Mania Grade: B-
0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: SoftCel Pictures
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 50
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Countdown Series
By Chris Beveridge
July 26, 2003
Release Date: June 24, 2003
What They Say
© SoftCel Pictures
From famed adult comic artist Hiroyuki Utatane come four of the most erotic, the most exotic, the most unusual and just downright odd stories ever animated.
To start with, there's an extremely unusual three-for-all in which not everyone is what he (or she!) seems. Then there's a manly knight who discovers the joys of bondage at the hands of a fair maiden; a perhaps too-willing bride having a last minute fling in the back room of the chapel; and a Samurai policewoman forced to tackle a giant walking statue, controlled by a sex-crazed megalomaniac, before it destroys Tokyo.
Completely UNCUT! The Review!
I can almost visualize a burst sticker on this package along the lines of, �More hermaphrodites than you can shake a stick at!�Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. And since there�s no English language track on here we had little choice. The two OVA�s here feature a standard stereo mix that sounds good though the bulk of it really feels like it�s a center channel mix. Dialogue is nice and clear and we had no troubles with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally released back in 1995, the transfer here for the traditional animation comes out quite nice and avoids the big stumbling block of cross coloration by having practically none. There�s some aliasing during some panning sequences as well there being some small amount of grain throughout the program. Colors look good without any over saturation or bleeding. The dark blue skies and other darkened areas maintain a non-blocky look throughout.Packaging:
Providing a nice shot of one of the shows lead characters, we get the nice image of her in something short and pretty mixed with the high boots and gloves, which looks really nice against the purple/maroon hazed backdrop. The back cover provides a brief summary of what to expect and some basic production credits. What�s really missing here is an indication of what the language features are � just because there�s only the Japanese language with English subtitles doesn�t mean it shouldn�t be properly listed.Menu:
The main menu is a close-up version of the front cover artwork that�s done in static form while some of the instrumental music plays along (and cuts out just as the vocals kick in). Access times are nice and fast and the submenus load quickly.Extras:
The only real extra included here runs about 90 seconds and has soft subtitled translated staff comments from the show, ranging from the everyday to the very comical.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Countdown: Conjoined is made up of two OVA episodes which is then split into a couple of episodes each. Each of the episodes is of varying length, so they�re not all say 15 minutes each, but rather all over the map when it comes to running times. This works out well since an episode isn't forced to run longer than it should and the ones deserving of more time actually get it.
The stories here are also what some may consider �vintage� hentai. They�re the kind of stories where when they play out, my wife comments on how nobody seems surprised to encounter a hermaphrodite. When my response is, �at least it�s not scat� and we both nod approvingly, it shows just how different things have become over the last ten years as the once softcore hentai market seems to have all but disappeared.
The mix of stories is pretty decent. The opening chapter has us following an attractive woman who is returning from her kitchen coordinating demonstration and comes across two women making out late at night in the park at one of the small buildings. She�s surprised by this but also finds herself interested in it. When she�s discovered watching, she runs off and eventually catches her bus. While there, her fingers start sliding downward as she remembers the feeling.
Amusingly, one of the people she saw making out earlier ends up sitting next to her and the two chat politely, but eventually it all comes down to making out and getting as crazy as they can while at the back of the bus. As the two women make out, we learn that the previously engaged one is actually a hermaphrodite, which doesn�t shock the other at all. So the two get even busier with each other, resulting in a fun little sequence. The two end up going back home together, where Chizuru introduces her newfound talented partner to a younger man that lives with her that�s sick. Of course, things get even more intense between the two women and no man is ever sick enough to not get involved in sex, so the two becomes three and lots of sex ensues.
That takes up the bulk of the first episode, but there is enough time for a smaller fantasy oriented story where we have the cynical hero on the horse off to rescue the princess caught by the monster. He dispatches them quickly and the two head off towards her castle. Along the way, they room at a little inn where he pays extra to get the innkeeper to pretend that they�re getting the last room available. As he works his plans to take her completely, she continues on her innocent way. He quickly manages to get her mostly naked and starts working her over but ends up running into something of a problem. As she reaches a certain point, her mental state changes and she goes from being the dainty princess to the S&M Queen, completely lording over the hero. And naturally, while he gets inflicted with a lot of pain, he loves it.
The first tale in the second episode brings us to the wedding chapel, the type that have many marriages occurring at once in the building and not the traditional church chapel. Our young couple is quite in love, but the girl isn�t thinking too good at times since she keeps picking out the most girly of items for their bedroom of the future, which causes him some grief. That�s all minimal stuff though, as both are getting ready later in the chapel only to discover someone from their past has returned. This dark haired young woman turns out to be something of a master of both of them and is determined to make sure the bride knows who truly owns her. This leads to some really good scenes between her and the bride in her dress as she goes about reminding her of their past. Of course, the dark haired young woman is a hermaphrodite, so there�s lots of sex to be had here as she dominates the bride. This tale is the kind that hints of more story to be told to flesh things out but they opted to go more for the sex than the story.
The final tale is just insane. Taking place originally in a science fiction setting, then focusing on a feudal style town that�s done up as something of an attraction or tourist town, we focus on a business owner woman who continually molests and has sex with her gorgeous female employee. This goes well until a huge robot appears that has started swiping women left and right, including said girl toy. Mass destruction and more sex ensue as the woman goes after her employee while also helping the other women get freed as well. This is the kind of tale that�s just all over the map and is played up more for comedy than the actual sex moments, which makes it a good companion piece to the more S&M show that preceded it.
All told, this wasn�t a bad way to kill an hour late at night, especially since it has a lot of variety between the episodes. But two hermaphrodites in one volume? That�s got to be breaking some kind of rule. It�s definitely made up for by the character designs and the excellent bride in wedding dress getting nasty scenes.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Staff Comments
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.