Within the last year, I've gotten back into anime BIG TIME! The amount of quality releases being put out by the major anime distributors is amazing and there are several titles that I've been following, including Godannar, Gankutsuou and Gantz. Titles like that should be reason enough why I'm loving anime again, but with groundbreaking, original shows like Gatchaman, Robotech and Star Blazers now available on remastered DVDs, I've been rediscovering a genre I grew up with and thought I grew out of. Mouse Vol. 2: Lusty Ambitions picks up right where Mouse Vol. 1: Stealing Temptation ended and adds some newfound danger, creating a series that doesn't take itself too seriously and providing more ecchi fun than your typical fan service series.
Sorata Muon is the last generation of world famous thieves, all of whom operated under the name "Mouse." Due to the vast fortune his family has accumulated over the years, he has seemingly limitless resources available to pull off the exotic capers. He even has three beautiful assistants/ servants/ slaves who were literally born to serve him. Mouse is based out of a large underground complex beneath an unsuspecting High School where the four serve as instructors: Sorata is the school's absent-minded art teacher who's adored by the girls he teaches; Mei is a tough, buxom blonde math teacher who loves Sorata above all else; Yayoi is the brilliant, equally buxom brunette who uses her genius to double as the school's nurse; and Hazuki is the fun-loving green haired girl (somehow, there's always one) and gym coach. Each girl has a unique look and personality all her own, and we learn about each girl's background as the series progresses.
I knew the term "fan service" was used to describe shows that catered to those of us who enjoy the sight of a well drawn 'toon, but Mouse is actually the first show I had ever heard the word ecchi applied to. So, I looked it up and the word ecchi means "naughty" and is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of "H," the first letter of the word hentai which means "perverted." Which basically means that it shows a lot more than "fan service" shows (like Maburaho or even Go Nagai's classic Cutey Honey), but doesn't go as far as an actual "hentai" series would. It breaks down like this: fan service shows skimpy outfits or even quick glimpses of light nudity; ecchi shows more nudity and for a longer period of time, as well as adult situations and even some light sex; hentai is the most extreme actually showing genitalia, hardcore intercourse and even bizarre sexual situations that are only possible in the world of animation.
Mouse Vol. 2: Lusty Ambitions pushes it's ecchi status to the extreme and delivers a truly fun, fast paced show loaded with the gorgeous Mei, Yayoi and Hazuki, as well as actually delivering on the possibility of erotic situations between Mouse and one or more of them. Mouse really shines when the show just unapologetically goes for it which somehow elevates it, in my opinion, above the somewhat juvenile feel of the average fan service show. With the addition of an actual nemesis for Mouse, besides that of the bumbling lieutenant Onizuka who Mouse outwits in every episode, Mouse is a fun, exciting adult comedy for adults, with lots of action, laughs and, of course, sex. What more could you want?
The six episodes included on this disc are:
Episode 07: "Man Hating Co-ed" ": Yayoi reminisces about her time before Mouse, when she was a college student who suffered from "male-phobia." Thankfully, her friend and classmate Mei Momozono, along with a young Sorata Muon, are able to open her eyes to some of the "positive" things that men can do.
Episode 08: "A Sweet Awakening": Orland Pharmaceuticals has invited Yayoi to analyze the incredibly rare "rainbow grass," which the notorious thief Mouse has vowed to steal. Unbeknownst to Yayoi, Mei has used her position to help Mouse infiltrate the lab and steal away with both the "rainbow grass" and Yayoi's heart.
Episode 09: "His Name Is One": The mysterious One (or "Woof" as the English dub calls him) is ordered by The Force, a society for the preservation of sacred artifacts, to prevent Mouse from stealing "Heaven's Clock" by any means necessary. No one in Mouse's world is safe from One and his deadly, beautiful killers, Fon and Rinyan.
Episode 10: "The Man Who Won't Die": One's killers Fon and Rinyan have kidnapped Machiko, eliminated Yayoi and Hazuki and have taken their places. Can the world's greatest thief still pull off his most daring crime yet right under the nose of the police and even if he succeeds, will he be able to defeat his immortal nemesis?
Episode 11: "Mouse Never Gives Up!": Mouse sees through One's ruse and unmasks the killers Fon and Rinyan, who are forced to release Yayoi and Hazuki. However, One is still holding Machiko as a hostage. When he unleashes his deadliest weapon, the "string that cannot be cut," it's up to Lt. Onizuka to save the day.
Episode 12: "Mouse's Dreams Live": Mouse and the girls are exhausted after their encounter with One. So they call in the assistance of Samasa Morijima, caretaker of the Muon vacation resort. With the women fighting for Mouse's attention he leaves only to meet One who proceeds to get him drunk, before ending up in an orgy with over 100 girls.
While my one and only complaint about the show, namely that Mouse always tries to avoid his servants sexual advances and even acts annoyed by their seemingly constant erotic attention, is still present in this second batch of episodes, Mouse does step it up and actually enjoys himself. As with the first batch of episodes, each one is only 15 minutes long (10 without the intro and outro), but I actually enjoy the brief running time of the show as it never overstays its welcome. If the episodes were 30 minutes long, rather than these brief two-parters, they just wouldn't have the same rapid-fire pace that I've come to associate with the show.
Picture: This DVD is presented in a 4:3 full screen presentation. This series originally aired in 2003 and as a result the picture is crisp and clear with nice bright colors. This is especially true in the case of Mouse's servants and their "cosplay" inspired outfits.
Audio: There is an English 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo dub track and a Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo original language track. There are two optional English subtitle options, one for just the titles and another for the Japanese dialogue. I tend to watch anime with both the English dub and the subtitles on. This way I feel like I'm getting as much as I can out of show, with nothing lost in the translation. The show's theme songs are also quite addictive and will get stuck in your head for days after hearing them.
Extras: There are some trailers for other Anime Works releases including Jungle De Ikou!, Demon Fighter Kocho, Detatoko Princess and Idol Project.
Conclusion: I've read a few comparisons online between Mouse and another famous, world-class thief, Lupin III. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any of the Lupin III films or shows and therefore cannot say which is better, but having seen the entire Mouse series, I can definitely say that I was entertained. If you're looking for a quick fix of fast-paced, adult-oriented adventure-comedy, than you could probably do a lot worse than Mouse Vol. 2: Lusty Ambitions. Recommended.