It has been a while since I have given a hentai title a 10-paw rating, and it's a rather pleasant surprise that it's one that has been licensed by NuTech. I have come to believe that anything licensed by NuTech could only be one of two things: (1) expensive; and (2) mediocre. While I did read the back cover and found myself genuinely intrigued, I made sure not to raise my hopes up in case I end up disappointed yet again. Well, Luv Wave knocked down both my premises. For one, because, as of this writing, NuTech products are on 50% discount at Animenation. For the second, you'll just have to read the entirety of my review to see why generalization #2 has just been shredded.
At first, I couldn't begin to fathom how an obviously hi-tech anime that revolves around drugs and a persistent computer virus should even have the word "luv" or "love" in it. Sure, our protagonists Alice and Kaoru are obviously bound to have some romantic inclinations, but I was thinking that this just might be beside the point. The plot, well-written as it is with its share of twists and turns, seem to place sex and any emotional involvements in the back seat. In fact, you can remove the sexual aspects and still be left with a decent, coherent, no-nonsense story line. It doesn't come as a shock that this is based on a bishoujo game, and from the looks of it, probably one of the top-notch releases out there-along the lines of Chain, Kana, Critical Point and Divi Dead.
Kaoru starts off as your brooding bishounen hitman worthy of being a Weiß Kreuz member. The first mission shown is of him being rescued by the android Alice. Kaoru finds Alice an unwelcome addition to his life, not only because he thinks it's ridiculous that a robot should serve as his assistant, but also because Alice strikes him with troublesome memories best left forgotten. As you journey with Kaoru and Alice, you find yourself uncovering not only the complicated plans of an unknown enemy, who controls computers and humans alike with the drug and the virus Xinn, but also bits and pieces of Kaoru's past. At the end of it all, you'll understand what tragedy goes beyond all the technology and all that jazz.
It's also interesting to note that Kaoru and Alice are surrounded by well developed supporting characters. Kanako, the red-headed computer genius, isn't your usual bespectacled straight-laced bishoujo. She genuinely cares for Alice, and does in fact get highly emotional sometimes. There's also Kaoru's sister, Mamoru, who works as a law enforcement officer. Her importance in Kaoru's life triggers a sense of determination in him that goes beyond the seriousness of his missions.
Artwork and animation bear that classic late 90s look, which I had missed for quite sometime. There are a few action scenes, but they're well worth watching-even if it's mostly Alice who's doing the stunts. The sounds are above average, while the ending theme is just the right amount of eerie seductiveness. Hentai sequences are generally mild, except for that particular virgin rape scene that had a gang of thugs filling the girl's ass with water, making her stomach bloat to unbelievable proportions. It's one of the sickest rape scenario I've ever encountered. As my consolation, however, I did take note that Luv Wave has one of the best cunnilingus scenes that rivals that of Queen and Slave's.
A satisfying watch. If Luv Wave weren't hentai, I would've given it two thumbs up at the Otaku Fridge, too.