Destined for Love: The Promise - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Critical Mass Video
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Destined for Love

Destined for Love: The Promise

By Chris Beveridge     June 18, 2009
Release Date: June 30, 2009


Destined for Love: The Promise
© Critical Mass Video

A marriage proposal as kids gets misinterpreted and the repercussions are felt years later.

What They Say
Childhood memories can be very confusing. Shin'ya's fondest memory is of playing in the park with a special girl and promising to marry her. He had always believed that girl was his best friend Shizuku, but upon meeting his brother's new fiance Akane, Shin'ya realizes she was actually the special girl! After Shin'ya discovers his brother won't have sex with Akane, will he cross the line in order to help her experience true ecstasy?

The Review!
Audio:
While some adult releases are starting to skimp, Destined for Love doesn’t fall into that category as we get a bilingual release here. The show is presented in its original stereo form with both the Japanese and English language tracks encoded at a somewhat standard 192kbps. The show isn’t exactly one that’s aggressive in any way when it comes to the audio as it’s a very simple and no frills forward soundstage affair. Dialogue doesn’t have much in the way of placement and it has a very center channel feeling to it. It is completely clean and free of problems though which makes it a good release since playback is without issue. It simply doesn’t have a lot going for it in terms of placement, directionality or depth. That’s for the show itself.

Video:

Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Destined For Love is one of those adult shows that’s very minimal with the animation so the transfer here does show the jerkiness a bit in how it moves about, but that’s the only real issue and it’s in the source material itself. The colors are bright and vibrant while remaining very solid throughout. The bitrate is fairly average for the most part, which isn’t a bad thing considering there’s little change in the animation itself a lot of times. When there’s more active scenes, the bitrates are quite a bit higher and that helps it to look as best as it can. Destined For Love is not a high end or even a mid range title with its animation, but the transfer does its best to represent what it is.

Packaging:
Destined For Love had me interested from the moment I saw the cover artwork, though I figured the animation wouldn’t live up to it. There’s a certain appeal to these kinds of designs and their origins that continue to interest me. The front cover has a very appealing shot of Sayumi reaching from behind and undressing Akane out of her school uniform with a beautiful background of a bedroom behind them. It has lots of warm and inviting colors to it which work well with the clean yet detailed character designs. The back cover works with a lot of the same colors with pinks and purples abound for borders and backgrounds. The summary is simple but effective and there’s a good mix of shots from the show – nothing explicit – and a large piece showing an upskirt shot of Akane. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design takes elements from both the front and back cover to provide something very appealing and almost romantic with it. The front cover artwork is used to the right side where it’s given a rounded purple border to frame it all nicely. The artwork looks even crisper and more vibrant here than the front cover itself. To the left, we get the basic menu navigation under the soft but cute logo for the series. The layout of it all is quite nice and the colors are very appealing and inviting. Submenus load quickly and it’s easy to get around and do what needs to be done. As is the case with most Critical Mass titles, this release read our players’ language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Destined For Love is in a way one of the kinds of adult anime that I enjoy, providing it’s done right. Unlike a lot of series that get brought over that are filled with violence, bloodshed and non-consensual encounters, Destined for Love actually utilizes the word from its title in a good positive way. There is love to be found here, though the love itself is awkward, aimed in the wrong direction at times and used in ways that sort of boggle the mind at times. But in the end, this is a somewhat cute and fun show if not for the very basic animation attached to it.

The series primarily revolves around a young man named Shin’ya. Shin’ya is your typical nice guy in just about all regards who has a bit of awkward luck in a way. For example, the show opens with him walking up to the school rooftop only to find a couple of students up there fooling around and going all the way. Of course, Shin’ya can’t help but be excited by this and in the traditional manner, he avoids joining in and instead admires from afar. I do wonder at the mindset though of the people who create these shows as I can’t imagine most guys actually pleasuring themselves to watching others in these situations. I can see them watching it to completion, but getting half undressed and doing that? Maybe that’s just me. And this is just a tiny part of the show.

Where the show really revolves around is the home life that Shin’ya has as his brother Shogo has suddenly informed him that he’s getting married to a young woman the same age as Shin’ya named Akane. Shogo is marrying her because he made a promise to her when they were children that if she survived an illness she had, he would marry her when she was older. That time has come, rather suddenly since Shin’ya wasn’t even aware of Akane in the present, and Akane is throwing herself at Shogo with wild abandon and passion. Strangely, Shogo comes across as completely uninterested in her and as time goes on, we learn that he really has no interest in her and can’t even remember really making the promise to her in the past about it. Of course, it was a long time ago so there’s certainly the problem of a young man with a faulty memory combined with a sickly girl latching on to any little bit of hope.

It of course makes perfect sense that it’s really Shin’ya who made the promise all those years ago and Akane mistook him for Shogo instead. As Shogo and Shin’ya live with what seems to be their older brother who is married, the entire situation becomes plainly obvious to his wife Sayumi. Sayumi is also apparently the school nurse so she’s in tune with just about everything that’s going on with Shin’ya and can figure it out. Amusingly, she’s mildly flirtatious with Shin’ya and when her husband goes out of town suddenly for business, the first things she does is get tipsy with him and they end up in bed together. But she’s doing it as a teaching series of moments where she wants to make sure he knows what to do so he can properly seduce Akane and give her the romance and love that she really wants and needs from the right person.

Destined for Love has a decent enough story going for it, but it has a hard time selling it sometimes because of the animation. The cover art is obviously deceptive because the show doesn’t look like this but that’s not unusual. It is unfortunate though because I rather like the designs and style there. Within the show, the main factor that bothered me was the low cel count in the movement aspects, giving it something of a choppy or stilted sense when they move about and perform. The show has some fairly basic backgrounds to it which adds to the simplistic feel of the show, but in the end it’s the actual character animation that hurts the most. The designs themselves aren’t bad, but they aren’t terribly detailed either and they lack a certain life.

In Summary:
Destined for Love is obviously playing things in a way where you know how it’s going to go. There’s the added bonus of Shin’ya having a friend at school named Shizuku who obviously likes him a lot and then the “twist” of Akane arriving at the school to become a new transfer student that’s wearing an engagement ring. With another episode still ahead, there’s plenty of predictable palces for it to go. This opening episode is fairly fun though but it has some hurdles to get over with the somewhat choppy animation in terms of movement and the rather basic character designs. It’s not bad, I’ve certainly seen far, far worse (Pure Love anyone?), but it does have an impact on the flow of the show at first until you get used to it. I do like shows like this because of it being all consensual and actually involving emotions, but I wish it was given a bit more of a budget so they could have made it look smoother.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

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.

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