What They Say
Life in the 1920s was a great adventure. And for Mosquiton, so was death. Once a terrifying vampire, Mosquiton ends up blood-bound to a seventeen-year-old treasure hunter, Inaho, who’s obsessed with the secret of immortality. Inaho decides to drag Mosquiton around the world on a quest for the O-Parts, magic artifacts that can grant immortal life without the unpleasant side effects of vampirism. However, an army of ancient monsters stands in their way, along with Mosquiton’s perpetually naked ex-wife of 300 years!
The audio presentation for this release is pretty standard for the time in that we get the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the English language dub that was previously created. The series has a pretty decent stereo mix for the most part that has some noticeable directionality across the forward soundstage in the action sequences but it feels like a standard stereo mix overall in that the bulk of it seems to fill the entire soundstage. It’s definitely a product of its time so it doesn’t have much to work with but it has a small enough feeling in the show itself that it comes together well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during either language track.
Originally released to video in 1996, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio. Originally animated by Zero-G Room, the show fits easily across the two discs with space to spare which results in a pretty good looking transfer overall. But that does come with the caveat that it’s good looking in context to its age and being done from standard definition materials about fifteen years ago. Mosquiton wasn’t one of the slickest looking OVAs when it came out outside of a few key scenes so that’s more visible now with the higher resolution and detail that DVD provides. It’s very obvious in a number of scenes where there feels like there’s a lighter film on top of the print so that dark scenes look too bright. The blacks in the background do maintain a good solid feel throughout most of it though and there isn’t a lot of macro blocking. Aliasing is fairly minimal but still visible and cross coloration is thankfully non-existent. This isn’t a bad transfer at all but it does show the flaws in the source.
Though a bit dark and overly red, the cover art here is very nice with the foreground image of the two main women, one of them pretty much naked, while Mosquiton lurks in the background with his blood on and black cloak folding around him. It has a good mix of the dark violence and sensuality that sells most vampire related things but it doesn’t let you know that this is something of an action-comedy series. You may get that impression a bit more from the background and some of the pictures which is based around a clock style image. The discs features and basic technical information is all kept nicely in the technical grid. The interior of the case has a disc on each side and the Media Blasters booklet in the middle which is unfortunate since any amount of pressure causes the discs to pop out. I wish they’d spend a few more cents and use the hinge style double keepcases since those are more secure for delivery.
The menu layout is built around the same idea as the back cover with a portion of the clock visible with character artwork inside it while selections are around it. It’s a good looking simple menu that’s effective since there’s little on the disc outside of the show and some trailers – and not even any trailers on the second volume. Access times are nice and fast and the layout while simple is definitely easy to navigate and lets you just get right to things.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the four-volume manga series written by Satoru Akahori and Hiroshi Negishi that was illustrated by Tsutomu Isomata, Master of Mosquiton was adapted into a six-episode OVA series in 1996 and 1997 and then saw a full two-cour TV series in 1997 – that was never picked up for a license. The OVA series was previously released in North America by ADV Films in both subtitled and dubbed format on VHS but the rights lapsed and in 2005, Media Blasters picked it up along with the completed dub and put it out in one single collection. With no new dub needed, that surely cut down on the costs of it and allowed for the nicely priced bilingual collection that we now have if you’re able to find it online.
The premise of the series is something akin to the older movie serials that we used to see a few decades ago. Taking place in the 1920s, we go back and forth in time a few years a couple of times and are introduced to an adventurous young redheaded woman named Inaho. She’s intent on acquiring something called the O Part that will bestow upon her immortality and beauty. As a child, her grandmother talked of the device and gave it to her granddaughter a cross earring that would help her find it. As she got older, she discovered a crypt that she broke into, and through a bit of her blood dropping on what was inside, she was able to awake the creature known as Mosquiton.
