Well, hey, it has a catgirl! ^_^
Ahem. Well, yet again we have one hentai feature, this one rooted in the fantasy genre, like Elven Bride and my new favorite, Sex Demon Queen. (Which isn't what it sounds like. But I digress.)
Philandering into the realm of old school fantasy, this fantasy anime does utilize the proven "two races at war while darker forces pulls the strings behind the curtains." This isn't a spoiler. We're being shown exactly who does what rather early on the show. Which isn't bad either. I'll get to that after I'm done with the usual stuff I do at this point in the review.
The art is actually quite lovely, and the animation works just nicely. The settings are just your usual standard fare, caves, underground cities, forests and surface castle towns. I certainly have no complaints.
The voiceovers are, as always more than adequate in Japanese. Given the rather diverse cast of characters, including anthropomorphic ones as well, that's saying a lot more too.
The music.... well, it's okay, I guess. Nothing impressive, nothing awful. Hentai rarely cross the boundaries into the realm of aural pleasures, I guess.
The plot does follow a singular thread in this one, filling out nicely (er.. no pun intended) as it meanders along. Granted, apart from the legend, we don't get to know much about what's happening and it takes a little while before things start. Which is fine with me anyway.
The characters are actually quite good. We have the main character, Astral, who is curiously naive for a hentai feature. Naive to the point of being considered stupid. We also have Sharon, who wishes he would grow some backbone and fighting skills; and Nina, the resident catgirl, who is usually sweet and kind. There's also the usual king-types, plus a horse-man (not a centaur, mind you) that has to be seen to be believed. ^_^
Since this IS a hentai feature, and a hardcore one at that, one can always expect sex scenes. Lots of sex scenes. What drags this title down a bit is the slightly contrived way the main character is set up so he can have sex with just about any female in this series. (Perhaps I should add "harem" to the genres already there.) Nevertheless, it doesn't distract much from the main story. Even the "several years later" twist added at the start of episode three doesn't really come by as much confusing as just peculiarly convenient.
Perhaps that's the thing that is a bit of a letdown on this one. The story has allowed itself to go through some shortcuts, so to save on its length. I do feel it was unnecessary, though, seeing as it does have the strength to stand on its own legs, even if the sex scenes never existed. And it's not a big factor either, really. Just about enough to be noticed.
Now, the rape -- and yes, there is rape here -- deserves some mention for not being put in a "positive" light. You know, she begins "enjoying it." In fact, some pigs.... (And I mean that literally, not metaphorically. Remember, this title already has a catgirl and a horseman) ... actually get a swift kick to the cojones for their actions when their victim escapes through the help of another prisoner.
Anyway, to sum up and clear the possible confusion: this is a rather good fantasy series that earns it hentai label by featuring plentiful of sex scenes. It has catgirls (YAY!) and other animal/human characters, monsters aplenty and also deserves a special mention for not following the typical light/shadow archetypes. No, "shadow" does not necessarily mean "evil." For those who like fantasy series or movies, this is a very safe rental if you don't mind hentai. I'm actually considering buying it.
If you're not as fond of old school storylines as I am, remove one star. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Adults only. There is sex, the occasional rape, and violence. And some language, I'm sure. (Though it can't have been too excessive, since I don't remember it too well.)
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (5/5)
Words Worth © 1999 elf / Green Bunny
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