La Blue Girl: Initiation - 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: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: La Blue Girl

La Blue Girl: Initiation

La Blue Girl: Initiation DVD Review

By Chris Beveridge     January 07, 2010
Release Date: November 24, 2009

Quite literally thrust into a life she doesn’t want, Miko must defend the world against demons due to her heritage.

What They Say
Sex Ninjas Must Die! Miko Mido answers the call of the wild to become a mistress of martial arts sexcraft! In these erotic episodes, Miko discovers she is the last in a line supernatural sex ninjas. Now, this delectable demon slayer is all that stands between humanity and the perverted hordes of the underworld. It won't be easy: These depraved demons are ready to turn a few tricks of their own. It will be a whammin', slammin' battle as she thrashes the monsters in carnal combat! Contains episodes 1 and 2!

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 1992, the transfer for this two 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 runs with very familiar artwork that we’ve seen on previous releases with Miko in a mesh outfit being accosted by tentacles and hands from all around her while Nin-nin watches from behind. The shredding of her outfit is a nice touch as is her expression and the layout overall is one that I still find works even after all these years. The back cover is kept simple as well with a few shots from the show done in small circles which are cute and imply a lot of eroticism while to the left is a screen capture of a fully naked Miko with a bit of a blush about her. 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 main one is the first of three interviews with Toshio Maeda and Rusher Ikeda when they came to the Big Apple Anime Fest years ago. It’s brief but good to see the guys talking about one of their shows. There’s a brief art gallery and a small section showcasing the La Blue Girl comics as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the more well known hentai titles from the nineties, La Blue Girl is a franchise that really found its way over time. This release contains the first two OVAs from Toshio Maeda’s manga and it eventually spawned several other series, live action movies, lots of printed material and even a game. While Maeda has done a whole lot of hentai over the years and largely defined tentacle hentai for Western anime fans, La Blue Girl plays it a little differently by going more for the humor and in some ways playing the whole thing as a bit of a parody.

La Blue Girl revolves around eighteen year old Miko Mido, the new heir apparent to the Miroku clan once her grandmother actually passes on. Miko’s a pretty outgoing and happy girl but she’s spent her life training in the arts of the Miroku clan’s ninjitsu and is quite good at it, though she doesn’t really show it just yet. She’s intent on leading a normal life for the most part, but all of that goes out the window when there’s a push by another village clan, the Suzaku, to try and upset the balance of things. The Miroku clan has worked tirelessly over the ages to watch over the realm of the Shikima and keep the demons there, but now they’re making their way out into the world somehow and Miko gets roped into it when her dear old grandmother cannot do anything anymore and passes away.

The show in its first two parts works the angle of dealing with the chaos caused by the Suzaku clan and trying to mollify the demons that want to get into our world and cause havoc. Miko ends up in the Shikima world for awhile after making the conscious decision to fight them and she ends up bringing along her half sister and Nin-nin as well, though not completely intentionally. The demons that inhabit the Shikima land are interesting as there are human type ones there and we learn of some neat lineage issues between Miko and the king of the Shikima as well as the woman who is Miko’s mother. It’s not exactly convoluted, but when you’re dealing with older villages and some of the rituals that exist there and how social status is determined, it can get in the way of all the action.

The action side of the show is fairly good overall, though it’s one that in some ways hasn’t aged well. It’s explicit to be sure, but it’s nowhere near as explicit as a lot of shows we’ve seen in the last few years. The erotic action has some good moments, a lot of it is non-consensual, but it doesn’t get down to the brutal level like we see in shows like Urotsukidoji or Demon Beast Invasion. Even as non-consensual as it is, it almost has a playful feel because of how Miko reacts to it. The other side of the action with the ninja arts in general is fun but pretty much fluff throughout, though it’s a nice addition and with the attractive character designs they make it work with Miko running around in green spandex with mesh or her giant pink bow.

In Summary:

La Blue Girl has always held a special place in my heart because it is light, it is fun and it’s a good introduction to the kind of shows Toshio Maeda does, albeit in a more playful manner. These first two episodes set up the premise well, gets all the basic relations in place and lets most everyone get their moment in the spotlight to show off. With this being one of the earlier Anime 18 titles, it’s good to see that it can still find a place in the market today and hopefully find new fans. With the changes in adult material in general over the last decade, particularly with the easy influence of the Internet, something like this is basically an introductory show for fans to see if it’s a genre they may like. It was a lot of fun revisiting this title after several years and it has me looking forward to seeing more.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Interview with Toshio Maeda and Rusher Ikeda, 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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jnager 3/13/2012 3:50:39 PM

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