La Blue Girl: Carnal Combat - Mania.com



DVD Review

Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Critical Mass Video
  • MSRP: 24.99
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: La Blue Girl

La Blue Girl: Carnal Combat

La Blue Girl: Carnal Combat DVD Review

By Chris Beveridge     January 28, 2010
Release Date: January 05, 2010


La Blue Girl: Carnal Combat
© Critical Mass Video

Earth bound adventures ensue as Miko makes friends with another girl of the Miroku clan who harbors a dark secret.

What They Say
Enter the demons! Miko's previous exploits against both the Shikima and the Suzuka clans haven't prepared her for the deadly duo of Kamiri, Mistress of the Miroku Sexcraft, and Kugutsumen, the Man of a Thousand Faces! The stakes are high, with the life of Miko's father - and her own tender flesh - hanging in the balance! But our sassy sex ninja has a few tricks up her... sleeves, and these erotic evildoers are in for the rides of their lives! Contains episodes 3 and 4!

The Review!
Audio:
La Blue Girl retains the original language tracks included on the previous Anime 18 release with the Japanese and English language stereo presentations encoded at 192kbps. The show is one that doesn’t have much range at all to it and has a full sounding mix overall with no noticeable directionality or depth to be had. It’s a good sounding show for what it is but there’s nothing exceptional here, be it dialogue or the action scenes. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts, distortions or hiss during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 1993, the transfer for this three part OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This release is identical to what Anime 18 released back in 2003 so there are no differences to be had here if you have that release. The show looks decent, and there’s a certain warmth to the traditional animation, but it’s not a show with a very clean look. There’s a bit of visible line noise during a lot of the panning sequences but it’s free of cross coloration of any note. La Blue Girl will likely never look fantastic, but this is a decent presentation of it without any serious flaws in terms of encoding.

Packaging:
La Blue Girl uses things we’ve seen before – there’s only so much artwork to use for older releases – and this one with the tentacles spreading her apart has always been a bit of a favorite one if only for her expression. It’s soft and fuzzy in a lot of places and they try to darken it up with shadows around the edges, but it still works well in making sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. The back cover is kept simple as well with a few shots from the show done in small circles which are a bit darker and imply a lot of eroticism while to the right is a screen capture of a Miko riding along her bike with a smile on her face as she flashes her panties. The summary is done with a bit of cuteness to it that works nicely and it covers the basics while the discs extras are clearly detailed. The technical grid is solid along the bottom with the right specs and the basic production credits. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for La Blue Girl relies a lot on clips from the show, starting with the primary piece of a naked sword wielding Miko standing to the left with her hair blowing in the wind pretty strongly. It’s all done with a blue filter and overlapping her both in the foreground and background are various sexual clips of her from the show itself, all of which is set to a bit of music. The menu loops for about ninety seconds and after the second time it just pushes you right into the show, something Anime 18 did for a number of years that always annoyed me. Submenus load fairly quickly and it’s easy to set things up, though making a language selection again dumps you into the show even though you may not want to do that. And due to its age, the disc doesn’t read our players’ language presets and defaults to English language with no subtitles

Extras:
This release saw a few extras on it (and some DVD-ROM extras that likely don’t even work anymore since they were web links) and they’re not half bad. The first is the second part of the BAAF interview with Maeda and Ikeda where they spend almost four minutes talking about aspects of their creation and make comparisons to Miyazaki. It’s an interesting bit, but more at once is definitely needed. Another art gallery is included as well as another look at the comics.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a seven year break from these episodes, going back into the series has proven to be a fair amount of fun, if laced heavily in nostalgia for the simplicity of tentacle hentai. La Blue Girl may not hold up as well as it could, if mostly because it does feel someone tame after all these years since this was originally released in 1993, but it does a lot right by having a decent storyline while not shying away from the rougher material to make its dark edged point.

After the introduction and revelations for Miko in the first volume, she’s ready for some downtime and some time to just be herself. Everyone in school is on vacation, but she still finds herself having to take the time for self-training in holding back her climaxes. Life sucks for poor Miko.

Looking for guidance, she prays to her family spirits which end up guiding her to take a trip to the Miroku village where people of her clan live. So it’s time for a road trip and she and Nin-nin are on their way. It doesn’t take all that long until they come across someone from the village, an attractive young woman named Yaku who can sniff out that Miko isn’t what she seems. She directs them to the village with an indication to meet up with her later. And when they do meet up, they certainly get along well.

Yaku’s something of an interesting character, one of those who changes during certain times of the month from her buxom attractive self into a larger demon that just needs sex and needs it fast. This transformation comes as a surprise to Miko, but she’s always game to help and this provides a rather fun segment. But this is just a lead-in to the villains of these episodes, Kamiri and Kugutsumen, to try and coerce either of the girls into getting them into the Shikima realm where they can do some real damage.

This two part storyline is nicely self contained and that, like the first volume, goes a long way towards making this an enjoyable release. Having everything resolved in two episodes gives it a very strong feeling of closure while ensuring that there’s plenty of stories still to be told. What makes it even better is that it focuses pretty narrowly on just a few characters here, with Miko and Yaku really bonding well after seeing the death of the Miroku villagers. The pair have their own issues but they also manage to have fun along the way, particularly the scene where Miko manages to get them quite the meal and almost snags them a room for the night in a creative way. With only two villains in this storyline to balance things out, that works positively as well since their storyline is actually a fairly romantic one in a very sexual way and it adds to our interest because they’re not acting just for the sake of acting, but rather because there is true motivation behind it, even if somewhat misguided at times.

In Summary:
While I was somewhat leery of going back into the La Blue Girl world again after such an absence, the first and second volumes have really reminded me why this title was so much fun to watch, even when it gets mean and cruel with the violence and all the tentacles. Miko is a fun character to watch as she struggles with her place and heritage and they build an interesting if not entirely consistent world around her. Keeping events Earthbound for this storyline helps cement it in the present real world as well, as much fun as the Shikima world is, and that keeps it from seeming like a one trick pony. These releases may just be reprints of what we had before, but they’re definitely good shows that deserved another lease on life to find new fans.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Interview, Art Gallery

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.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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