When his brother is away on business often, Tsutomo helps fill the need of his sister-in-law.
What They Say
Tsutomu, a young man living with his brother and brother's wife, spends most of his days helping out at the family flower shop. Unfortunately, with the head of the household away on business trips more often than not, the nights are pretty lonely for Tsutomu's sister-in-law, Mai. As she is coping with that fact in her empty bed one evening, Tsutomu ends up stumbling across the scene and helping her fulfill her womanly desires. But when Mai acts like nothing happened the next day, the frustrated Tsutomu takes matters into his own hands.
Lover-in-Law gets a solid bilingual mix for its release with both language tracks being a standard stereo mix encoded at192kbps. Kitty Media continues to get dubs for its adult releases and that side of the show pretty much mirrors the Japanese side when it comes to the technical presentation. It’s a dialogue driven show with nothing really here outside of the music to give it any life, so the standard stereo mix serves the material well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.
Originally released in 2007, the transfer for this two part OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This release has some really great looking visuals to it and the widescreen presentation only makes it better as it fills out the screen. The colors are quite varied and done in a real world style for the backgrounds while the character animation is more vibrant and fluid. The transfer captures this wonderfully as there’s really little issue here outside of some background noise in a few scenes and a touch of cross coloration for an instant or two. A lot of hentai tends to look pretty bland at best or more cartoonish than other shows, but Lover-In-Law has a very polished look to it that helps it stand out and this transfer only makes that more so.
If there’s a weak link in this release, it’s the cover artwork for it. It’s not bad, but it’s not one that really grabs me either. The front cover features the two women laying in bed, knees up in the air as their meager undergarments are coming off of them. They’ve got the blushes going on pretty fierce and the expected expressions but it just doesn’t click for me. It is nicely detailed with their garments and the bed behind them but it’s the soft nature of it that just doesn’t draw me in. The back cover is a bit better as it has Mai along the left with her outfit falling off of her a bit and a number of very good shots from the show that certainly tease. The summary covers the basics of the meager plot and who all is involved and the layout is very nicely done, though it again has that soft feeling to it. The production credits round out the bottom along with a very good technical grid that’s very clean and clear.
The menu design takes the character artwork from the front cover and puts it front and center, zoomed in to just the headshots. The artwork looks more vibrant and detailed here than on the cover and it certainly sets the mood for the show. The navigation strip along the bottom is the basics that you’d expect since there isn’t anything on the disc besides the show and some trailers for other series. Submenus load quickly and it’s easy to navigate but unfortunately the release did not read our players’ language presets and defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Every adult release is a crapshoot in a lot of ways – sometimes literally. You can’t always be sure what you’re going to get even when the plot is basic and you know it involves sex. Just like regular shows, it depends on what you’re looking for and what interests you as to whether a show will work. And sometimes it’s even what’s going on in your life that will determine whether you can watch and enjoy something. As I’ve been revisiting a lot of regular shows lately, that’s become all the more apparent.
And then sometimes you get a show like Lover-In-Law which just works on every level. It’s the right show at the right time and it’s even the right length, though I wouldn’t be adverse to more episodes if they were similar of nature. Lover-In-Law keeps things very small and informal as it introduces us to the characters. The wish fulfillment central character is a young man named Tsutomu who lives with his brother and his sister-in law, Mai. He’s a decent young guy who goes to college and helps out in the flower shop that Mai apparently owns and operates. He’s doing this more so recently since she has a recent baby and could use the help. To make things more complicated for Mai, her husband Shigeki is often away on business and can’t help out more with the baby. Tsutomu is a good guy but he doesn’t like getting burdened down by this so he’s rather happy when Mai tells him that she’s hired someone to help out.
Enter Kozue, an attractive red haired woman who is very friendly with Mai and eager to work. She’s in a similar situation to Mai in that her husband is away on business a lot and she doesn’t get much attention so she’s looking for something to fill her time. Working in the flower shop is ideal since she gets to be around flowers and people and not feel like she’s bored and cooped up in the home all the time. Everyone gets along nicely and things are going well but there’s an obvious undercurrent going on as well. When Mai drinks a bit too much and ends up a bit too hard against Tsutomu at one point, the two end up in a kiss that leads to more. With her husband away so much, her needs aren’t being met and the two have an obvious attraction.
The same can be said of Kozue when she figures out that there’s something going on between the two of them. She confides this in Mai though and Mai asks Tsutomu to take her out on a date which invariably leads to some time in a love hotel. There’s issues of jealousy raging here though, which is at least honest and truthful, even if she is sleeping with her brother-in-law while her husband is off on business. There is of course a huge amount of wish fulfillment going on here in this male fantasy, but it’s one that works rather well and with a minimal amount of drama. There’s a certain amount of openness to it that’s refreshing, especially with Mai’s reaction to the date she sets up and in Kozue’s admission to feeling neglected and alone.
As good as the story is, and it is good even if simple, it’s the sex that will make this all the better. Lover-In-Law plays it straight for the most part with nothing that’s all that out of the ordinary. There aren’t any strange fetishes here or anything hardcore in that sense, it’s just good old enjoyable sex. The only thing that stands out is the use of a remote control vibrator a few times but that’s something that’s done playfully and rather well. With nothing twisted here, it only adds to the fairly warm nature of the story and the characters. With very strong animation and character designs, these sex scenes are very erotic and wonderfully done. It’s not exactly “Beautiful and tasteful” as some might want it to be, but it has a bit more emotion and warmth to it than a lot of shows. Everything about this show clicked for me and that includes the various sex scenes between the three primary (and only) characters in the series.
Though many may disagree, there is such a thing as good porn. Very good porn in fact. Lover-In-Law isn’t Very Good Porn but it’s quite the good one, particularly for those venturing into the world of adult anime. It has very appealing character designs, it has an openness about sex and it has great production values. It may be a bit plain for those who are more hardcore and have much more intense fetishes, but this is a reminder of where many of us started when it come to the adult world of anime. Lover-In-Law is a show that reminds me that there is some very good works out there in this genre that isn’t all about abuse, power and control, but fun, enjoyable and sensual consensual sex. I don’t have anything against the former, but I’d like to see more of the latter as well. Very recommended across the board.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.