Indian Summer Complete Collection - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: No Rating
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Sentai Filmworks
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Indian Summer

Indian Summer Complete Collection

By Chris Beveridge     April 20, 2009
Release Date: March 10, 2009


Indian Summer
© Sentai Filmworks

It’s a small elephant!

What They Say
"She's the perfect girl, and you can do ANYTHING you want with her!" That's what the company Maid Works promises, and boy, do they deliver! Unfortunately for android maid Yui, her new owner isn't exactly normal: he's one of those anime fans who's slipped way past the boundaries of normal fandom and into the realm of fanatic. That means that instead of cooking, cleaning and other "ahem" household duties, Yui is instead forced to parade around in an ever changing variety of anime and maid costumes while Takaya indulges in his deranged fantasies! Since Yui's one of those rare androids with self-awaareness, this is more than just embarrassing, it's downright humilitiating! And things get even weirder as other MAIDWORKS models arrive, each designed to cater to another facet of otaku-dom! Get ready for nosebleeds, tentacles and panty-shots galore in the echhi-est, letch-iest, comedy sketch-iest OAV series ever made: INDIAN SUMMER!

The Review!
Audio:
Indian Summer is one of those releases that I really do lament the lack of an English language adaptation for simply because it’d be fun and probably a bit raunchier. What we do get here is a standard Japanese stereo mix encoded at 224kbps which conveys the show well. This is a fairly basic stereo mix that you’d expect from most harem comedies in that there are moments of decent directionality and placement but by and large it’s a center channel affair. The songs make out the best in terms of feeling full but the dialogue itself is good and without any problems as well, it just doesn’t have a whole lot of impact. It does however serve the material well and that’s what counts. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released all at once in 2007, the transfer for this three part OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Indian Summer looks really good with lots of bright clean colors and a very solid feel to it. Outside of some minor areas of noise in the background and a touch of line noise during panning moments, it’s got a very good look to it and is really problem free. The character animation is solid and the backgrounds look great. There’s a lot of vibrant moments to the series but it never becomes too much nor is it oversaturated. With the original opening and closing sequences intact with the translated credits after each episode, this is a very good looking show that will please its fans.

Packaging:
Indian Summer has a very cute if predictable cover as it features the four main girls in various outfits, showing plenty of skin and cleavage, as they’re all close together. With no real background to it and just the logo, all attention is on the characters themselves. It’s a good looking cover overall and it does show you exactly what the show is all about. The back cover is even more blatant about it with the fanservice tag thrown along the top and a lot of very strong fanservice oriented pictures. The summary is very small black print on a white background which is a little hard to read but it’s a good description overall. Add in the production credits and a good technical grid that covers what the disc is like and you’ve got a good looking package that’s just a bit weak. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menus:
The menu layout is very simple but appealing as it has a half circle along the bottom third where it has all the navigation, which is top level episode access and extras access. Above that is a group picture of the main female characters which is different from the cover artwork and has more of an illustration feel to it. The menu is very basic overall but it sets things nicely for what the show is about and it makes it all very accessible. With this release being a monolingual one, there’s no language submenu and player presets are basically a non-issue.

Extras
The only extras included are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content:
Based on the ongoing manga by Takehito Mizuki, Indian Summer is a three episode OVA that came out all at once back in 2007. Even more surprising is that it’s an OVA that actually plays like one in that each episode is just about thirty minutes and not a TV episode length. The manga got a partial release here in the US but it’s otherwise a generally unknown title for the most part. These episodes are better than a lot of OVAs that are made for manga that are this short at the time of its creation but it does have that open ended aspect to it as well. Indian Summer is about having sexy and silly fun and it succeeds rather well in that regard.

