Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: D+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: C
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: NuTech Digital, Inc.
- MSRP: 59.95
- Running time: 90
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Shusaku
Shusaku Box Set
By Francisco Ho
February 18, 2002
Release Date: October 11, 2001
When I first read that NuTech had a deal with Pink Pineapple to bring most (if not all) of their titles into the US market, though happy with the announcement, I was a bit reluctant. Could NuTech be successful without the "missing" element that made these anime popular in Japan? (More on this later) So, I ordered my copy of Box set to check it by myself.
Regarding the audio, video, and menu, Mr. Beveridge pretty much summarizes all, so I won't repeat it here. My complain is in the packaging, or rather the DVD disc itself. Unless I was given a pre-production copy, there is no art on the disc. Yup, just the bare silvery disc, with a small text, saying Shuusaku No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3, depending on the disc and, on the other side, preview trailers. It was cheap, considering they hired Asia Carrera and Rayveness for the voices.
Content (and, obviously, spoilers)
The story (yes, it HAS a story!) is about Kato Shuusaku, the janitor of an all-girl school. Taking advantage of the setting, he tapes and takes pictures of the girls in "embarrassing" situations, so, that later, he can blackmail them, including one of the teachers of the school. At the end, one of the girls of the school (who have been having disturbing dreams) discovers Shuusaku's scheme and notifies the police. While attempting to run away, he is hit by a car, ending, sort-of tragically his existence.
If you say "that's it?", then you it is because of the missing element of this anime: it is based on a Elf Corporation game of the same name. Since this game is not available for the US market, there are certain parts which does not make much sense. Why the girls didn't overpower him? After all, four of the girls knew what he was doing to each other, as well as Ayaka Minami (the teacher mentioned above). Probably because of culture difference, but I will disgress.
Fortunately, Kumiko Kamiyama, from Peach Princess (http://www.peachprincess.com), wrote this:
"Shuusaku is the first Pink Pineapple domestic release from Nutech under their new exclusive agreement. The game belongs to the genre of bishoujo gaming known as "kichiku" or "brutish" types of games. As you might imagine, these types of games tend to feature very hardcore sex and fetish themes as well as a good deal of abusive actions. This does not mean that they cannot have excellent stories, gameplay, game design elements, and artwork - on the contrary, some of these games have had a tremendous impact on the bishoujo genre. Thus it was when Elf created Shuusaku and released it in spring 1998. However, Shuusaku is actually a "sequel" to their earlier hit Isaku - Shuusaku is Isaku's younger brother. But Shuusaki was Elf's first original Windows platform game - earlier games they had released for Windows were remakes or ports of games they had done previously for other platforms. They have since released a third game in the saga. All of these releases have done very well, despite the extremely hardcore nature of the content.
The game's design was rather unique - this accounts for the resounding popularity with which it was received. In the game, the player not only roleplays a young male alter ego - the player is also Shuusaku's "partner", so to speak. Shuusaku is a janitor working at an exclusive music academy for young ladies of social status and prestige. He doesn't care about the job duties, of course - instead, he has his eyes on all the beautiful female forms around the campus. He sets up cameras and mini-camcorders everywhere he can in order to capture the girls in their most intimate and embarrassing moments, and then blackmail them into incredibly nasty and perverse sexual acts. If the player refuses to assist in these deeds, Shuusaku hurls insults at you and labels you a hypocrite. On the other hand, the player can choose to actually knock out Shuusaku and take over abusing the girls - all the sex scenes are provided from either third person or first person perspective for this reason. This required a great deal of effort in creating CG, obviously, and the "dual mode" nature of the proceedings offered players a way to step more firmly into the virtual world."
So, here comes the basic question: is the DVD Box set, worth it? Considering other bishoujo titles, I would say yes. Asia Carrera (Ayaka Minami) and Rayveness (Moeko Fujima) showed their, errrr..., skills, as well as whoever did the voice of Shuusaku (though the Japanese voice actor sounded more sinister). The content, though, strange, suits the plot of the game. Hope, now, that Shuusaku ~Replay~ gets out soon to make the comparison.
Creative Labs PC-DVD Encore 6X, PowerDVD 3.0, Creative Sound Blaster Live!, Cambridge Soundworks, Celeron 700MHz on Windows 2000Pro