Samurai XXX - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D+

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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: Kitty Media
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Samurai XXX

Samurai XXX

By Chris Beveridge     December 28, 2004
Release Date: June 15, 2004


Samurai XXX
© Kitty Media


What They Say
Feudal Japan was a land beset with warfare and strife. Families were torn asunder and siblings were divided by conflict and chaos. Matagoro Yoshimura has been hired by the feudal lords to seek out a treasure of incredible wealth - but there's a catch... the only way to find this cache is by gathering the pieces of the map that have been hidden on the backs of female ninja scattered throughout the land. The only time these hidden maps will reveal themselves is when the ninja carrying it is in the throes of passion. Is Yoshimura "up" to the task of putting together the puzzle pieces and finding the treasure?

The Review!
In order to reclaim honor for their family, Matagoro must find five female ninjas and bring them to ecstasy so that they can locate the real hidden treasure.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix on it is pretty much as expected with a hentai release which means it's a pretty full sounding mix that's center channel based. Dialogue comes across well and the music makes use of the stereo channels but mostly we get a simple and clean mix that's problem free. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2003, the transfer for this two OVA episode series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer itself looks quite good other than a slight bit of aliasing here and there and some slight cross coloration in a few scenes but nothing that really stands out, mostly due to all the suppression built into both the monitor and player. The colors in the show look good through and maintain a solid feel but a couple of scenes, generally the sex scenes it seems that take place indoors, tend to look a bit softer than the scenes around it.

Packaging:
Using some very good looking detailed artwork of a pair of the ninjas from the show, the front cover does a cute job of mimicking the Samurai X logo and looking pretty lusty in general. The designs look good and it definitely could be a crossover title if there wasn't, well, actual sex inside. The back cover has another shot of really detailed artwork of one of the girls that just looks great but as you can tell by the screenshots next to it, the show itself isn't quite so good looking. A decent summary is mixed between the two layers of images and the bottom is the usual array of production and technical information. The insert provided has another nice illustration piece with the chapter listings next to her while the reverse side is just boxart advertisements.

Menu:
Going with a simple menu as most hentai releases do, it's a static image of the one of ninjas that Matagoro faces during the course of the show and pretty much a use of some of the artwork from the cover though with a bit brighter color it. A brief bit of instrumental music plays along to it and the menu is very simple and easy to navigate. The disc did correctly read our players' language presets and the access times are nice and fast with quick loading menus.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Feudal era anime series in general do pretty well and have a fair number of basics to them that transcend each of the series. When it comes to the hentai versions, they usually go by much the same but they're a bit, er, looser with what they have to go by. While most regular series try to play by the times and dress their characters up appropriately, the hentai series tend to have their female ninjas dressing in rather loud and lavish outfits that aren't all that functional. Easy to remove, of course. Functional, not so much.

Samurai XXX takes place during this feudal era and plays out just like the PC game it's probably based on. Even more so than a lot of other game to hentai conversions, this one just screams it. You can practically envision the dialogue bubbles coming up whenever these characters speak and the exact same words showing up in text there. We're introduced to young Matagoro, a samurai whose not all that good at being a samurai (but seems to have been able to kill one or two of them as he then goes to sleep with their wives to console them as we see at the start). The family line isn't all that respected within the lands that they're part of but all of that is about to change.

With the return of a spy who does shortly after imparting his knowledge, the Takigawa territory contains a treasure within it that could help fund the lord here that would help end the war that they're involved with very quickly. The problem is that the spy died without really being able to properly verify his story, particularly since it's riddled with some strange ideas. The map to the treasure was found, but in order to hide it even better so that his lord could have it, the spy had it burned into the backs of five young women. But it only appears on their backs when they climax. Such tales don't impress those in the lords' court, but Matagoro's father has heard of such methods before and decides to send his well endowed but shoddy son off to find it, even though the first warrior he meets would probably kill him just by looking at him.

So as it goes, Matagoro and his massive flesh sword go off into the Takigawa territory to find each of these women. He's also got a secondary goal of finding his long lost sister who was stolen in broad daylight by ninjas over ten years ago. Well, she's not really his sister as they're not blood relatives, which means you can see where that's going to go once he finds her. As he travels, he ends up coming across each of the women and through various non-lethal methods, is able to take them down and then go down on them in one fell swoop. Some are fairly innocent, such as the woman who has never been with a man, some are weird such as the woman with flowers instead of pubic hair, but overall they're fairly uninteresting in nature and their performances are weak and unappealing.

A lot of that comes down to the poor animation in this. A lot of the character animation looks very flat and like it's really on top of the backgrounds. And some of the background movements are so funny that it's amazing they had the gall to even do it. But when it comes to the characters, the real culprit is that the character designs for the women in general just aren't appealing on almost any level. And when you have an uninteresting character like Matagoro whose fleshy friend is just silly looking at times, well, ok, more silly looking than it is in reality and in other hentai shows, you find yourself rolling your eyes more than anything else.

In Summary:
While a lot of hentai series are plenty predictable, this one projects so hard that it's ridiculous. Between that and the uninteresting character designs, the overly simplistic storyline and the bland sex scenes, Samurai XXX just doesn't cut it with me. There's a lot of good hentai out there and a lot of really awful hentai out there, but it's the below average stuff that hurts the worst since the really awful stuff tends to at least be funny. This is just an hour of attempted mediocrity and coasting on its source material.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, 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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