Let the contest begin (and quickly end!)
Ouch. Never quite seen the appeal myself, it seems a rather painful
way to express and receive love. But hey, there sure is enough
adult anime released in the US featuring this particular fetish,
so there must be the audience to justify it's continued 'dominance'
Rather than being an anthology (as US distributor Critical Mass
gives this impression), the Vanilla Series are totally unrelated
productions from a single release label. Another Vanilla release
was the very average Heat
Series, so I sat down to watch Bondage Mansion with some trepidation.
But boy, the first obstacle to overcome is actually purchasing
Bondage Mansion. As if the way-too-obvious title wasn't enough,
the cover art depicts a near naked Reika shackled and gagged,
which is bound to evoke a little embarrassment for the prospective
viewer on purchase. Thank heavens for the Internet!
Bondage Mansion sets itself up with a typically flimsy premise;
on his deathbed, Yukio Mimura's father makes a strange request
of his son. Yukio must track down his cousin Hayata (whom he knew
nothing about) and invite him to live in the family mansion. Not
asking any questions, Yukio fulfills his father's last wish. Over
a nice, friendly dinner Hayata drops a bombshell. He desires ownership
of the Mimura (I shan't bore you with details as to why) fortune
and blackmails his cousin into accepting his immoral challenge.
Enter young virgin (heh, not for long) Reika, Yukio's girlfriend.
Of course, whenever there's a challenge over power anywhere in
hentai a woman must get involved, usually against her will. The
two cousins have a couple of months in which to 'break' Reika
at the end of this period she will choose one of them.
And GUESS WHAT? Yep, she quickly discovers the joy of being abused.
Man, she is gonna have SUCH a tough time choosing between these
two total assholes.
Character designs are on the overly cute side for Reika and Yukio,
but are criminally bland and insipid. Reika looks exactly like
Chichiro from the Heat series (not surprising considering both
shows have the same character designer). Erotic content is the
same old censorship-confused mess that blights so much hentai.
Generally explicit, Bondage Mansion applies the usual self-censorship
techniques seemingly at random, mainly with obtrusive camera angles.
Male genitalia is, wait for it, DARK RED. I kid you not. But worst
of all is the lackluster animation, especially, of the sex scenes
and the re-use of footage over and over again. To top it off,
there's an old guy who makes an appearance in episode 2 who bears
an uncanny resemblance to the 'Old Man' from Shusaku.
And GUESS WHAT? He's a horny old perv!
The DVD itself was disappointing on a couple of points. Firstly,
there are no previews on the disc. Boo. More annoying was the
lack of a chapter select, each episode being a single chapter
in itself. And on a couple of occasions the subtitles were mistimed.
I get the impression that this disc was rushed and they are things
I'd like to see remedied for subsequent Critical Mass releases.
Can you tell I didn't like Bondage Mansion? It has poor animation,
mediocre character designs and a baffling ending. The lesson?
There really IS such a thing as too much sex.