Hyakki: The Secret of Devil's Island - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D+

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Info:

  • 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: Hyakki: The Secret of Devil's Island

Hyakki: The Secret of Devil's Island

By Chris Beveridge     May 13, 2005
Release Date: April 12, 2005


Hyakki: The Secret of Devil's Island
© Kitty Media


What They Say
A group of friends are stranded on a mysterious island. A series of strange events transpires, and they find their sexual desires awakened in extreme ways. They set about to solve the mystery of the island before a flock of devils descend to take them, body and soul.

The Review!
Visiting an abandoned island as part of a mystery tour, things go completely wrong when they're left there.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show features a fairly standard stereo mix that you get with most adult anime series in that there is some minor directionality here and there, often with something involving either a weapon or someone screaming, but otherwise the bulk of the audio feels weighted towards the center channel. Dialogue is clean and clear with this release and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released over 2002 and 2003, the three episodes that make up this OVA series are presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this show are fairly standard and the transfer does a decent job of getting that across. There's some base dot crawl that's visible in some areas, such as hairlines of some characters or when the reds show up briefly here and there, but it's not something that's constantly visible. Cross coloration looks to be almost non-existent and colors in general maintain a good solid feel but they don't leap off the screen as they're not all that vibrant. This isn't one of the higher-end releases so it's pretty average for adult material.

Packaging:
With a lot of focus on various colors with one of the girls taking the center stage on the cover here as she exist her skin like a butterfly does its original form, she pulls up into the white and purple background that has some very minor images of the abandoned city. It's an eye-catching piece for the way the colors play about here but once you really look close at the image it's pretty disturbing and almost cringe-worthy. The back cover goes darker with the purple and puts in some of the buildings in the background with it while providing a strip of shots from the show and a dark image of one of the girls being abused. The shows summary covers the basics and the technical grid at the bottom rounds out what little there is to know about the show. No insert was included with this release.

Menu:
The menu is a simple static piece that showcases one of the girls from the group in bondage in the foreground while another angle of her is used in the background that's filtered in the same blues and purples that makes up the overall background, all set to brief bit of instrumental music. It's a fairly uninspired menu not that the show really inspires to do great things to begin with but it gets the job done as there's nothing really on the disc besides the show itself and some trailers. Access times are nice and fast and the navigation easy. The disc wasn't able to handle our player presets due to the full subtitle track being listed as "2".

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back when there was a large boom in adult anime releases a few years ago, there were several shows that fit into this kind of subgenre where it was like a game of ten little Indians as you watched the cast be whittled and screwed away one by one by some villain who is hiding a dark secret somewhere. These haven't been as prolific lately so it was surprising to find another one but it reminded me why I don't care much for them.

The plot is very simple. We're introduced to a group of people on a small cruise ship that's coming to an island where they're going on a Mystery Tour. You don't know what to expect with these kinds of tours until you get there, such as this one where there's something of a scavenger hunt that they're going to do and other activities. What's different this time is that the island they go to is one that used to be fully inhabited but was abandoned several years ago. Right now it's in ruins and looks like a post apocalyptic future set where it's nothing but collapsed and partially usable buildings. For the group, there's a sense of familiarity with the place as one of them used to live there and another is experiencing flashbacks about it.

Depending on which language you watch, you'll get two very different shows at times. Some of this diverges wildly. While the Japanese track is explaining the plot or the significance of the island, the English version may have one of the characters saying "let's get as funky as a monkey!" instead. I don't think the two manage to convey the same plot elements which results in the show being different beyond what most people would consider acceptable or normal. It's also dated in a number of ways with American cultural references and just awful jokes.

The tour encounters a few snags fairly quickly, such as not being able to call back the boat due to some poor communication devices. This means that they have to stay on the island overnight, which some of them adamantly do no want to do. The other problem is that one of them discovers a young woman encased in a glass tube that's glowing and that leads to all sorts of wild speculation. This allows for the small cast to wander about to where they realize one of them used to live when they were younger and lived on the island but it also gives them all a chance to separate into smaller groups and have sex. There's weird subplots about one guy whose gay but not, a girl who likes him but wants to off herself since she thinks she's ugly and a strong man type who has some serious relationship issues with his girl. All of these stories are just poorly brought in and executed though in the midst of the bigger story.

Which is saying a lot since the bigger storyline is pretty barren of any real story. It's just a mystery and atmosphere builder as whoever is behind the woman in glass has started to kill others here and there. The cast is creative at times but infinitely stupid at other times which leads to a typical horror movie of sorts where the people just don't know what to do. The show features some pretty standard character designs as well which means it's not even all that pretty to look at while it all goes on, and the animation level is probably just a bit below average since there's a lot of panning across stills and exposition to help drag things out. The sex scenes themselves weren't anything to rave about either which was just one more notch on an already unimpressive post that had me checking the countdown clock more than anything else.

In Summary:
Hyakki is a show that I felt like I've seen numerous times before and this one doesn't bring anything new to the table. With its average character designs, lackluster sex and wildly divergent scripts, it's something that misses in several areas and just isn't worth the time.



Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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