Darling - Mania.com

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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: Kitty Media
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Darling


By Chris Beveridge     October 19, 2003
Release Date: August 26, 2003

© Kitty Media

What They Say
Jun is a comic artist who is never afraid to put in a hard day of work. Naturally, he authors pornographic comics. He's been given a monumental deadline, but he has a special power allowing him to work at hyper speed as long as he is aroused. Lucky for him, his assistant Miyuki is also his wife and she's ready to give him a hand with work.

The Review!
This has to be one of the most creative hentai releases I�ve seen in a long time that allows a wide variety of genres to be covered in a realistic and reasonable fashion � without insulting the intelligence of its audience.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series is a pretty standard mix for a hentai release so the bulk of the audio is through the center channel. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout it, but unlike other hentai discs you have a real selection here. In addition to the original Japanese, you�ve got the newly produced English dub. And if you�ve got a hankering for something just a bit different, there�s even a Spanish dub included as well as Spanish subtitles for it. Unfortunately, some sampling seems to put the Spanish actors in the same category as the English ones in my book.

A three part OVA series, Darling�s transfer here looks quite good. It�s a recent show that has a more traditional look to its designs but still has the smooth feel of the digital era. Colors look solid while avoiding banding issues or over saturation. Aliasing is very minimal throughout and we only noticed a few areas of cross coloration in some of the tight art work used for the actual manga sketches.

The cover artwork here has a great shot of the series lead female, Miyuki, dressed up in an elaborate and very detailed looking maid uniform with her hair all over the place while holding the tool of her trade. This is a great looking cover and is really eye-catching. The back cover continues with the soft pink look and provides a collage of character shots along the sides from the show while providing a good summary about the series down the center along with the basic production information. The included insert is similar to the back cover with the chapter listings down the center while the reverse side has boxart advertisements.

The menu is a static shot of the blue lined paper used by artists for their page layouts with a number of pencil sketches of the lead female character drawn upon it, as well as an amusing pencil with �pron style� etched into it. There�s not too much to the menus outside of setting up and playing the show, so access times are nice and fast and submenus load quickly with no transitional animations.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With what seems to be a very limited release, so much so that most online retailers that normally stock hentai not listing it, Darling is something that is very much worth seeking out.

The premise is nicely creative. We�re introduced to a young newlywed couple named Jun and Miyuki. Jun is a passionate manga artist whose specialty is in porn and Miyuki is his now former assistant. The two met when he opened a position for an assistant and the two hit it off even better than expected. Their wedding night is even their first night together sexually, which is surprising but adds a fun element to it. Jun�s also the type who sees his work in everything, so it�s not a shock that he asks her to dress up in her wedding gown again later that night so he can get some good sketches out of it for a story he�s formulating.

Their lives look pretty good until the new editor at his publisher arrives, an attractive woman named Ms. Mifuji. She�s been to an endless number of porn manga artists as she�s been given her first assignment from the publisher; to put out a porn manga anthology within a month. If she fails to do so, she�ll become her bosses sex slave and her career over before it really begins. Every artist has refused her so far, but Jun has an advantage. His secret artist mode � Hyper Erection Mode!

By getting into this mode, he�s able to go above and beyond the normal stamina and produce material upon material at amazing speeds. With Ms. Mifuji�s career on the line, he takes up the job and with Miyuki�s help, he intends to produce an entire anthology release in the space of thirty days.

Over the course of the three episodes, we watch as Jun comes up with the various stories for the book. Each of the stories cover different genres and fetishes, such as the female spy being sexually tortured for information, a science fiction setting where the two women crash land on a planet and get caught by tentacle creatures under the control of a human, who then turns them into maid slaves after the creatures have their way with them. Add in other fun ones such as the school fantasies and the inclusion of Jun�s younger sister, an aspiring manga artist herself, and you get a wide variety of stories told.

What�s interesting is that up until the last two scenes, all of the action is done between Jun and Miyuki as they perform the roles that he�s writing about, so it�s an interesting mix of consensual even when it�s not. A form of role-play if you will that allows them to get away with doing a few more nasty things than that would normally turn some people off. There are areas where other characters perform as voyeurs, but that�s not the same as Jun actually getting it on with his sister, etc.

With the variety of topics covered here, the good looking animation and the way it�s treated, this is definitely right up the alley for those couples looking to explore a wider range of fetishes to see what may interest them (or their partner!). I hadn�t any expectations for this title when I got it and came away very surprised. Recommended.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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