Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #6 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, October 04, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, October 05, 2004
What They Say
Seina and the gang encounter the infamous Good Luck Fleet and emerge victorious from the first battle. But General Daluma's recruiting new soldiers to help in his cause, and searching the galaxy over for charms assured to raise his luck level above Seina's. Will the group's much deserved vacation give them the strength they need to do battle with the Pirates once more, or will it leave them lax and unprepared?
While Tenchi is brought in to take on the Good Luck Fleet, Seiryo's role in the series jumps up several ranks.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for the series is quite good with a lot of directionality across the forward soundstage, generally in sound effects and less so for dialogue, that worked nicely in enhancing the show. With a lot of crashes and other moments requiring things to go all over the place, it's represented nicely here. Dialogue is clean and clear on both tracks and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions. English language fans make out well on this release by also getting a 5.1 remix, which added some noticeable clarity to the forward soundstage but we didn't listen to it enough to notice much to the rear channels.
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer here is presented in its original full screen aspect ratio and really looks slick. While the production values obviously aren't OVA level, they've managed to take the best aspects of the original series in its designs and maintain the continuity there, which means lots of bold bright colors. From the time spent on Earth where there's a number of lush looking backdrops to the excellent black levels in the space sequences, this is a transfer that just looked good all the way through. Cross coloration was practically non-existent from what I could see and aliasing was very minimal overall. The opening and ending sequences are done with alternate angles, so depending on how you select your languages will impact what version you get here, but thankfully the ability to change it is not locked and you can adjust it easily.
Going fully clothed this time, we get a nice triumvirate shot of Seina in the front with Amane and Kiriko in their uniforms behind him while the background itself is just a darkish red haze. The back cover provides a number of screenshots from the show that take up the top half of the cover while the bottom provides a summary that takes up most of the rest of the space along with the basic production and technical information. The discs running time and features are listed but a bit awkward to find in a few places making me wish that they'd adopt the "info grid" that's so very clean and useful. The included inserts front page is a slightly cleaner version of the keepcase cover that opens to two panels that talk about the individual episodes. The back panel is an advert for another FUNimation show.
The menu layout is a static piece that takes the science fiction design nature and applies it here with half the screen given over to a creepy shot of a young woman in post-coital bliss with Seiryo. Seiryo! This is all set to some of the bouncy music from the show. Selections are right down the middle essentially and are quick and easy to access and the layout is essentially the norm for FUNimation. My main gripe with their menus continues to be in the audio section where nothing changes when you make a selection, so there's no real indication of what it's set at.
The profiles section continues to be relatively the same as it covers some of the cast members as before in the profiles section as well as a few new ones to this particular volume but they're still fairly meager with a short paragraph each. In the songs section, we get the textless opening and closing sequences as well. These continue to be nicely done since you can select the three audio track or two subtitle tracks with it depending on what you want.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series gets closer to its conclusion, only two more brief volumes after this, things start becoming a bit clearer but not enough really as by the time it all gets into a groove we've got the end of the volume. With Tenchi GXP, these episodes just fly by and it's over far too fast.
The main thrust of this volume is to set up the two sides much more clearly than they have been in the past. The Good Luck Fleet, which has been successfully raiding transport ships and others carrying valuable cargo for months now even though those ships have had their schedules kept secret, is gaining even more ground in both respect and booty. The ships are very amusing in how they're designed. While most of them look like standard ships, they're filled with all sorts of good luck charms and the exteriors often have charms as well, such as one with the giant cat statute on it and so forth. These charms, along with the good luck of the captain, help them get away with everything, including the ability to get away from a Juraian Royal Ship when they run afoul of one.
The way they beat the Royal Ship is amusing enough in itself but their luck sends them into a quick warp that leads them right into Seina's bad luck which is that he ends up running into them. The resulting battle between the two is hilarious in the way so much damage is strewn across the system that they're in. It's over so fast that it's hard to believe, both for Seina and for the mystery men that are behind financing the Good Luck Fleet at their magnificent and richly filled hideout that's beset by beautiful women. The show goes to follow two divergent paths from there but two paths that will meet up again.
One of them is where Seina ends up having to deal with taking Amane back to the GP so that she can do something she hasn't done in a few years and that's modeling. The newest GP uniforms are coming out and they need to be shown off prior to their release and Amane's mother wants her to model again, as does her completely insane father. There's a good bit of fun following the fashion world of the GP and that of Amane's family but it's a somewhat weak episode in general since it's just killing time while the other plot runs. The other plot being that of Seiryo learning from his father that they've taken on the owners of the Good Luck Fleet as clients and the client always comes first. Before you know it, Seiryo's become captain of the new Good Luck Fleet and is set with the goal of wrecking havoc on the GP fleet and their holdings.
Setting himself up as the new captain and firming up his adversary being that of Seina, the two are now pitted against each other with their own weird forms of luck at their side. Seiryo's ascension to this level is strange and amusing, from dealing with massive bears to bedding beautiful women in log cabins on snowy mountains. It's rife with all sorts of cultural/historical references as he goes through various trials, along with the three doofuses that were captured from the GP quite awhile ago as well. This is all balanced out later with a bit more of a romantic/relationship aspect between Seina and Kiriko as other start to meddle in things in trying to get the two of them together, even with as much competition as Kiriko does have with higher-stationed people in his life.
The episodes on this volume have some good material in them and start to set the stage for the last two volumes but it feels so uneven in some way that's hard to explain. The initial battle with the Good Luck Fleet goes by far too fast in order to set up Seiryo while the fashion episode doesn't really bring all that much to the table that couldn't have been done in a more interesting way. There's plenty of good moments throughout but some of the things that made it shine previously are lessened as Seina's own role feels lessened in these episodes, especially after getting such great Earthbound material in the volume before this. Though extra points are given for the name of Seiryo's ship. That takes "chantama".
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Songs,Character Profiles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Tenchi Muyo