When Mira gets into his first year of high school, he finds that his father may not be his real father, just as every other guy wants to get in his pants. Can they replace his papa, who already owns what’s in his pants?
What They Say
Mira Munakata, a popular young man in school, is in love with someone special. Kyosuke Munakata, a famous actor, is also in love with someone special. As parent and child, they have much in common, probably more so than anyone looking in from the outside may realize. However, their family situation is a complex one, and it is made even more complicated by romantic interests that come in many different sexes, shapes, and sizes. Can their special bond as father and son remain intact in the end?
Like most other boys love releases from Kitty Media, Kiss in the Dark features only the original Japanese language soundtrack done in stereo. The stereo mix is pretty straightforward as the show is almost entirely dialogue based with no real action moments to be had of any serious note. Outside of a few flashes here and there, it’s very simple mix that has a full feeling about it that gets the job done. The characters have some placement with their dialogue at times but typically it’s one or two speaking characters on at a time that doesn’t require much placement. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2005, the transfer for this two part OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With a good bitrate to it and plenty of lively and vibrant animation, the transfer here looks really nice overall with only a few instances where it looks a little softer than you might like. Overall though, beyond some basic noise in a few backgrounds, this is a very appealing transfer that serves the material well. Colors are bright and vibrant in most scenes and the animation has a smooth look to it that’s free of cross coloration and line noise.
The main male characters of the series are all on the cover here with Mira and Kyosuke in the center as Kyosuke slides his hand into Mira’s shirt. The secondary characters are behind them with different smiles of their own and with the nicely framed border and the soft purple colors, it all comes together very well. The logo itself is very nicely done, something Media Blasters and Kitty tend to do well, with a very appealing logo that fits the show just right. The back cover uses the same kind of border design, albeit a little smaller, as it has a few shots from the show inside it as well as a breakdown of the shows premise. The cast gets another large shot here along the right side while the lower left is given over the production credits. The bottom has the technical grid which covers the details of the disc very clearly. No inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design is simple as it takes the character elements from the front cover with a whiter and expanded border to it that fills the screen. The character designs are very appealing here, much more vibrant than the cover itself, and it sets the mood just right for starting the show with everyone smiling and that hint of closeness. There’s nothing on the disc outside of some trailers, so navigation is simple and disc language setup is a breeze since there’s only one option. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is very easy to use. Obviously we had no problems with the disc reading our players’ language defaults.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel by Ken Nambara and originally known as Kiss Papa in the Dark, this two part OVA series is a rather standard kind of boys-love piece done in a comedic style at times. IT’s a very light and fluffy show that’s really creepy at times but is done in a way where you’re just waiting for the surprise to come in to make it all seem alright and normal. Sadly, when that does happen, it’s still pretty damn creepy and you wonder who thinks it could be considered normal, or in the realm of “more acceptable” I guess. The original novel was done in 1999 and it took nearly six years for someone to figure out how to animate this. That’s not a bad thing since they found the right way to do it.
The story revolves around first year high school student Mira Munakata. He’s just made it into the school he wanted to get into, his first choice, and is extremely excited about it. His plans to make it there for the entrance ceremony goes awry however when his father, the wonderfully handsome Kyosuke who is a famous actor, decided that he wants to spend more quality time with his pretty son in bed. The two of them have a very, very close relationship with each other, even though Mira tries to push him away from time to time. Mira fights against him to some extent as we see, but in the end he usually seems to give in, which is why he’s late on his first day of school.
But once there, he starts to meet a number of other men who want to be a part of his life. He first meets the third year student body president, a very attractive young man who really resembles his father in a lot of ways. Though he doesn’t really hit on him, his demeanor is one that really does indicate he has an interest in him. When he comes across him later in the show, he has a very familiar feel to him as he interacts with Mira, who is oblivious to it of course. Mira also runs into a friend from middle school named Kazuki who is in his class at this new school as well as a childhood friend named Shun who is following his dream to be a musician. With Kazuki doing soccer as he talked about, it’s only Mira who hasn’t lived his dream yet or seriously pursued it
Of course, in a flashback, we find out that his dream was to be his fathers’ bride. Now that leads to a really amusing scene as he envisions himself in that role. Mira’s definitely infatuated with his father in a way, especially when Kyosuke starts going out for different things and Mira thinks he’s seeing other people, including a famous movie actress. His jealousy starts to get the better of him and he’s imagining all sorts of things that only make him unhappier. When he has to get a seal from the local government for the family register, it’s here that he discovers the real relationship he has with his father however and that sets off even more alarms as all the other situations start to pile on top of it.
Let’s be up front; it’s definitely creepy having Mira calling Kyosuke papa and having the two of them fooling around. Like most boys love titles though, it’s not explicit in the slightest and comes across more as sensual moods and such. They’re draped in sheets and it’s obvious what’s going on, but there’s nothing flying in your face here. When Mira ends up with his friends, old and new, it’s only Kazuki that hits on him openly and only after the relationship Mira has with his father changes. That plays out in the same way where it’s lots of topless moments, lots of kissing and playful aggression. But the psychological side that involves Mira and Kyosuke is something you don’t see often and even when they introduce the “secret” of it, it’s still creepy. In a way, I’d almost say it’s creepier because of it.
Visually, there’s a lot to like about this show. It has very appealing character designs, which is generally a given for a boys love show, as they’re all quite dreamy in their own way. What’s fun is that Mira is filled with expressiveness as this plays out. Everyone but him generally has a serious straightforward look to them, but Mira does the “wild takes” and exaggerated looks to cope with every situation. When Kyosuke takes him by first, he gets near super deformed and cute over it as he fends him off, or his eyes go wide and he’s got the sweat drops going. Everyone plays it straight but him, which is amusing in a show where apparently nobody is straight at all.
Kiss in the Dark is a title that’s easy to see why it’s controversial. But at the same time, it’s pretty damn funny and watching Mira go through the ups and downs of his relationship with Kyosuke is amusing to watch. The characters are very appealing, even the little used ones, and the pacing keeps you very engaged throughout it. There are a few brief pauses here and there for dramatic effect, but by and large this is a well paced show where they make good use of the two twenty-five minute episodes that they’re given. The twists and turns have you guessing what the reality of the situation really is – they can’t truly be father and son after all! – but they throw you a curve ball with the reality of it as well. If you can get past the creepy factor, this is a fun boys-love title to check out.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.