Necromancer Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: JapanAnime
  • MSRP: 24.99
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Necromancer

Necromancer Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     November 06, 2006
Release Date: July 31, 2006


Necromancer Vol. #1
© JapanAnime


What They Say
A brother and his sister are madly in love with each other. However, their love would not last forever. Suffering from an illness that can not be cured, the brother does everything he can to help his sister. Things were going well until one day he meets a girl. With her introduction, things quickly changed for him and suddenly his sister's illness takes a turn for the worse and eventually leads to her death. However, his love for her is far too great to forget his memories of her. Feeling that god has betrayed him, he goes against his teachings and turns to a greater power...the demon! The demon agrees to help him out in exchange for a virgin girl's blood...his new friend.

The Review!
In summoning a demon to help his sister, Lester finds that he didn't get quite what he bargained for but boy is he going to pay for it.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, and because it's the only language on here, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for this OVA is in good shape though it's not one that will set the world on fire as it is your basic work for an adult release. Beyond a few background noises and some of the instrumental music, there isn't much in the way of directionality across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is clean and clear however and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2005, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Necromancer is the kind of show where there are some nice moments in how things stand out, certain character designs or "talking head" moments that look really strong, but the rest of the show is fairly average in what it's doing. The transfer for it looks to be in good shape with no damage to the materials and a pretty clean and sharp look. Though there are a few moments that look a touch soft because of the situation, the show overall is very smooth and good looking. Colors are solid, there's very little noise noticeable in backgrounds or large areas of a single color and problems like aliasing or cross coloration are non-existent.

Packaging:
The cover art for this release is a very strong piece that has a great looking image of a woman in an attractive outfit coming undone that shows off some skin without being too revealing. Accenting it in a good looking border and using a very dark background so that the character art stands out, it's a piece that I think just clicks and looks very appealing. The back cover is similar as it brings in the demon character and lets her background be a mixture of blacks and reds that looks very good. The summary is a pretty big piece that covers the premise well enough while the bottom is the standard and very useful technical grid. No insert is included with this release nor is the cover reversible.

Menu:
The menu layout is a very simple piece as it has a background that shows off a fantasy-oriented dungeon with a torch that's animated in the far background with a bit of darkly sounding instrumental music playing. The discs navigation is dead center to it and there's no character artwork to be found, leaving this to be a rather dull and fairly bland looking menu. The navigation itself is straightforward and problem free though so there are no issues there. With there being only one language option here, our player presets were also a non-issue. JapanAnime's menus do continue to be strong in general as they're one of the best in doing very smooth transitions between menus.

Extras:
Other than the inclusion of an "all sex" chaptering feature and the standard and still welcome PSP/iPod options, there are no extras to be had here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Necromancer was a title that I had been looking forward to based solely on its cover art since it was something that was definitely appealing. While the actual artwork and animation in the show itself is decent at the least, with a couple of good designs here and there, the show itself is one that really left a lot to be desired. Maybe the recent run of seeing shows with older characters has colored my perspective and watching the young'n's at it again just wasn't quite the same thrill.

Necromancer kicks off with a brief but good little sex scene between two people who apparently have something to do with the show much later on. Things shift quickly to a school where mostly elite types go for their education. It's here that we get to meet the brother and sister pairing of Lester and Mith. Lester is quite the good brother in that he's doing his best to take care of his sister since she's so sick. At the school, and with the help of one of the professors, he's able to do a good bit of research on alchemy and magic in general. Lester's not exactly a standout student there but he's in the good with most of the others and there are certainly more than a few girls who would like to make him their own. But with him being as close to his sister as he is, it's hard for others to really approach him in that manner.

What Lester has been doing along with professor Olfan is working to create a homunculus into which they can save Mith, thereby transferring her out of her sickly body and into a new one. This goes heavily against the laws of the area and is brought up by a recently arrived student named Pusel, a young woman who is related to someone high in the theocracy nearby. When things go really badly for Mith, Lester is forced into action and sets about performing a demon summoning in order to save her. But like any dealing with demons, especially horny ones, there's always a price to pay. If anything, Lester certainly didn't expect the price to be having to sex up an attractive demon woman. But even then the price isn't always clear and Lester finds that there is much more involved if he wants to save his sisters life.

Necromancer for a lot of this episode is more interested in telling its story but it's a weak story and doesn't really grab you all that much. The quasi-fantasy setting isn't bad but it's the kind that I've found feels out of place in other shows since it uses a lot of modern day styles such as the school and uniforms. The way the episode is presented is also awkward with the two characters who really aren't seen again for awhile and even then one of them is basically comatose for the return. Even worse, it's the best looking character of the show. A lot of the secondary characters are fairly useless as well, such as the girl who likes Lester from afar but will easily go down on someone else for a kick. Even Pusel is fairly uninteresting with her harsh demeanor, though it does make her downfall by Lester an amusing moment.

The sex scenes for the most part mirror the character and storytelling issues. While the animation for it along with the designs are competent, they lack any real interest or punch because of the lack of connection with the characters. There are probably the "standard" amount of scenes in the show but because this feels so story centric there seems like there's more space between each of them with material that wasn't all that interesting. Some of them have their moments, such as when the demon makes her move and you get the fun of an airborne encounter, but the bulk of the scenes simply feel average.

In Summary:
Necromancer is a title that I had hoped for more from but it felt like it wasn't able to tell a properly constructed story and the one it was telling had little to really connect with. From the design side, there are some good things to be found but nothing that's really above average, never mind outstanding. Add in some standard sex sequences and a lot of dialogue that will make you roll your eyes and you're in for a pretty mild ride. Maybe it's a title that works better for people slowly getting into adult material though since it's not terribly strong or out there as some of the other shows tend to get lately. For me, this one was a title that took a bit of effort to get through.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

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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