Darcrows Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • 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: Adult Source Media
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Darcrows

Darcrows Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     March 09, 2006
Release Date: March 09, 2006


Darcrows Vol. #1
© Adult Source Media


What They Say
The Ravens attack sparked a full-scale war with Carnia. Lasting for half a year, the two kingdoms were at a loss. During the war, King Dotor of Carnia collapsed from illness, giving the Ravens the advantage. Captain Claud, who disappeared eight years ago, has returned to Carnia. Claud will use the power of the princess' sexuality to carry out his master plan.

The Review!
It's war between two countries and a former general has returned to his homeland with a way to raise money for mercenaries to help them win.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language adaptation. The stereo mix for the show, which is essentially just the same as the Japanese one, is a very basic piece as it's mostly just dialogue and very little else beyond some music and a few incidental sounds. The track is good though as the dialogue comes across well and was essentially problem free. We did listen to both tracks and they are clean and clear. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions on any of them during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this OVA looks really good with lots of bright vibrant colors and a very solid feel to them during regular playback. The areas that tend to stand out more are the usual ones such as the characters hair or the skin tones and they do look fantastic here. The designs are free of cross coloration and aliasing while showing off plenty of detail when there. This is a very smooth and clean looking release that doesn't have anything to really detract from the viewing, though I do wish they'd keep in the end Japanese credits if they were presented that way originally.

Packaging:
The cover artwork for this title is very good with is detailed image of the three main women from the show so far all wrapped up in each other with very minimal amounts of clothing on them. The colors look great and there's a good bit of detail to the designs while ensuring that all of them are properly blushing as well. Everything stands out more due to the very dark background used with it as well. The back cover is very well done as well, feeling a lot closer to mainstream releases than they have in the past. There's a very slick looking logo along the top which is followed by a simple but effective summary of the premise. The cover is given over to more original artwork, presumably from the Japanese release, as well as several shots from the show. While they don't employ a full on technical grid as we like on other releases, between the grid they do have and the features box next to it everything is very well covered. In a real change of pace, there is no reversible cover for this title. There is included however a postcard with the detailed illustration artwork from the back cover on it.

Menu:
The menu design is nicely done as it splits between a static image and an animated area. The left side has some filtered version of the character artwork from the cover behind the map of the land which contains the navigation menu, one that continues to include the nice bonus of being able to go straight to the sex scenes. The right side has floating purple filtered clouds that shift between that, clips from the show and a full color version of the front cover. Access times are nice and fast and the disc did correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The extras are fairly familiar but I have to keep giving ASM some props here. They have a large number of trailers available for their other releases and they provide a look at others they have no trailers for. The extras are the usual otherwise with the art gallery of clips from the show but also a couple of quick bio pages for the main characters we meet in this episode. The bonus episode is here again but like other recent releases, there's now a subtitle option for it so you can understand what's going on.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I have to say right off the bat that I'm glad to see ASM doing more dubs for their releases. Having seen more and more dubs of adult material in the last couple of years, I've come to enjoy them more than I used to since the overall quality of them has gotten a lot better. Darcrows is definitely better off for having a dub, particularly since there's an element of fantasy oriented plot in here with plenty of dialogue not related to grunting.

Darcrows looks to be an interesting show as it takes place in a time when countries are at war with each other in a fantasy style setting. We're given the overview by a man named Cloud, a former military man of the kingdom of Carnia who left some eight years prior after a really bad incident. As he relates it, the kingdom of Carnia is being invaded by the Ravens, a country that's some distance off but has made some good inroads lately and has actually won its first major battle against Cernia. The troops are somewhat demoralized and the king is ill which has left things in a precarious position. There's hope of holding out for the next three months until the winter sets in at which time the Raven troops will be weak and their supply line non-existent.

But Cloud won't let that be their only plan. His return has allowed him a window with which to try and fix things. In his mind, the loss of the first battle is a plus because it means the troops won't have a false bravado about them and will fight more earnestly come the next battle knowing that their lives really are on the line. He also has a plan to raise a mercenary army to go along with what remains of the regulars in order to have a proper force to repel the invaders. But to do this, he needs a lot of money. His method for this is where the show spends most of its time focusing as it related to the Royal Family itself.

Cloud has taken the Queen, Elaine, who is the second to hold such a title, as his student in this venture. What he's doing is teaching her how to be a woman that can fully please any man for any amount of money. The idea being that she's doing her part to fight the enemy by raising money to raise the mercenary troops. Cloud isn't terribly hands on with her for the most part but is more interested in making sure she knows how to please a man. The daughter of the previous queen doesn't like hearing that she and Cloud are spending time together so she tries to kill Cloud, only to be shamed into learning vaguely how her stepmother is actually doing something for the fight. This leads Princess Thialis to want to do the same and it brings her into Cloud's training. Hers is a bit different since she's a virgin and while that can fetch a high price, Cloud retains that as his honor in this venture and begins teaching her how to do things right as well. There's also the appearance of a second daughter, an attractive younger blue haired girl named Yurisha, who is trying to understanding everything that's going on and slowly gets caught up in all of it as well.

While the story is minimal really, it's given an interesting backdrop and a group of very willing women so it's all consensual which gives it a very different feel. The character designs are all different but very well done and look good in the actual sex scenes. The animation and character designs are all solid here and it provides for some very engaging and fun situations as it progresses. The English language adaptation is good and it follows the script pretty closely but not completely. The subtitle script itself continues to be an area that needs more work though. Compared to the first releases, things have gotten better and we've noted it before, but there continues to be more mis-spellings than mainstream releases (which do have them) and some inconsistencies. The back cover for example names the lead character Claud while the subtitles are Cloud. Add in a few other weird areas and basic problems and it just gets to be a bit sloppy in general.

In Summary:
Darcrows is the start of an interesting OVA series that has some good potential to it. The lead female characters are all well designed and animated, the sex is fun and avoids anything that falls into what the mainstream would call nasty and in general is just enjoyable to watch. The inclusion of an English language track is a huge plus and overall this is a series that I'm looking forward to seeing more of.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,German Subtitles,Art Gallery,Character Biographies

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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