Vanilla Series: Wicked Lessons -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • 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: 24.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vanilla Series Collection

Vanilla Series: Wicked Lessons

By Chris Beveridge     February 15, 2005
Release Date: March 29, 2005

Vanilla Series: Wicked Lessons
© Critical Mass Video

What They Say
Revenge never felt so good!

After Noelle's parents die suddenly in an accident, her older stepbrother Shuichi returns to take care of her – in ways she could never have imagined. Noelle is horrified when, on the very night of her parents' funeral, the stepbrother she remembered so fondly cruelly rapes her. Then, without explaining why, Shuichi forces Noelle to transfer to the prestigious Takamine College.

Each night as he ravishes her body, Shuichi pumps Noelle for information about the women on campus. Women like the curvaceously timid Haruko, the sexually talented Shirone, and the beautiful blond-haired bombshell Elena... Women who will be able to satisfy his insatiable desires – and provide him with the information he needs to avenge the death of his mother.

The Review!
Statistics prove that every other family is made up of brothers and sisters who aren't really related. Otherwise how common would this really be?

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. One area that worked particularly well for going across the entire forward soundstage is the scene with the triplets. Now that's how you sell a wide range mix. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with either language track during regular playback.

Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this two episode OVA series is decent but has some minor issues associated with it. 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 gray 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.

Using a zoomed in shot of Noelle in bondage with just a bit of her uniform visible while her hair is flowing wide, it's a very detailed looking piece that sells what the show is all about pretty simply and quickly. 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 down at the bottom from one of the bondage scenes. The summary covers the basic premise of the series and the discs features and extras are all clearly listed. As is standard with Critical Mass releases, no insert is included in this release.

The menu uses the same artwork as the main cover though with a bit more visible while the selections are lined underneath the artwork. 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.

The disc has a couple of extras to it, from a simple slideshow of shots from the show to a dub outtake section which has a mix of the usual kinds of screw-ups and some amusing moments that are flubbed.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The next entry in the Vanilla Series brand of adult anime entertainment, we're treated to a story of revenge, family and higher education. All of this comes together under the umbrella of bondage so everyone gets to have quite a bit of fun here, though some more than others.

The story starts off with Noelle talking about how her parents had just died together in a car accident and that now her brother, who has long avoided the household since he hated his father, has come back to help settle accounts and to be with her. She's quick to point out that they're not really brother and sister as their parents were divorced before they met and got together. Once her brother Shuichi graduated from high school though he left the house and never came back. It's been a few years from then by all accounts so now that they're back together and she's in college herself she's unsure of what's going to happen.

Her answer comes quickly as his first night in the house after the funeral he goes kind of wild and takes her right then and there, his voice and gaze almost hypnotizing her into doing whatever it is that he wants. She learns that he's now going to be a professor at the same college and that she has to spend her time finding out about the Takamine family, which is the family name of the director of the school. He's got a daughter in the school who will be taking it over once she graduates and he moves on to politics as well as having a niece in the school who is coincidentally Noelle's quiet roommate. Shuichi's interest in the family becomes the central point to the series as there's incidents in the past that slowly come to light but both his family and the Takamine family come off badly throughout here with what they've done and what they do.

Most of the show is focused around Shuichi making his way around the school while conducting his investigation. This means he ends up meeting with different studios and faculty members which in turn means he does his best to dominate them and put them to use in his goals. Sometimes this has a decent scene such as the one female teacher he hooks up with who is just too innocent to be a teacher but it also puts him into contact with the mean spirited set of triplets who try to take advantage of other girls. The triplets are a very amusing part of this show since I don't really remember seeing it done before and it's done well here but it's also comical just in the way it sounds vocally as he manages to please all three at once. And since they have green hair, it's a plus for me.

Visually, the show is decent and the character designs sort of hit that middle ground where the designs overall look a little young or small but they're not quite as bad as they could be. Noelle's design as well as her roommates are probably the best overall and her roommate gets a couple of really good scenes in this show. Takamine's daughter is decent and the others are fairly average but they all pull off their scenes well enough. The sex scenes overall are decently done at minimum with a couple of good moments in some of them but nothing wildly fantastic. The animation for it pretty much fits the same bill so there aren't any real surprises here.

In Summary:
Wicked Lesson is a decent piece of adult anime entertainment but in the end it's a fairly average show that doesn't go to the extreme with its bondage stuff and isn't all that fetish heavy. There's a plot to be found here and while it's enough to carry the scenes from one to the other it's not something that's all that memorable nor all that well written when they get down to the big explanations for it. The sex is what's worth watching here though as there are some good scenes and character designs plus the first time I think I've ever seen triplets like this in anime.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Slideshow,Outtakes

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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