Secret Desires: Passions of the Midara
When will the Japanese ever learn never to play the random media they find?
One day, Yuuto bumps into a woman accidentally at the local park, and finds a videotape in his possession. He plays it ... and sees his stepsister in a sexual game with ... himself?
This is in fact a magical videotape that lays bare his darkest, deepest desires. But each time, and each viewer, finds a slightly different story, a dark look at the thoughts of the improper, the midara.
This could've actually been good.
Midara (to call it by its shorter, original title) is a mess. Essentially, what we have here is the "magical videotape" cliche from Video Girl Ai and The Ring, used simply as an excuse for average spooge. Which, by itself, is not so bad, except that there are enough hintings at a plot that it gets frustrating quickly.
The big problem with Midara is that, once the whole setup is established, the story never goes anywhere with it, preferring to explore how many different permutations of characters they can match in the videotape fantasies that are portrayed. It would have been interesting to see how the videotape fantasies affect the "normal" characters' behavior, but you really never see this, at least other than the fact that they're all secretly masturbating over each other's screen personas.
Which brings us to the silliest part of this whole title: here, we have a hentai anime devoted to characters diddling themselves while watching fictional videos of themselves ... and if that isn't meta-porn, I'm not sure what is. Even more ironically, none of them are screwing each other in real life!
Not all of it is bad per se. The guys don't look like they came out of the local pool hall, which is an improvement over most hentai. However, in the desires segments, Yuuto in particular comes off as being really creepy, especially since I don't like nonconsensual sex. (And I REALLY don't like it when pee-pee gets involved. Eww.)
Even weirder, the settings of the "secret desires" are really anachronistic and strange, kinda like everyone really wants to be boffing each other on the set of Sakura Wars, despite "real life" being set in the modern day. The whole transposition of the "master-servant" dynamic on these average people just seems artificial, and only serves to facilitate a bit of standard BDSM -- not my cup of tea, especially when they start breaking out the ropes and the candles.
Why does it always have to be ropes and candles? *sigh*
On a technical note, the character designs are drop dead average, and frankly, there is nothing in the whole production that really leaps out at me as having any superior quality to speak of. The art style simply does not excel, though at least it's not particularly bad.
While a good ending may have saved this one from a low rating, Midara doesn't really resolve at all, leaving Yuuto and the rest with their proverbial hands full and no release in sight. And frankly, that's just a bit unfair to everyone.
Sure, hentai is, by definition, silly, but this title is just a bit too silly for my tastes.
If you don't mind watching porn about people watching porn, feel free to give this a rent, but even the most hard-up hentai fans probably have something better to queue up instead. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: ADULTS ONLY! Explicit sex, some of it non-consensual, as well as fetishes limit this to an adult audience.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (3/3)
Secret Desires: Passions of the Midara © 2002 Mink / Museum Video
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