Tenchi in Tokyo Vol. #1 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, January 19, 1999
Release Date: Tuesday, January 19, 1999



What They Say
Tenchi Masaki leaves the country to go to Tokyo and to train to be his grandfather's successor as a shrine master. Of course, the girls can't be quiet about their abandonment! Thanks to Washu's new invention, the inter-dimensional tunnel, a long distance family life starts. Meanwhile in Tokyo, Tenchi is approached by a cute classmate, Sakuya, who doesn't know the risks of being Tenchi's girlfriend!
This disc includes the episodes "Separation Anxiety," "Four's A Crowd," "Long Distance Lunacy" and "The Eternal Pledge."

The Review!
Tenchi in Tokyo is exactly as the title implies. Tenchi's grandfather sends him off to the big city to learn under one of the best priest/shrine ways teachers there is so he can one day take over the Masaki Shrine. Of course, this goes over very poorly with just about everyone in the group.

The audio on the disc is very clean and clear and uses the soundstage nicely. There's no distortion at all, and all the high pitches come across well. There were a few instances of rear effects, but very very minimal overall. Standard TV fare soundtrack.

The video is very clean and clear and exactly what I expect from Pioneer. The 1.33:1 transfer is as originally seen on TV in Japan and looks just gorgeous. The vibrant colors that fill this show really shine through with the transfer. The only possible spot that looks weird is during the opening credits, right at the end when Sakuya moves closer to Tenchi, it looks as if her whole head is just jiggling. This may just be the way it is on the master though, but it was the only thing that stood out in my mind.

Presented in the keepcase, Tenchi in Tokyo has a somewhat plain cover, but it looks nice. I'm definitely liking the character design for Sakuya, so I've got no complaints with her being on the cover. The thing that will be interesting in the long run of this series is whether all the spines will be of the same color to give it a "presence" on both my rack and on store shelves.

The menu is pretty decent, everything flows very smooth as we've come to expect. The only noticeable missing thing with it is a chapter select submenu, but that's something that we'll be seeing in future releases hopefully. Pioneer has learned that this is an issue, and will take care of it with upcoming releases (though it may be a few more releases away before it takes effect).

I've been a big Tenchi fan from the get go. I even bought a laserdisc player just so I could see the show, back before Pioneer released the series on VHS. I've enjoyed every incarnation and change from the previous TV series, the OVA's and the movies.

Tenchi in Tokyo is a bit more of a departure from the tried and true formula of the past. And that's what makes it more enjoyable so far. While we still have the cat fighting Ryoko and Ayeka, we also get the newness of Sakuya. I'm already rooting for her to get Tenchi more than all the others. There's also a lot more wacky animation in this, somewhat like some of the Ranma episodes. There's a lot of instances of super-deformed characters running around as well.

The mysterious background villain will give a lot of people the impression of a Sailor Moon style villain, though I'm sure we'll learn more about her as we go on. So far we haven't done a villain each episode, which is a plus, but there's definitely a larger plot moving in the background.

If you're a Tenchi fan, and can get past the changes, you'll enjoy the disc. First time viewers might have a bit of trouble getting used to it all, as it really starts midstream. Rent a few of the OVA's or just play catch-up when the OVA Box Set comes out in March. Tenchi's a worthwhile series to watch, and this show is definitely a welcomed addition in this household.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Conceptual Drawings,Collectable Postcard

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Tenchi Universe