Vanilla Series: MeiKing - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Critical Mass Video
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 120
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vanilla Series Collection

Vanilla Series: MeiKing

By Chris Beveridge     November 21, 2003
Release Date: September 10, 2002


Vanilla Series: MeiKing
© Critical Mass Video


What They Say
Blame it on the sheep.

Cain Asbell was an unremarkable guy until one of his stray sheep led him into a cave with a trapped fairy named Elise. In a blink of an eye Cain goes from pauper to Lord when Elise helps him rescue the Princess Charlotte. There's just one hitch. Cain has to make his land the most prosperous in the country within 5 years. Should he fail, he'll lose everything and return to being another lowly shepherd. But if he manages to succeed, Cain will gain the Princess Charlotte's hand in marriage!

Sound easy? Not if everyone in your kingdom is out to take advantage of your young age. Between slavers and bandits it's amazing Cain's still alive. But being a Lord isn't all bad - he has the right to choose any woman he wants to go to bed with him... Tsubaki, who doesn't fully appreciate that her body has a will of its own, Tia, who will do anything for the man that saved her, and Chiffon, whose cold heart has yet to feel real passion...

The Review!
Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. It?s a pretty standard stereo mix that has very little in the way of directionality. It?s pretty minimal even by hentai standards, but dialogue is clean and clear and we noticed no dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally released in 2000, MeiKing at times looks a few years old than that as its style is pretty flat in the color palette and the animation in general isn?t what we usually see, even for hentai. There are some bright colors, but the lack a real vibrancy that?s seen in most hentai these days. The transfer looks pretty good throughout, with no cross coloration and some aliasing being theonly real issue. The character designs at times are extremely basic, which gives mid and long range shots a slightly blocky look to their faces, but that?s not really the transfer but the source materials.

Packaging:
The front cover features the Tia cover, and with the design used for it, it may make some people feel really awkward picking this up in public as Tia looks much younger here than in the show. The cover design and colors look great, but that design? The back cover provides a couple of animation shots and a few paragraphs on the shows premise. The discs features and basic production information are clearly listed as well. And as is normal with Right Stuf releases, there is no insert.

Menu:
The main menu features a nice piece of artwork of the Princess Charlotte while music from the show plays along. Selections are pretty minimal since there?s not much to the disc beyond the show itself. Access times are good but there?s a problem in keeping settings. After setting languages, I started the first episode and it went back to just English language and no subtitles. The selections do retain between episodes though. Oddly enough, at the end of episode three, it threw me back to the main menu.

Extras:
There?s a 40 second image gallery here that?s pretty much just a few stills from the show playing to music as the images change across the screen.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
MeiKing as a bit of an odd show. Few hentai series get beyond one episode, never mind getting to four like this one did. All that I can figure is that there must be a game behind it, because the first episode feels very much like a PC game.

The show centers around a young man named Cain. Cain has lived the life of a shepherd for many years, but his life changed dramatically when he followed his sheep into a cave and ended up freeing a fairy named Elise who had been imprisoned in there. To reward Cain, she instructs him to go help a girl that?s been captured and left out in the woods. As it turns out, the girl is actually the princess, and Cain finds himself now a Lord of Norland. His job, should he truly hope to marry the beautiful young blonde princess someday, is to become the best ruler of the land.

SimKing.

That?s how the first episode feels, which is kind of all over the place in some respects. While we do get the setup and all that, we also see the Princess playing the role of a Magical Girl during a fight sequence and we get the usual Kingdom Building routine. Add in a few sex scenes, and it?s a strange mix.

The opening episode also sets the stage for just what kind of Lord that Cain will be. While we see him briefly have an encounter with the Princess, she?s not supposed to go near him for a few years. So what?s a young lad to do? Well, apparently not his friendly elf who seems more aloof around people than anything else. She?s cute, but she looks to be a challenge. What ends up floating his boat turns out to be a warrior woman named Tsubaki whom he accidentally defeats while she?s roughing up his new citizens. With this surprise defeat, she ends up taking over his meager army and training them.

And on the side, he gets to train her in the ways of wuuuv.

But fear not, for there are indeed more women for him to pursue, and most end up arriving in a rather decent way as the story begins to kick in with the second episode. A piece of land in Norland is being desired by the Lord of Tedmond, and the two go back and forth in letters over it. Eventually it comes to battle before the King, but even that doesn?t work out right, causing war to erupt between the two Lords. This actually causes the show to take place over a few years, but don?t expect the characters to really age. Throughout this time, Cain ends up getting things going with a variety of women, including Tsubaki again. The elf eventually falls under his sway, a bandit leader and a former slave just for starters.

The episodes play out pretty well, with the story and the sex balancing between what?s the primary force of the show. Each manages to serve each other well, instead of something like a simple paper thin plot to play out a couple of situations. The character designs are interesting, but again feel like they have a basis in a computer game as they?re reminiscent of some RPG styles. The facial designs, the whisper thin waists and their general size aren?t what we see from most hentai coming out these days.

While it initially left me a little uninterested, the remaining three episodes managed to bring out an interesting story and hot naked elf sex. There, I said it. Hot. Naked. Elf. Sex. That alone will get people to check it out. Fantasy era hentai is still pretty rare these days, and this one is an interesting addition to that genre.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Image Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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