The legend of the beast of lust...
Before I begin I'd like to mention that Inma Seiden is thoroughly
confusing. It would seem as though the creators assume the
viewer is already familiar with characters because very little
is explained about them - the source of their strange powers,
their motives - all really left way up in the air, giving
the distinct impression that there is some back story lurking
about somewhere. Maybe it's totally deliberate on the part
of director Kan Fukumoto (of La Blue Girl, no less) in an
attempt to create a little mystique but the result is one
of frustration as I tried to figure out what the hell was
happening, and more importantly, WHY?
We're introduced to school chairwoman Himiko who is evidently
trying to resurrect something quite nasty for no apparent reason.
Her adopted daughter is Hitomi, a shy, withdrawn girl (and she's
sooo lovely. More on that later). She has powers of her own, again
totally unexplained, and a super-deformed pet demon that openly
displays a desire to rape her as soon as he gets the chance (Hitomi
can transform and deform him into a terrifyingly powerful demon
at will!). Right. There's the devious Kaori and her sister Mao,
the rightful heirs to the Otori Academy and in conflict with their
aunt Himiko (confused yet?). Mao and Hitomi know and help each
other out of sticky situations despite Hitomi harbouring a hatred
for Mao (for whatever reason!) And a guy named Akira vows to protect
Mao with his life and is extremely powerful (and looks exactly
like his namesake from Nightmare Campus!) and bad guys a shoujo
manga would be proud of. Argh... Oh, and a deranged and slightly
disturbing bearded man locked up by Himiko and is fed a healthy
diet of female teachers. And a guy in an iron mask. Arghhhh...
Sorry to drag on, but I've attempted to illustrate just how much
is going on in these three episodes. Your head is liable to explode.
Don't say I didn't warn you. Things get a little clearer as the
episodes progress, but it's obvious that there is more to come
from the series - so be warned on that count as well, you're not
getting a complete story with Inma Seiden 1-3.
I'd like to give a mention to Hitomi here. In my modest opinion,
she is one of the most attractive anime characters I've ever laid
eyes on - whenever she graced the screen I was transfixed (as
a grown man I feel somewhat stupid talking like this but...*melts*).
Depending on your standing point it can be viewed as fortunate
or unfortunate that she escapes a fate involving slimy tentacles
during these episodes at least.
On that subject, if you're expecting wall-to-wall tentacles you
may be disappointed. Sure, there are several scenes throughout
the three episodes but Inma Seiden leans heavily towards plot
and character development. The sex that is present is of the fairly
uncomfortable girls-screaming-stop-but-to-no-avail sort though,
all lovingly rendered in explicit detail. In fact, there are several
instances where a certain tentacle-rape feast is surely on the
cards only for the good guys to show up and kick major ass. How
about that? Competent good guys! Plus points are the decent artwork
and animation and lovely character designs. This is a very recent
show (2001) and kudos must go to NuTech for bringing it over so
early. Perhaps they should have waited though because Inma Seiden
has an epic scope and potential that three episodes simply don't
have the time to fulfill. One note about the visuals - the video
generally is slightly grainy and the colours are muted, but for
some reason episode three throws in several CG scenes that while
looking absolutely stunning with their sharpness and vivid colour,
feel very out of place.
I really enjoyed Inma Seiden. Once again, NuTech opt for their
tried and tested one 30-minute episode per DVD, but mercifully
spare us of the adult voice actresses this time around. A knock-on
effect is some gorgeous, relatively unspoiled tentacle-themed
front covers (bwahaha). This box set is a very nice package indeed
with typically polished presentation. The reason the score is
kept as low as it is would be attributed to the fact that Inma
Seiden is not complete and thus may put some people off. I know
for a fact that new episodes are currently being released in Japan
but no official word from NuTech yet. I really hope Inma Seiden
sells well enough to justify licensing further episodes because
it's a very promising and enjoyable piece of animation.