What They Say:
She’s the perfect girl, and you can do ANYTHING you want with her! That’s what the company MAIDWORKS promises, and boy, do they deliver! Unfortunately for android maid Yui, her new owner is an otaku who’s slipped way past the boundaries of normal anime fandom and into something that’s better described as abnormally fanatic.
So instead of cooking, cleaning, and the other… er… duties expected of an android, Yui’s main task will be to parade about in an ever-changing variety of anime and maid costumes while the deranged Takaya indulges in his even more deranged fantasies!
And since Yui’s one of those rare androids with self-awareness, this isn’t just embarrassing, it’s downright humiliating! And things only get weirder as other MAIDWORKS models arrive, each designed to cater to another facet of otaku-dom! Get ready for nosebleeds, tentacles, and panty-shots galore in the ecchi-est, letch-iest, comedy sketch-iest OAV series ever maid, Indian Summer!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo and encoded at 192kbps. The show is one that’s pretty straightforward with what it wants to do as it’s a largely center channel based piece that doesn’t have much in the way of directionality or placement. There’s a lot of activity across the stage as it goes on with a kind old school feeling about it with the way it overacts. It’s mostly dialogue driven though with some comical sound effects to raise it up a notch or two but that’s about it. The minor “action” that we get is fairly standard as well and the end result is a mix that’s competent and solid to be sure but won’t be memorable by anything it actually does.
Originally released in 2007 and 2008, the transfer for this three-part OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Animated by Doumu, the show has a simple but appropriate look to it where it feels like a 90’s OVA in a lot of ways but with a bit more modern design about it in some areas. The colors have some decent pop to it but the design of it is fairly muted overall compared to a lot of other shows that work this type of story. The transfer captures the look of it well with the details holding up well without much in the way of noise during movement while the backgrounds are largely solid. There’s little to find real problem with here, though I’d love to see this get a high definition transfer sometime just to see if it would come across any cleaner.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized DVD case that’s clear. The front cover works the Sentai Selects design with the pink banner along the top and the black framing while the main image brings us two of the main girls together with their assets overflowing across the piece. It’s bright, colorful, and makes it very clear what it will be and what the designs are like. The back cover keeps to the bright colors with pinks and blues that gives it a lot of great pop and vibrancy that I really like. With some good character artwork of Yui in her maid uniform and some busy but colorful shots from the show, it’s an appealing back cover. The premise is well covered as are the extras and the inclusion of the reversible cover. The production credits are clear and the technical grid lays everything out accurately. The reverse side cover is a great one that spreads across both panels with a look at all four girls in magical girl style outfits and very upbeat expressions. It’s pink heavy to be sure, but it definitely works well.
The menu design for this release brings us a cute looking static image that works well as the left side brings the wide cast of characters together in a burst kind of image where they’re all tightly packed together. The illustration style gives it a very detailed design about it with a softer color palette that gives it a bit more depth as well. The right side gives us the navigation which is the three color blocks with the story titles for each of them across them while the special features are along the bottom. It’s a straightforward static menu but it sets the tone well and looks good while being very easy to use since there’s little here beyond the show.
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Based on the manga of the same name by Takehito Mizuki, Indian Summer is a three episode OVA series that was released in late 2007 and early 2008. Mizuki’s manga kicked off in 2004 and finished in 2011 with seven volumes, so it wasn’t a barnburner that had a ton of material out there in speedy fashion since it ran in Dengeki Moeoh. Animated by Doumu, the show fits into the mold of what to me felt like a kind of 90’s simple fanservice oriented comedy. Part of that is just that it’s an OVA and we had a number of properties like this during that decade. There’s a lightness and fun about it here as it works across its stories, but at its heart, it’s a simple little fanservice story that just wants to enjoy itself in the way only that otaku can.
The show revolves around Takaya Murase, a young man who has his share of standard otaku fetishes. Lucky for him is that he lives in a time when he can buy an android and enjoy her in the way he wants. His particular fetish is dress up and he ends up falling for a model that he names Yui when he brings her home. She’s not exactly keen on being a maid to begin with and even less so about having to wear the traditional costume for it either. What’s worse is that Takaya is intent on changing her costume on a regular basis, with something like a dozen planned. The nature of the relationship between the two is certainly tense at first and she’s kind of stuck since if she runs away she can be brought back to the store to be destroyed. Naturally, the two do find a balance along the way and that leads to the standard harem storyline.
The cast grows pretty quickly within the few episodes that we get as the pair end up in a cafe, Cowbeya, where they meet Kanae and her father that own and run the place. Yui ends up becoming a big part of the place quickly since her presence in the cafe draws in a pretty strong audience of otaku types. Suffice to say, friendships are born, a little jealousy enters the picture since Yui sees Minori as a threat, and Takaya finds a like-minded friend in Minori’s father since he has similar fetishes. Which, naturally, get applied towards his daughter in a fatherly way. With this becoming the home base for the most part, we get others arriving such as another android named Kuon that embraces her maid side a fair bit and Sakuya, a former figure of Takaya’s that has been upgraded to a full-sized android as well.
Indian Summer is not a show that looks to work a big story or idea but it does what it can in the limited time and growing cast to try and bond Yui and Takaya together more in a proper master/servant but something more kind of connection. Most of what we see in the series are through Yui’s eyes and view of how it’s going and there’re some basic insecurities going on there that more often than not she ends up making worse because of how she sees everything. Most of what we get here, however, is just simple harem sitcom style comedy. It may not be memorable overall, especially as it’s punctuated by new girls being introduced over the course of the three episodes, but it has a kind of nostalgic charm with the way it feels even older than it is.
It’s been several years since I last saw Indian Summer but I’ll admit that I didn’t remember much of it until I put it in the player. Once it got rolling it all came back and mostly made me smile because it’s working a kind of low-key charm with what it wants to accomplish. It’s easy to like the girls in general and have one that you like more than others and it works as an overall harem piece that I still think could work with a full on season. Sentai’s release is welcome to bring it back into the market after it being out of the picture for several years and they go the distance in a good way with the reversible cover as well as bringing it out at a lower price. It may not be a huge show but it has its charms that leave me smiling while watching it.
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: February 23rd, 2016
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
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.