Idol of Darkness - 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 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: SoftCel Pictures
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 45
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Idol of Darkness

Idol of Darkness

By Chris Beveridge     December 09, 2003
Release Date: November 25, 2003


Idol of Darkness
© SoftCel Pictures


What They Say
Ikumi is an up and coming pop singer with millions of fans and a promising acting career. She should be looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but she's got man trouble.

The love of her life just isn't sure he can handle Ikumi's fame and fortune. To make matters worse, while shooting on location, a jealous co-star finds a strange wooden idol in an abandoned temple, and uses it to invoke a hedeous demon to be the instrument of her revenge. Will Ikumi's next concert be her last curtain call? She's about to dicover that there really are fates worse than death.

The Review!
Another in the long line of �Of Darkness� series, Idol of Darkness takes a look at the obvious world of pop stars and tentacle monsters.

Audio:
With only a Japanese language track available on the disc, the choice was simple as there isn�t any choice. The track is a pretty standard stereo mix that�s mostly just for the music and some ambient action effects. Dialogue is strongly center channel based but comes across clean and distortion free. There�s nothing really challenging with this track but it�s problem free.

Video:
Much like other �Of Darkness� shows that Kotaro Ran has been involved with, this one is done in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, giving it an interesting faux theatrical feel. The print here is in very good condition which works well with the quality of the OVA animation. Colors are rich and vibrant, cross coloration is pretty much non-existent and I�m hard pressed to find much aliasing going on in general. A few areas looked a touch soft briefly, but beyond that this is a good looking transfer.

Packaging:
The front cover provides the basics of the premise with an image of our lead idol and her arms and legs being wrapped up by tentacles. Other cast members and the big old bad demon itself line the background of an otherwise dark and foreboding area. The back cover has a lot of open real estate and not much filling it with only a few shots from the show itself and a basic summary of the premise. The shows features are minimally listed and the fact that it�s widescreen isn�t even covered. The insert reproduces the front cover while the reverse side has an action pose of Ikumi in her performance outfit from when the demon lands next to her as well as listing the previews on the disc.

Menu:
The main menu is a static image of Ikumi in her performance dress singing while the background has a very faint shot of the demon that�s coming for her. A bit of the theme music to the show plays along as well as what sounds like the snapping of cameras. It�s all quite hypnotic if you let it play for a few hours� Access times are nice and fast and the layout simple since there�s nothing really here beyond the show itself.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the �Darkness� shows continue to find their way over to this market, I�m finding each of them to be quite interesting in how they work. With their faux widescreen look and the slightly longer than one OVA episode length, these shows take a bit more time to actually try and tell a story and then use their extended budget to show some really good designs and animation for it. Spy for Darkness and Bride of Darkness both surprised me in their attempts to illustrate a good story around the sex, particularly Spy Of Darkness.

With Idol of Darkness, the genre dips into the idol pool and pulls out hot upcoming Ikumi. She�s the latest flavor of hard working idol that does singing, acting, commercials and guest appearances on all kinds of shows that have her doing a variety of things. Her rise to the top is fairly swift but she�s got the talent to back it up as well. Naturally, this causes rifts in a very sensitized and charged industry where the wrong smile can completely turn someone against you.

While Ikumi is all bright sunshine and sugary candy, one of the other women she works with is set against her. Arriving late at a movie shoot location, Lieh basically walks in and plays things cool with her status as a supporting actress. Privately, we see how she�s furious about being passed over for the lead role of the film. With her dark green eyes and her dark blue/black hair, she fits the bill as the cold and calculating type. While the film continues to shoot, Lieh finds herself being compelled to a nearby broken down area where the gnarled trees grow.

It�s here, underneath all the overgrowth, that she ends up fully awakening a demonic beast that will let her realize all her dreams. As she follows that path, succumbing to the demons mental will and allowing herself to be used, Ikumi goes through the ups and downs of a typical idol singer. Part of her problem stems from wanting to be with the man she�s loved for a long time but can�t really do much about it. Even more so since her manager has told the potential lover that her time is drawing close for real exposure and he needs to back off.

So when he starts to disappear from her life, she disappears from her idol life as she tries to think about what she really wants out of things. Of course, her life is about to change like nobody else�s there�s a demon that�s about to come and grab her. Ikumi finds herself giving a far different performance than the one she originally intended.

In Summary:
Idol of Darkness isn�t a bad show for a hentai release with a story. The idol angst side of it is pretty standard stuff and the demonic side is fairly standard as well. They simply allowed both to mix together and to let it be told slowly. What is bad here is the general lack of sex scenes. With only a couple of really noteworthy ones and a quickie at the end, that�s the one area where things fall through. Both Ikumi and Lieh are quite well designed, but they get so little time to really get down to proper business here that it hurts the show in the end.

Features
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 Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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