Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Anime 18
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: La Blue Girl
La Blue Girl Returns Vol. #1
By Chris Beveridge
July 24, 2002
Release Date: April 09, 2002
La Blue Girl Returns Vol. #1
What They Say
© Anime 18
From Toshio Maeda (Urotsukidoji) and Rusher Ikeda (Venus 5, Twin Angels) comes a new saga in La Blue Girl!
A deadly sex ninja, Miko deals out heavy martial arts mistreatment to any demon who threatens her! Who is the stronger sexual slayer, our hedonistic heroine, or the preternatural perverts of the underworld?The Review!
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for the La Blue Girl franchise. The original OVA release was one of the better looking hentai shows of its time, especially with something of a story, how could I pass up a 2001 sequel OVA series?Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. 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.Video:
Green Bunny’s work in the past two years has been exceptional and almost everything that’s come over has had great transfers. Overall, this release is no exception. The colors are very vibrant and vivid, practically leaping off of the screen at times without being over saturated. The only visual problem we found with the transfer comes from the cross coloration that shows up in a few areas, such as characters hair on occasion 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.Packaging:
The cover starts off good with the basis being the cover art used in Japan, but gets overtaken with the background being changed and the large logo for the show. The character art is definitely eye-catching though. The back cover provides some Shikima artwork and gives a brief rundown of what the show is like, but not these episodes in particular. There’s a good rundown of the discs features and the language formats as well. The reverse side of the clear keepcase gives us some nice black and white Miko artwork and the chapter selections for each episode. The cast listing is here as well, with yet again the Japanese cast requesting anonymity. Production credits are also found here. Menu:
Using the bright and bouncy opening music here, CPM has a fun little menu that fits the show nicely with bright colors and little circles showing pieces of the anime running in it. This is probably 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.Extras:
Hentai releases usually get shafted when it comes to good extras, but La Blue Girl seems 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)
La Blue Girl Returns is the first of two volumes of the four new episodes that are being produced. The series is still being animated in Japan so we get the first two of them here, which tales a self contained tale between them.
Bringing in a new demon race, one older than the Shikima, is 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 fiancÚ 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.
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 stunning. This is good hentai, and hearing the men behind it talk about it only makes it far more interesting. Definitely recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Storyboards,Art Gallery,Toshio Maeda and Rusher Ikeda Commentary
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.