Vanilla Series: Perverse Investigations - 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: 24.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vanilla Series Collection

Vanilla Series: Perverse Investigations

By Chris Beveridge     December 13, 2005
Release Date: November 08, 2005


Vanilla Series: Perverse Investigations
© Critical Mass Video


What They Say
A horrible murder has been committed on the grounds of Nankai Academy. Professor Yuko, one of the school's most popular teachers, died when she was pushed off of the roof of one of the school's buildings. Her death has left her students with feelings of confusion, pain, and above all else... anger. Four of her male students, Masayoshi, Daisuke, Mitsuru and Shinya, are determined to uncover the truth. They soon discover an important clue: Professor Yuko's planner had been marked on the very night she was killed... marked with the names of seven girls.

With this evidence, the boys begin their investigations... and they'll use any method required in order to find the murderer. Through rape, manipulation and torture, they uncover important details, but piecing the puzzle together won't be easy. And the longer their search draws on, the more they feel themselves being overtaken by their own dark desires... Will they ever find out the truth behind Yuko's death?

The Review!
When a tough but popular teacher dies from atop the school building, some of her hard-luck cases come together to find out what really happened.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language adaptation. The show in both of its language tracks is a standard stereo mix that does a decent job with what little ambient sounds there are outside of the music and dialogue. Most of these shows, particularly in the Vanilla Series line, continue to be straightforward dialogue pieces with music and some minor slice of life sounds mixed in so there isn't a lot in terms of directionality or depth here. What we do get is a good sounding track that conveys the source well and is free of dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this show are in good condition and it looks solid across the two episodes here which are done in their original form with no replaced credits but instead a brief follow-up scroll of translated credits after each episode. The video itself looks as good as most of the more recent Vanilla Series shows have looked in that it's a clean looking print with no problems in terms of dust or other damage while the colors are solid and generally free of break-up. This isn't a terribly vibrant looking show to begin with as it's more muted in its color choices but some areas do shine nicely. The designs in general appear to be free of most aliasing issues as well as cross coloration.

Packaging:
The front cover is one of the more attractive pieces I've seen recently with three of the girls in only their shirts from their school uniforms while having one hand handcuffed to a pipe on the ceiling above. It's a dark background setting so lots of greens and blacks there which contrast their white shirts nicely as well as the blushing expressions and the hints of panties and skin showing elsewhere. The more you look at it the more erotic it actually seems to get. The back cover provides a variety of shots from the show that don't show more than exposed breasts and maybe some posterior as well as a full body shot of one of the girls. The summary covers two paragraphs and is fairly detailed, talking about the bulk of the show itself. The features and minor technical information is listed together and is fairly discernable though it takes a bit to find the run time. No insert is included with this release.

Menu:
The menu layout uses the same artwork as the front cover but zoomed in slightly and shifted over so that the title and selections can run down the right side of the screen. The shift from the image to the black background is nicely down as shadows and looks well blended here. Access times are nice and fast and we had no issues with navigating the menus. The disc correctly read our audio language presets but since the full subtitle track is listed as Japanese it defaulted to the English sign/song subtitle track.

Extras:
The extras are brief for this release with a short slide show and an even shorter series of outtakes which are pretty amusing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Perverse Investigations, originally titled Sei Sai, is a title that like several other adult titles gain some immediate appeal just from the cover artwork of the series. The show itself across its two episodes doesn't in the end quite hold the same attraction but it is an interesting little story that plays with who is really in control of what's going on and messes with your head a bit right up until the end. While it's got interesting situations and character designs, it also features almost all non-consensual sex outside of the slut character.

The show is focused around two sets of students as the story unravels. It initially begins as many stories do and that's with the death of someone. One of the Academy's more popular teachers because she is the kind that's strict but understanding died after she fell off of the roof of the building. Several of the male students she'd helped move from the bad side of things to a more balanced form are surprised by the turn of events, particularly since nobody is supposed to be on the roof. Originally you would have kids up there fooling around but then it was locked not long after it turned into a place for dealing drugs. The fact that the teacher was up there, according to her day planner she was meeting with several students on the roof, gives the four young men the idea that they have to figure out what really went on.

Going through her book, the four young men determine that there were seven female students that the teacher was meeting up there for some reason. One by one the four decide to investigate them and determine what role they play in the aftermath and then see how it all ties together. The four had set up cameras across the Academy so they can track down what's going on and see how each of the girls is interacting with each other and others. They are pretty varied though most involve sex in some form. One of the girls is a true slut in that she goes after numerous guys and has orgies in various rooms when nobody else is around. Other seems like they could be clean of guilt but there are little tics in their movements that keep the four watching them. Placement in the swim team positions and other possible leads start coming up and the seven that are being watched start turning the tables on the guys and one of them gets in deep enough that he has to worry about how his younger sister might get manipulated into everything.

With the male to female ratio here, there's plenty of interesting sex scenes to be found as the four guys work their way through interrogating and questioning the girls to find out what really happened on that roof. Of course, some of the girls don't even wait for the four to start in before sleeping around with anything that moves. The four men use various means to take down the women along the way and some of it isn't pretty to say the least as one of the gets heavily worked over physically before they take advantage of her. One of the situations is actually amusing in how the woman turns it back on the guy when he tries to take her by force, she gets so completely into it and threatens him if he doesn't actually take her right then and there, thereby gaining control from him.

The character designs for the show have that sort of basic minimal look that has been common in several more recent Vanilla Series titles but I continue to like the approach since it's something a bit different. The seven girls all have a definitely look about them so they don't really feel like they're just slight deviations of another character here. What was really nice with this show is that while it is a school based piece, most of the girls find themselves not wearing the uniform for most of their scenes but other kinds of outfits or nothing at all. It keeps the guys in their uniforms but allows for a bit more variety in design for the girls.

In Summary:
Perverse Investigations is an interesting title that gets a bit too bogged down by having such a sizeable cast to it. As it goes along the plot simply ends up becoming less and less important if not for giving some characters the motivations to sleep or seduce certain people. There's a certain tightness missing in the script here that keeps it flowing well but that's more from watching it in one sitting instead of spread out over the original release of several months or more where it wouldn't feel as rushed. The show has some good designs to it and plays up the non-consensual side strongly while still turning the tables in interesting ways.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Slideshow,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.

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