Nightmare Campus - 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: Anime 18
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 200
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Nightmare Campus

Nightmare Campus

By Chris Beveridge     September 29, 2003
Release Date: December 20, 2000


Nightmare Campus
© Anime 18


What They Say
It began with a bloody sacrificial rite designed to throw open the Gates of Hell. Dark forces descend upon 19-year-old Masao's college, and demonic entities battle in a global Armageddon! Can Masao save his campus, with the King of the Underworld bound to his mortal soul? Volumes 1-5. Warning: Absolutely not for viewer under 18 years of age; contains graphic violence and sexual situations.

The Review!
Now here's a nice full package, five episodes that run about forty minutes each, all on one disc. You get everything that's been done for this series, which is good in that you get it all and bad in that they leave you at a cliffhanger with no more produced.

Audio:
For our primary viewing, we listened to the show in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the episodes we didn't hear much in the way of problems. The show is from 1996, so there's not a lot of real use of the forward soundstage other than for the swooping music moments and the occasional ambient effect. Dialogue is clean and undistorted and overall the track sounds good.

Video:
We're talking about some variable quality here, but it's not surprising when you cram in about 3 1/2 hours of animation on one dual layered disc. The opening episode has a ton of rainbows throughout it. So much so that after watching the first episode I didn't watch the second episode for almost five months. Subsequent episodes aren't as bad, but rainbows are still prominent throughout as well as some jagged edges, notably along the reds. There's a bit of pixellation here and there and some of the backgrounds of dark blues and blacks occasionally block up and move around a bit. In the end, it's the rainbows that make a lot of this hard to watch.

Packaging:
The cover art used is a good looking piece, with a very earthy brownish red look, with a demon ravishing a young woman in a pentagram. The feel is very muted in how its done, but it works well. The back cover has a few animation shots and a very brief summary for such a long show. The reverse side covers the chapter listings and the technical information as well as providing a few black and white pictures.

Menus:
The menus are pretty simple, done up in a school theme with chalk and all, that are laid out much like all other CPM releases, so there's little to really make mention of here other than they work good and access times are fast.

Extras:
While we didn't get a chance to check out the DVD-ROM extras, we did like what we saw on the Video side with the promotional videos that show how it was marketed in Japan as well as the way the meet the cast menu gave you a chance to see both the regular and demonized form of the cast members.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A lot of excitement had been built up about Nightmare Campus in our forums among those who enjoy hentai shows, and for the most part I can see where the excitement comes from. While there are indeed a number of typical hentai demon elements here, there's also a fair amount of real style applied to the show and some deeper meanings (which I'll let this review go deeper into than my own).

The main character here is Masao, who while in the Himalaya's with his parents, watches as some unknown woman proceeds to slay his parents and then him in some ritual sacrifice of some sort. Everyone back at his school is just worried about him being away for so long, and are quite surprised when he literally appears out of nowhere onto the campus grounds.

This sets off a few alarms among some of the students. Apparently the ritual sacrifice done in the Himalaya's had opened some kind of seal and has let a massive amount of demons out. But unlike other demon shows, these demons have taken up residence in a variety of humans and this school is one of the bigger collections of them. The students who are infected find themselves with new abilities and occasionally some of them have the ability to fully transform into their demon self.

Masao's return brings the conflict among the gangs in the schools to a head until Masao ends up realizing he's infected as well, and not by just any old ordinary demon, but one of the high lord big shot muckity muck demons, Lord Esedess. He ends up in various scuffles with the gangs and eventually earns their respect and loyalty, which is something that's needed as the enemy, the Gods, are moving into the school to put their own plans into motion.

The shows style is very mixed and it works very well in its favor once you settle into it. The characters are mixed from classic 70's designs with a sleek look similar to Giant Robo, generic 90's style hentai characters that are middle of the road in terms of looks and then to the completely cartoony anime style, where characters have very angular looks and very abnormal styles. These are usually reserved for the background characters in the gangs and serves to push them as outcasts visually.

The animation using these character designs works pretty well, and there's a number of nice fluid sequences throughout. The combat between the demons and each other as well as the gods has some nicely done moments, and the animation between the characters as they go at each other is pretty well done as well. What's interesting to note is that a good number of the characters here are very average looking, which is somewhat unusual for hentai as they try to use mostly very good looking characters.

In the end, what I found really disappointing about the show is that it builds up through these five episodes and gets everything into place and then launches into the big world changing event and simply ends, with no more episodes in sight. It's fairly good up through that point, but once you hit that wall, you may feel quickly cheated without the payoff.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Japanese Promos,Meet the Cast,DVD-ROM extras


Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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