With the original title of Sex Murder Investigation Officer Koji, well, sign me up to see how far the boundaries can be pushed.
What They Say
It's hungry for vengeance. She's hungry for more! A monster is out for blood, and only the man-demon Koji can hunt down the preternatural killer. Aided by a morbid psychic, he follows the grisly trail of victims to a lonely woman. What unspeakable horrors will he find? And are even Koji's powers enough to curb this devastating threat?
Demon Warrior Koji retains its original pair of audio mixes which means we get the English and Japanese language tracks in stereo encoded at 192kbps. The first time around we did try listening to it in English but it was pretty bad, so this viewing was done only in Japanese, though we did sample the English just to remind ourselves why. Throughout both audio tracks we didn't notice any real issues. Though these are OVA's, there was very little in terms of front stage directionality, with most of the audio coming through the center channel. Dialogue was pretty clean and clear and the moaning was pretty audible as well. No troubles at all with this track.
Originally released in 1999, the transfer for this three part OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This release is identical to the original release from Anime 18 back in 2001 with zero changes to the presentation. The first and third episodes are pretty good looking, though the first episode seems to have the better animation of the three and it does indeed help in how it looks on this disc. The second episode has several very soft places where the characters begin to look a bit unfocused, but that also could be source material. The first episode has a lot of varying colors that keep an earthy tone about them. Blacks are pretty solid and there's a few jaggies here and there, most often during panning sequences. The second episode has some cross coloration to it, but looks to be a step down overall from the first. The third episode seems to find some balance between the two, but looks decent overall if a bit murky in some areas.
Much like the first time around, I really wish they could have picked something better for the cover. Particularly since these episodes are quite good and many people will find themselves turned off from it by the look of it. The back cover fares a bit better with a series of shots from the show along the right that play up the demons and women while the left side has some bloody erotica to it above the brief summary of the premise. The discs features are clearly listed as well as the DVD-ROM features which are from a day long gone. The technical grid is laid out well but contains a sizeable error as it lists the show with a sixty minute runtime instead of a hundred and twenty-seven minutes.
A fairly typical and straightforward menu as most have been from Anime 18 and CPM from this time period with a bit of animation and a little voice over in English. Access times are fast and things are laid out in a pretty simple logical way. No issues here at all.
The video side extras are pretty minimal with the only interesting bit being the one page of text about Mr. Maeda. The DVD-ROM features (which we haven't looked at) contain an art gallery, scripts, cast list and the production credits. I hope someday that CPM will start converting these things to set-top use as even those folks who have both a set-top and DVD-ROM drive rarely bother to get check out the DVD-ROM features.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The main character of this show is Koji Yamada, a young man who has the ability to transform into a demon-like monster and retain control of it. He's part of a team of Sex Murder Investigators who have a knack for running across demons. The team is made up of several interesting members who have some unique abilities. Jun is a woman who can't die, though her body is zombie-like, there's a biker style guy who's green and has a gun for an arm, a hooded floating humanoid and two women who are able to bestow restorative/empowering abilities upon the others.
The man who brought this team together is Police Chief Kanzaki. He's obviously not much of a good guy (you can tell by how he's drawn) as he keeps close tabs on his team members through various means of survelliance. And one of the girls who gives off the powers helps him by participating in the survelliance through seducing Koji. Basically, everyone on the team has their own reasons for being there and their own agendas.
The main storyline running through the three episodes focuses on a demon that appears and kills men in some of the seedier areas of town. We see them involved with this one woman in particular and then the men end up dead by this beast, but the woman continues on, generally non the wiser. The investigation team is called in early when one victim shows up spiked throughout his body and up in the air in a fairly grisly scene.
To determine what happened, they need Jun to climax so she can have a vision of the mans last moments. Kanzaki teams Jun up with Koji to bring this about and provides a rather good sequence. With new information in hand, they set off to discover more and end up running into this demon monster instead. The episodes basically focus around solving the mystery of this demon which seems to be drawn out by this older green skinned man whose accompanied by a rather odd looking demon himself. These two go unseen by everyone else, but they appear to be tied to all of the deaths in some way. All the while, Kanzaki and his aides are keeping a close eye on the team as well as dishing out some punishments to those who fail in their surveillance duties.
The show is a pretty good murder mystery that has some interesting characters, some nice character designs for the women and no tentacles. With almost all of the sex being consensual – even if it ends in a horrible death- it brings a different kind of story to the table. The action for both the sex and violence are pretty good (with the sex winning out in my mind), but the really nice part is that the two aren't combined. While violence may follow the sex, there isn't violence during the sex, which is a big change for a lot of hentai that gets brought out in the U.S. for release even all these years later. The packaging for this release continues to be a turn-off for me, but the characters are fun, it plays out a decently dark murder investigation in the realm of sex and it mingles in plenty of demonic elements. It’s certainly a title worth checking out if these tastes run your way.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Meet the Characters, Meet Mr. Maeda, Anime Artform, DVD-ROM features (art gallery, scripts, cast lists and production credits)
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.