Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Kitty Media
- MSRP: 29.95
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Dark Love
By Chris Beveridge
April 11, 2006
Release Date: March 22, 2006
What They Say
© Kitty Media
Tetsuya's investigation into a luxurious hotel turns over a nest of yakuza and a bizarre orgy cult. On rich silk sheets and velvet chairs, the rich and powerful participate in sex acts so depraved that just witnessing them is likely to turn a man into a monster. But the true purpose of this cult is a pact with evil energies that can literally turn Tetsuya into an inhuman demon.The Review!
Dark Love delves into the seriously hardcore adult anime realm with some seriously strong material.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language adaptation. The mostly accurate script for the English track as well as the Japanese track are both in basic stereo mixes which aren't all that immersive in general. It's a pretty standard kind of mix that feels more like it's a full forward soundstage piece instead of much in terms of directionality but it plays out well. The music is the one area where it feels like there is anything significant coming from the stereo channels as dialogue feels very center channel based. Dialogue is however clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this two part OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials for the show are like a number of other high quality Green Bunny series in that they look fantastic with beautifully vibrant colors. A lot of the show has darkness surrounding the characters and action and that holds up very well with strong deep blacks that don't break up. Similar to most Kitty releases, the original openings and endings are preserved with a fast scroll of translated credits at the end of the second episode. The animation for the show is very fluid and even when they do some trick animation of speeding things up far too fast everything maintains a clean feel with no visible break-up. This is a very appealing looking transfer with no problems.Packaging:
Due to this being a checkdisc, no packaging was available.Menu:
The menu layout provides a shot of two of the girls in embrace as a close-up on their faces though you can see a touch of the bedding or clothes around them. They take up a good portion of the screen and look great even if they're completely covered in fluids as there is a lot of detail to their designs. The show has a really soothing ending song which is allowed to play for nearly a minute here in the main menu loop instead of the standard thirty seconds. The logo looms large near them while the navigation, four simple pieces that are standard, are quick to access and easy to use. The disc also correctly read our players language presets and played accordingly which is always a plus.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a title like Dark Love you know you're not going to get something light and fluffy or bouncy. By it's own admission it's going to be something dark and more than likely nasty and they really do carry through on that. While the summary for the release on the packaging talks about this storyline that runs through it, the plot is so completely disconnected from the show that it really does feel like they squeezed it all into the last couple of minutes of the show. The other fifty minutes or so is essentially a stream of hardcore sex scenes.
The last few months have provided a number of lighter fare releases from a variety of publishers so it's been a bit since I've seen anything truly nasty but this one harkens back to the kind of disturbing fun that we saw in Princess 69. The show is centered around a luxury hotel of some sort that's seemingly more of a private residence now that has several maids in it. The woman who seems to be in charge of it is Miyabi and she's instructing the maids on how to deal with a newly arriving male that will be staying that. While they give him a special name, he's really called Tetsuya and is if we believe the summary, there to investigate what's going on here. That's all well and fine but he really seems to be there for is to give in to the darkness inside him.
There is a stated goal of using Tetsuya and a particular magical potion that will allow his inner demon out along with the evil energies that seem to inhabit the place. Considering the kinds of sexual acts that are perpetrated in there by the men that the maids are prostituted out to, it's not surprising the place has a vile feel in between the detailed and appealing architecture. Through the course of the two episodes we see Miyabi doing her best to seduce Tetsuya into his new role and away from the girlfriend he's left behind. One of the maids that still attends school, Hazuki, is smitten with Tetsuya. And when Tetsuya follows her to school at one point a classmate of hers falls for him as well and gets dragged into the well of darkness by becoming a maid there.
Dark Love's plot really isn't integral to enjoying the show by any stretch. All it does initially is bring together a single male with a bevy of gorgeous female characters. There are a number of faceless men that come through on the prostitution side here and there but rarely do we see them at all physically; occasionally it's just maybe part of their body or the genitals and that's it. Unless it's Tetsuya, we don't see who they are. When it is Tetsuya, the scenes are just powerful. It's hard to describe in a sense but with the dark nature and the dominating aspect of how Tetsuya is giving in to the demon inside of him, there's a raw roughness to it as he's taken at first by Miyabi and then becomes the one to take the women. There's also a strong desire on the part of the women to be taken by him roughly and where they want him to impregnate them. This shows up late in the second episode a bit as a bit of follow-through which is nice but there is an interesting pregnancy angle brought into the show.
The design of the show also includes a huge amount of fluids to be displayed as the sex goes on or the toys that are in the women bring them to climax. One orgy scene in particular has Ayaka so completely covered that she revels in it and demands more to the point where the scatological aspect comes into it. But I was surprised that it didn't bother me because of the way the show had presented itself so far as it felt like that was how far gone Ayaka had become since being introduced to the secrets of the house. One of the best scenes though, one of the best of almost any adult show I've seen recently, is the very first one where Miyabi goes in to seduce Tetsuya for the first time. While she's there in her slinky lingerie and stockings having her way with him, he had just dropped his phone where he had been talking to his former girlfriend. She ends up, due to his supernatural draw, listening in to him being seduced and has a great masturbation scene while Miyabi is all over Tetsuya. It's also compounded by having Hazuki watching from outside the door in her maid outfit and she goes to town repeatedly. It's almost like a four-way scene but with the gorgeous animation and character designs, it's one of the most erotic and powerful scenes I can remember.In Summary:
Dark Love isn't a show that's easily recommended because it is such a strong piece and in some ways it is vile. The characters revel in what's going on here which is a radical change from many other shows where the women are screaming and crying due to being subjected to it. In its own way it's being upfront and honest about what these characters want and not giving in to the norms while playing with a strange and frankly uninteresting storyline about Tetsuya's inner demon. This is a fluid fest of hardcore sex that works extremely well. It's rare to see a title that's simply so raw in what it's presenting and reveling in it. This is a title that the hardcore folks are likely to just adore and I find that it's very easy to understand why.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
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.