Maple Colors - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Critical Mass Video
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Maple Colors

Maple Colors

By Chris Beveridge     November 01, 2006
Release Date: October 31, 2006


Maple Colors
© Critical Mass Video


What They Say
The new transfer student, Yoshijiro, fits right into class 2-B - the biggest collection of rejects, losers and weirdoes the Academy has ever seen! But his loser status is about to be upgraded to top dog. On his very first day, he manages to feel up his new teacher, have sex with a busty brunette in the bathroom, and even catch a peepshow with the school slut as she goes all the way with her latest boy toy!

But this newly elevated stud is about to meet his match in the bossy, blonde-haired beauty Mirai. Not only does this hot little firecracker carry around a baseball bat, but she isn't afraid to use it! She orders Yoshijiro to rally all the students of 2-B in order to prove that they're more than just useless losers. How? He's going to have hot, wild sex with every girl in the class until they're willing to join Mirai's cause!

The Review!
When a new student gets assigned to class 2-B, it doesn't take long before he realizes he's in a group of very strange people.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Similar to most other adult shows, the included stereo mix is decent but unexceptional as it deals with a mostly dialogue oriented work. There's some minor incidental music here and there and the usual sound effects but nothing that comes anywhere close to challenging things. The English language mix is essentially the same and it comes across well. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2005, the transfer for this two episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. In general this is a decent looking transfer but there is a definite softness to it that causes some fuzziness in a number of scenes. Some of the softness is definitely intentional by the design and color choices but some of it doesn't as it causes the fuzzy look. In general, colors look good and solid without much in the way of noise or minor blocking and aliasing as well as cross coloration are minimal. The general softness of the show is a bit off-putting at times since it's a show you would think should look much sharper and more vibrant.

Packaging:
One of the more appealing covers to come out this fall for the adult releases, it's got a great looking shot of Mirai waking from a nappy on her bad as her school uniform is falling open as well as her bra. The colors and design just look great and it really plays up that entire innocence factor and runs with it. The back cover is nicely laid out and designed as it has a large background image of Mirai under a tree with leaves falling that adds to that whole air of innocence. The top has a small strip of shots from the show and the summary covers the premise quite well. Add in a good looking technical grid and a listing of the discs features and this is a very consumer friendly package.

Menu:
The menu for this is rather barebones as it takes the image of Mirai from the back cover and has it on a rather bland background along with the logo. Adding in a bit of the bouncy music from the ending sequence helps a bit but with the basic background it feels weak compared to some of their other titles. There isn't much on the disc beyond the show but the extras and setup are easy to navigate and the layout simple to use. Access times are solid but unfortunately the disc didn't read our presets and instead defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles.

Extras:
The extras are fairly standard for a Critical Mass adult release in that we get an art gallery from the show as well as an all too brief dub outtake section.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Maple Colors is the latest entry in the school setting genre and it's one that does seem to play a little differently than a lot of other shows. While most shows would be able to remove the sex from them and have some sort of barely passable storyline left that could be used, Maple Colors is the kind that you imagine would be able to carry it off a fair bit better because of some of the details and secondary bits that add to the premise.

We're introduced to Yoshijiro, a new transfer student who has come to the Academy. He's got something of a record behind him but he straddles the line with his looks between being a decent guy and something of a bad guy. It all depends on how he carries himself and his smile. His arrival in the new school has him trying to get a feel for the power status struggles that exist and he runs up against the head of the class pretty quickly. His first morning there in fact has him getting amusingly close to one of the teachers, a woman who just laughs at the way her student fondles her by accident, but he also manages to catch one of the girls of his grade getting seriously screwed in a classroom. She actually sees him watching and is more turned on by it and then hunts him down later so that she can have him for herself. He gets luckier in his first day than most students do in their entire scholastic career.

Yoshijiro's time there doesn't go completely smoothly though and his introduction to the student government body as well as the school management are very aware of his rough and tumble past, labeling him essentially as a loser and a delinquent. He's not all that happy about it, especially since he's getting called on the carpet the same time as busty blonde Mirai, a real outgoing type who overreacts quickly and easily. When she brings him to their new class, 2-B, he realizes that the entire class is made up of losers, the kind of students that get shoved out of other classes. One of them is even an alien. The entire thing just puts him in a bad state of mind but along with Mirai's nature has her rallying Yoshijiro and the rest of the class to trying to break out of their loser status.

Of course, not everyone is interested in this and just wants to get by and out of school as quickly as possible. But Mirai is the type that will force her will on others and use them by any means to achieve her goals. The best tool she has, particularly now that Yoshijiro has achieved some notoriety because of his sexual escapades, is to set him about to seducing the women in the class to supporting Mirai. With his reputation already in a good place, it's all he needs to approach a lot of them and he starts working his way down the list of strange and unusual classmates so he can get in their panties.

Maple Colors is the kind of show that if you took the sex out of it, you'd still have something of an interesting cast of characters to utilize for standard school adventures and storylines. From the darkly plotting class president who has it in for Yoshijiro to the cute alien girl or the famous celebrity student, it feels like the cast is a bit more fleshed out in stereotypes that would allow it to expand nicely if given the situation. That gives this show a bit more of a quirky flavor that helps it but something about the way the plot plays out here just feels disjointed and I can't quite put my finger on why.

That said, the sex scenes for it are actually quite a bit of fun. While we do get more of the younger and somewhat more innocent looking character designs, they're pretty well done and the look attractive for the most part. They're more rounded and have a much smoother feel to them but part of this isn't quite as good as it could be because of some of the video issues, which at times even gives it a bit of a double lined look. The sex scenes are a fair bit of fun and they make good use of the school setting for them though there is some minor scatological stuff included here. The biggest plus to the show in terms of its character designs and sex scenes is that there is a good amount of variety to it, you're not watching the same two people for the entire show or the same situation repeating itself or taking forever to get over with.

In Summary:
Maple Colors has some potential to it but with only the two episodes made and no idea if more are coming, it does definitely feel incomplete. Adult anime fans are certainly used to that however and we do get two fairly fun episodes that have a good deal of appeal. It may be a bit more plot heavy than some folks care for and the younger characters could be problematic at times but this fits in well within the school genre and does a decent job of telling the tale it wants to do, incomplete as it is.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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