Tenchi Universe Vol. #7 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001

What They Say
Mysteries and surprises! To get money for repairs to their space ship, the girls all compete in a swimsuit competition, but no one expects the shocking swimsuit on the surprise competitor! Later, Mihoshi's blundering results in chaos at a Jurai checkpoint that leads to the even more shocking revelation of Katsuhiko's past, and the resurrection of the sleeping Jurai guardians of legend!

The Review!
And the plot returns! Almost like a revelation, letting you know why you were watching the series, the plot returns in the second episode on this three episode disc. But before the plot... more fanservice!

For our primary review, we listened to the original language, Japanese. Throughout the show, the majority of the dialogue is through the center channel with no noticeable distortions or dropouts. Music and sound effects are used well through the left/right channels with the music being the big beneficiary. A fairly typical TV stereo soundtrack.

While not a stellar looking transfer, things do look noticeably better than the sixth volume. The openings retain the rainbows and shiftiness, especially at the end, but the episodes themselves have a fair amount less rainbows and line noise throughout. Colors look good with several very nice looking vibrant sequences and fluid animation. A few areas looked a bit soft, but overall things look decent.

Well, this cover will help sell. Al the women (sans Washu) in skimpy bathing suits? Ultra fan service here folks. Very nice looking colors and detail. Very.... eye catching.... The back cover provides a few more shots of the bathing beauties and other assorted pictures. The summary is a bit brief and slightly obscured, but gives you an idea of what's inside. Episode numbers and titles are listed as well. The insert has a nice action picture with the chapter listings along the top.

Much like previous volumes, the main menu is a larger version of the front cover. Providing you can convince yourself to select anything and move off of the main page, access times are good and things are laid out pretty logically and work well. No real surprises in the menus.

The usual suspects are here in the form of the character data similar to previous discs and about eleven pieces of conceptual artwork.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the last disc, which did have a few enjoyable moments, things pick up considerably here. The opening episode deals with the gang on some resort style planet trying to drum up some money for repairs and more on the Yagami. Unfortunately, even these guys and gals can't sell cold treats on a hot day on the beach. And just when things seem like they can't get all that much worse, in walks Nagi the bounty hunter, ordering a beer from her prey, Ryoko.

Before things get out of hand, Ryoko postpones the fight to enter a swimsuit contest against Ayeka to prove whose the best looking, but as with anything these two argue over, things go in an unexpected way.

The second episode was pretty good and brings the central plot back into play. As the gang gets closer to Jurai space onboard the Yagami, they sneak aboard a checkpoint space station disguised as a school tour group, complete with Tenchi dressing up as "Tenko". Though their purpose isn't entirely clear. Through meeting up with other folks, the group splits up to their own purposes. But things don't go well for long when Mihoshi is discovered and then the whole station is atwitter as they try to find them. Some interesting little nuggets get revealed about Sasami and her family's relations and the episode was pretty enjoyable overall, especially since it got things back on track.

The final episode though really kicks things into gear. Having escaped into Jurai space, the Yagam is eventually caught up to by the Jurai forces. A quick battle (with Mihoshi at the helm, what else could it be?) ensues, but things take a different course when Tenchi's grandfather gives precise coordinates to follow. This certainly raises a few eyebrows among those present, but they take his advise and fly into a forbidden area of space in the Jurai area where even Jurai ships need permission to go.

Tenchi's grandfather then begins leading the group on a mysterious journey to a planet in this zone where some pretty interesting and surprising things are revealed, especially in comparison to the OVA series. The true nature of several characters is revealed, followed by a pretty nicely done fight sequence followed by another quick flight.

[Spoiler: The video game sequence between Sasami and one of the new warriors was hilarious the first time I saw it, and hilarious this time. Sasami kicks butt! :End Spoiler]

The group grows in size during this episode, adding in some new and much needed elements to the show. It's unfortunately done during one of the final episodes. This does bode well for a more fun filled final volume, but there's a lot to be pleased by with these episodes. Good action, some surprises and a big dose of fan service keeps things in the Tenchi feel.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Data,Conceptual Artwork

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Tenchi Universe