Sinner’s Paradise is thirty minutes of “What the HELL?!”
What They Say
While Erika has been freed from her captors, Akino remains subject to their cruelty and abuse. Erika returns to attempt a rescue, but all hell breaks loose. Kaiya, one of the girls who helped shelter Erika, sacrifices her body and virginity to spare Erika from the soldiers' lash. But there are bigger problems... Erika and Akino's mere presence in this world has caused something to shift. Unless they can reconcile the hidden conflict between them, all creation may be doomed.
Sinner’s Paradise gets a straightforward presentation with its audio as the bilingual mix has both tracks done in stereo at 224kbps. The show doesn’t have any sort of really big epic moments or anything, rather keeping to the smaller more intimate pieces for the most part. That lets it use its stereo design fairly well with a minor bit of directionality to a couple of scenes. It’s by and large dialogue and moan focused, or rather some cries of pain, so there isn’t a lot of need for anything all that well placed here. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2007, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show has a very muted color palette for the most part with lots of earthy and dull tones so it isn’t a show that really stands out. Even when it uses more vibrant colors, they tend to err more on the soft side. Purple hair is more lavender and the blood that flies freely during a couple of scenes is very dark, keeping it in tone with everything else. The transfer here isn’t bad by any stretch, but the design of the show keeps it from looking all that inviting and appealing. The transfer is good and captures the feel of the show but the feel of the show just doesn’t appeal all that much.
Sinner’s Garden is one of the few releases from Critical Mass that just doesn’t click with me, which is saying a lot because I really like most of what they’ve done in the last few years. With a very soft white and blue background, the foreground is given over to the three principle characters with nothing on but a couple of well placed feathers. The character designs are unfortunately rather unappealing and that doesn’t make it all that inviting. The back cover has a similar kind of background with more things on top of it, such as a very badly drawn section fo two men fighting and a couple of weak shots from the show. The summary has some information about part of the show but it’s a small chunk of what the episode is about in general, but probably the only section that makes a small amount of sense. The remainder is given over the technical grid and the production credits. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design reworks the front cover artwork to tie everything together with the characters while giving it the similar kind of airy/heavenly feeling with the clouds and light white color all around it. The layout is straightforward enough with selections lined along the bottom that are quick and easy to use and the submenus load quickly. The main menu doesn’t do all that much for me since the cover artwork and characters aren’t all that appealing so it doesn’t do much for setting the right mood for me personally. On the plus side, like just about every Critical Mass disc, it does read our players’ language presets and plays accordingly.
The only extras included is a brief art gallery and the US trailer for the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When it comes to adult anime, there are plenty of shows that don’t make much sense when it comes to a few areas. After all, many simply aren’t story heavy. There are some wonderful ones that really use storylines and settings to excellent use and weave a great show, but others just try to get by with the basic trappings so they can get to the good stuff. You know, the sex. Sinners Paradise is the kind of show that wants to tell a big story to frame its sex scenes around but instead ends up failing at everything by being so convoluted and uninteresting that you just don’t know what’s going on and you don’t care. Which is fine if the sex is good. Sadly, it isn’t.
Sinners Paradise is the kind of show where you sit and watch it and really have no clue what’s going on. The story ostensibly opens as it revolves around high school track girls, focusing primarily on Akino as she’s struggling with her times because her chest is getting bigger these days and it’s having an impact on her performance. Her friend Erika gives her some grief over it in a joking way, not realizing just how much it’s really affecting her. Everything seems like it’s pointing towards this kind of storyline before it ends up shifting dramatically to a point where after a meet that involves other countries, the girls are kidnapped and taken to holding cells where they’re being abused heavily. There’s talk about all sorts of grand things by some of those in the uniforms and out of them, but the girls are basically being sexually tortured for reasons that aren’t entirely clear just yet.
It turns out that there are two schools of thought with this group, with one side being more militaristic and the other less confrontational and just letting things play out. This Elder has been working to save various girls, and has done so, but he won’t actively interfere in things. So when Erika attempts escape at one point, the Elder won’t interfere much to the dismay of some of the other girls. And Kaiya, a short haired lanky young woman, takes it very personally as she realizes that Erika saved her many years ago from nearly being killed in a train accident. She essentially sacrifices herself to save Erika from the torture, but in turn it ends up unleashing some sort of hidden killer ability in her that has many of the soldier types being brutally murdered while they try to rape her. There’s nothing like watching a severed appendage just pop out…
Honestly, I lost track as to what the show was about as it went along, so when we get towards the end and both Akino and Erika are fleeing the scene – naked and flying – only to end up dragged into a big gooey bubble with inky black hands reaching for them, well, I had no idea what was going on. When they then ended up separating into two halves and the halves that escaped had no idea that the other half was still in the blackness I just had to laugh. Nonsensical and more nonsensical. Did I black out during a big chunk of this show? Things were happening, dialogue was spouted off and actions took place but it just made no sense at all.
So the story isn’t all that hot, which is true of quite a few shows, especially considering there are many where there really isn’t even an inkling of a story. What can make up for it? Solid character designs and really good action scenes. Sadly, Sinners Paradise in its first installment fails just as badly here. The character designs really feel subpar, with an angular look at times that is quite off-putting and harsh. Combining that with the color palette choices and it has a very cold feeling to it that keeps you from connecting with them. And when you then add in that the sex is pretty much all non-consensual and you have Akino being manhandled by a group of men as her inner monologue goes on about how it’s all so pointless and she doesn’t care because she doesn’t feel anything, well, neither does the viewer. Nothing clicks here, nothing connect and nothing excites in the slightest.
Sinners Paradise initially looked intriguing from the artwork I saw online, but once the package was in hand it had me wary. Watching the show only made it more visible how convoluted and nonsensical it all was, but it was also a show that lacked the kind of excitement that you’d want from an adult show. Or at least what I wanted from an adult show. Severed appendages, bloody moments and more populate the show which has a big epic plot to it but a really poor sense of execution and story development. With unappealing characters, character designs, sex and story, Sinners Paradise sets up a first episode that has you looking at the clock or wondering if you blacked out during part of it because of how it changes at times. Maybe it makes sense to someone, but not to me unfortunately.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Art Gallery
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.