School of Darkness Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: NuTech Digital, Inc.
  • MSRP: 59.98
  • Running time: 140
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: School of Darkness

School of Darkness Box Set

By Chris Beveridge     September 05, 2003
Release Date: June 27, 2003


School of Darkness Box Set
© NuTech Digital, Inc.


What They Say
Volume 1: Yuko and her boyfriend Taki are having problems. Taki’s abusive and cruel nature gets to the point that it pushes Yuko into the arms of her best friend Ayano! Experiencing pleasure and lust of unimaginable proportions, she finally seems to have found some comfort... until the dark secret of her new lover’s research project comes out into the open. An aged and evil presence seeking resurrection... waiting to sexually torment and abuse the women of the world. Can such a force be subdued, and if so... by what means? A story filled with horror and mystery, you’ll be sure to enjoy this visual feast filled with red-hot sex and nightmarish imagery...

Volume 2: School can be pretty exhausting, especially if that school is the School of Darkness! Shiori, Kyoko, Yuko and Akemi decide that the best escape from the "daily grind" would be to go on a camping trip with their teachers, Ms. Yayoi Mizuno and her fiance. Nature, in all its beauty and tenderness, sets the perfect scene for some hardcore, pleasures of the flesh! The lustful moans echo in the night sky until interrupted when a sudden and fierce storm tears the campground apart! Without shelter, the group is forced to take cover in the nearby forest... completely unaware of the terrifying horrors that await them...

Volume 3: The students, separated from their teachers, find themselves exhausted and hungry. With the dark forest looming in all directions, they feel it would be best to split into pairs and search for shelter and provisions. Unfortunately, the trouble for these students has just begun... Akemi and Yuko, alone with each other once again, decide that it would be a good time to go skinny-dipping - once again sharing in the passions of each other’s body, and Kyoko finds herself in a "good position" to gain some "extra credit" with her teacher’s fiance. True evil, lurking just below the surface, will soon be revealed... Pulse-raising sex and unspeakable horror await you in the shocking and final episode of School of Darkness!

The Review!
A single volume and an unrelated two part series grouped together under the school banner, School of Darkness brings us back to the mid 90’s with its look at tentacle hentai and mostly bad looking character designs.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. As with other hentai of a similar nature, the show is essentially dialogue driven and uses primarily the center channel. In this respect, things are nice and clear and undistorted. The show makes good decent of directionality across the forward soundstage with the lightning effects and other incidental sounds.

Video:
The transfer for this series falls more into the acceptable category. Colors are good throughout, backgrounds are nice and solid, but there’s cross coloration lightly throughout the entire show. There is a fair amount of aliasing throughout the episodes but there’s also some dust, dirt and nicks visible in some areas.

Packaging:
Released in three keepcases inside a simple cardboard box, each volume features artwork related to the individual episode, usually some form of half naked woman with tentacles reaching around them. The cover artwork tends to look much better than the show designs themselves. The covers are for the most part pretty bright in terms of the character artwork and look great. The box set itself uses artwork from the second volume on its primary panel while the back of the box details each of the volumes and provides cover art for them. The front covers look pretty good, though things are pretty busy looking with the inclusion of the big uncensored lines and bars. The back covers show off some animation shots from each show and have a good summary of each episode. Features and technical information is nicely listed as well. As with all NuTech releases to date, there is no insert included.

Menu:
The menu layouts for these volumes are fairly similar across all three, where you have part of the front cover artwork used in the foreground as a still while the background has clips from the show playing. With little on the disc and simple menus, it’s quick and easy to navigate with fast load times for the submenus.

Extras:
The only extra included here is a two minute long video gallery that shows various stills from the episodes to music.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The School of Darkness set of episodes goes back to a time when Pink Pineapple was putting out quite a number of different shows. While still trying to appeal to the growing demand for the tentacle series, they were also continuing to release a number of more comedy oriented hentai titles that were bringing in some casual mainstream fans. The animation style for both types is fairly consistent, though some of the designs in this time period aren’t as good as they could be.

Some of the themes cross over into the episodes here. The first volume is a pretty straightforward show, where we’re introduced to a school teacher who is having trouble getting rid of a former boyfriend who thinks he still owns her. After one bad incident, she visits a fellow female teacher who is studying an ancient artifact scroll. Cutely enough, the scroll is shaped in the form of a penis and is made supposedly of demon skin. Yoko, the abused teacher, offers to take the scroll and do some research on it for her friend while she catches up on other areas of it.

Unfortunately for artifacts like this, there isn’t any label that says “not for private use”, though you think common sense would win. When Yoko is visited by her sadistic former boyfriend again, he sees the artifact and decides to use it on her. Afterwards, it basically comes to life and burrows its way into her, taking over her mind and body. Yoko then goes on a series of sex scenes that end with mummified bodies of men since she absorbs their energy. Yoko’s relationships with others, such as teachers and friends, begins to suffer as men and boys begin to disappear from the school, but Yoko is just working her way up to going after one young female friend that she can use her new form to impregnate.

It’s a fairly decent title, but much like the other episodes in this box set, the character designs aren’t all that appealing. Yoko herself doesn’t look all that hot and she has the bulk of the scenes. The students don’t make out much better between either gender. The designs are slightly better in the subsequent episodes, but that’s pretty much damning it with faint praise.

The second volume has a bit more comedy to it, some intended and some not. It takes the form of a group of teachers and students out camping in the forest and plays around with that concept, having various people going after each other. What proves to be really dangerous is that there’s a gigantic pulsating vagina living hidden away in the forest that adds to the general level of horniness for people. With various strangers ending up in the area and men being unable to control themselves, there’s a whole lot of sex going on here. A good part of the beginning of the show is decent, but once the giant vagina makes an appearance, it just got me chuckling for all the wrong reasons.

The second volume follows up on the chaos of the first now that teachers and students are separated and you have girls drinking things given to them by strange men. There’s more revelations of what’s going on and why there’s such a big vagina sitting underground, but we were still shaking our heads after the first volume. There continues to be a fair amount of sex throughout it, since this episode runs fifty minutes and the previous two ran forty-five minutes each.

School of Darkness is something that’s there for those that are really hard up for more tentacle anime from an area that I think is one of the real low spots for Pink Pineapple. The standalone story has some really bad looking designs but the two part series is just too unintentionally comical at times. Your mileage may vary, but I found this set to be an easy one to pass on.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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