It’s Christmas Day, and as I admit I have a day of freedom to myself, the familiar call from Sothis pops up. “Can you help me add this one to the DB”, speaketh she, “its borderline hentai, so you make the call”. With the television being monopolised by gifted X-box games, I used my time wisely to watch a “quality” production from the 90’s that is heavy on the ecchi and low on production values.
Strange Love is...well... strange. Whilst going for the typical hentai scenario of school teacher seducing his headstrong pupil, the show does nothing but titillate the aroused viewer. Highlighting the difference between Japanese and western entertainment, be prepared for a perverted sensei, determined to have his wicked way with his cranially challenged (and lustily accomplished) pupil. The “innocent” Yoshida Chizuru is a model and the sexy star of a tv advert, something forbidden in the rules of the college she attends. Unfortunately, her secret is accidentally discovered by the youthful professor at her college and she soon becomes the target of his affections, even going as far as playing a high stakes game of Janken Po with him to alleviate some frustration.
As well as her effortless ability to make the boys stand to attention, Chizuru also spends her free time humping the guitarist of a famous band. The two play mind-games with each other and the end of the first episode sees Yoshida playing tonsil hockey with Hiroyuki in the elevator, as an embarrassed school girl looks away. What I didn’t expect was this young female, Azumi, to turn the story around, and force the once cock happy Chizuru to become the desperate victim. Questions about sexuality give rise to some saucy yuri scenes that are more amusing than arousing.
From chikan (train groping), to girls flirting with each other in the changing rooms, Strange Love also attempts to cover a fair few fetishes at the expense of a storyline. The bizarre change of pace between the first and second episodes also had me flummoxed by the complete u-turn in personalities. Maybe a longer running show that explored the relationship between Chizuru and Azumi would have been more successful, or an all-out hentai that gives some satisfaction rather than the sinful tease of something much, much fruitier.
Oh boy, did I laugh as the momentous mammaries swung out of their over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. Two ginormous breasticles on a teeny tiny Japanese school girl are meant to be realistic? Without surgical enhancements, I think not. And the striking feature of cauliflower ears to both male and female characters is not a welcome addition. To be honest, the drawings are amateurish and more deserving of a substandard doujinshi than an animated OVA. Women are unfortunately proportioned, with enormous breasts and very little else, apart from impossibly long legs that would be much better suited to a giraffe. And the male characters become just a second thought; their faces hastily scribbled as the artists fight amongst themselves to get back to sketching the curvaceous females with chest features resembling that of cattle.
In my entire anime watching career, I have never heard such diabolical voice acting as that in Strange Love. “Overacting” does not begin to describe the painful and forced lines of the seiyuu as they attempt to convey their feelings - regular AND orgasmic - to each other throughout the trite script. The soundtrack doesn’t fair much better; either making me giggle with a blatant 80’s porn anthem or becoming a droll-fest with an utterly forgettable piece that fades into nothingness less than 2 minutes after finishing the show.
There are more to the characters than just erratic perversion and stupendous boobies?
Strange Love is pretty terrible, with very few redeeming qualities. It tiptoes cautiously towards hentai, but lacks the balls to grab the premise by its naughty bits and descend into complete depravity; foolishly choosing the path towards ecchi instead. With no script, professional voice actors or plot to back up the half-assed sexual undertones, the show falls flat on its face. Instead, save your wrist, as time would be better spent either looking for porn, or finding yourself a harem game in which a bevy of beauties will do your every bidding. Disappointingly, Strange Love provides neither.
The reason I decided to watch this OVA is 100% based on how terrible it looked. I was linked to it by a friend who was laughing at the screenshots and I shared that laughter with him. The show looked completely horrendous, and that's why I decided to watch it.
Story: The show features two episodes around 35-40 minutes each and the plots in each are virtually unrelated.
The first episode follows Karasawa Sushiaki, a college professor who gains an interest in a student whom he discovers is also a celebrity model. As a deal, the girl, Yoshida Chizuru, invites herself back to his place so that he should "forget" that she's a celebrity (she's hiding this fact from the rest of the college). Things don't go exactly the way Yoshida wants and there's not really anything else to the plot.
The second episode instead follows Yoshida Chizuru and her 'love life'. Having never truly been in love, she's confused when a female transfer student sparks sudden arousal inside her. This new love, however, conflicts with the fact that she already has a boyfriend who becomes jealous and tries to intervene in order to try to win Chizuru back.
Animation: The art-style may appeal to some die-hard 90s fans, but I personally never liked the style of 80s and 90s anime. The frame rate is poor even for most anime, and the faces look sharp and unattractive. It's difficult to understand how a character such as Chizuru is supposed to be (as told in the show) 'perfect' when she looks like nothing a real person could ever be attracted to unless the person has a fetish to be stabbed by sharp chins.
Sound:The sound was fairly disappointing. Aside from the mediocre voice acting, some punching sounds, and some very cheesy music used for about 3 seconds during an equally cheesy scene, there was nothing else. I didn't expect much though. As I said, I was watching this because it looked terrible.
Characters: The characters were mostly very typical and boring. Only Chizuru was interesting as she has a unique way of playing mind games with guys for seemingly no purpose (read: a female troll). Azumi could have been a good moeblob if only the animation had lived up to making her look like anything other than a sharp-faced, greasy-haired donotwant.jpg.
Overall: I watched this because it looked terrible. I didn't expect good, and what I got was in fact terrible. But, it was the good kind of terrible. It was the kind of terrible which can make you laugh just because it's so terrible. To anyone who shares this kind of thinking, I recommend watching at least the first episode. If it hadn't made me laugh due to it's terribleness, I would've probably given it a 1/10 for overall.