Flower and Snake: The Animation - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • 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: Flower and Snake

Flower and Snake: The Animation

By Chris Beveridge     December 11, 2007
Release Date: December 11, 2007


Flower and Snake: The Animation
© Kitty Media


What They Say
Shizuko, a 26-year-old housewife, is lured into a trap when her stepdaughter is kidnapped by the Kizakura gang. The kidnapping scheme was hatched by an evil CEO whose main goal is to make Shizuko his sex slave. Eventually, she's coerced into performing a bizarre sex show in front of a large audience. They force Shizuko to perform with her stepdaughter. Though she refuses at first, she gradually accepts and decides to roll with the twisted pleasure of it all.

The Review!
Flower and Snake is the show that will teach women how to cut a banana in half with their lips.

Audio:
The bilingual presentation for Flower and Snake is the standard when it comes to adult releases in that both mixes are stereo pieces encoded at 192 kbps. The show is essentially all dialogue outside of the vocal track that's used in a few places and some ambient music here and there. The thrust of the dialogue is the moaning and denials which don't really require much in the way of placement or depth here. Nothing with the audio design here really stands out but it does get the job done without any problems as we didn't note any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released throughout 2006, the transfer for this three part OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The visual design for the series is fairly standard and a bit flat but overall it looks decent through the first two episodes. Colors look good with only a minor amount of noise in the backgrounds. If not for the third episode, this release would rate a bit higher even though it is rather standard in its look. The third episode is problematic because it introduces a strong amount of cross coloration throughout the episode, much of which is distracting during both close-ups and distance shots as it introduces a good deal of shimmering. It's strongest at the start of the third episode but it carries throughout the entire thing.

Packaging:
The cover art for this release really is quite clear about what you can expect as it's a close-up of Keiko's face with her bound by ropes and her mouth covered. And just to make sure you know exactly how she feels about it, she's got tears streaming from her eyes. As elegant and lovely as the logo design is for it, the artwork itself really comes through strong about what to expect, which is a good thing. The back cover features a few shots from the show done in the form of leaves and petals while also making sure a larger shot of the mother character is there. The summary runs through the basics and is rounded out by the production and cast list, a rarity indeed, as well as a solid technical grid. No insert is included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design is standard material for Kitty as they take the cover artwork and open it up a bit. This usually works well because the colors tend to look a bit richer and the detail is much more obvious, a plus when it comes to the adult realm since designs are generally very detailed. This one works in that way and it's a solid effort in that the shot of Keiko with the rope bindings and the orange layered background really connects with the vocal track that's associated with it. The layout is fairly standard with the usual selections which are all quickly access and easy to navigate. The disc did read our players' language presets since the sign/song subtitle track is labeled as other.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Flower and Snake is the kind of show that's very interesting, but mostly for its origins and what has come before it. The animation is something of an update, re-imagining or just a money grab by using the title of a film from the 70's which in itself is based off of a very famous novel Dan Oniroku. The live action film, which featured lots of disturbing older men having their way with young women, was part of the massive Pink Films genre that saved many companies in the early 70's. The animation really strays from what the original film is like from what I can tell and certainly from the novel.

The anime series is somewhat straightforward and predictable, if only because they show us half the ending right from the start. The series revolves around a young housewife named Shizuko, a twenty-six year old attractive woman who has that kind of classic restrained beauty about her. Her husband, a rich IT company president, married her after the death of his wife. Shizuko gets along well enough with her stepdaughter, a cutie named Keiko. Everything goes wrong though when Keiko is kidnapped and Shizuko is told to come on her own with the money in order to free her. Shizuko ends up going to a private detective for help and he tries to pass this off as nothing more than a kid wanting more money and using this method to do it.

Nothing could be further from the truth though as Keiko has really been kidnapped and is suffering under a good deal of sexual torture by a group of people with bigger aims. The group, run by a mysterious old man, is in the business of finding ways to expand their ties to politicians and the business world by offering entertainers something really unique to see. That boils down to lots of bondage and sexual torture on "public" display for an audience that must wear cloaks and masks. Shades of Eyes Wide Shut are here, as well as numerous other features over the years, which takes away from what little originality there might be. Shizuko is defiant throughout this, but as she realizes she must do it in order to save Keiko, she sinks further and further into this world. Unfortunately for her, she never really does save Keiko since she's give quite the experience as well.

By the nature of the show, nothing here is consensual since the girls are kidnapped. The people that have them are gender mixed so it's not all male/female which is a plus. One of the kidnappers is a dominant woman who has fun tasering people ("Don't tase me, ho!") and then there's also the entire plot point revolving around Keiko and Shizuko getting it on. Toys are plentiful at times as are more tortuous devices, such as the triangle that Keiko gets to ride. One of the guys, Kawada, ends up taking her from behind on that and it just makes me cringe thinking of how that must feel, not only for her but for him. There are a fair amount of golden shower moments throughout this as well, though they're more blue than anything else since it's all force fed water. Now there's a distinction I wanted to make in my life. One of the more amusing moments, one that took me out of the show more than anything else, was the comment by one of the guys about having Shizuko cutting bananas before you know it. At first you think it's just a weird cultural translation gone awry, but before long, there's Shizuko on all fours pinching a banana loaf.

In Summary:
Flower and Snake is a show that I can imagine a good audience is interested in if they're familiar with the original film and/or novel. Japanese S&M has always had a real curiosity factor for many, especially when it comes to the rope bondage, but that isn't really used all that much here in general. The characters are decent in terms of their designs and the animation is essentially more of that. Nothing in the show really stands out and it comes across as a money grab by using the name, rather than carrying on with what I find to be the original spirit of the previous works. There isn't anything inherently wrong with Flower and Snake, but it fails to titillate or excite both in terms of action and look. I've seen far worse when it comes to this kind of material, but I've also seen better. This is a decent effort but one that's more average than anything else. Unless you have a thing for banana pinching.

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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