Vanilla Series: Maid Service - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Critical Mass Video
  • MSRP: 24.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vanilla Series Collection

Vanilla Series: Maid Service

By Chris Beveridge     September 04, 2005
Release Date: August 30, 2005


Vanilla Series: Maid Service
© Critical Mass Video


What They Say
From producers Shiyuuta Biwajima and Chikara Niki (PUNISHMENT / LOVE DOLL / SLAVES TO PASSION), MAID SERVICE puts a whole new twist on the idea of traditional housekeeping by bringing us a sordid tale of blackmail, debauchery, and truest sexual perversion!

Momoko is having major money trouble. After the untimely death of her parents, she finds herself strapped for cash to pay for her college tuition. Desperate, Momoko even considers selling her most precious possession – her mother's ring... But everything changes when Takaaki, a charming young man in her class, generously offers to pay her tuition if she simply agrees to work off her debt by serving as his own, personal, live-in maid. At least, the offer sounded generous at first...

Now completely under Takaaki's control, Momoko has no choice but to satisfy his every twisted sexual fantasy. Yet Momoko isn't the only one he's drafting into this new maid service. Using blackmail and bribery, Takaaki's staff continues to grow with gorgeous young maids who are willing to serve him on their hands and knees. But even with all of this beauty surrounding him, for some inexplicable reason, Momoko still remains the target for his ever growing sadistic experiments.

Could his unhealthy fixation lead to disaster?

The Review!
When rich boy Takaaki starts hiring fellow schoolgirls to become maids at his mansion, the dark side to his nature shines through.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Like most of the Vanilla Series releases, it has a pretty standard stereo mix that's mostly just center channel based with its dialogue. The music and occasional sound effects use the stereo channels well enough but it's not a standout piece nor is it expected to be. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout though and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2004, the two episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for the series looks really nice here with a lot of colors that are solid and don't exhibit any cross coloration or aliasing along the line work. It's not a terribly vibrant piece and keeps to the dark colors for the most part. The numerous dark areas inside the mansion as well as the maid uniforms maintain a solid feel as well and don't shift to lighter shades of gray or exhibit gradient issues. There's a nice smoothness to the animation here that's well captured and the transfer is pretty much clean and problem free.

Packaging:
The cover artwork is rather nice here since I like the character designs as it has Momoko tied up and leaning against a brick wall that fades into the shadows. The logo is kept to the bottom area of the cover and there's not a lot really getting in the way of the artwork. The back cover is heavily dark as well with a few shots from the show and some minor nudity across it while providing a surprisingly detailed plot summary. The discs features and basic technical information is quick and easy to find. No insert was included in this release.

Menu:
The main menu is a bit odd looking in that it uses the front cover artwork zoomed in to the upper half of the character and the selections are lined along the left under the logo with a bit of music playing along. What's weird? On the left side of Momoko you have the brick background. On the right side it's all white. It just looks like they forgot to put something there, either a clip or the rest of the background. If it's intentional, which I'm sure it is, it just looks plain weird. Navigation is simple and effective and easy to maneuver around. The disc did not read our players' language presets properly though and defaulted to English language with sign/song subtitles.

Extras:
The extras are fairly standard material here for a Vanilla Series release with a brief slideshow of artwork from the release as well as a brief clip of dub outtakes, some of which are amusing and a couple that fall kind of flat.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Just like the nurse genre which we explored earlier in the Vanilla Series release Hardcore Hospital, the maid genre is one that's had plenty of exploration over the years. Maid Service plays by the handbook pretty closely over the two episodes that tell the self contained story here as we're introduced to Takaaki, a young rich man whose parents have died and he lives alone in his mansion along with his staff.

We're not introduced to him at first though but rather the attractive young Momoko, a schoolgirl who just lost both of her parents. The situation has become so bad for her that she has nothing that she had before except for a ring from her mother in order to pay for the private school tuition. But even that money is becoming dangerously low and she doesn't know what's going to happen to her next so when classmate Takaaki offers her a golden opportunity, she leaps for it. He offers to take care of her school expenses if she helps out as a maid around the mansion and they'll use her ring as something of collateral. Momoko is all for this until she realizes that the help around the mansion isn't much in terms of cleaning and cooking but rather servicing the young master.

Cue the image of George Carlin describing how companies service the consumer.

This is a bad situation for Momoko but she'll endure since she wants to stay in school and she needs to get her ring back. But it gets worse for her at school as one of the rich girls there, Yurika, thinks that the arrival of Momoko in the household has caused Takaaki to fall in love with her so she has the guys who do whatever she wants to start abusing her by raping her in the bathroom. Momoko's situation deteriorates even more when another pair of girls from the school in need arrive as new maids and she finds that they all end up servicing each other for his pleasure as they lose their virginity as well. Of course, along the way they play up the idea that they're all actually enjoying this while keeping Takaaki as a dark character who is friendly at school but cruel at home, so you can alternate between feeling bad for them and thinking that they really enjoy what they're going through.

Amusingly, Yurika decides that the only way to get Takaaki to recognize her love for him is to become a maid herself and she finds herself in the same situation as the others, but she continues to do so since she so desperately wants this guy's love. It's through her that we start to learn some of Takaaki's past which explains why he is the way he is and the oedipal complex material comes out. There are a lot of sex scenes throughout these two episodes and they're focused on the girls either in school uniforms or their maid uniforms and both of those designs are decent without being too ostentatious. The sex scenes are about what you'd expect from schoolgirls in that everything is new to them but Takaaki is the pervy type so you've got him performing an enema in one scene, pissing down their mouths in another… erg. That's all relegated to the second episode at least but it's still nasty stuff that's unfortunately well animated. The character designs themselves are pretty attractive though and I liked the sort of earth tone coloring that they were given and their overall look and feel..

In Summary:
Maid Service doesn't offer anything new but it does the genre competently providing you don't mind the scatological stuff showing up in the second episode. The character designs are young in nature and definitely give the lolicon folks something to be happy about but they're definitely nicely done and work well within the show. The overall level of quality of the show is decent as it doesn't have any real problems or shows any shortcuts in the animation but if you've seen a lot of these before, it's just more of the same. If you're new to it though this is probably worth checking out to get a feel for what the genre is like.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Dub Outtakes

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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