Ringetsu Vol. #1 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: C-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: JapanAnime
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ringetsu

Ringetsu Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     May 28, 2007
Release Date: April 23, 2007

Ringetsu Vol. #1
© JapanAnime

What They Say
A Long time ago, a curse was cast upon the Rindo family. The curse: the family could only give birth to boys. The only way to temporarily lift the curse was to have a child with someone from the Hizuki family. Once the curse was lifted, it would haunt the family again every 3rd generation. Many years have passed and now, Naoto Rindo will be the unfortunate one. His former fiancé from the Hizuki family has passed away due to a tragic accident and now he must impregnate one of the other four girls from the Hizuki family, however, time is running short.

Will he be able to successfully impregnate one of the girls with a boy? Or will the curse ruin his life, forever...

The Review!
Set with the task of creating an heir before an important family ceremony in a month, Naoto must now deal with three sisters to secure his place in the family.

JapanAnime has provided only one language track with this release and it's weaker than a lot of their usual offerings. Instead of the solid 1.5 mbps PCM tracks we often get, this one is relegated to a simple 192 kbps encoding. That doesn't seem to affect things too much though as the simple stereo mix handles the dialogue for the show just fine. There isn't much in the way of ambient noise or music in general outside of a few areas so it's mostly just dialogue and screaming. The track is pretty flawless though as we didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Though fairly recent and with a good bitrate, this release suffers heavily from two problems. The first is that with all the blues and dark colors within it the color banding is very visible. So many scenes stand out because of it, even with flesh tones, that it's very intrusive. The second problem makes the first even worse in that there is a lot of blocking going on within the blue and black banding areas which has it looking alive and constantly moving. There is some general noise to these scenes but the blocking is far worse. Even from a distance of fifteen feet when watching it on a 50" set, the banding issues are just glaring. Beyond that the show looks good but these issues simply dominate it.

Ringetsu's opening cover is a good one as it features the four sisters and places them in their usual outfits as well as providing the school as a backdrop. While it isn't (yet) a school sex drama, the addition of uniforms and the school certainly hint at that. The designs look great with lots of detail and great colors as well as providing multiple designs that would appeal to most people. The back cover provides just one full color character shot, fully clothed, but hints at more in obscured designs in the blue filtered background. The summary runs through the basics of the premise and rounds it out with some production information. The bottom strip is the usually solid technical grid though I wish they'd list the aspect ratio here as well as being upfront about the audio track included. No insert is provided nor is there a reversible cover.

The menu layout is somewhat standard for JapanAnime but it does it well by having some of the best seamless transitions out there. Using the image of the four sisters standing together against a dark blue sky as clouds whisk by, there is some very good instrumental music that plays along that sets the tone just right. The moon shows up under the logo which also has the navigation strip just below it. Though it doesn't seem to fit too well with the premise as seen in this first episode it does hint at something for future episodes. Access times are nice and fast and the navigation is quick and easy to use. In the extras section there is a useful setting that lets you watch just the sex scenes in the show. With only one language track here, our presets really didn't matter much.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Milky returns with a new title, this time based on an original work by Selen. Three volumes appear to have been released as of this writing so there is some potential for a decent storyline as it progresses. The opening episode manages to set up an interesting enough premise while still making sure there is a good deal of sex and varied scenes to work through.

The series revolves around a young man named Naoto Rindo whose family is quite wealthy. One of the things the family does is every third generation there is a ritual to ensure their prosperity. That ritual has now fallen to Naoto but he's coming up a little short on it. The problem is that he needs to have an heir sired by the time the ceremony starts, something he was intent on doing up until his fiancé died on him. The family patriarch has told him that if he doesn't get this accomplished soon he'll be exiled from the family. Things have gone so far as to have his sister-in-law, Yuiko, service him herself. As much as the two have tried to conceive however, they've failed repeatedly. With only a month to go, Yuiko has made an offer that he wants to refuse but can't because of the family.

As it turns out, the Rindo family has taken care of Yuiko's sisters for quite some time, setting them up in a respectable home with everything that they need. They've been well cared for and Yuiko has done her part by her marriage into the Rindo family. But now the patriarch is calling in old favors and has decided to send Naoto to live with the three sisters for the next month in order to impregnate one of them. Naoto isn't keen on the idea, he's still grappling with the death of his fiancé, but the situation has him in a bind. Even worse, all three of the sisters are pretty attractive in their own ways. Yuiko's pleadings with them don't seem to matter much but they cannot refuse Naoto living there since the place technically isn't theirs to begin with.

Naturally, sex ensues. It wouldn't be an adult title without it. The three sisters are an interesting group. The eldest, Shino, is working in the school where the other two attend and she flat out has refused to have anything to do with Naoto. The next in line is Ayumi, a quiet and somewhat shy girl who is plenty attractive but doesn't have much to say. The amusing character is the youngest, Mizuna, a bookworm who recites off things she's read in relation to conversations she doesn't really participate in. She's socially awkward at best but in the end none of them are like Yuiko. With the pressures that are on him it doesn't take long for Naoto to lose a bit of reason and start making advances on the two sisters that do remain in the house.

With a couple of scenes that include Yuiko, there is a good deal of sex to be had in the twenty-seven minutes that the episode actually runs. All of the women are attractive in their own way as each of them provide different basic archetypes in the genre. The one that stands out a bit more is Mizuna because of how she deals with the situation in treating it as another learning experience that's simply outside of the book. Her almost observational method of getting into the act is amusing to watch, mostly because it slowly begins to break down as Naoto helps her understand what the release is like. Each of the designs is attractive and the actual sex scenes work out pretty well in terms of both diversity and animation. The first round of the storyline sets things up nicely and provides a lot to work with in terms of characters and situations.

In Summary:
While there are issues with how the show looks, overall it was a rather enjoyable episode to watch. There isn't much in the way of repeated scenes or situations, the premise is unrealistic but handled well and the four women that are in it all have their pluses to them. The actual larger plot looks to have a bit more darkness to it but it's only very lightly touched on at this point as this episode is more focused on introducing the characters and getting them naked. In that regard it succeeds quite well and has me looking forward to seeing the next one.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI with upscaling set to 1080p, 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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