Vanilla Series: Voyeur's Digest - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • 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: Voyeur's Digest

By Chris Beveridge     February 13, 2006
Release Date: January 31, 2006


Vanilla Series: Voyeur's Digest
© Critical Mass Video


What They Say
The written word is a powerful tool... something Mikimoto knows all too well.

Talented and devious, Mikimoto has everything it takes to make a top-rated journalist, but what would a journalist be without a good scandal to write about?

Developing his own personal underground newspaper, Mikimoto carefully plants the seeds of anger and wanton lust within his male classmates - all aimed towards just one person: the voluptuous Nanase. When his classmates finally go after her to punish her for all of her "sins," Mikimoto silently records every depraved moment.

As notoriety of the newspaper spreads, more and more girls are falling prey to the perverse desires of those influenced by it. Even Mikimoto is finding it harder and harder to resist his own dark desires towards one specific full-bosomed beauty, Madoka. Will this master manipulator ultimately fall prey to his own writing talents?

The Review!
When her father is accused of murder, Nanase finds that her fellow classmates feel the need to mete out the real punishment to her.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for it is your standard adult fare with it being primarily center channel based for the bulk of the dialogue while the music and a couple of other minor areas use some left/right channel moments. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with either language track during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this two episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With it being a standard school setting for the most part, the show has plenty of the dark blues and greens used for the hallways and rooms and for those most part those look good. There are a number of areas throughout though, generally along peoples backs if their wearing blue suits, where some blocking is visible. Cross coloration is non-existent here and other than some minor aliasing it's a fairly decent transfer depending on how visible the blocking problem is.

Packaging:
The front cover is an interesting image where it's basically an angled zoomed out shot of Nanase on all fours with some softening up to keep it from being too racy and then duplicated in darker shades around her. The character design and artwork overall look really good here so this is a rather enticing looking cover. The back cover provides a few shots from the show that give a good idea about what to expect in terms of actual designs plus another shot along the left side which has plenty of full on nudity to it. The summary, done in a sort of digest manner from a newspaper, covers the basics as well as listing the discs features. As is standard with Critical Mass releases, no insert is included in this release.

Menu:
The menu uses the same artwork as the main cover though not at an angle and not quite showing everything. There is also a brief looping of some of the instrumental music from the show for just about thirty seconds. The layout is simple and straightforward with easy to use navigation. The disc did not read our players' language presets correctly since the subtitle track for Japanese audio is listed as Japanese instead of English.

Extras:
The only included extra for this release is a brief slideshow piece that shows off stills from the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Vanilla Series hits up the school well once again and provides us with a two episode tale of young men who use their position and influence to have their way with women. One of them has a much larger plan through all of this however while someone else is manipulating everyone behind the scenes for their own benefit.

The story is focused mainly around high school girl Nanase whose father has made all the news and papers as of late due to his arrest for being a person of suspect in a murder case. This has left a bad taste among some in her class apparently if you go by the letter one of the guys in a small group show her. The letter talks about how it's a bad reflection on everyone else that a girl like her is in the class and she must be a slut if her father is a murderer so they must take it upon themselves to punish her. She's shocked by the letter and can't believe it but the reality comes crashing down on her when they shuffle her off to a quiet room where they can have their way with her repeatedly. This happens again later on but one of her friends followers her out of concern and she finds herself caught up in all of this at the same time.

The group of boys is made up of the usual kind you find in these situations and is led by the affluent good looking type whose father is a politician. They've used that fact before to get into other kinds of trouble. Being the leader of the group he's used the position well and his name in the right way so that they can do things like this. But elsewhere in the group is a bespectacled young man who is the one actually writing the letters as his goal is to become a world renowned journalist someday with the ability to change the lives of people and the world in general with his ability. All of this is just the beginning for him as he learns how to manipulate people through what he can write.

His plans don't quite go the way he wants though when someone else starts writing some of the same letters but better and it causes some amount of confusion in the young men's plans. With a teacher becoming involved at one point and one of the guy's girlfriends getting wind of what was going on and threatening him herself, it starts to move in different ways until someone actually dies because of what's going on. But the domination of various young women doesn't stop and the men of the academy, though they slow down a bit, it eventually continues on as there is a real secret behind all of this that changes the nature of the show entirely.

The animation and character designs for the show are pretty much on average but they are for the most part pretty good looking girls and your standard set of decent looking guys. There isn't anything that really stands out in their designs or one girl that completely overwhelms the others but the sex scenes are decent and they don't look like they had a lot of poorly repeated animation. There is a bit of waterworks going on here including some nasty playing with it moments that both the guys and girls get forced into which made me cringe a fair bit and wish it was over already. Overall that's the best way I can look at this release in that it's fairly standard material with some moments that made me wince.

In Summary:
Voyeur's Digest is certainly an appealing looking title by its cover but it is for the most part a straightforward show within the school genre that has a group of young men thinking they can do no wrong and never get caught and operate with that mentality. The designs are solid and the plot has some amusing moments to it but overall this is something that we've seen done both better and worse – just within the Vanilla Series framework itself.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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