Tainted Love Never Looked So Fine
How good can an anime based on a hentai game be? If Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito is any example, you may be in for a surprise
I'm not ashamed to admit that I picked this up since I'm a sucker for hentai and magic girls. Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito is based on a hentai computer game (H-game) released by ROOT at the end of 2002. I have no idea what the game is like, but I can assume that it involves the busty females that make up the majority of characters and the yuri action that is found in Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito.
It opens with Hazuki and Hatsumi, two modern day schoolgirls. They are sisters, though Hazuki holds a forbidden attraction to the mute Hatsumi. (If that is grossing you out, stop reading. It only gets worse - or better, depending on your point of view.) This isn't as bad as it sounds, because Hazuki is very much a tomboy with long black hair, and Hatsumi is very feminine with long blonde hair with ribbons, so in terms of the male/female dichotomy, it isn't that bad. Hatsumi is able to communicate with Hazuki through hand gestures and her eyes, illustrating the strong bonds that bind them together. As in Angel Sanctuary, Hazuki knows that this love is wrong, but she just can't stop herself, and she can't love anyone else except for Hatsumi. Hazuki sees Hatsumi kissing a boy, and in a fit of jealousy, she accidentally wounds Hatsumi with a letter opener. Late in the night, Hazuki goes to Hatsumi's room, and just as she bends over to kiss the sleeping girl, Hatsumi calls out Hazuki's name and disappears into a green light as the alarm clock shows 12:00 am on Hatsumi's sixteenth birthday.
Things really get weird from here on out. A yellow bird named Ken-chan appears, looking for Eve. Eve, we learn later on, is Hatsumi's real identity. She created all people, so she visits the people of all of the worlds by living in them as a human being until she turns 16. Then she becomes Eve again and enters another world, repeating the cycle.
This is one of the major issues that I had with this anime. It assumes that you've played the aforementioned H-game, and thus, you know the back-story. Happily, Miyuki Fansubs gives you a brief background before each episode.
Adam created the worlds with Ririsu (Lilith). He then made people with Eve. Seeing that other gods might destroy the worlds and its inhabitants, he sealed the worlds into books and put them inside a library. He made Yami to protect the library. Yami is the hat with a giant eyeball (think Sauron) that Ririsu wears as the keeper of the library. This being based on hentai, Ririsu is a busty blonde who can't keep her hands off of Hazuki.
Since Hazuki and the letter opener have been bathed in the green light of Eve's power, they can now travel between worlds like Eve. Only, naturally, the letter opener transforms into a huge katana that can cut through anything. Hey, this is anime! Thus Hazuki begins her quest to find Hatsumi, her lost true love, traveling through the worlds found in the library with Ken-chan and Ririsu, who want to find Eve and make her take back her job as the keeper of the library.
The episodes run very much like Quantum Leap in that it opens with a scene from near the end of the episode, then the opening credits, then the episode runs somewhat chronologically. Yet as a whole, each episode is just that, an episode in the great search for Hatsumi. This will irritate many viewers, as a flow from episode to episode is generally the norm in anime. The episodic nature ensures very little plot development, which isn't really needed when the goal of the quest is so clear. There is plot development, but it only comes in jumps and leaps, and most of those occur in the later half of the series.
The opening song and sequence is very visually and aurally attractive, with a song that seems to match the frantic action onscreen. The ending song is also well done, but Studio Deen settles for a boring montage of books rotating as the closing animation. It really seemed to be a cop-out after the quality shown in the opening animation and in the episodes themselves.
The animation quality is excellent. The colors are bright and the artwork is top-notch, using detailed and broad strokes when appropriate. Each world has its own style and shading (as well as characters), making for an eye-appealing treat. The background music works excellent in lending strength to the scenes. I thought the seiyuu casting was well done, each character having a very distinct voice and manner. Characters were not deep by any means, but they were very easy to grow attached to and they did gain some depth in the closing episodes.
Speaking of closure, Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito does end all of the open threads, leaving you with an ending and the possibility of a sequel. The ending to Hazuki's quest is not the one that she expected (or myself, to tell you the truth), giving what could have been a very predictable ending a sudden twist.
The DVD of what I presume to be the first 2-3 episodes came out on January 15, 2004 in Japan, so who knows? Maybe it will come across the ocean to our own DVD players this year or next year, though this would definitely be a special order or a con-only title. In any case, if you're looking for a series that does not attempt to exercise your brain except with well-drawn females, and does have an enjoyable plot, try out Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito.