Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: F
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: C+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Amorz
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 46
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Snow Night Stories
Snow Night Stories
By Chris Beveridge
December 08, 2006
Release Date: November 30, 2006
Snow Night Stories
What They Say
Contains three seperate hard-core stories!
In a village in a faraway land, there lived a couple whose ages were very far apart. While working hard in the fields, they looked happy together, but the wife was troubled. Her husband always "finished" too quickly, leaving her unhappy and unsatisfied.
One night, when her husband was out of town, a thief suddenly appeared at their house. How can she possibly protect herself from the intruder?
Female Pervert Warrior
During the feudal war era, one small country collapsed. While most of the royal family and relatives were killed, the princess and Shingo, her vassal, escaped. But a harsh fate was waiting for the princess. Struggling to flee from pursuing enemies, the princess lost sight of Shingo and was captured. If she endures the hard treatment at their hands, will she ever be able to see Shingo again?
Once upon a time, a clan lord was betrothed to and fell in love with a princess. Her beauty made him speechless, and she always looked so happy. However, the lord's "affection" for princess Chiho became stronger every day, and she lives like a bird in a cage, constantly receiving the lord's hard love. Nevertheless, he is the nice lord whom Chiho knows. Because of his smile, all she can do is endure crying. But, one night, she would eventually...
What is the message in this story that Shizu was trying to get across the lord?The Review!
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language adaptation. Or at least we tried to. In setting it for English language, it played fine for the first episode but lost its settings when the second started and reverted to the disc default of Japanese. Both tracks feature a fairly standard stereo mix without much in the way of directionality to it. It's a very center channel based mix that does fine by the dialogue and music but certainly won't wow anyone. We didn't have any problems on either language track with distortions or dropouts during regular playback.Video:
Originally released to video in 2006, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio, though most sequences are done in 1.85:1 widescreen letterbox. It's been a long time since I've seen an anime DVD that looks more like an anime VCD but Snow Night Stories manages that easily. While the majority of scenes would qualify as below average, there are a number that are just downright awful. The second episode has a pan/zoom going on of the exterior of an feudal era house and it's completely blocky. It's the kind of blockiness that you'd get if you watch a small windows media file and then expand it to fill your 19" or larger monitor. A lot of the gradients are very visible and aren't smooth, backgrounds that involve night time blue and blacks are shifty and blocky and there's an overall sense of fuzziness to a lot of scenes. This is a downright awful transfer that's capped off with the AMORZ logo as a bug in the lower right corner, which is at least just on the letterbox section. But that just makes it all the more noticeable to me..Packaging:
The three short episodes are all represented on the cover here and unlike a lot of adult covers they make no bones (or do they?) about showing off the nudity. The artwork and designs all look good but they're all much smoother and more vibrant than the show itself. The back cover is more straightforward as it provides the cover artwork to the original three releases and then a strip of shots from that episode and a summary to the right of it. The bottom portion of the cover lists out the disc technical information in the grid and uses some of the same design elements as the Japanese releases do. No insert is included nor is the cover reversible.Menu:
The design for the menu for this release goes for the extremely simple as it provides just the episode selection with a picture and subtitle for each one, the play all selection and the setup section. The background is just shades of purple and all of it is set to a bit of instrumental music from the series. Even as simple as it is, the menu is easy to navigate and access times are nice and fast. The disc didn't properly read our player presets and defaulted to Japanese language with English subtitles. Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Similar in design to Kininaru Kimochi, Snow Night Stories is a series of short twelve to fifteen minute vignettes with no real connection between them other than they're all stories being told on a snowy night. Each of the feudal era stories goes into doing something related to the two characters involved with the storytelling and then to those in the story itself, so it gets to the sex pretty quickly and there isn't a lot of depth to it.
The opening story is one where a young woman wants her lord to please her but he wants her to get him aroused first by telling him an erotic story. With a strong penalty should she fail, she's fairly adept at telling the tale of a young woman whose husband is a louse and lech with her. The story isn't really about him though but rather the thief who sneaks into their home in the middle of the night but discovers that there's no money to be found. Being the desperate type, he ends up taking out his frustrations on the young woman who may be more accepting of his attentions than her own husbands.
The second story has a lord who is visiting his mistress for some pleasure on a snowy night and the talk turns to tales. The young woman describes a story about a princess who is no longer of stature and one of her vassals. She goes through a number of hardships, including some very bad male sex acting, before she's able to free herself to find her vassal again and attempt to find a way to live. This one is fairly light on the storytellers as more time is given over to the fallen princess and her trials. The last story has a tale of a young bride who was being offered to a lord of clan in order to secure relations with each other. The lord was actually quite attracted to the young woman but she's young, nervous and unsure of how to handle him. As much as he's smitten by her, he's also a harsh lover and one who simply doesn't stop regardless of what the other person is feeling. Their relationship looks beautiful from the outside but from within it's one where the young bride is almost always in tears.
Snow Night Stories has some very basic stories to it and they're not bad, but they're weakened buy subpar animation and a very poor encoding. There are some really bad sequences where the frame rate drops so low that you'd think they'd be better off animating stick figures. The visual problems with the show detract heavily from the production, which is unfortunate since there are some decent character designs and the premises work well enough in general. It's like a show that could be really solid with something resembling a budget but ends up being only a couple of cuts above some of those bad bonus videos we've seen thrown around on another companies releases.In Summary:
While Amorz's release of Discipline was for the most part pretty solid, their releases since then have them falling into a real fly by night variety kind of company. The authoring problems in here are just awful. When you could get a better quality release from a streamed provider who ripped it from somewhere else, you know there's something wrong. While it's definitely great that they've provided a dub for the show, the technical problems and general low quality of things has this release feeling far more like a piece of shovelware than anything else.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.