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The Vanilla Series is the Digital Work company's umbrella title for numerous unrelated pornographic anime in the style of Cool Devices or the Discovery Series, largely based on lecherous computer games. With many unrelated one-shot or two-part titles, the Vanilla Series has been greatly overrepresented in the American market, since its titles have been separated, renamed, and sold as several dozen anime releases-many have their own entries in this book, but we have assembled this chronological umbrella entry in an attempt to make some sense of it. Most of the original games are erotic variants of the "dating simulation" engine, in which a protagonist's choices in a role-playing environment lead him not to treasure or freedom, but to the perfect girl of his dreams. Consequently, plotlines often revolve around a roster of half a dozen female stereotypes, differentiated through hair color and non-threatening personality traits.

The first release from the production team was Love Doll in 1997, although its role as the inaugural title for the franchise was only really assigned retroactively. Similar membership to a Vanilla "line" would be assigned to the 1998 releases Shoyonoid Makoto-chan and Sleazy Angels.

The Sega Saturn-originated Heat for All Seasons (Kiss Yori, 1999) features Masato, an aspiring novelist who moves to a seaside town for a working vacation while looking for candidates for a summertime fling. Masato's friend Oka finds his dream girl working at a restaurant, but Masato rekindles his love with his old high school sweetheart, Chisato, before juggling her with a succession of other girls in the style of an erotic Tenchi Muyo!. Released originally in three seasonally-themed chapters, the English-language version initially featured a title change to Summer Heat, Autumn Heat, and Winter Heat, before being repackaged as Heat for All Seasons.

Mei King (1999) is another outbreak of the Cream Lemon virus, as a man called Cane falls in love with the spirit of a woman trapped inside the body of a young girl called Charlotte. In Sins of the Flesh (Ikenie, aka Holy Sacrifice, 1999), talented artist Adolfo wants to enter the Church and live out his days painting angels, though temptations of the flesh present themselves in the form of the country girl Michaela, with predictable results. Slave Sisters and Office Affairs followed the same year, demonstrating Vanilla's ongoing obsessions with both young girls and scenarios of bondage, coercion, and domination.

Bondage Mansion (Kinbaku no Yakata, 2000) featured extensive scenes of the same in a secluded forest hideaway, perpetrated by a father upon his daughters. A different variant on the incest theme was presented in the same year's Endless Serenade, while Girl Next Door presented a vaguely consensual variant on the dating sim theme, whereas Dark (Daraku, aka Degeneration, 2000), featuring more coerced sex, didn't.

In 2001, the Vanilla Series almost doubled its output, jumping on the erotic horror bandwagon with an adaptation of Toshio Maeda's Nightmare Campus, classroom bondage in Private Sessions, Classroom of Atonement, Campus, and Punishment (Korashime). The "gentler" side of pornography continued with I Love You, while bondage and wife coveting continued in Slaves to Passion and Stepmother's Sin. The year also saw a further concentration on fantasy in the literal sense, with Angel Blade and Hooligan: The Quest for the Seven Holy Dildos (released in Japan as just plain Hooligan), in which a botched "science experiment" transports a Japanese boy to another time and place where he must obtain a series of magical artifacts from the usual roster of stereotyped females-a more quest-oriented variant on the erotic dating sim. The same year saw the nursing craze in Japanese erotica reaching its peak-a line the authors suspect can be traced from the mainstream TV show Leave It to the Nurses (*DE), through to erotic rip-offs in the computer games world in 1999, and the subsequent success of Night Shift Nurses, the flagship title of the rival Discovery Series. Not to be outdone, the Vanilla Series retaliated with Sex Ward, and by mixing nurses and nuns in Holy Virgins.

The nursing themes continued into 2002, with the release of Vanilla's Ingoku Byouto, and Hardcore Hospital. Erotic horror continued with the release of The Urotsuki, the newest incarnation of the Urotsukidoji franchise (released in America as Urotsukidoji: New Saga), while less violent fantasies appeared in The Story of Little Monica. Coercion and domination returned in Submission Central and Debts of Desire, while Spotlight mixed the not-quite-incest genre with a tale of a female singer seeking the big time. Maid Service (Maid no Yakata: Zetsubo-hen, aka Maid Mansion: Chapter of Despair, 2002) featured an orphan, Momoko, who must perform menial services for the rich youth Takaaki if she is to earn enough to pay for her college tuition.

By 2003, Vanilla appeared to be establishing an annual roster of sub-genres in those areas of anime erotica proven to work in the market. In Wicked Lessons (Gakuen no Shuryosha, aka Hunter of the Campus, 2002), an abusive youth forces his raped and orphaned stepsister to help him chase girls at a college, all "to get back at his father." Meanwhile, school (or "college") abuse and sex continued in Hot for Teacher, P.I.: Perverse Investigations, and Private Sessions 2. Hospitals continued to perform beyond the call of duty in Naughty Nurses, while Chains of Lust (Ryojoku no Rensa, 2003) featured two workers at an erotic video store who decide to make a porn movie without acquiring the consent of their female performers-the authors wonder if this is an erotic variant on the contemporary self-referential genre in the mainstream that also gave us Anime Shop-Keeper.

A similar spread of titles covered all of the Vanilla Series' main bases in 2004, with school bondage in Sextra Credit and Bondage 101, and hospital abuses in Rxxx: Prescription for Pain. However, the year also saw a marked increase in the number of incest and not-quite-incest tales, particularly involving a fetish for lactating women. This is nothing new in erotic anime, and dates at least as far back as Professor Pain in 1998, but 2004 alone saw the Vanilla Series releasing Milk Money, Anyone You Can Do… I Can Do Better, and My Brother's Wife (Aniyome, 2004).

The new direction, with its concentration on older, fuller-figured women (at least compared to the jailbait of earlier incarnations), continued with Duchess of Busty Mounds (Mama Haha, 2005), Invasion of the Boobie Snatchers, and Mother Knows Breast (Chibo, 2005, lit. Perverse Mother). The franchise also released Group Groper Train (Shudan Chikan Densha, 2005), Incontinent Helena, and Virgin Auction (Shojo Auction, 2005).

The year 2006 was presumably some cause for celebration for the Vanilla Series, having reached its 100th title. The vagaries of release schedules make it unclear exactly which DVD represented Vanilla's attainment of three-figure smut, but by our unreliable calculations, it was probably Invisible Man (Tomei Ningen, 2006). Male characters in some erotic anime games have often been rendered invisible or translucent in the past, and some anime have found ways to remove the image of male participants from the action in order to show more female flesh (be it through tentacles at a distance in erotic horror, or transforming a character into a girl's bathwater as in Rei Rei). Invisible Man takes the concept literally, often allowing for the anime to incorporate the genre of live-action pornography known as "POV" (point-of-view), in which the girls address and interact with the camera as if it is the male viewer himself. Invisible Man features an old man who takes supreme advantage after ingesting a drug that makes him disappear. A similar concept can be seen in the Japanese box art to Stepsister (2006, the characters say Gimai but the furigana alongside demands it be read as "Imoto," or "Younger Sister")-not to be confused with the Discovery Series title of the same name-which features a semi-naked girl about to perform a sexual act on her knees, smiling up at the viewer/buyer. However, the onscreen action itself is more traditional, both in terms of the way it is filmed and in the plotting the title suggests, which is old-school Vanilla Series not-quite-incest. N

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Name: Vanilla Series
Release Date: Jan. 1, 1997
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Rating: None
Runtime: 30 (mins)
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