Mosquiton is apparently the 3rd generation vampire from the main line which means he’s a bit more human than vampire but still has many of the powers and skills. In a nice twist on vampire lore, the person who gives their blood to the vampire is the one they call master. So it’s not all that far inconceivable to have Inaho wake him up and someone else eventually take control of him by giving him their blood. Even more interesting, once they’re awake and alive they aren’t exactly full-on vampires at this stage and can handle some sunlight due to their human heritage. Mosquiton only becomes a bloodthirsty vampire when they take a good amount of blood by feeding. When this happens, Mosquiton’s nature turns darker as his eyes turn blood red – and even seem to bleed a bit. He’s almost feral at this point and will even turn on his master until he’s settled or killed. Killing him is like a reset button though in that he simply needs to be awakened with a drop of blood once more by his master or someone else.
So what does Inaho need with a vampire? What better bodyguard and all around tool to use to search and acquire the O Part with. The two have traveled over the years from their Shanghai office to other places in search of it and have developed a really good relationship. In fact, though she doesn’t quite admit it sometimes, she’s in love with him and wants the O Part in order to become immortal with him and spend her life with him. So when pyramids start appearing around the world, starting in London, they rush into them to search for the O Part and end up stumbling into something far bigger.
The bigger is a fairly interesting plot about some Star Gods that apparently seed planets with devices that allow them to track when it will be ripe with life in order to cultivate for a feeding and has been passed down as a legend. Inaho and Mosquiton stumble into this when they find themselves in the London pyramid with a man named Saint Germane who is working for an apparently immortal man named Rasputin that’s seeking revenge against the Star Gods. This plot is interesting in a number of areas since it plays to the megayears concept and the idea of aliens cultivating life is intriguing but it is such a background piece that it’s only really relevant during the final episode.
What makes up most of the other episodes? Once they get past the first pyramid incident and get the lead on the O Part, things become heavily sidetracked in the comedy area as a woman from Mosquiton’s past comes back into play. Some three hundred years prior, apparently his master at that time was a woman named Camille who by amusing coincidence has the middle name of Inaho. The two were deeply in love and pledged to each other so much so that she became immortal like him but things kept them apart until he woke up again a few years ago. During an ocean transit, the two come across each other again and it sets the stage for all sorts of comical stuff to happen as Camille tries to reignite the past while Inaho tries to keep her away from Mosquiton.
Naturally, there are things that happen across these episodes that keep the action up in the main plotline such as Saint Germane showing up and the search for the O Part. Another nicely done area is that Mosquiton has something akin to two familiars that are with him when he’s alive and resides with both of them in Shanghai. Going with the fire and ice theme, the boy type is named Honou while the girl is Yuki. Both of them have adult forms they take on when they use their powers to any meaningful level and they add some fun moments to the comedy but also something for with powers to help Inaho when Mosquiton goes into a feral mode.
Master of Mosquiton is a fairly fun little series and though it’s somewhat predictable at times, they pull some interesting and amusing material out of the thin air at times and the larger plot is definitely interesting. But at the same time, once you get past the opening episode, it’s easy to feel that the direction of the show is somewhat listless and meandering. The comedy works well enough, the characters are attractive enough and there’s enough action to keep you interested in that, but at the same time, it doesn’t really engage you to hit the next episode as quickly as some other shows. Each episode was fun to watch but there wasn’t enough to make me want to get to the next episode. In fact, it took a few days before I got the motivation to put in the second disc. It’s fun while on but once off it’s fairly forgettable.
While Master of Mosquiton isn’t entirely my kind of show, it’s a show that definitely had fans back in the day, and I still kind of lament that the TV series never got picked up. Something like this feels like it’s ideal for Discotek Media to swoop in and make some magic happen. Mosquiton’s OVA series is nicely complete and plays with a number of interesting ideas, particularly in how they conceive vampires and that their time period is in the 1920s. It’s not the standard kind of vampire show that we usually see and it’s certainly something that’s very 1990s in a lot of ways. Mosquiton’s not something I’ll revisit regularly but the release here is pretty solid all the way through and is definitely something I’m glad made its way onto DVD rather than being lost to the VHS era entirely.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: June 14th, 2005
Running Time: 180 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.