Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: C-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- 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 Michael Thomas
July 20, 2003
Release Date: January 28, 2003
What is more romantic then falling in love with the girl next door?
When watching the show, I listened to the original Japanese seiyuu (voice actors). The talking, ambient sounds, and background music made good use of the two, built-in, TV speakers. The English track sounds muted, as if the VAs were a bit to far away from the microphones.
The video transfer is overall good; however, there were a number of scenes where something was wrong. Several times I saw blocking around lines, and frame-shake. I also noticed that the subtitles occasionally looked fuzzy around the edges as well
I'm not impressed with the packaging. First of all, neither of the characters on the front cover are main characters. Next, "Girl Next Door" is a comedic bishoujo, and seeing two people doing the nasty in a filty stall really doesn't do the show justice.. The back cover contains scenes from the show as well as a good description of the plot. There is no insert.
Menus are easy to access, quick to navigate, and load quickly. They are displayed over various scenes from the show.
There is one set of extras. A slideshow of the various characters is included as an extra.
::Content:: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Do you think you could hold out against some of the sexiest people you know?
Vanilla Series: Girl Next Door is a good, comedic, adult bishoujo. A light story about a childhood love is threaded throughout a parallel story about a boy trying to keep his virginity, so he can loose it to his childhood love. Problem is... although he remembers the event where he first met the girl of his dreams; he can't remember what she looks like. Thus we have our adventure where our hero tries to remain pure to his one, true, love, and the ecchi adventures he gets himself into. The story is well played and, while the main character gets into some serious ecchi romps, for the most part the adult scenes are consensual and well scripted.
Character designs are good and varied. "Girl Next Door" uses some stereotypes for its character designs; the shorthaired girl, the long haired-girl, the younger, lolicon girl, and the tomboy. I will say I only remembered two of character designs, Aoi (the lolicon girl), and Kyoko (the reserved, older, girl.) So, while good, they weren't all memorable for me. Character animations tended to be average in implementation; so as to save money I would guess. Now, the last scene does have more detail; as if they saved all the money they could to make this scene. Anyway, in comparison, if Pink Pineapple did this title, you would see a lot more detail to things such as skin tones, shading, and flowing hair.
The dialog is a lot of fun. It blends comedy and drama well, so neither are out of place. The storyline advances at a good pace. However, TSRI could have done a bit better on the translation and subtitling. Aoi calls Masahiko "Sempai", which means "Upperclassman". It's both a sign of respect, and fleshes out her lolicon attitudes. The translation isn't bad; it just could have been better.
One of the things I greatly enjoyed about this show is just how devoted Masahiko is to finding his dream- girl, and wanting to keep himself for that night. Although he does have some racy fantasies at times, during all the adult scenes he is able to avoid going all the way. Mostly he just gets some serious hand jobs and blowjobs. The other thing that I really liked is how mature Asuka is at the end of the show. Instead of taking credit for helping Masahiko way back when, she admits that the girl that helped him was her sister, Kyoko. Then she tells him to go see her sister. It brought back for me memories of other shows like "To Heart" and "Kakyusei".
All-in-all, "Girl Next Door" is a fun, consensual, comedic, adult bishoujo. The plot is enjoyable, and the main characters have a bit of depth and personality, for such a short OVA. "Girl Next Door" is a title worth adding to your adult bishoujo collection.
Panasonic CT-27D11E 27" TV; Sony Play Station 2 DVD Player; Gold-Plated Monster component cable