Vanilla Series: Girl Next Door - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Critical Mass Video
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vanilla Series Collection

Vanilla Series: Girl Next Door

By Chris Beveridge     September 29, 2003
Release Date: January 28, 2003


Vanilla Series: Girl Next Door
© Critical Mass Video


What They Say
Could YOU hold out?

Haunted by the memory of his ideal woman, Masahiko is determined not to lose his virginity until he finds her again. Too bad his memory sucks and he can’t remember who she is.

While Masahiko is dreaming of his mystery woman, he may not have a choice in waiting for her much longer! It seems that everyone wants a piece of him lately.

At work, his sex-starved boss is looking for a little action while her husband is out of town. At home, a very buxom childhood friend moves in and leaves him drooling. At college, he’s become the target of both his professor and a sly sexy student stalker who manages to pop up in the most unusual places!

To top everything off, Asuka, one of his neighbors, is secretly harboring her own fantasies about him! With this amount of sexual frustration swirling around him, can he possibly manage to hold out for the girl of his dreams?

The Review!
Going by the front cover, I figured I was in for some kind of biker or dominating kind of show. Boy was I ever proven wrong.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show features a good stereo mix though the majority of the show is dialogue. Some of the sound effects and music cues do a good job of sounding as though they’re using the entire forward soundstage. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and we noticed no dropouts or distortions on either language track.

Video:
Originally released in 2002, the transfer here is fantastic. Vibrant colors, solid lines outside of some panning sequences, no cross coloration or chroma noise. These two episodes just look fantastic across the board. This is probably the best looking Vanilla Series release yet.

Packaging:
While an amusing cover after seeing the show, I don’t think it works too well in selling what’s actually inside. Of course, they could have gone the other way and promoted it to look like any other romantic comedy out there on the market today and gotten away with it. But here, we’ve got some faceless woman going down on some relatively faceless man in a dirty grimy bathroom stall. It just doesn’t sell you on what the show really is, which is a bright vibrant comedic romp. The back cover provides some meat about the plot itself over a few paragraphs while providing some more equally dark looking animation shots. As with most other Right Stuf releases, there is no insert with this release.

Menu:
The menu layout is nice with the selections along the left just below the shows logo. Underneath all of it plays out parts of the opening sequence to music, providing an interesting taste of the show before starting it. Access times to the submenus is nice and fast as there are no transitional animations.

Extras:
The only extra included is a brief one minute video gallery that shows off specific stills, mostly from the opening sequence, of each of the characters.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If there’s one kind of hentai that I’ll watch before anything else, it’s the comical ones. In general, they tend to have a bit more plot or at the least more likeable characters and situations. I don’t think any hentai have really shocked me, but there’s been enough where it’s just, well, ewww. With the romantic type stuff, you rarely have that and end up with some more fun situations. Girl Next Door is just like that.

Enter Masahiko, a young man whose really wanting to find a woman from his youth that he’s fallen in love with. He only remembers scant details, mostly that she wore a straw hat, but that he has a fond memory of her when he was injured once. Masahiko, like any male lead these days, has a bevy of women after him for different reasons. Unfortunately, Masahiko is trying to save himself for this mysterious woman from his past, which means he’s having a difficult time trying to keep it in his pants.

Masahiko has two girls he’s definitely hot for in the sisters Kikyo and Asuka. His dreams about them and how they fight over him are closer than he knows, because in reality the younger sister is very protective of her relationship with Masahiko. And that’s even with Kikyo going to Masahiko’s house every day and doing the cooking and cleaning, as Masahiko and his father live together by themselves since his mother had died some time ago. But in this respect, Masahiko barely even lets Kikyo register to him.

At school, it’s just as bad. There’s one classmate there whose stalking him, such as crawling up from under a chair during a class movie to give him a blowjob (and that’s before she actually introduces herself). She uses that method to try and corner him into being her boyfriend. Then there’s the one teacher who just wants some of Masahiko’s superior genetic material for her own experiments…

Not enough? Well, his boss at the restaurant is in deep desire mode for any man since her husband is away on business for a very extended length of time, so much so that she haunts the local park and calls for men to come and rape her in the bathroom. And, of course, there’s one final woman whose visiting from America and now living with Masahiko, his childhood friend Fong Lee. She’s back to train in the dojo with his father so she can learn some new crippling moves.

There are more women too, which just brings things to a boggling level at times, but the fact that Masahiko never gets further the a blowjob with any of them up until the last scene of the disc is a testament to this young mans powers. He tries to stay true until he can find the one he truly loves, even with all these obstacles. His friend helps keep the action rolling along though and there’s plenty of other very amusing moments, such as an exorcism he manages to perform, but there’s just a lot of teasing sex for a good part of this.

But amazingly enough, it works really well within the context of the shows aims. Rather than throw out the plot after the first girl makes a pass at him, he tries to stay true to himself and continue his search. Masahiko’s not a clueless schlub either, he knows full well there’s some women after him, but not all women. He’s simply trying to balance a dream against reality. While that may make this a bit of a lighter hentai, it’s still a really good one. With gorgeous character designs and some really vivid color designs for them, this show comes out looking great.

I’d definitely put this one in the couples-friendly category, since being able to laugh with each other during these kinds of shows is a good thing. Definitely recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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