not only has a solid if creepy scene with his mother but he also gets to bed both her and Mitsuko at the same time in a threesome that wasn’t entirely unexpected considering the way the two women have gotten along so far. There’s also a fairly unsurprising twist towards the end that would likely be explored in any future episode, but at this point it’s probably for the best that everything has drawn to a close.

In Summary:
Mistreated Bride hasn’t exactly been a high point of adult anime for me but it does bring me something that I find very compelling – attractive characters with purple hair. It can’t all be about the green haired girls after all. That it was dealing with brides, wives and so forth has its appeal, but it also brings in creepy old men and even creepier looking sons sometimes. The women are the best part of the show but the pairings in general are distasteful or simply uninteresting because of the character designs. The high points always come back to the women but with a fairly mediocre budget at times there isn’t too much that can really save it. It’s not truly bad or awful, but it simply can’t hold your attention well enough.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles

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: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: JapanAnime
MSRP: 24.99
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mistreated Bride