Roommate Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • 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: Roommate

Roommate Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     September 14, 2006
Release Date: July 05, 2006


Roommate Vol. #1
© JapanAnime


What They Say
Suguru was madly in love with his girlfriend, but was dumped by her when she learned that he was lying about his acceptance to her College only to have sex with her. Now studying alone in this big city, he tries his best to get accepted to her college. However, he soon finds himself meeting new people and living with an unexpected roommate? How will Suguru be able to study with the distractions around him? Can he beat the temptation and win his love interest back? Based on Kaoru Yunagi's popular manga-comic, JapanAnime proudly presents to you The Roommate series!

The Review!
After blowing things with his girlfriend, Suguru finds himself bouncing from one woman to another.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. With this release having only one audio track, there isn't much of a choice. The mix for it is decent though as it handles the stereo tracks well and without any noticeable problems. Outside of the minor music throughout it, there isn't a lot of directional activity but the dialogue is solid and when the stereo channels are used to effect it sound good. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this show is a bit of a mixed bag but some of it does appear to be artistic in choice. When watching the episode, the first scene between Suguru and his girlfriend has a very soft feel to it. But as this is her first time and it's filled with light colors and whites for the room, it's intended to have something of a magical dreamlike feel. Once it gets to the outside or some of the digital scenes, the colors are much sharper and more vibrant. There's a touch of cross coloration in a scene or two but beyond that the transfer looks good with mostly solid colors and no visible aliasing.

Packaging:
Cover design and artwork from JapanAnime has been strong for awhile now but this release just feels like it's taking it up a few more notches to a better level. Using a clear keepcase which is a real plus, the front cover has the mild version of the artwork where the character's shirt is falling off of her and we see her bra and panties. This is all modified from the original which has a far skimpier version that you can see on the reverse side. I'm a bit surprised they made a mild one since the original is racy but doesn't feature nudity. The back cover has a number of shots from the show with a decent summary of the premise. The rest of it is a mixture of the Japanese production credits and the excellent technical grid along the bottom. JapanAnime's covers are almost always very clean and easy to read and simply have a great set of production values about them and this one is no exception.

Menu:
The menu for the release uses the original character artwork from the front cover with the same kind of blue background though it's more spackled in a sense. It looks really good with the combination of colors though a bit softer than the cover artwork is itself. The layout is standard but it uses a good font and mixture of whites and pinks to accent it. Navigation is easy and the player preset issue is a non-issue due to the lack of an English language dub. Similar to other JapanAnime releases, there's also a sex-only viewing feature to the release which can be found under the extras.

Extras:
Extras with adult releases continue to be slim but JapanAnime releases go the extra mile in a good way. While the on disc extras is just a gallery of shots from the show, they provide an iPod and PSP version of the show as well for those that want to have portable porn.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Roommate is the latest show from Milky to make its way over here and as of this writing its up to two episodes, though of course we only get the first one here. As a nice change of pace, we're dealing with actual college age students this time around so there isn't any kind of foolish wink and nod stuff going on with the translation like we see in other titles.

In Roommate, we're introduced to Suguru who is finally reaching a big goal of his. He's finally having sex with his girlfriend! She had agreed to it with him if he managed to get into the same college as him and now that that's happened and they're getting ready for that big change in their lives, she's thrown her clothes to the wind and has let him have his way with her. Suguru is male however and he succumbs to one of the worst things; after they have sex, he talks honestly with her and tells her that he didn't get into college and lied about it so that they could have sex. With that, she tosses him out and breaks up with him.

Suguru is really in things in a bad way now but he doesn't at least feel suicidal, which is what he believes a girl he sees walking in the river to be. Being a good guy even if a foolish one, he races in to stop her but it turns out that she's lost something in it that's valuable to her. So he helps her out with that only to be seen with her later on by his former girlfriend Hazuki, which just makes it all the worse. Events from there spiral as he now finds himself completely down and out of luck and even laying in a pile of trash. His sad state is made better by an older woman who finds him and brings him home, cleans him up and makes him feel real good. Real good. But now Suguru has to get his life back in order, doing cram school, work and a place to live. During all of these events he meets other women who are completely open to having sex with him and he can't seem to turn any of them away.

Adult anime isn't meant to be taken seriously most of the time so this is your basic wish fulfillment show and it does it well, even if some of the sex scenes are a touch short. It's enjoyable by being all consensual and free of scatological material but also because in general it doesn't treat the sex as being wrong, violent or creepy. Suguru isn't the brightest tool in the shed nor the biggest but he gets to fool around with some attractive characters in somewhat simple but enjoyable scenes. The variety between the girls is good as well and I'll even say that the relatively short nature of some of the scenes is more reflective of reality than most men might care to admit. The production values for the show are decent though it has its short cuts (and you have to love it when the breasts don't just jiggle, they practically take off into the air on their own) but it's not one where you feel like you're watching a series of stills or repeated shots over and over.

In Summary:
Roommate is the ideal kind of entry level show for new fans or for those looking for something a bit simpler and free of dark material. The plot is paper thin as it's just meant to string together the sex scenes but it doesn't promise to be more than that and it's effective. The production values of this release overall are up over some of JapanAnime's earlier titles but they still have problems with their subtitles at times, though far less than they used to. But when the first line of subtitles has a mistake it makes you cringe that it wasn't caught or fixed. Regardless, Roommate was a fun experience and I'm looking forward to the second episode to see what other fun is in store for Suguru.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD 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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