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Dark Hentai Anime DVD Review

6 min read

DarkSometimes it doesn’t take much to draw a young man into a world of depravity.

What They Say:
Shinji Yagami had always heard the rumors about female students being raped on campus – everyone did. Of course, he never believed them until the day he stumbled across a website showing detailed pictures of female students being assaulted in the classrooms. Shocked to find himself turned on by what he sees, Shinji begins his descent into a world of voyeurism, S&M, and rape guided by fellow sadist Satoshi Kojima.

When Shinji’s childhood friend Miku Iino begins to suspect that he may be involved with the string of campus rapes, she decides to confront him. Torn between his own dark desires and the horror of his crimes, will Shinji continue to hide his secret from Miku, or will she become the next target of his vicious desires?

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track as well as the previously created English language dub, both of which are in stereo and encoded at 192kbps. The show is pretty much a dialogue piece with little else there to draw upon, even the incidental music doesn’t make much of an impact, but it carries it all off well and it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a show like this. Dialogue is generally through the center channel with little in the way of placement but it all comes across cleanly and without problems.

Video:
Originally released in 2002, the transfer for this two episode OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show generally has a decent look to it with colors having a mostly solid tone to them with only a few areas in some of the darker backgrounds where it starts to get slightly shifty, owing more to the age of the source material and the fact that this encode is just the same as what was released several years ago. Colors come across properly, line noise is minimal and we didn’t have any experiences with cross coloration.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized keepcase and it uses some of the incidental artwork that’s not reflective of an actual scene in the show. It does make for a nice looking cover with several of the women who will not be enjoying this show, but it works as a fun little tease. You can tell quickly from the image what kind of show it’s going to be, so that’s a big plus in my book. The back cover provides a few screenshots and a plot summary done up as a webpage as well as more artwork from the show itself. As with all TRSI releases, there is no insert with this release.

Menu:
The menu is pretty simple with a few seconds of footage and music from the show playing across the entire screen with an overlaid list of selections and the title along the left. The menu definitely lets you know quickly what the animation for the show is like. Access times are nice and fast, but language retention is an issue. Selecting Japanese w/English subtitles causes the subtitles to come on but for the show to default to English. Even upon changing to Japanese, it reverted to English when the second episode started up.

Extras:
There’s a brief minute long slideshow gallery of shots from the show plus some promotional artwork pieces.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ah, the Vanilla Series, a group of shows that can go anywhere and seemingly do anything. With a title like Dark, it pretty much lays out what it’s going to be like from the start and it’s one that plays heavily to the darker nature of people, especially those that may not have found their moral center at the time and also may not have really understood what their actions would cause. Of course, ramifications here are all pretty much meaningless as girls are used and tossed aside as they’re blackmailed, but it’s to be expected. Dark wants to let you get in on the vicarious thrill of watching young men take advantage of young and older women alike, using them with a twisted view of what sex is all about.

The show revolves around two young men, Shinji and Satoshi, who have ended up being involved in a rather unusual series of events. Shinji starts off by talking about the rumor of a website that has pictures of girls from his school that are being raped. Not only that, but the pictures indicate that it’s happening within the school itself. But it’s just a rumor, so he doesn’t particularly believe it. That changes though when Satoshi from another class gives him a homepage link, and it reveals slightly blurred pictures of girls he knows. When Shinji goes to find out what it’s all about, Satoshi just tells him to go to the doctors office. Shinji ends up going, only to find a schoolgirl there. Without any real incentive or push, he ends up tying her down and having his way with her. And this starts off a long chain of events where Shinji and Satoshi make their way through various schoolgirls and teachers, videotaping and photographing the whole way.

As it progresses, Shinji starts to have his doubts about Satoshi’s sanity, as Satoshi continues to bring in more and more bizarre ideas and toys, but Shinji continues to go along with it all. The only thing that may possibly save him is his childhood friend Miku, a young woman who notices the strange changes in Shinji since he started hanging around with Satoshi. Of course, Miku’s going to get caught up in it all, but that’s only towards the end. Before it gets there, the two young men leave a trail of women behind them that they deal with, using their own bodies as well as various toys and threats. There is an amusing moment when they go after one of the teachers and as they started to get her under their control, she basically chides them for not doing the job properly since she’s very into BDSM, though that’s not what the boys are really doing here. That kills the thrill for them since they’re not able to get that high of control in a way and it did leave me laughing at how awkward the scene turns out for them.

Features:
And that’s really the bulk of the two episodes. There’s practically no real plot, which isn’t surprising, since there’s just regular instances of Shinji going to the computer where he’s asked who he wants to rape next. While there’s the sensibility to it that you’re supposed to find this uncomfortable, the show doesn’t really delve into that since it is so paper thin. It’s all about the control and thrill that it wants to provide, and for most people that’s going to be hugely uncomfortable. It’s one thing when there’s consensual rape-play going on, it’s a whole other thing when it’s just a series of aggravated assaults. There is an audience for that, but that’s not me. The show doesn’t do anything wrong in terms of its release and presentation overall, but it’s one of the weaker releases from Vanilla that left me uncomfortable years ago and all the more so now.

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

Released By: Critical Mass Video
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
MSRP: $14.99
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV 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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