The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language in stereo along with the previously created English dub, both of which are encoded using the lossless DTS-HD MA codec. The show is certainly from its time in that the dialogue is good and clean and generally center channel-based. There’s some use of the stereo channels for music and some of the moaning and grunting as they get creative once in a while. But otherwise, it’s the usual routine. We didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2003, the four OVAs are presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen format in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show was originally done in full-frame format so there are some areas where this feels a bit odd with how it zooms in. This doesn’t take me back to the pan-and-scan days but it’s unusual to say the least to see a full-frame work encoded like this. The encoding itself is quite good as the colors are great with how vibrant they are and the problems of old, especially from this era, where cross-coloration and aliasing used to be prevalent are largely non-existent here. The darker areas look great with a solid look to them that’s a huge improvement over the encodes of old and the softness we used to see in the high-motion sequences in previous editions is largely eliminated here.
The packaging for this release goes for an interesting approach as it’s taking four previously released OVAs and combining them into one cover. They could have gone with just one cover but the appeal here for the market it’s primed for is that you get to see more of the various types of encounters within quickly, as well as the designs and sensuality that it’s trying to push. The. four-block approach is done decently here in choosing where to focus and blending the logo through the middle helps to soften it a bit, though I would have avoided the “movie collection” line along the top. Like a lot of shows from this era, the cover artwork conveys the idea of what the show looks like but with its own distinctive designs that I still find to be pretty appealing. The back cover goes for the same split approach but with a white background that lets each OVA get a shot from it as well as a brief summary of what it’s about. The remainder breaks down some of the technical specs and the usual copyright information. There’s no reversible cover nor any show-related inserts included.
The only included extra on each volume is a series of stills in a gallery.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the visual novel of the same name that also saw a light novel produced for it, Momiji is a four-episode OVA series that arrived in 2002 and 2003 from studio Shura for Blue Eyes. It’s the kind of series that as you go through it, you wonder how it managed to do so well as to justify and actually achieve four volumes when so many of them aren’t able to get past one or two episodes. The show does have some good designs and the popularity of the original visual novel, and getting that light novel adaptation, certainly helped it to feel like it’s something more than just a quick job produced to draw in some viewers.
The show focuses on a rich young boy named Kazuto. He’s handsome, he’s got wealth, he’s apparently got no parents around him at all, and he does whatever he pleases. One of the things that he does is a cute fellow schoolgirl named Momiji. The trouble with Momiji is that she doesn’t resist him much but she’s still not exactly willing. She doesn’t want him to take advantage of her the way he does, but she knows it’s futile to fight back. Instead, she is simply emotionless about a lot of it and just has an almost dead expression to things. This frustrates the hell out of him and he continually does things to her to try and get her to show some real emotion about it.
Not only does this frustrate Kazuto but it also frustrates and confuses a few other women. One of them is a cute pink-haired girl named Ayane who is madly in love with Kazuto. She’ll do anything he wants but that isn’t the kind of girl he wants so he keeps brushing her aside. Ayane decides that the only way to get closer to him is to do what Momiji does, and that’s to work as a maid for his residence. Since Kazuto controls Momiji so easily, he’s forced her to do that but Ayane does it willingly. So Kazuto is surprised when Ayane is suddenly there one morning doing chores and trying to get into his bed whenever she can.
There’s also another woman, a purple-haired vixen named Shizuru, who has a relationship with Kazuto as well as Mari, a blonde maid who works there as well. Basically, there are a lot of women in his house who want him for some ungodly reason. While his looks are reasonable and he’s got cash, he’s an absolute prick in every sense of the word. While there are bad characters that you can like and there are bad guys who are fun to root for, Kazuto is the bad character that’s simply bad in all sorts of ways. The way they try to play up his apparent need for someone to have a real emotional connection with him is so contrived and so out of left field at the end that it’s an attempt to try and give the show a sense of love and honesty about it is practically comical.
The character designs for the various characters are decent but I couldn’t really pin down one that was anything special or stood out from what are otherwise stock designs. Momiji falls into the near lolicon category with her size and overall look, but when you add in a general deadpan performance at times that the story requires, it doesn’t help. But even when she’s really getting into it she’s always got this edge of like she’s expecting to be something very bad to happen. The other women are all eager but even when they do bed Kazuto there’s nothing to it. There’s just a spark missing to make it work..
There’s good hentai and there’s bad hentai. Momiji manages to find itself straddling the line of the two by being mediocre. This isn’t exactly a bad thing because it’s not playing to hard extremes but it’s also not so ineffective that it’s not able to provide the right titillation. While it’s trying to play up the emotional domination side of things, it presents far too many characters and characters that you can’t find any real attachment to which is the main downside to it. When you don’t have that, all you have left is the sex. That at least looks a lot better here through the high-definition presentation which with its colors definitely stands out well. It’s also welcome that after so many years of this being out of print and only on four separate discs that we get it all in one collection here.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 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: Adult Source Media
Release Date: July 11th, 2023
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
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.