Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Adult Source Media
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 30
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Maid In Heaven
Maid In Heaven Vol. #1
By Chris Beveridge
February 10, 2006
Release Date: February 02, 2006
Maid In Heaven Vol. #1
What They Say
© Adult Source Media
He has fantasized about having his own personal maid for what seemed like a lifetime. But he lives in a single room apartment in the big city. His meager means provide him no chances in life. So his dream ends as a fantasy. But, you never know what will happen in life.
One day, a voluptuous maid appeared in front of him. She was his childhood friend and she was looking hotter than ever. Years ago, he told her of how he fantasized about the companionship of a maid and she believed his words. Now she would come back as a gorgeous maid and reveal to him her lifelong lust for him. Accepting her wishes to become his, he would begin his dream life. How his days and nights are wilder than he could have ever imagined. He had no idea what a dirty girl she had become.The Review!
If you had a woman who was devoted to being your maid in every way, just how far would you go?Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Picking a language for this release is actually fairly difficult as there are four stereo mixes on here. The original Japanese release had two audio tracks to it. One where we get the overall shows dialogue between the characters but also a second track which was the maid's thoughts as she does the things she does. The English version provides the dual tracks as well and all four of them come across well for what they are. Each of the tracks are clean and clear and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions on any of them during regular playback.Video:
Originally released in 2005, Maid in Heaven is the second anime series encoded in HD for North American distribution. Two discs are included in the release; the HD disc which most players won't read (such as our Zenith) or it will just churn through the menus if the player can recognize a data disc (such as our Ilo DVD Recorder). Playing this disc back on our Dell XPS system gave us some great looking results but our monitor isn't calibrated for movie/film playback but rather gaming so there was some fuzziness in the backgrounds but the character animation looked fantastic. The package also includes the SD disc which is the same as their other releases and reads fine in all our players. The transfer for this release is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Green Bunny hasn't done many of these as they don't have a new opening sequence for them and instead windowbox their original logo sequence. The quality of the transfer is solid overall with great colors and a clean presentation.Packaging:
The packaging for this release is very sexy and reserved for what it is as you have the shot of Nagisa in her outfit basically on all fours looking up at you with a slight blush to her face but the most you get from it is a bit of her legs showing and a touch of her breasts as well. It's very demure, especially compared to many other adult releases, and the expression they have her using is quite enticing. It's a really good looking cover that goes with the less is more approach that works. The back cover continues the red theme from the front cover and provides a number of small shots from the show and a good summary of the relationship. The discs technical information and basic features are all clearly listed along the bottom as well. If ASM continues to do more dubs I hope that they'll start adopting a more standard technical grid though.Menu:
The menu layout uses the same artwork from the cover but lightens it up a bit with white sheets instead of red ones which allows for the menu selections on the right side to have its background blend well with it. The navigation is fairly thick as there are a lot of options available from the top page, such as the straight to the sex segment as well as playing the show via Nagisa's thoughts so it's a bit busier than normal but not unexpected considering the features available. Access times are nice and fast and the disc did correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.Extras:
The only extra included on the disc for the show itself is the photo gallery but in a nice change of pace, the bonus video that are often included on a lot of these releases actually has a selection for it to be played with subtitles now. Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Maid in Heaven is a pretty quick arrival from its Japanese release and the US release really manages to hit just about everything out of the park with it. Not only is it the first show that Adult Source Media has dubbed but it's one that they dubbed twice and have provided in HD format for those who have the playback capability on their HTPC's. Just about everything in this release is done right and matches the Japanese release quite well.
The show takes us to the small apartment that Nagisa lives and works in as a maid for her master. We never actually get his name and very early on he's insistent that she call him master so it's a moot point in their relationship anyway. The two were actually childhood friends and Nagisa had always loved him and circumstances after school appear to have set things so that she became his maid and agreed to do whatever he wanted. The master is definitely one of those guys who will, if given this chance, take serious advantage of it and have her do things that she wouldn't otherwise. But her love for him as well as the hidden desire she has to be as sexual as she is lets him get away with a lot and without any real retribution. From the moment he gets home from work, he's got her doing all sorts of things and even others while he is at work.
It's hard to say there's a real plot here as it's more of a showcase of the life of this particular maid servant in the modern day but we see the things that she goes through in order to please him. One of the first seasons has him playing with some ice – though they don't do the icicle lick trick – and he follows it up with a cucumber but he's creative in that he has her leaning over the sink and puts filled glasses on her hands so she can't move. One of the ways he controls her is by having her spend the day working in just the white smock part of her uniform and she can't wear anything else. The windows have to be open and she has to answer the door so she gets real flustered by this but aroused at the same time. Her master takes things in an amusing step further fashion by bringing her outdoors like this with a trench coat on but also putting a collar and leash on her to take her to the park. There's a slight bit of waterworks involved with this unfortunately but overall the sex scenes here are pretty good.
The show is focused on these two characters pretty much exclusively and you can see the relationship in how it works as both of them like the way their lives are like this. The characters designs are pretty good with Nagisa's being slightly above average, particularly since most of the time she doesn't seem like she's a full on ten style model that's walking around slumming it. She's definitely attractive but it's restrained and brought out by the maid uniform – if you like that kind of thing. The master character is essentially your straightforward slightly mean/perverted male lead that's got a basic kind of design to him that leans towards the evil side but not quite. Combined with the pretty good animation and overall design and layout and it's an enjoyable show to watch with very clean smooth looking material.
The gimmick I guess you could call it for this show is the two different dubs that are done for each language on here. The main show plays out normally with all the usual sound effects, music and dialogue and thoughts for each character like any other show. The secondary track takes the angle of providing the same show from the point of view of Nagisa's internal dialogue. It's a bit tricky in a few areas since she's thinking the things she's also saying at the same time but there's a lot of different dialogue that's going on here as well as she grapples with the things her master is putting her through as well as going on about just how much she's really enjoying every minute of it. It's an interesting approach and not one that you can see being done in a lot of cases but this show makes it work and work well, which definitely gives it an added bit of replay value.
The English language dub for the show is pretty good as well, though with it just being two characters essentially there isn't a lot of variety in that sense. Both of the leads do a good job though the nod has to go to the voice actress for Nagisa as she has far more to do here and manages to really make that inner dialogue track work. She's got a good voice, not too old and not too young and squeaky, to give Nagisa the kind of personality that she's old enough to be doing what she's doing and making these kinds of decisions with some experience to her life but not so old that you think she's a chain smoking woman in her forties. My only regret with the dub is that the company that produced it is not listed nor are the voice actors listed, even in mock up names that are often associated with adult releases. It's something that I've said before in other reviews in that I certainly understand the stigma of having these kinds of shows on your resume, but damnit, it's your work, be proud! In Summary:
Maid in Heaven is the start of what looks to be a fun little show with some creative touches to it that set it apart from other shows. The core material isn't anything terribly new but it's well animated, well dubbed and provided in high definition format as well. With it keeping to just the two lead characters it's a more intimate show and one that's likely good for couples who have seen a few things and may not be terribly squeamish.
Japanese 2.0 Language,Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,Photo Gallery,Bonus Video
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.