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Hot Space Cowboys Hentai Anime DVD Review

7 min read

Legend Of The Blue WolvesAmid a deadly battle with invading aliens, young men find love and torment with each other in the stars.

What They Say:
2199: human space colonies are under attack from aliens known only as the Apocalypse. As the invaders wipe out colony after colony, flocks of young men rush to join the Earth Defense Force. When handsome rookie Jonathan Tyberius starts his training, he’s taken under the wing of his experienced bunkmate, Leonard Schteinberg. But Leonard isn’t the only one keeping an eye on Jonathan. Their commander is looking for a little more action from the newest hot piece of meat to land on his desk and he’s going to get it – one way or another!

Also known as Legend of the Blue Wolves.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is like most boys-love/yaoi titles that have been brought over in the years in that we get only the original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 192kbps. Not surprisingly, the mix for this show is a decent stereo one that is like most other shows of the genre with dialogue being primarily center channel based. Unlike some other shows in the genre, there’s a bit more to it overall simply because it has action and other effects with the science fiction aspect of it so that gives it a bit more life. The music and effects track uses the stereo channels but it’s fairly minimal overall considering both the age and the content.

Video:
Originally released in 1996, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this show is definitely showing its age as the colors feel somewhat washed out and the blacks are more gray than anything else at times. The budget for the OVA isn’t terribly high to begin with but the overall quality is decent but it does have some of the problems of a show this age. There is a bit of minimal aliasing throughout during some of the busier movement and panning sequences and some light cross coloration that may be more visible as a general fuzziness around the edge of characters. Nothing is terribly distracting and a lot of it is simply just due to the age of the print and the source material itself.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release changes things up from the previous version we had as we get our two leads in an embrace across the center while Jupiter looms large in the background, even as we see other moons and rings around it that adds some good effect to it all. The bottom gives us a bit more of the military side of things and the mecha involved as well as a bit of the disturbing torture side that comes into play. There’s a lot going on with the collage cover here but it definitely sells itself well with the top half and especially the altered title since that grabs your attention. The back cover plays it pretty clean as we get flames all around, a little more mecha and some character artwork. THe premise is well covered and we get a clean look at the extras and a solid technical grid that lays it all out accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release uses the coupling aspect of the front cover only with an expand space view that definitely works nicely since it looks so fresh and new rather than something that’s almost twenty years old. The colors are vibrant and appealing and the amount of black space works well since it’s got some stars in it. The navigation is along the left of the character artwork and is simple and effective for what little is here. Submenus load quickly where needed and everything works properly.

Extras:
While there are generally few useful extras when it comes to adult releases, we do get a couple of things here that are good to see. There are three trailers from when this first came out so you can see how it was promoted. An image gallery is also included but the last piece is a full length rendition of the song set to clips from the show, essentially being a music video.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While there hasn’t been a lot of yaoi or boys-love material released over the years, there have been a few and some decent ones. More often than not, they’re generally decent ones since the ones that are brought over rise to the top rather than there just being wave after wave of them. Originally titled Legend of the Blue Wolves, Critical Mass Video has brought out this 1996 classic as Hot Space Cowboys, which will definitely get it a few more looks than its other title. While a lot of shows in the past decade have been upping the level in explicitness, you won’t exactly expect a lot here though it definitely hits the notes it needs to.

Unlike most of the other shows we’ve seen over the years that deals with the male love of males, this one doesn’t provide a simple backdrop and then go right into the action before moving onto the next story. Instead, it starts off by appearing to be the first installment of a larger series that never happened, so this OVA is all there is. In addition to that, there’s a rather detailed layered story that everything is set against that the various scenes all take place in. The characters are given a good deal of motivation and background that does more than just string sex scenes together, it gives them actual meaning.

Taking place in 2199, humanity has spread across the solar system and has essentially conquered the system. At the point at which they were about to move beyond and into the larger realm of space beyond, an alien race they called Apocalypse arrived and starting making inroads into the solar system destroying everything left and right. They absorbed the people they came across and used them to build out their component parts with them. The aliens are pretty much secondary to things here though as the show moves its focus to one of the training bases where a group of soldiers have applied to become the pilots of some high powered robot suits that will be able to make a dent against Apocalypse.

This is where we’re introduced to Jonathon Tiberius and Leonard Schteinberg. Tiberius is the young and cocky type while Leonard is a bit older and wiser but also a bit world weary having lost his brother a few years prior. The two find themselves to be bunkmates during the training after first coming across each other on the practice field where Tiberius got slapped for being foolish. The two end up falling for each other relatively quickly once they spend time together but what really solidifies their relationship is the base commander, a disgusting overweight man who uses his position to intimidate and dominate attractive male pilot candidates so that he can have sex with them. The two men end up in bad positions and situations because of this as the commander has a fancy for Tiberius and Leonard can stop himself from acting against this for only so long.

The animation for the show is definitely a lot of what you got from OVAs of the time with these being rugged men and being built, no wimpy beanpoles to be found here. The designs are strong in their nature and they look good and definitely fit within the genre. The animation itself is pretty good though it isn’t a very fluid or active show at a lot of times, instead choosing to use shadows and various angles to imply more animation. The sex scenes themselves are explicit to a level, though it’s not very explicit in terms of penetration but there’s plenty of oral stuff going on here and lots of intimacy, at least in terms of the two guys who are wanting to be involved. The material with the base commander, well, sorry, not my cup of tea.

In Summary:
I still can’t quite explain it in some ways, but this show just hits a lot of the right notes when you get down to it. And I wish that it was actually dubbed so that it could reach a bit of a wider audience. It’s a show that has a good bit of story to it, it doesn’t just throw a complicated normal relationship at us and works to do something that has an engaging backdrop to it that could sustain its own series. The animation is good for its time, the designs are solid and attractive in that strong male look and it has a good enough story to carry it through as opposed to feeling like it was done just to string together some sex scenes. With a forty-five minute run time it allows for several sex scenes and room for plot and has enough going for it that at the end you wish there was more since they do manage to pique your curiosity with it.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Line Art Gallery, Promotional Videos

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

Released By: Critical Mass Video
Release Date: November 5th, 2013
MSRP: $14.99
Running Time: 45 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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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