Pros: Yellow Star was a pretty decent erotic thriller.
Cons: Slave Warrior Maya does everything horrbly, catastrophically wrong, negating any enjoyment attached with Yellow Star.
I forced myself to re-watch Slave Warrior Maya and it took nearly three years to get the courage to do so. Re-watching this one isn't quite as painful as a Ukrainian Jew who survived the Holocaust going back to Dachau several decades after Nazi Germany's fall, but it was still an extremely unpleasant experience that required three shots of vodka to make it through. Before I go back to rip Slave Warrior Maya to bloody pieces, I'll talk about the other episode included here.
If you're a Yasuomi Umetsu fan, you probably know that Yellow Star served as a prototype for his largest hit, Kite (which I think is good, and that's as far as I'll go), in terms of character designs and to an extent, the story. It's about a girl named Ayana whose mom gets remarried to an imposing detective Fujisawa. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is constantly pushing her to have sex with him, but she keeps making him “wait a little longer.” The detective has a drug called Yellow Star, that makes the people who use it into sex fiends, and isn't hesitant to use it on Ayana.
While Yellow Star pales in comparison to Kite, it's still pretty decent (I'd probably give this one a 62% by itself, if I had the option).
Of course, with this being hentai, don't expect that much character development, but the characterizations fit their roles. Ayana fits her role perfectly as the unwilling girl and Fujisawa is certainly a detestable fellow in all the right places, and when you see what he and his drug-dealing friends do to Ayana, it makes you happy to see an unpleasant fate for him.
The sex in this one starts off pretty conventionally, but it escalates when Fujisawa invites his drug-dealing cronies into the action and they have a foursome between Ayana and while I'm not a stranger to this sort of thing, my mind was quietly saying “Geez, that's rough.” You get just about everything here from simple fellatio to double penetration, and while not as rough as the “Seek” operations from Cool Devices, it's still pretty rough.
The animation and artwork is very fitting for this type of hentai since the atmosphere is gritty and the characters look pretty mature. The animation is mostly smooth, but there were some significant scenes where the movement feels somewhat stagnant, and I wish that with the scene where Fujisawa and his cronies have their way with Ayana, that they don't fully animate it but mostly use still images and make it look like they're all printed on a film strip.
SLAVE WARRIOR MAYA 1 and 2
I originally detested this solely for the fact that this one is futanari (hermaphrodite) hentai, but after watching this one again with a sharper mind (despite being smashed with Russian booze), I realized that Slave Warrior Maya is a putrid mess in every way, and if I were to rate it by itself, I'd give it a 1%.
While the Cool Devices series isn't perfect, I personally think it was a much needed change in direction for hentai in the 90's because they dumped the horribly convoluted storylines that seem only like bad sci-fi and fantasy stories written by a ten year-old with cheap, softcore porn shoehorned into the script and opted for gritty, simplistic, and believable stories exploring the many sexual taboos never really brought to light in the medium. In other words, the episodes prior to Slave Warrio Maya were largely good. However, Slave Warrior Maya takes a hundred steps back into the silly BS that makes it feel more like La Blue Girl or Venus 5 rather than Cool Devices (minus the tentacles and in with the bondage and futanari).
After being tricked by a street-side fortune teller, Maya is transported to another world and found by two anthropomorphic lizards named Heckel and Jaekel (I'm not making this up, it's that stupid). The lizards take her clothes away and sell her into sexual slavery, and Maya endures lots of sexual torture. However, she apparently has a great destiny in store for her as a warrior who can defeat the mighty and evil Zotos (makes Kang and Kodos sound terrifying in comparison). Right off the bat, the story for this is so ridiculous and awful, it's easily on Battlefield Earth, Bio-Dome, and Pluto Nash territory in terms of the lack in quality and sheer absurdity, and in the context of the other Cool Devices operations, it sticks out like a hammer-smashed thumb.
The idiots who made Slave Warrior Maya committed the ultimate sin in my book, which is tonal inconsistency. After Maya is taken to another world, there's several moments where there's large, goofy faces from several characters and after Maya discovers that she has budding powers as a warrior, she acts in a rather cartoonish manner not too different from Miko Mido of La Blue Girl fame. After Maya is taken back into custody a second time, it takes a steep turn into dark and disgusting territory and with the goofy content in your head from earlier, it feels really uncomfortable and awkward seeing the icky stuff. Also, there's lots of tonally inconsistent cuts mostly because the dungeon Maya is trapped in looks nightmarish but the world looks like the droppings from a fantasy-themed B-movie; so in one cut, you see Maya getting sexually tortured in a dark and grim place then see all this bright, colorful, and happy stuff that's really unfitting.
