Magical Kanan Special Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: NuTech Digital, Inc.
  • MSRP: 49.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Magical Kanan

Magical Kanan Special Box Set

By Chris Beveridge     July 28, 2004
Release Date: April 11, 2004


Magical Kanan Special Box Set
© NuTech Digital, Inc.


What They Say
Contains Magical Kanan: Summer Camp DVD volumes 1 and 2 in an Artbox!

Chihaya & friends come to the beach for summer camp. There they meet their classmate Nami Minami. She likes Natsuki, but doesn't have the courage to talk to him. As the darkness inside Nami grows, she finds an old mansion where the "Netherworld Tree" awaits her. It was the start of the incident that would rock the boat...

The Review!
Taking a fun concept and pushing it a bit further than it should go, the summer camp edition of Kanan pales next to the original series..

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The mix for it is standard fare for hentai so there wasn't much surprising about it. Dialogue is good and clean and generally center channel based. There's some use of the stereo channels for music and some of the moaning and grunting as they get creative once in awhile, but otherwise it's the usual routine. We didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released to video back in 2003, the two OVAs here suffer a fair bit in quality. While the original episodes gave more of a nod towards the more traditional animation style as opposed to digital, this one goes the other way and it's pretty heavy on the digital look and feel, from the rain to the character movements. It also introduces a number of problems to the transfer that we haven't seen on a NuTech release for awhile. Cross coloration is pretty constant throughout, usually in characters hair, there's a lot of aliasing going on and some very noticeable interlacing. Some of the mid range scenes look particularly bad when you can see where a smooth line, like an arm, now looks like it has a staircase on it. The colors look good and the vibrant palette does a good job of sprucing up the designs, but it's a small gain against so many setbacks.

Packaging:
Released on two discs inside the standard thin cardboard wrapper box, the package once more emphasizes the magical girl aspect. Each of the covers feature a shot of Chihaya and her friends, varying from summer outfits to their transformation outfits. The back of the keepcases are simple in layout with two batches of pictures that surround the brief paragraph summaries that are in the middle of the cover. The usual round of production information and the bloated features listing NuTech employs to give the illusion of things being there is along the bottom. As is standard with NuTech releases, no inserts are included in these releases. The thin cardboard box, which is little more than a wrapper really, uses artwork that wasn't used on the keepcase, showing some different shots of Chihaya as well as Natsuki. The back side provides all four summaries and a number of the photograph pictures as well.

Menu:
The menu layout uses some parts of the character artwork from their respective covers and has some obscured animation clips of the sex scenes playing in the background to part of an instrumental piece from the show. The layout is standard material for these releases with no surprises at all. The access times are nice and fast and as usual our player preset languages are ignored.

Extras:
The only included extra on each volume is a series of stills from that particular episode in a video gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a fairly entertaining and almost old school hentai release, what better way to kill much of the fun and energy of the series than to do a sequel and toss out some of the better aspects of it. Sending the girls to a summer beach camp that they're not supposed to leave, evil Seeded creatures are once more afoot and causing trouble.

Taking the girls to the camp isn't too bad of an idea since it lets things shift to bikinis and much more flesh in general, but it ends up feeling a bit forced for some reason, especially after we see things kick off with Chihaya doing a top notch job in dealing with the creatures that are still in and around Meihou city. For Chihaya, her problems at the beach really settle in once she realizes that the a new girl there, a purple haired beauty named Nami, appears to be making the moves on Natsuki. He, of course, gives in to every signal and just wants to do whatever he can to get his hands on her and that leads to him getting smacked upside the head by Chihaya.

Chihaya is also something of an object of the hunt in these episodes as Tsuyoshi really has the hots for her, whether it be from digital pictures he takes of her for him to masturbate over to telling her that he likes the fact that she's flat chested and narrow waisted while trying to soothe her. But there's something wrong with Tsuyoshi's personality beyond the norm and both he and Nami seem to be acting rather strange in general, particularly when the group investigates a nearby abandoned mansion and things get out of control. The sex scenes flow freely from some mild tentacle moments to lots of human on human traditional material.

Probably my biggest disappointment with this set beyond the mediocre storyline is the drop in quality of animation as they shifted to move obvious and cheaper digital animation. With the artifacts introduced onto the character designs that make them look bad in a lot of places to the increasingly "fake" feel of some of the shots where the characters don't look like they're really there, the shows values just didn't translate into enjoyment. They poorly layered look at times really helped to break the disbelief factor and kept taking me out of the show. All of the poor elements combined just didn't help this at all.

In what's becoming a standard complaint about NuTech's hentai titles though, I have to say that I'm becoming increasingly annoyed with their releases as they continue to cut corners. While the shows presentation and actual content is fantastic, their treatment of the subtitle track is just getting worse and worse. While the track is about 90% accurate to the original script and the English dub is being faithful while adding more vulgarities to it, the fact that the subtitle track is being timed to the English dub is making it difficult to watch these shows. Segments of nothing being said but there being subtitles are become as common as segments where there's talking but nothing subtitled. The bulk of the story gets through but when you hit these areas it takes you completely out of the show. It's extremely annoying as is the increasing number of misspellings that are cropping up.

In Summary:
While we enjoyed the original series a lot, it's obvious why this one is much shorter and I don't believe there's been any more since. Kanan's original series did a good and faithful job to the magical girl premise but this additional tale is just tacked on and misses a lot of the charms of the other one while focusing on more sexual encounters and an increase in the tentacles. For completists, they'll be disappointed but may find some good material mixed into the rough stuff here, but otherwise this is not a series that will expand the shows fanbase.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Dell W2300 23" LCD HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 Progressive Scan DVD Recorder connected via Monster component cables and using the TV speakers.

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