Tenjho Tenge Vol. #2 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, July 20, 2006
Release Date: Monday, July 10, 2006
What They Say
The Battle Bowl!
Maya decides to break up the Juken Club's combat training camp with a recreational trip to the bowling alley. Unfortunately, the Executive council takes advantage of their relaxation by sending all of their main Executioners to attack! How will the Juken Club handle the combined might of the Council's army and its elite members?!
Contains episodes 5-8.
More brutal fights abound with both sexes involved in the latest fist-pounding volume of Tenjho Tenge.
I listened to a mixture of the both language tracks for my main review, and noticed no dropouts, distortions or other technical problems with either; they're pretty standard stereo mixes. The dub, produced by Bang Zoom! is quite good at times and stronger than the first volume, although on occasion it does seem to be a bit "by-the-numbers", lacking a bit of passion and personality. Wendee Lee is a great fit for Maya though, it has to be said.
Being a very recent show, this disc looks pretty good. Presented in full frame, colours are vibrant and I didn't notice any aliasing or cross colouration. There were a couple of moments of pixellation during certain scenes that were very busy, but other than that it looks good.
Subtitles are in a yellow font which is easily readable, and I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors in them.
No packaging was included as this was a check disc.
The menu system is pretty good again, with the main menu sporting the cover image of Aya at the top, the show's logo in the centre and selections down the left had side. An amusing animation of Souichiro running is to the right of the screen, and the opening theme plays over this menu. Sub-menus follow the same scheme, but are all static with their selections along the bottom. The menu may be simple but it's functional and access times are nice and fast.
The only extra here is a textless ending. Even more joy!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of Tenjho Tenge set up a pretty nice story and had some bone-crunching action contained within, but it wasn't exactly the prettiest series you'll ever see, with some not so impressive fight sequences (which don't look half as good as they sound). This volume continues in much the same vein, with ongoing fights galore and a bit of story thrown in there too, though some of the more interesting aspects story-wise are saved for the final episode here.
After the events of the first disc, all the members of the Juken club decide to go bowling to relax, but they're not prepared for trouble that awaits them. Clearly Aya is one of the most jealous people around, as she seems more concerned about what happened between her sister and Souichiro previously than anything else. Of course, she's still of the opinion that he's her husband, so perhaps the jealousy isn't unfounded. As she frets though, the Student Council plan to attack the Juken club, and head on down to the bowling alley to make their move.
Takayanagi and Bob are caught downstairs and fight off the numerous thugs thrown their way (and there's a seemingly endless supply), as the pair do their best to protect Chiaki. As the pair fight side by side we continue to see that Bob really has a great deal of respect for Takayanagi's abilities, while Bob himself isn't to be scoffed at either. Meanwhile, the head of the wrestling club, Sagara, is out for revenge, forcing Souichiro to go at it with him. Their battle is more slow-paced, with Sagara gaining the initial advantage thanks to his power and skill, but Souichiro eventually bringing things down to a more even playing field with his skills.
The wonderfully pink haired Emi also wants revenge, and follows Maya into the toilet to try and exact it. Their fight is one of the most brutal for me (I don't really like seeing women fight), but also one of the most amusing. They trade blows back and forth and for all Maya's natural skill, Emi holds her own for much of the battle. Needless to say, we know who will eventually get the upper hand, but one of the funniest things is actually Emi's "death blow" of sorts, as she bloats out all the fat she normally holds in (clearly the secret behind any nice figure), and the knives she's been hiding within fly out (dealing some hefty injuries to Maya in the process). In many ways I find Emi's character really annoying, as she seems to just hate Maya for the sake of it at times, but seeing this fight actually made me feel a bit sorry for her. Both girls end up pretty much on their last legs as well.
Maya nonetheless heads over to Souichiro's location and gives him a helping hand briefly, telling him how he can get the upper hand and fighting off some of the other goons from the Student Council that turn up. Aya's not left out of things, though, and is fighting Tagami, a member of the Council who for some reason reminds me of a spider. They have a pretty brutal battle as well, but the story really starts heating up when the President of the student council, Mitsuomi Takayanagi shows up to wreak havoc of his own.
There are lots of quite interesting things happening in these episodes, and although it at times seems like an endless array of fights, breaking up the action with things like Mitsuomi almost courting Bob to try and join him works quite well. Naturally we are going to get even more battles now Mitsuomi has shown up, but still there's an interesting story to tell between Mitsuomi and his brother, and also what exactly went on between Mitsuomi and Maya that seems to have caused the Juken Club and Student Council's huge rivalry. I also want to see more about Aya's Dragon Eye, and her relationship with Souichiro is still intriguing given how much she reacts when anything is to do with him.
My main complaint with the show so far though is that it's hard to really connect with some of the things going on. While I like a lot of the characters, I'm not really emotionally invested with any of them and there's not really a connection there. As intriguing as their relationship is, I still can't fathom why Aya is so obsessed with Souichiro even with her family tradition and whatnot. The fighting doesn't help in that regard, either, and the show suffers slightly in pacing because of it. The fights just tend to be so heavily the focus that at times the characters don't get much of a look in, which is why I liked the scenes with Mitsuomi courting Bob, and his ensuing scene with Chiaki so much " they provide some emotional heart to the episode and give a bit of a break from the fighting. Hopefully as we find out more about the characters and what happened in the past the pacing will work better and we'll get more character from the cast.
Tenjho Tenge remains a fun and interesting series, with some brutal (if not particularly well animated) fights. While they threaten to take over the show to its detriment at times, the story does still come through and if we can get a bit more feeling for the characters then this could turn out to be a good series. We'll have to see where it goes but there are definitely promising signs over the first two discs.
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (2.0),English Subtitles,Textless Closing
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: MVM Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Tenjho Tenge