What They Say:
When you wake up half-naked and covered with graffiti, your week’s bound to go downhill quickly, but it’s not just that this isn’t the position she wanted. It’s not even a position that she tested for! So how did a girl like Mai end up coaching the worst sumo team in the history of Japan? Okay, sleeping with the sensei and those photos floating around the net might have something to do with it, but they’re barely even a real sumo team! With only three members and not a single match in something like seven years, if they don’t get into competition this year there won’t be a next one! Sounds like the perfect chance for a bright and energetic girl to inspire everyone and prove that she can make a difference, right? Well, not really, because these guys are REALLY bad!
The audio presentation for New Manager of the Sumo Club is the standard for Switchblade Pictures releases from this time with a simple but effective stereo mix encoded at 224kbps. The show is essentially all about the dialogue – and some moaning and groaning – so it’s not one that has to really stretch all that much. There’s some decent placement at times when multiple people are actively talking on screen but it’s your basic low budget stereo presentation and it gets the job done. Nothing sounds too low and there isn’t any scratchiness to the track either. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but is not enhanced for anamorphic playback. Sadly, there are still a lot of these out there from the GP Museum Soft catalog and Switchblade likely has more to work through yet. The presentation isn’t bad but there are some less than stellar moments. The opening sequence where we see Mai’s skit in particular starts things off at its worst with the cross coloration and noise that shows up in the checkered piece. Other areas have some mild break-up to them but it’s mostly just that the show very much looks and feels its budget level. Interiors tend to make out better than exterior shots which have a bit more stair stepping visible in it. It’s not horrible or really bad, but it’s just indicative of what it is.
If you go by the front cover, this looks like it could be a cute and harmless piece as it features Mai in her uniform with a slightly sexy look while the background has the sumo ring with the men from it in their outfits. The foreground is good with lots of bright color for her outfit while the background is surprisingly soft and hazy. I was surprised to see that they kept the full big original logo and added in the new one to the lower right corner, but I like seeing the original logos even if I can’t read them. All of it is framed by the standard Switchblade Pictures border. The back cover however lets you know that there’s adult material to be found as the right side has the warning and several teasing naughty shots of Mai in action as well as the sumo wrestlers in their outfits.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Switchblade Pictures delves into the real world once again with nothing supernatural, no ninjas and nothing deadly going on here. The entire point of New Manager of the Sumo Club is given right there in the title and it makes few bones about what it wants to be. In a way, this is the kind of show that I’m surprised I haven’t seen done in adult anime form yet since it is such a basic idea and there’s a fair bit that you can do with it in that area, both in nastiness and the absurdity of the situation.
New Manager of the Sumo Club revolves around a pair of roommates named Mai and Hiromi. Mai is the more outgoing of the two as she’s had her share of men over time. Hiromi isn’t like that and is still a virgin even as both of them are now seniors in university. They’ve been friends since junior high school and moved to Tokyo together to attend college and find out who they really want to be. Hiromi does mess with Mai a little bit with how she is with men, including the opening where she plays a prank on her by basically telling her she was gang raped at the Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival the night before. It says a lot that Mai believes her rather easily…
Mai’s not exactly the best student around and her partying has its problems since she misses taking notes and that’ll have her doing badly on reports and exams. To compensate, she’s sleeping with her professor, Tazawa, who is married. She’s able to use this regularly to help smooth things out, but now she’s found out that they’ve been discovered and he’s being fired and she’s being expelled. And for him it’s even worse as he’s going to have to go to the country to raise crops and his wife is going to leave him because of this. He’s still very into her though and actually asks her to come along with him. Things change on a dime though when the professor who discovered what’s going on offers them a chance to save themselves.
That has Tazawa taking on some vice president role while Mai finds herself being assigned to the sumo club where she’s going to be the new manager. It’s here that she meets the two members who have never been in matches because of an incident within the club a few years ago that led to all clubs not participating in matches for a year. It’s all sort of over the top in the back story but the focus has Mai learning to appreciate the two guys while finding a third to bring in so they can attempt to join the matches and convince the administrative staff to let them do so. Mai’s got a surprising amount of enthusiasm for all of it after her initial apprehension but it flows fairly nicely while she continues to get things on with Tazawa. At the same time, Hiromi is doing her own explorations which ties into Mai’s story a little bit as well as they work towards their first match.
New Manager of the Sumo Club is a fairly straightforward piece and it does mix in a healthy dose of tame soft core sex as well. Both Mai and Hiromi have their moments where they go at it, though Hiromi’s is a little more tender since it’s her first time and on the couch no less. Mai has the bulk of the experiences and you do wonder if she’s going to get things going with anyone in the sumo club, which could be fairly disturbing. The club captain, Tokikawa, is so rail thing an unattractive that even watching him in his sumo outfit makes me cringe. The scenes with Mai and Hiromi do work well though, particularly as Mai seemingly finds something more intense and real towards the end.
New Manager of the Sumo Club is a nice change of pace for Switchblade Pictures where it doesn’t have anything unusual in it outside of the sumo stuff itself. It’s a real world kind of feature with people actively in college and at times acting like real people. The sex isn’t bad, tame as it is for a soft core piece for the most part, and the story is amusing enough in itself as it plays out. It’s some harmless fun with attractive women, some decent guys and some scary sumo oriented guys. In the end, it’s more of what I’d like to see from Switchblade in addition to the heavy swords, ninjas and prison flicks we’ve seen so far.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: N/A
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Switchblade Pictures
Release Date: February 17th, 2009
Running Time: 70 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen Letterbox
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.