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Qwaser Of Stigmata II Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

9 min read
Qwaser Of Stigmata II
Qwaser Of Stigmata II

Just when you think you can’t have enough boobs, along comes a series that doubles down on them. And then some.

What They Say:
No sooner has the matter of the Sword of Maria been resolved when word comes of a NEW ancient artifact: the Magdalene of Thunder! Given that finding it requires “sampling” the soma of girls who may have been in proximity to the artifact, Alexander “Sasha” Nikolaevich’s extensive hands-on experience makes him a natural choice to do the necessary research. There’s just one small catch: the Magdalene’s hidden within the cloisters of the all-girl Seirei Academy, which means that Sasha will be checking in as “Alexandra!”

While covering the large tracts of land the search will encompass will keep Sasha’s hands full, racking up a victory is no sure thing. Not to mention, there’s also another transfer student checking out the girls and the Seirei Academy has a virtual fighting system that could level the playing field. There will be plenty of soul-baring tete-a-tetes and hook ups on the balcony in addition to the usual full frontal assaults!

Contains episodes 1-12 plus the OVA.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series is presented in its original Japanese language only in stereo and encoded at 224kbps. The series works a good blend of action and dialogue – and moaning – in order to tell its tale and all three areas are well handled. The action uses the left and right channels pretty solidly as events unfold across the screen and there’s a decent bit of impact to all of it as well. Dialogue is straightforward as it runs from the lows to the highs as characters yell from place to place and there’s some good directionality and placement to it, though depth is less of an issue here. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2011, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The twelve episodes and OVA for this season are spread across three discs in a four/four/five format With animation by Hoods Entertainment, the show has a really good bright and vivid look about it with plenty of detail where it counts. There’s a glossy nature to how certain aspects of anatomy are conveyed and it gives it a vividness that really shines through. There’s a lot of variety to what’s going on here with character designs and powers as well as school uniforms and the like and it all looks quite good. Beyond a couple of very small instances line noise, the show is generally strong and appealing.

Packaging:
The cover art for this release is pretty tame compared to the show itself, which is an amusing aspect to it. The front cover provides a look at both Sasha and Mafuyu with an action and dark aspect to it that makes it look like just another action show with some strong violence to it and a hint of sexuality. The colors tend to be a darker here with the blacks and reds in the background and character artwork in the foreground that doesn’t leap out. The logo has a block feel to it that leaves an impact but doesn’t exactly stand out in a memorable way. The back cover provides a mix of shots from the show and some character artwork, but as much as it might tease the sexuality inside, it doesn’t really make it blatant. The tagline and plot summary cover things well but again, it keeps it pretty tame which is amusing. The production credits lists everything clearly in an easy to read form while the technical grid lists all those details accurately and without problem. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for the release is simple but well done overall as it splits the screen in half almost. The left half has the breakdown of episodes by title and number with a cute cursor for it and it changes up the colors overall along the episode list chart. The right side provides the artwork as it uses pieces from the cover art, though not exactly the same way. They’re bright, colorful and feel more engaging than the cover artwork when you get down to it. Being a single language release, submenus are relegated to just the special features section on the first disc. Everything loads quickly, smoothly and without any problems.

Extras:
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first season of the series, which ran for twenty-four episodes as opposed to the twelve episodes of this season, was something of a guilty pleasure. Except that it was one I didn’t feel particularly guilty about. So many shows play up the sexuality but with something of a wink or a nod or an overtness that goes close to the edge, knowing it’s “wrong”, but not crossing the line. Qwaser of the Stigmata actually crosses that line with a whole lot of glee and just makes the sex a huge part of the violence, though it doesn’t go for the disturbing kind of violence. What we got in the first season was just a hell of a lot of fun for me and the second season takes all of that and just doubles down on it, but crosses the line too far in being too overt, too far gone to be enjoyable. At times, at least.

This season does shift things around a bit for the first half of it as it takes Sasha and has him on a new mission at some other school where he’s on the hunt for the Magdalene of Thunder, a key and important piece of the larger puzzle that’s going on in the larger framework that comes from the original manga, which is still ongoing as of this writing with fourteen volumes so far. Sasha’s enrollment in this new school is comical as it’s an all girls school, so he’s dressing the part and getting help from Hana, who has been assigned as his Maria for this mission while Katja is off on some other mission that’s keeping her busy. Hana’s not terribly pleased by it, but it’s the kind of thing that will raise her stature overall when it comes to Katja and she has high hopes her suffering under Sasha will draw her closer to her one true love.

Unfortunately, Sasha has it even rougher since he’s playing the part of a girl here, working through the clothes he has to wear and dealing with Hana’s high handed manner at times that provides some tension between them, tension he can at least soften by sucking the soma out of her. What makes his mission really difficult here as it goes on is that there’s a real clique of girls he has to deal with and part of it involves going through a virtual reality series of tests and engagements with them where the losers have to do what the winner says. There’s some fun and sexy action with all of this, but what’s amusing is that as Sasha takes on the virtual female role and feels everything as a woman would, he finds that his handling of women previously was rougher than it needed to be now that he understands them a little bit more. He’s still manhandling them in a lot of ways, but there’s at least some dialogue about it as he gets back on track.

The first half does have a good bit of fun about it as he goes on with his investigation and we get a variety of new characters to deal with, especially as the villain of it makes himself known with trying to acquire the Magdalene of Thunder. There’s a lot of sexual torture that comes into it and it’s fun to see how this group of young women are manipulated or do the manipulating themselves. The downside is that other than Sasha and Hana, it’s pretty much nobody else from the first season for awhile. I like the new girls well enough, but I never felt invested in them. Thankfully, as it does progress, they do start to surface here more and more, first with Kajta coming in to help and then the arrival of Mafuyu, as she’s been spending her time in heavy training to become a Maria herself. But there’s some curveballs in her future with her role as she has some strong abilities of her own that have become bonded to her which has some real potential.

Where this season is a little unusual is in that while we have a main storyline, it’s largely completed in the first half. The second half has a small storyline that runs through it as well that involves an ex-Qwaser that has started up an organization to help young women enhance the size of their chests using a variety of rather creepy and disturbing pieces of equipment. It’s kind of sprinkled throughout and provides some of the impetus for how the relationship between Mafuyu and Sasha changes towards the end, which should launch a third season that I’d love to have. But where does this leave the rest of this season? Upping the ante on the whole breast fetishism. They’re mostly standalone stories that deal with some school stuff like festivals, there’s a beach episode of sorts and an OVA that really goes over the top with the way it abuses some of the girls and gets even more sexual than the first season did. I liked the overt nature of the first season, but the OVA here, which is episode 10.5, just went in an unwanted direction. It’s hard to say the series became more crass, but it just turned in a direction that was less appealing.

In Summary:
Having watched a whole lot of anime over the years, shows that push the boundaries in any direction are interesting to see. Qwaser of the Stigmata did that in the first season and turned away (or off) a whole lot of fans, but I found it to be refreshing in how it approached its sexuality. So many series come close but avoid making that final step and being blunt about it. This season carries that premise forward another step but it ends up becoming too much and loses some of what made it fun to watch as it turned more cruel and unusual. It also didn’t help that there was a distinct lack of main characters outside of Sasha and Hana for the first half as a lot of what made the first series for me was the characters of Mafuyu, Tomo and Katja. Hana and Sasha definitely provide for a great pairing overall, and I like the new girls, but it just didn’t connect as well. And with the second half feeling more random, it loses that unifying storyline that kept you following it more closely in the first season. That said, I’m still very game for a third season and will hope for more of this fun show.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 30th, 2013
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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