Vanilla Series: Bondage Mansion (Mania.com)

By:Brian T. Burke
Review Date: Friday, April 26, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2002



The Review!
Not an altogether bad disc, actually.

If you like S&M.

Audio:

I listened to this disc in both Japanese with subs and the English language. Throughout both, I experienced no sustained difficulties. However, on the Japanese side, a few lines here and there were almost inaudible. Yet, these were usually only extra voices and usually a good distance away.

Video:

The video is standard fare for a hentai release. It's an average view with actually a few tricks pulled. I saw no real problem with the video after two viewings. (I only watched it twice for the audio tracks)

Packaging:

The front sports the lead girl, Reika, shackled, chained, and devoid of most of her clothing. The back has two more pictures of Reika in similar positions with a quick rundown of the show. One of the pics, oddly, takes up 1/4 of the back cover. Inside, there is no insert with the disc. The disc art is the same as the cover.

Menu:

The menu is pretty minimal. There's a selection for each episode, one for the slideshow, and one for the audio/sub menu. The background is a collection of scenes from the show, starting with and ending with the infamous door.

Extras:

I can see the idea, but the effort was just not there. The lone extra here is a slideshow of pics set to the music. The pics are not in the show itself, presumably from promotional stuff. The music.... The music pauses between each pic. It was so bad I actually laughed at it. The pics themselves all show Reika in various stages of torture. And most of them are just too disgusting to view...

Content:

First, a note. A decent amount of lines, basic as they were, were not dubbed and were replaced by more moaning. Nothing was lost in the story, though... On the other side, many of the subtitles were off-kilter in the last few minutes. Funny... The subtitlers added things that the dubbers forgot, and the dubbers added lines the subtitlers 'forgot.'

The story. Time: 1950's

It begins with Reika and her lover, Yukio, in bed. After a short 'first time' scene, Reika starts to give her narrations. Also after that scene, we start to see the 'door opening' bit that is reused several times throughout the disc.

Yukio's father passes away, leaving a dying request to find a cousin he didn't know about before. He's supposed to invite him in as a member of the family.

And, when he, Hayato, arrives, he already begins his scheming. He explains that he wants all or nothing and the two of them out of the house. And, to do that, he starts a contest. A 'woman breaking' contest to decide who stays.

Judging by the cover, you can immediately guess that Reika's the woman to be broken.

A number of S&M events run through, mostly of Hayato, the final day of the two-month contest arrives.

Normally, I wouldn't give a hentai title above a C+ However, there was a couple interesting things that I liked. First, the surprise towards the end. (Hint: It all begins on the last morning of the contest.) Also, there were a few video tricks that were pulled. One was to shake the camera to tense the moment. The other was an intentional degrade of the video to show a flashback.

The other thing I liked was the utter twist at the end. I figured this would happen after daily sex for two months.

What I liked about this release was the fact that it had more of a plot than some other hentai titles. (I know... hentai>
The only thing that I really disliked about the show is a few images that were there. First, there's Reika covered in her own juices and wax. Then, there's the part where Reika was told to pee into a pan. I'm not sure who this was supposed to turn on, but it wasn't me!

Bondage Mansion is not for anyone. It's less consensual than most hentai, has that partially annoying 'door sequence,' and has disturbing imagery at times. The ending was worth it though. ^_^



Review Equipment
Sanyo 27" TV (No PiP), Phillips Magnavox Home Cinema, PS2



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: D
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Critical Mass Video
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Vanilla Series Collection