Tenchi in Tokyo Vol. #1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, January 19, 1999
"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!"
Well, that's what Pioneer says on the back of the first disc in the Tenchi in Tokyo series. Kinda funny actually huh? Man, they really know how to summarize things in the series...that hasn't happened yet! Oh well, seriously, let's get started. Tenchi in Tokyo is the second TV series to take the famous name of Tenchi Muyo! Originally called Shin Tenchi Muyo! ( New Tenchi Muyo! ) when it aired in Japan in 1996, this TV series starts everything anew once again...with a vastly different twist. More on that later.
The video on this disc is very very good. Bright colors, and no pixellation that I could see. Quick little note on the subtitles, they are pretty much white with no border on them, so it might be a little hard to see sometimes, but I had no problems with it. One weird thing though. In the opening sequence ( you know, where the theme song plays, etc ), there is a part where the camera pans around Tenchi and Sakuya, then the two move closer together. As they move closer, Sakuya's head stutters. It looks weird, but I dunno if it's the master or the authoring. Who knows?
The audio is presenting in Dolby Digital 2.0 for both Japanese and English tracks. It's very clean and crisp as you would expect it to be. But the dub and the sub are great and at some portions, the dub excels the sub, but these moments are few and far between. I stick with the sub side of things most of the time, but from time to time, I enjoy the dub. Anyways, the audio is good and standard for TV series, such as this.
The packaging comes in a standard case with semi-eye catching art on it. It won't turn heads by any means, but fans of the Tenchi series will recognize the cover instantly. It also shows off the new artwork that is used in the show.
The menu...ah, the menu...the menu is...pretty basic ( that was anti-climactic huh? ). The same picture from the cover is used in the main menu, with the choice of selecting your language, the extras, scene access and playing the show. Like I said, basic. The extras? Well, the extra on this disc is a bunch of character design sketches of some of the different characters in the show. Nothing too exciting, but I figure Pioneer is spacing out the use of extras over the span of the eight discs that will encompass this series.
The show itself? Most definitely different from the other Tenchi Muyo! incarnations. A different art design is used, the show mainly uses slapstick for comedic purposes and the inclusion of...SD!!! Yes, SD ( or Super Deformed ) characters show up in this incarnation and it's a little weird at first. But, once you get used to it, you either;
A) Become totally repulsed by it, hereby chucking your disc out the window swearing that was NOT the Tenchi Muyo! you know and love.
B) Get used to it and laugh your butt off.
Can you guess which one I went with? Come on, I know you can...B! Yes, I found this disc laugh out loud funny. Some of the expressions used were downright hilarious. Some people will undoubtedly go with A, but it's all a matter of taste. I really enjoyed it. Of course, the series starts anew again, this time, we start out with everyone already at the house. After some antics by the Tenchi girls, Tenchi announces to them he's leaving to Tokyo to go to school. So, he goes off on his journey to Tokyo. The girls are, of course, depressed but good ol Washu comes up with a inter-dimensional portal that can enable the girls to travel to Tokyo to see Tenchi. Add in a little comedy here and there, and a brand new romantic interest for Tenchi, named Sakuya Kumashiro, and you've got yourself a plotline! Oh, did I mention there's a strange little girl, named Yuugi, watching all of this from above? What exactly are her motives?
A quick note on the new girl, Sakuya. I like her addition to the cast, even if she is a bit weird. Weird you say? Well, in the first episode, when Tenchi sat down next to her, she says he's cute and asks him out! I had the same stupefied look as Tenchi did. But, she grows on you, she seems the real out of all the girls there. It'll be interesting how her character develops.
So far, the show is pretty episodic. It carries it's events over to episode to episode ( as in, the character remember the events ), but the four episodes included on the disc quickly turn into a " monster of the week " series. However, this was the way the first Tenchi Muyo! TV series went, so, I'm pretty sure the plot will develop in later episodes.
This incarnation of the Tenchi Muyo! franchise will receive mixed feelings from Tenchi fans out there. Some will like it, some will hate it. As for the casual fan, I would say this would be a rental first. Just keep in mind, this is a big departure for the series. I'd also suggest at least renting the 1st Tenchi TV series named The Tenchi Universe or the outstanding OAV series, now labeled The Tenchi Muyo! Collection ( in 7 volumes ) for VHS or the Tenchi Muyo! DVD Ultimate Edition ( BUY THIS SET NOW!!! ) to get a feel of what Tenchi is normally like. Anyways, I recommend this series as I find it very funny, even if it is a very dumbed down version of the franchise.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Tenchi Universe