Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: C
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Anime 18
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 60
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Secret Desires
By Chris Beveridge
July 09, 2004
Release Date: June 18, 2004
What They Say
© Anime 18
The naughty love games that Midara has learned have been the source of her shame and regret, but they have also awakened in her a new, burning lust that cannot be quelled by conventional means!The Review!
A video tape that provides a window into peoples secret desires ends up in the hands of a young man with many desires?Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this release in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is typical of a hentai release with an overall full sounding feel of a center channel based mix. Dialogue and moans are clean and clear throughout and the high pitched climax sequences didn't turn scratchy at all during regular playback.Video:
Originally released in 2002, the two OVA episodes of this series from Milky is presented in their original full frame format. The look and feel of this transfer is quite good though there's some minor breakup during a few high motion sequences. The color design is pretty standard for Milky's shows and it looks good. The colors are nice and strong but not overly vibrant and out of place. Cross coloration is virtually non-existent and there's only a bit of aliasing during certain panning sequences. This is a good looking transfer overall and fairly problem free.Packaging:
Using an awful piece of artwork that doesn't even look like any of the characters in the show, we've got a simple upper body shot of a young woman that's naked with a cross pendant between her breasts as she looks almost depressed. This isn't representative of the shows animation at all and doesn't look good. The back cover has a more accurate animation shot of Yumi in her maid outfit that's next to a decent brief summary of the shows premise. The discs features and technical information is all easy to find and read. The reverse side cover has a black and white animation shot of Yuuto and Yumi going at it while the other side provides the chapters and English cast listing. It's not surprising that there's no Japanese credits for their voice cast so I don't given Anime 18 grief over that.Menu:
The main menu is a strange piece that I think is the image of the two reels inside a VHS tape rotating around with animation playing obscured underneath. The selections are set along the center and the instrumental music from the show plays along with it. The layout is straightforward and simple to use and access times are nice and fast. As is usual, selecting a language automatically starts to the show, a feature we don't like, and the disc ignored our players preset language options.Extras:
The only extra included is a video art gallery that shows various stills from the episodes.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At the time of this review, I had a lot of hentai on my shelf to watch and review. Figuring that I'd go with the one with the worst looking cover art and work my way up that way I'd not be too disappointed. Surprisingly, Secret Desires turns in a rather interesting story and plays with the characters nicely while keeping things up in the air.
The story centers around the recently graduated Yumi and Yuuto. They're the product of a new family that was created when his mother and her father got married five years ago as both were becoming teenagers. The new family got along well for awhile but things have started to fall apart recently between their parents. Yumi and Yuuto still put up brave faces and keep on with things and hope for the best. When we see them when they first meet its sweet, especially since Yumi goes on about always wanting an older brother and him with his protective feelings for her. Of course, the two are also desiring each other as is normal in any hentai series like this, but they've kept their feelings secret all this time. In fact, Yuuto even has a girlfriend in an attractive redhead named Kaori who comes from a wealthy family.
So life goes as normal as we catch up to them in the present day. Their mother is out of town on business and their father is staying overnight at a hotel as he's working late in the city. While out and about getting things, Yuuto ends up bumping into a strange woman who just as quickly disappears. He's surprised to find that she must have dropped a VHS tape but he's unable to return it. So back at the house when Yumi isn't around, he pops it in and lets it play. To his surprise, it's a video of Yumi tied to a chair with someone getting ready to do all sorts of cruel things to her. His shock when the image of the man turns out to be him snaps him back to reality and he can't believe what he's seen.
As he learns, the tape shows off the secret desires of the viewer, albeit in some strange sort of serial sexual drama out of the Taisho era I think. Each time he views the tape, he sees himself in that time period doing different things, such as learning that Kaori is his fiancée and he can only get her to be sexual by force. When others view the tape that know Yuuto, they find their own roles in the sexual drama coming out. When Yumi's friend Ruri is over, her crush for Yuuto shows through and she sneaks into his room and watches the tape. She finds herself in the drama as a fellow maid for Yuuto in that period along with Yumi and serves Yuuto's every need. Her own desires for Yuuto become quite apparent here even as this past version treats her rather shabbily.
Yuuto tries to figure out what the deal is with the tape and tries to find its owner but that only leads to more confusing and dangerous paths. Various people, Yumi included, end up viewing the tape and their own desires come forward and it all gets tied to Yuuto's own desires. What ends up being really intriguing about this show is how in the two episodes here (that sadly have no conclusion) that we get these various interested parties all having sex with each other but only in their desires via the tape. None of it, at least to our knowledge, is really happening to them. Yuuto really wants Yumi but he's not actually having sex with her. They're all masturbating while watching the tape but that's the extent of what's happening in the real world. Letting their fantasies play out with out any real impact on things provides a safety net that allows the fantasies, sometimes as "bad" as they are, to not have the same impact as if they were really happening.
The character designs for the show are somewhat standard and nothing truly exceptional but they're well done and there's very little issue with skimping out on the animation itself. Yumi and Ruri make out better in general just due to getting the maid outfits so there's a good amount of detail put into them for that and that carries over in general. Kaori comes across better in the real world situations with her rich stylish outfits as opposed to the more traditional bland garb she wears in the desires segments. In addition, the men avoid having that scum of the earth look to them that frequents some shows. While I'm not watching hentai to see naked men, they're more fun to watch when the male leads aren't disturbed old men or janitors.In Summary:
Secret Desires probably isn't terribly original but it plays out well and isn't like every other hentai I've seen in the last year. Some nice little twists to the plot, actually having the characters out of high school and having the reality of what's going on not be as depraved as the desires give it an interesting feel. Combined with good looking characters, some rather good sex scenes and a fast moving story, Secret Desires is one of the more enjoyable shows I've seen in recent memory that had an eighteen plus rating.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery
Dell W2300 23" LCD HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 Progressive Scan DVD Recorder connected via Monster component cables and using the TV speakers.