The Duchess of Busty Mounds
Also known as: Mamahaha
Medium: OVA, series
Year: 2005
Director: Kentaro Shigeta, Masahito Otani
Original creator: Shinbashi Makino
Keywords: anime, hentai, boobs, historical
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 2 half-hour episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=6521
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 19 April 2024
"My father passed away. I learned this in a letter from a woman who married him while I was away at boarding school. My stepmother, in other words. My grandfather was wealthy, but my father led a life of debauchery and my mother couldn't stand his drinking and wild behaviour. She hanged herself. My memories of my home life are all bad, but even so I left school to see my late father's face one last time."
It's based on a manga from the author of Heisa Byouin and Heisa Byoutou, so I was expecting character-based drama. I got my wish. Our hero, Jean, and his stepmother, Sylvia, are left in poverty because dad disinherited them before accidentally getting himself killed. (He got drunk and fell off his horse.) They have nothing. Even their house goes to an outsider.
Jean's grandfather, Chariel, volunteers to take them in... but I had a bad feeling about this. Like father, like grandfather? Our heroes arrive to find what appears to be a small harem, whose sneering members treat them like dirt. "Frankly, you people are a nuisance." They have to sleep in an outhouse and they're set to work like slaves. Someone kicks over Jean's bucket while he's cleaning the stables, then whips him when he protests. This is hentai, though, so they also make him their sex toy. (Obviously.) Jean gets used sexually by both Marianne (ginger) and Tina (blonde) and has no choice in the matter, but Marianne will whip him furiously when she smells Tina's perfume on him.
We don't see what's happening to Sylvia, but she says she's fine and doesn't want Jean to worry.
This is a dark story, with inheritance, death, murder and people you can't trust. The ending is shocking, but then a post-credits sequence puts a twist even on that. Even the sex is disturbing, usually being either: (a) women exploiting Jean, or (b) Jean and Sylvia consummating the feelings they've developed for each other. The latter isn't technically incest, but neither of them is entirely comfortable with it. (Jean's first reaction to seeing Sylvia had been to think she was the spitting image of his late mother, after which he always uses the correct Japanese term and calls her "mother".) Marianne's possessive about Jean without ever showing him warmth, while Tina has orgies with the village men (e.g. penetrated by three simultaneously).
The historical setting is quite well done. It's clearly well before the 20th century (horses, duels, etc.) and in the West, not Japan. My best guess is the 1840s. The women's dresses are surprisingly modest for hentai, leaving nothing uncovered. They have huge full-length skirts and they're buttoned up to the neck, not showing cleavage at all. That rules out the 18th century. No one wears those Jane Austen maternity dresses and it doesn't feel like the 1830s either, but men are still wearing cravats. Further indications include the use of cigars, not cigarettes, and the fact that grandad owns duelling pistols, not swords.
On a hentai level, it's most notable for Sylvia's bust. You could hide children and chairs down her cleavage. Her physique is inconsistently drawn, but holy cow. The animation's iffy and there's a (reused!) sex shot that's so badly drawn that it's funny. Also, the English title is ludicrous (and was misspelled as "Dutchess of Busty Mounds" in Kitty Media's initial solicitation for their North American release). That's more memorable than the Japanese title, though, which just means "stepmother".
For once, this is a hentai that's disturbing in a good way. It avoids rape, grotesque sexual deviancy and all those other hentai things that demand brain bleach. Instead, it's a dark narrative of characters who'll make you uneasy even when you're not sure what you're worrying about. Can you trust anyone? Will there be a happy ending? Nope.
"I saw his dead face, but I didn't feel sad at all. I'd known he'd end up like this one day."