Miko returns for more fun and adventure as she goes butterfly hunting.
What They Say
As deadly ninja trained in the carnal arts, Miko is hot to deal out heavy martial arts mistreatment to any demon that threatens her. But when the monsters target her sexy sister and her new best friend, Miko really sees red! Who is the stronger sexual slayer, our hedonistic heroine or the preternatural perverts of the underworld? It's time for Miko to show these supernatural sex fiends who wears the pants in this business... no one!
Contains episodes 1-2.
La Blue Girl Returns retains its original language tracks so we get a pair of bilingual stereo mixes here encoded at 192kbps. As much as I've tried in the past, I still can't enjoy the show in English so we went with the tried and true original Japanese mix. The show continues to have a decent stereo mix though it's far improved over the original release. The music and sound effects make better use of the forward soundstage with things feeling less like they're center channel based. Dialogue is clean and clear on all three tracks and we noted no dropouts or distortions.
Originally released in 2001, the transfer for this two episode OVA release is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This release is just a newly duplicated copy of what Anime 18 released back in 2002, but it looks much better than the previous La Blue Girl series since it was made from more recent materials at the time. Overall, this release is a mixed bag. The colors are very vibrant and vivid, practically leaping off of the screen at times without being over saturated. The main visual problem we found with the transfer comes from the cross coloration that shows up in numerous areas, such as characters hair on regularly or some of the more detailed areas like the lenses of glasses. It's not rampant throughout but somewhat specific. Other than that, this is just a gorgeous looking release.
I'm of a mixed opinion when it comes to the covers for this series since I liked the original covers which were brighter and colorful, almost playfully inviting as it had the core trio of women leaping about with Miko in her white and yellow school uniform. This one works with what we saw with the previous series in that it has lots of tentacles all around while Miko is in the middle, looking weak and slightly worried, as her clothes are torn away and the tentacles start to have their way with her. What makes it a bit worse is that the logo, both the main one and the subtitle, blend in so much to the artwork that it looks too murky in that area. With the blue of the logo or the yellow and red from the subtitle, it just doesn't stand out enough. The artwork itself is appealing, but I'm leaning towards liking the original more. The back cover mirrors what we saw previously with Critical Masses other La Blue Girl titles with a dark background that has some tentacles along the side with circles filled with shots from the show. Fubuki gets the main character artwork nod to the right and the summary tackles the basics of the show and this particular series. The disc has some solid extras to it and those are all clearly listed as well. The bottom grid is filled out with accurate technical information and a few minor pieces of production information. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
Using the bright and bouncy opening music here, the original Anime 18 menus have a fun little that fits the show nicely with bright colors and little circles showing pieces of the anime running in it. This was definitely one of the cuter menus I've seen from them, which is amusing since it's a hentai release. Selections are quick to access and moving between the menus is nice and fast as there are no transition animations. The layout is pretty standard CPM style, so if you've seen one disc you know how to get around it.
Hentai releases usually get shafted when it comes to good extras, but La Blue Girl manages to rate better. We get some good storyboard to animation sequences as well as some great pieces in the art gallery, such as the original cover art from the Japanese releases, but the real coup is the audio commentary track with Maeda and Ikeda. Listening to these two talk about their works and hentai releases in general as well as comics and perceptions of the show is fascinating. I believe it's Maeda who reveals that as he's watching this, it's the first time he's seen it without mosaic and both he and Ikeda feels it takes away from the viewers imagination. Note to CPM: American audiences want no mosaics! This is a great commentary track and one I was really surprised to get. Both men are fascinating to listen to with their history in the field and in manga as well.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After doing a rather quick viewing of the original La Blue Girl series over a couple of months through the Critical Mass Video release, we're now thrown into the shorter sequel series La Blue Girl Returns. The original six part OVA series did well enough to go that length and then to spawn a few more by the folks at Green Bunny. This animation studio was definitely doing some strong work at the turn of the century with bright, colorful and fun shows that mixed in a whole lot of different sexual elements. La Blue Girl has always been about tentacles but it went about it in a fun way in order to draw in more people that might have been put off otherwise.
La Blue Girl Returns continues the tradition we saw in the previous one by bringing in a new demon race, one older than the Shikima, in the Mahoroba. Led by Kocho, this small but determined race of demons is set to seek out the Shikima, eliminate them, and rule the entire universe to atone for the pain and suffering they've been dealt over the centuries and millennia.
These new demons have one advantage for the viewer, and that's the simple fact that they're a lot more attractive than the Shikima demons outside of Miko and her mother. These demons are done up in a butterfly motif, which when fully 'blossomed', have some of the best looking designs I've seen. The massive multicolored wings are just gorgeous combined with the digital painting and the characters looks themselves. It just screams high quality here.
Of course, being based on butterflies also means we get them to have scenes of change from one form to another, which gives them some rather mean and nasty demonish bug looking moments. This happens during the series when the two who are acting as the main breeders bring various girls from Earth to act as incubators of sorts for their brood. These scenes get a bit disturbing, as I've always found those stomach bursting pieces to be. Too many memories of enema's in anime.
In order for Kocho and her single male attendant to take over the universe, they have to dethrone the Shikima king, i.e. Miko's father. Kocho tries to steal the seal case from Miko which will let her cross over but has little luck. Miko ends up forgetting about this rather close call attack when she and Nin-nin get back home and her sister's fiance Michael has arrived. He's a western music producer who she met not long ago and quickly agreed to marry. Things move fast to the evening where he's making his move on her while Miko tries to sleep next door.
While Miko tries to cover her ears and tries to sleep, she finds Nin-nin peeping next door. After the two climax, Michael begins to morph and we find him to be the other Mahoroba working with Kocho. He manages to acquire the seal case and heads off to Kocho and those with her, and the subjugation of the Shikima world begins.
That's the simple set up of the show, which brings the majority of the show off into the Shikima realm where Miko and Nin-Nin fight against the Mahoroba as they grow fast in power and win over the Shikima after deposing of the King and his wife Maria. Miko does eventually get help from Yaku (mm, green hair) and Fubuki who arrive in the realm and work on different Mahoroba. There's plenty of good sex scenes throughout and Miko reveals a few new powers that will alternately cause you to laugh and to cringe in pain if you're male.
And for fans of Nin-Nin, he gets lucky this time at last and with full consent. Of course, he's a little' fast. Avoid the dub for this at all costs though, his voice completely makes the show unwatchable. The women do a good job overall in their roles and the few men that have grunting roles do pretty good as well. But oh man, Nin-Nin just sounds like a muppet on helium.
As much as I did like the original series, there's a little something extra about this one that appealed more. The better animation certainly helped but also the creativeness of the designs and the general appeal of butterfly women that spread their wings. La Blue Girl Returns is a good follow-up to the original series without being reliant on it, though it does help to know it. The animation is gorgeous, the plot actually makes sense and the character designs are fantastic. This is good hentai, and hearing the men behind it talk about it in the commentary track only makes it far more interesting. I'm looking forward to finishing out this re-viewing session again with the next and final volume. And still always holding out hope for more new material even ten years later.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Art Gallery, Commentary, Storyboards
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.