La Blue Girl: Rivalry - Mania.com



DVD Review

Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: C
  • 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: Rivalry

La Blue Girl: Rivalry DVD Review

By Chris Beveridge     March 03, 2010
Release Date: February 02, 2010


La Blue Girl: Rivalry
© Critical Mass Video

Miko gains a new rival when Fubuki comes to town in order to take over the Shikima world.

What They Say
Supernatural sex ninja Miko Mido lives to punish perverted demons, but even hell has no fury like another woman. Now Miko finds herself under the spell of a cunning competitor, a raunchy rival who burns with jealousy over Miko's expert skills in love. She'll stop at nothing to steal the secret of the Sex Craft, including hypnotizing Miko to obey her every whim. If Miko can't overcome this magic, she'll suffer ultimate humiliation at the hands of a woman who knows no mercy.

Contains episodes 5-6.

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 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:
Familiar artwork is what we get for the third volume of the series which isn't a surprise. The artwork itself doesn't really relate to the episodes at hand but it has Miko being accosted by tentacles as her clothes are torn away. It's definitely an image I like, even if 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 left is a screen capture of a Fubuki in her uniform looking back over her shoulder. 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 another part of the BAAF interview with Maeda and Ikeda where they spend almost four minutes talking about aspects of their creation. 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)
The third set of episodes which brings the original series to a close is what makes up this volume and it's a set that really feels like it's a stretch. There's something fun about the show up until this point with the sex and the demons but once you introduce mechanical demons of sorts from another world, well, it starts to move even further into camp than it had before. This set of episodes also introduces a new character as a rival for Miko that's completely unappealing on just about every level I think.

La Blue Girl has two distinct stories with the two episodes that are here. The first episode introduces us to Fubuki, a young woman with a harsh look who has come to town to stalk Miko for awhile. She stalks her well enough that she even becomes something of a phantom transfer student at school so she can become closer to Miko on a daily basis. When the two end up sparring, both with the martial arts and the sexual arts, it gets pretty intense since both of them have the ability to bring a little maleness out in themselves and use it against each other to good effect. The main fight sequence between them is good, one of the better ones of the series in general, but it's all done so that Fubuki can steal the scroll from her and head to the Shikima realm.

The Shikima realm aspect of the episode is decent as we learn that Fubuki's real goal is to take on the King himself and replace Maria as his wife so she can gain massive amounts of power. The Shikimi king has a certain amusement about him with this and takes her on easily, and that leads to the next round of challenges when Miko finally makes her way there and understands the reality of the situation. It's interesting to see a challenge made to Maria specifically for her position, and that Fubuki doesn't really understand the relationships at work here to know what she's really barging into. It's the better of the two stories but Fubuki really is unappealing, especially as her design makes he seem more rough and coarse than other characters we've seen.

The second episode, the sixth in the series, takes us to the next level of the series as Miko starts having dreams of being accosted by mechanical demons. It turns out it's more a premonition than anything else as there is a group from a far off world that wants to conquer the Shikima realm and has decided to start doing just that on Earth first. Miko is quickly aided by Fubuki and Nin-nin to help stave them off but then it gets more weirdly complicated as the reality about many of those mechanical demon warriors are mostly just mercenaries than anything else and they find a good method of payment to switch to the other side. Introducing these characters came across really poorly as they look bad, they add an air of unreality to the show that shouldn't be there and the scenes with them in sexual encounters has no real eroticism to it at all.

In Summary:
With the fifth and sixth episodes of the series, La Blue Girl jumps the shark about as close as it has. The animation starts to look like it's hitting a budget more, the character designs for new characters lacks the smoothness we saw with the earlier ones and it doesn't seem as vibrant. The story itself, never a big selling point, feels even more unfocused this time around and more like it's just grabbing at straws to put something together. I liked revisiting this series but I know I didn't care for these episodes the first time around and I still don't find much to like about them this time either. It's definitely not sending the show off on a high note.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Interview with Toshio Maeda and Rusher Ikeda, Art Gallery, Comics

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.

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