I don't expect masterfully-made characters in hentai, but I expect some effort in making them. I guess I'm supposed to sympathize with Maya since she endures a lot of bizarre degradation from her masters, but I just think she's a moron because at the beginning, the fortune teller who pointed her out and took her to the other planet looks evil complete with glowing eyes and animal-like sharp nails. Wouldn't she get a little suspicious of this and just walk away, and possibly call the cops? No!! We can't have that because that might be plausible, and we can't have plausibility here because this is supposed to be contrived and cliched to the hilt!! Also, many of the characters in Slave Warrior Maya look laughable. The lizards in the first part look like the Jolly Green Giant's testicles with appendages and lizard lips, how can I possibly take this seriously?!! The cyborg fellow that buys Maya looks like an anthropomorphic cyborg version of the HAL 9000 wearing Emperor Palpatine's robe, and most the female characters (including Maya) look pretty goofy compared to the other females featured in Cool Devices because the eyes look too round and in general, the faces look too “cartoony.” Also, Maya looks almost exactly like Kaori from Parade Parade, and guess what, that one is a futanari hentai as well. I'm having a hard time guessing who these people ripped off in order to create Maya.
The sexual content in Slave Warrior Maya isn't all that impressive. It's mostly just shots of Maya being bound with a “sex slave” tube shoved in her vagina (I'm not kidding, it's supposed to turn Maya into a sex slave), and of course, there's the futanari content. What you get here is a scene at the end of part one where Maya's masters have her bound into a sex machine that makes her grow a penis and ejaculate. Then there's a scene where a dominatrix named Eluma makes her grow it back (this is actually pretty disturbing when you watch it by itself), then you see Maya play with it and ejaculate on her own face (also disturbing by itself), then she grows it back again at the end and copulates with a fellow slave named Leyna. Futanari isn't my cup of tea, but unlike three years ago, I wasn't puking out my lunch but rather groaning in boredom because those scenes could have been shocking if it weren't for all the nonsensical BS I had to put up with. Hentai titles with futanari content like Bible Black were at least creative (and delightfully disgusting) with it (much more sex acts, and there's no redundant “build up” for it). For a hentai featuring sexual slavery, there's no super kinky stuff in here, only some fleeting scenes of light flagellation.
Also, Slave Warrior Maya doesn't make any sense. There's a subplot with these space noblemen looking for Maya and nothing properly develops with it, and despite the weak connection between them and Maya, it feels really shoehorned and by itself, is really stupid. The monkeys operating Microsoft Word who made this hentai abomination committed another ultimate sin, bad plotting and super rushed ending. Slave Warrior Maya is only about 50 minutes long all together, but I was mostly staring at my wristwatch, waiting for it to end because the many previous flaws made me loose interest in it. At the end, Maya is brainwashed into an “ultimate slave” and copulates with Leyna, then she “awakens” into a warrior, then you get a still image of her fighting some giant monster that I assume is supposed to be Zotos (I still can't get over how stupid that sounds). The end. [Moves away from precious Alienware computer, has psychotic meltdown screaming "THIS IS STUPID!! STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!!" about a hundred times and then passes out from severe lack of breath.]
You're probably saying “You've been bashing this a lot, there's got to be SOMETHING you like in here, right?” You're right, I do like something in Slave Warrior Maya and it's the only reason that it's not getting the ultimate goose egg (a zero). Despite the fact that some of her sexual brutality against Maya feels kinda goofy, dominatrix Eluma is a delightfully evil female villain, in fact, I'd say that she's one of the best aesthetically speaking. Imagine Poison Ivy from the Batman animated series in dominatrix form with the malevolence of Dr. Weir from Event Horizon in her soul. Once you see her, you can't help but think “Geez, she's evil!!” The only thing missing from her image is a red Nazi Swastika armband on one of her arms and possibly SS (in the traditional Runic style, just like the Nazis used) tattooed on her neck. I'm so delighted by her character, I'm using Eluma as a basis for an antagonist in a story I'm writing (which one sentence is infinitely superior to all of Slave Warrior Maya).
With a simple re-write, this could have been worthy of the Cool Devices label. Here's a re-write I came up with literally in minutes, retitled Maya's Vile Revenge.
Maya is abducted by human traffickers and is sold to a horribly corrupt mining engineer high up in his company, and does unspeakable acts to his slaves with his high-tech mining tools. Maya endures lots of sexual torture (no futanari stuff here), but breaks free and carries out a brutal revenge against her masters and her abductors with the high-tech mining equipment (you can see I'm eagerly anticipating the release of Dead Space 2).
Granted, it's paper-thin and extremely exploitative, but it's much superior than Slave Warrior Maya.
It's a shame that hentai isn't available on Amazon's Video on Demand because Yellow Star is pretty decent, and with how awful Slave Warrior Maya is, you shouldn't be forced to get that with Yellow Star because the way I see it, it's like ordering a three piece chicken dinner at Popeye's but instead of getting three pieces of chicken, you get one piece of chicken with two pieces of dog excrement.
If, for some odd reason that my review hasn't convinced you to avoid Slave Warrior Maya like the ebola virus, I'll save you 50 minutes by suggesting you go to the nearest hardware store, go into the heavy cleaning aisle, buy a bottle of lye, and splash all of it on your face (with your eyes open). That's exactly what Slave Warrior Maya is like.
Go get the other volumes of Cool Devices (1, 2, and 4), Last Train to Gropesville, and Bible Black (mainly the original series, but New Testament isn't bad), Kite, and Mezzo Forte for much superior hentai.
Avoid this like a detestable hybrid of the ebola virus and the bubonic plague.
Finally, if I ever get a terminal disease, I'll find Konodonto (the creator of Slave Warrior Maya) and horribly end his life with a circular concrete saw