It's hard to put into words what I felt when I was watching
this new Vanilla Series offering. On one hand, I was a bit
surprised to find something coherent and actually quite serious
from the Vanilla marketing group. I usually end up laughing
my ass off at their "horror" or "tragic"
h-anime, simply because the sheer stupidity of the characters
is just beyond logical comprehension. On the other hand, I
don't condone rape in any form. I don't care if the women
secrete barrels of liquid that could put Niagara Falls to
shame. Rape is rape, and rape is violation of human rights,
to put it mildly.
I say coherent because the writers seemed to have touched,
if not focused, on the psychological issues surrounding rape.
It's more about power, above all else. You will hear statements
like, "If you worry too much about your partner, you
will be stressed out and miserable," and, "It's
all about doing what you want." Selfish sex. Shinji Yagami's
problem started with him not being able to perform with his
girlfriend because he was too nervous about what she thought.
And then he discovers an outlet that lets him think more for
himself, a means to satisfy his cravings. I don't see anything
wrong with this. It happens to the best of us. But when we
actually pull out our deepest, darkest side and shove it down
everyone's throats, then we've got ourselves a whole bunch
of nutcases. The rational part of us makes us human, and letting
go of that turns us into mindless beasts.
Shinji's mental vulnerability makes him the perfect sidekick
for Satoshi Kojima, who has gone deeper than Shinji could
ever go. Shinji at least swings from sweet innocent boy to
demonic sex maniac and then back. Satoshi goes from bad to
worst, until he ultimately meets his cerebral demise. But
who placed Satoshi where he is? Now that's a little twist
I didn't really expect from the usually shallow Vanilla.
Dark essentially has a happy ending. Err
sort of. It's
the little twist that puts a cliffhanger in there. Nevertheless,
you can thank the kind, but somewhat naive, Miku Iino for
not giving us the typical Vanilla Ending where everyone's
in a lose-lose situation. Don't expect Miku to be a kick-ass
female character, though. She's formula horror flick chick.
You know, the ones that run to the top of the building and
then find themselves trapped with nowhere to go? (Gawd, somebody
oughto put emergency exits in their houses and schools!)
As for the hentai aspect, I quote the advertisers: "...comes
a show that will shock the adult anime world to its core!"
Hah! After Cool Devices
and some 170 animated porn titlesnot including the h-videogames
and the h-mangaI could almost say I've seen 'em all.
Dark's S&M and the countless scenes of sadism haven't
reached Cool Devices or E'L
proportions yet, but they're bad for your sanity. If you can't
stand seeing elongated objects, other than the penis, being
inserted in a woman's vagina or virgins bleeding their guts
out, then I don't recommend you get this. Even in my jaded
disposition, I still find myself looking away and cringing
at the sight of a mop handle in a hentai sequence.
The art is, like all other Vanilla presentations, beautiful.
It's the animation that doesn't impress me. Lazily done digital
animation is never spectacular. Furthermore, US dubbers could
use younger voice actors as Shinji sounds like he's in his
30s. And it doesn't help that there's somewhat of an error
in my DVD options. When you select Japanese with English subtitles,
only the second episode comes out right. The first episode
is English with English subs. Other than those minor details,
I'm thinking this is an improvement. Still, it doesn't mean
I've become a Vanilla fan. They yet have a long, long way