Square of the Moon: Phase 1

Based on the Alice Soft PC hentai game and animated by Green Bunny, Square of the Moon takes a different approach in the erotic adventure genre of hentai by mixing hot girls, monsters, and a Witch-Hunter-Robin-ish opening storyline. Ryo Hamura leads a fairly normal life, until he’s attacked by a mysterious monster one evening. Rescued by an unknown girl with a scythe, the local Astronomy Club has found their next candidate to join the Kasha. The following morning, Ryo accidently crushes a cute blonde girl on the train. He begins to apologize when she tells him to meet her later. Baffled but curious, Ryo goes only to be jumped by two masked men. Ryo manages to fend them off long enough for the group to see that their candidate is just right for the job. Square of the Moon: Phase 1 from Anime 18 is ready to introduce you to those who stand between us and the evil from the blue moon. 

Stats
DVD: Square of the Moon: Phase 1
Release Date: 4/12/2005
Release Studio: Central Park Media / Anime 18
ADR Production: TripWire Productions

MSRP: $29.99
Audio: English 2.0 DD, Japanese 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English, Signs-Only
Episodes: 2
Runtime: 60mins
Extras: Art Gallery, Square of the Moon Trailer, Anime Artform, Anime 18 Trailers

Notes: Review is based on a Screener copy of the final product.

Izumi Kagura, a girl with that quiet librarian look, explains the situation and Ryo’s role in the battle against the forces from the blue moon. A little uneasy, Ryo asks for time to think about it and begins to walk home. On his way home in the rain, Ryo spots a heartbroken Emi Gotoch from his class who is wandering somewhat aimlessly through the streets. Ryo decides to go help her when she disappears. Just as he’s about to search for Emi, Izumi calls and asks Ryo to come to the park to see something. At the park with Izumi, she quickly explains that she wants to show him what a Light Hunter (the typical kind of monster the Kasha group battles) is. Ryo is waiting patiently when he sees Emi Gotoh wander to a bench and sit down.

From out of the ground rise several thin, red tentacles that quickly restrain and strip Emi of her clothing. As more and more tentacles explore Emi’s body and raise her off the ground, Izumi explains how Light Hunters act and that Emi has been going through this tentacle rape experience for the past few nights. With each experience, Emi falls deeper into the dream offered by the Light Hunter.  Emi will soon lose herself to exhaustion if Ryo doesn’t join in the fight with the other warriors. Ryo agrees to help, and the pair manage to free Emi from the numerous tentacles. The Light Hunter makes a run for it into the forest where it catches Izumi off guard and grabs her leg. Luckily, a certain blonde girl with a goth-ish outfit shows up. Kyoka and her pet, Chiro, arrive just in time to save the day.

Ryo and Kyoka are sent out the next day to gather information while Izumi and the rest of the gang talk about the rash of buildings set on fire recently. Ryo doesn’t understand why at first until Kyoka reveals that she has the power of Satori – the ability to read the minds of others. Exploring the busy crowd allows Kyoka to find Manami Miwasaka, a girl gifted with the power to sway couples into fighting. Manami is instantly offered a chance to join the Kasha group. She agrees and mentions a strange woman in red she saw the other day by a building, and Manami suspects this woman is the arsonist behind the recent fires.

That evening, the Kasha gang approach the building and run into Manami, who is all-too-eager to join in the night’s exploration of the area. Ryo is assigned to protect Manami, and she’s going to need it as soon as they enter the complex. The opening room is full of floating balls with eyes that attack the group without mercy. Izumi orders Ryo and Manami to get to the upper level to find the arsonist while the rest of the group holds back the monsters. Just as they find the woman in red, Manami begs Ryo to let her use her power first before Ryo attacks with his sword. Ryo cleans out the ball monsters between them and their target while Manami enters the woman-in-red’s memories. But Manami isn’t ready to witness the perverse sexual experiences that the Light Hunter was put through long ago when it was still human. Manami makes one last, heartfelt plea to the woman’s former compassion, but it’s too late. The woman unleashes thousands of bugs to tear through Manami’s clothes and find even darker regions.

The second episode opens with the news that Hoshikawa’s favorite band can’t play anymore since their lead guitarist, Hirayama, was attacked by a rival band. O.T.O.’s Tsutomu Haijima seems to have some special powers, and this leads the Astronomy Club to investigate. However, Tsutomu manages to get away before they can completely subdue him. The next day, Izumi and the Astronomy Club gather at the school to discuss their Starlight Cafe project for the school festival. The Sakuramizudai Academy festival begins and the five ladies of the Astronomy Club change into their uniforms… cosplay uniforms. French maid, Cafe waitress, China dress, housewife, and school girl oh my! The guys melt at the sight of the ladies sporting these sexy clothes. As everyone cleans up that evening, Tsutomu chooses that moment to attack and kidnap Manami. The Club’s resident Amazon, Makoto Kedoin, isn’t going to let this happen and takes Tsutomu on full force as her China dress rips away. Tsutomu manages to get away with Manami while Makoto tries to recover from a poweful blow.

Tsutomu hands off Manami to the three men who gave him his new powers and their blue-haired sex-demon, Mizuki. Afterwards, Tsutomu returns to his club to await Makoto’s attempt to rescue Manami. Like clockwork, Makoto shows up for the trap. No match for the superpowered rocker, Makoto is beaten, stripped, and chained to hang by her wrists from the ceiling. Makoto is now helpless to Tsutomu’s dark desires between the tentacles, punishment, and raping he delivers. Meanwhile, Ryo and Izumi are on their way to join Makoto in the fight when one of the dark men of the blue moon appears above them. They notice Manami unconscious in his arms and begin to follow to save their comrade. Led into a churchyard, the pair confront the man siding with the monsters… Izumi’s brother, Souji Kagura.

Square of the Moon is a rare title which combines a deep storyline with sex/rape scenes that work to the story’s advantage. The production values for the Green Bunny title are very high and you will not be disappointed by the character designs and animation. Each girl has a unique-but-sexy look that stands out very well in this show and genre. The Japanese cast carries many well-done performances, especially in the case of Izumi (Mika Hazuki), Kyoka (Kaimi Oda), Emi, and Makoto (Natu Yoshida). TripWire Productions provides an interesting dub that comes off as one of the better English hentai-performances you will hear. The mixture of fun, accuracy, and some good line-deliveries makes it something to check out when you have a moment. Caroline Hellman’s Izumi, Amy Lynn’s Manami, Brandy Delmar’s Makoto, and Candi Washington’s Kyoka each deliver the needed emotional emphasis and occasional sexual performance to make me believe that there is hope for finding a good English hentai-dubbing-studio.

Square of the Moon: Phase 1 is packed with action, story, and just enough sex to satisfy you whether you want an action or a hentai title to sit down with. Anime 18′s work on this title shows with a clean video track and two flawless subtitle tracks for both full-translation and song-only subtitles. The only real extras are a trailer for the title and a slideshow of screencaps to make an art gallery. Otherwise, Square of the Moon: Phase 1 is a superb title to add to your collection and I’m already looking forward to watching the second half of this series.