Indian Summer is your standard harem comedy in that it revolves around a male lead named Takaya. Takaya has a decent little apartment and apparently works so that sets him apart from most of the crowd right from the onset. Of course, we learn that he has a job so he can actually afford the toys he wants, which turns out to be a lot of very nice fanservice oriented figures and statues that he individually names. What he’s saved up for though is an item from Maid Works, an android specialty shop where he’s just purchased the maid of his dreams. Naming her Yui, she discovers that he bought her for more than just house work. He bought her as something of a life sized doll that he can dress up in various outfits for his enjoyment. Takaya isn’t actually perverted, at least not as much as you could guess from the setup, as he doesn’t really seem to sexualize or fantasize about Yui. He just wants to play dress up with her and have fun. Yui is completely put off and embarrassed by this though and that makes things problematic at first.

Along the way, the pair end up making some interesting friends which helps to flesh things out. One of the first one is a very busty young woman named Minori who works as a waitress in her fathers café where he has her wearing very revealing outfits. She’s bouncy and fun and hits it off well with Yui and Takaya. Enough so that the pair end up helping out at the café from time to time because of the increased attention of such attractive women being there. In addition to Minori we get to know Kuon, another android who hasn’t been sold yet and is getting frustrated as she’s got the “older cat in a window of kittens” mentality going on. She’s a bit more competitive and not altogether happy which plays off against Yui’s nature. And to round it out they also introduce Sakuya, a statue of Takaya’s which is turned into a life sized android that’s full of sexy fanservice and lusty desires to make him happy.

Indian Summer is designed in a way where there are three stories per episode and they all progressively build on each other, particularly in how the relationships are dealt with. Initially it’s all about Yui and Takaya but as time goes on and the other characters are introduced, it becomes a fun ensemble comedy. What makes it work is that it isn’t so completely over the top in the fanservice that it’s almost a porn and that I admittedly liked the characters. Takaya isn’t exactly creepy but he has an offbeat kind of safe fetish. And he actually works for a living and doesn’t treat any of the girls in a perverted way. Yui is a bit more human than you would guess from an android but she’s not slavishly serving her master but she has some potential interest in him as something more. But that doesn’t dominate the show. Each character brings in a different facet to the overall set of relationships but the only real potential here is between Takaya and Minori, something that we do see a glimmer of here and there.

It’s the comedy that can really work well and some of that is very much kept to the outfit aspect. Takaya has a lot of outfits and he uses them to good effect. They do avoid anything too sexual which is a surprise but there are some fun ones to be had. When Yui ends up babysitting during one story, she grabs a “baby” costume that Takaya has thinking it’s for babysitters. That plunges headlong into a scene where Yui has to cry out that milk doesn’t come from there. Another sequence has an android competition contest come up as Kuon and Yui go at it and they bring in all sorts of other androids. I loved seeing Mahoro from Mahoromatic as well as someone from To Heart, all tied to their respective masters. This was a purely priceless moment that was touched on a few times and made the show extra fun.

If there’s an area where I didn’t like the release, it’s in the subtitles. While I’ll allow some wiggle room when a company releases a thirteen or twenty-six episode set when it comes to the subtitles, a three episode show should be pretty much perfect. During the beach episode, there are subtitles on top of subtitles. There are numerous misspellings throughout and there were even some sentences where the leading capital letter was omitted. These can be pretty glaring and really throw off the flow of a show as your head suddenly goes to the error instead of what it’s supposed to do. These errors are fairly small overall, but it’s a bad blemish on an otherwise very fun release.

In Summary:
I wasn’t expecting much out of Indian Summer, particularly since it’s still ongoing in manga form and the anime was done pretty early on, but it left me with a big smile on my face and wanting to see more. The show has a lot of fun characters that could all play out even better over time as the relationship grow and change and I’d like to see that. The character designs are good, the fanservice just right and it plays things at a slightly different angle because of the androids and the lack of a real crush/interest in the main characters. With just the three episodes, there’s not a bit commitment to be had here but it’s one that’s very fun and enjoyable. It does adhere to a lot of the harem comedy standards, but it’s not so blatantly over the top and outlandish that you want to roll your eyes. It’s not restrained, but it avoids a lot of the pitfalls many other harem comedies fall into, especially when it comes to oversexualizing the characters – particularly younger ones. This is an easy recommendation to fans of the genre and for anyone looking for some simple fun to throw into the mix.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

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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