Step Up Love Story Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Step Up Love Story

Step Up Love Story Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     January 31, 2008
Release Date: January 29, 2008


Step Up Love Story Vol. #2
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Newlyweds Makoto and Yura Onada continue to face a variety of sexual challenges that has them squirming with awkwardness, embarrassment and lust. When their neighbors win the lottery and invite them on a trip, Makoto and Yura must figure out how to make love in their hotel room without disturbing people around them. Then Yura takes a job as a waitress that requires her to dress in a skimpy mini-skirt. This, of course, has Makoto bothered in more ways than one.

The Review!
As life goes on and more couples get introduced, Yura and Makoto's lives get more complicated and far more sexual. At least in Makoto's daydreams.

Audio:
Media Blasters has opted to not give this a dub which means we get the straightforward stereo mix encoded at 192 kbps. The show is very much dialogue based so it's not something that really shines when it comes to the audio but it is good for what it wants to do. There isn't anything really noticeable in terms of directionality when it comes to dialogue placement but some of the background sounds and ambient effects cast a wide feel that works well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2002, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. While the show certainly isn't old, it's one that feels like it was done towards the end of the transition to current animation methods. That means that it feels a bit choppy in some ways, such as showcasing a good amount of line noise during pans and zooms, as well as looking a bit less dimensional than other shows. Part of this may just be the style of the show as well, and the end result is that the series looks good for the most part but also feels a bit older than it actually is. Colors generally look good though there are some moments of noticeable noise in the backgrounds and the two episodes here are generally free of cross coloration. It's not a bad looking show but for an OVA you tend to expect a bit more.

Packaging:
The front cover plays up the cute waitress factor rather nicely as Yura is in a traditional outfit that the guys all go nuts over and she even provides a nice glimpse of her bra and cleavage. A couple of other characters are mixed into the background in a good way so that they don't distract but accent the overall design. The logo is done in a very loose and appealing manner and they've been good enough to include the original name alongside it. The back cover is cute as well as it puts Yura in an apron and nothing else as she flashes a perky smile while it also uses much of the same material from the background of the front cover. The summary runs through the basics well enough without really spoiling anything and it provides a number of shots from the show that highlights its near-nudity moments. The bottom portion runs through the standard elements such as the discs features and production credits as well as the always solid technical grid. No insert is included nor is there a reversible cover. Once again, a note to Media Blasters however – it's not Winter 2007 anymore. Please use a new catalog…

Menu:
The menu design gives us a seductive shot of Yura that came from the back over that's done as a close-up on her upper half. With lots of soft warm colors surrounding her, it ups the ante in terms of the innocent nature. The logo runs along the top and the navigation along the right covers all the basics. I'm surprised that they included the language option as it's something that they've been dropping on other subtitle only releases recently. Submenus do load quickly though and navigation is a breeze. With only one language and a default setting to on for the subtitles, player presets are basically pointless here.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
What a surprise that first installment of Step Up Love Story turned out to be. Racier than I expected, erotic without really showing anything other than breasts, it served up the ultimate tease but did it in a way that you felt like there was some good payoff to it. It feels like it should be rated higher, but it would be wrong to classify it as 18+ porn. It's really a rarity in the world, though I'm sure non anime fans would call it porn outright. Let the haze of being an anime fan blur the lines for us once again.

The second half of the OVA series brings us two more episodes that revolve around the sexual misadventures of Yura and Makoto. Their initial exploits were quite amusing as they were discovering each other for the first time and dealing with the issues if being newlyweds, never mind for an arranged marriage. This set of episodes gives us a glimpse at how they're progressing. That progress appears to include a lot of sex, though sometimes it seems like more of it is stemming from Makoto's imagination. Yura continues to be game for most things though which helps. Where this volume plays a little differently is in the supporting cast. Makoto's cousin Kyoko lives next door and she's single at around age thirty, which means she's really looking for love in all the wrong places and is jealous of what's going on. Enough so that she dreams about Makoto.

The interesting addition are the new next door neighbors that Makoto and Yura have. Mika and Takeshi have been married for a bit now but they're in something of a bind as they haven't had sex in a year. Mika is distraught by this by Takeshi is sort of blasé about it which is weird since he lusts a little bit after others, including Kyoko. The couple is the catalyst for the opening episode in which they're going on a ski vacation that they won so they invite Yura and Makoto along. Kyoko buys her way into it as well since she wants to keep an eye on Makoto and you always need a fifth wheel. The ski trip is pretty straightforward as you have Makoto and Yura trying to have quiet sex in the hotel and there's another couple they meet that's much more forward with using the unisex hot spring. The mix of couples is really nice but you almost wish they really did have a big orgy with everyone involved.

The second tale is a cute one as well that revolves around Yura wanting to bring in some extra income and going for a waitressing job. That means she gets to wear one of the Anna Miller style outfits that are still quite popular and that has Makoto freaking out. He's not exactly the jealous type, but he does have a pretty good idea what men are like in such situations, probably because he was close to it himself at one time or another. Some of it he witnesses firsthand when she starts the job, and he can't deny the allure of her in the outfit, but he falls into his own weird universe where there are some serious cosplay girls showing off with him. Add in a strange yet erotic little subplot about a couple that's playing up the "love slave for a day" concept and you've got a good deal of sex, naughtiness and general silliness.

In Summary:
Step Up Love Story is such a cute and charming show yet one that is very up front with its sexual content. It's strange that this show is so amusing considering how it teases with the sex but doesn't deliver. At least in the same way you'd get with an adult release. You almost wish more shows would be done this way as it'd certainly make things more interesting. These last two episodes reminded me a lot of some basic romantic comedies from years ago like Kimagure Orange Road with the OVA feel to them. I like these characters, I like the designs for them and I enjoy the situations that they get put through. While I would have preferred all four episodes on one disc, getting the two discs for a low price instead of not having it all is certainly a good option. Definitely worth grabbing in single form since it's hard to say whether this will get "collected" in the future. The best recommendation I can give for this is that it's a great primer for couples who aren't sure they can handle the real hentai experience.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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.

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