Tenchi Forever (Mania.com)
By:Jason S. Kim
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, August 31, 1999
When Tenchi mysteriously disappears off the face of the universe, right in front of Ryoko's and Ayeka's eyes no less, the whole gang scatters in a desperate search for any leads to his whereabouts. An interplanetary hunt produces no trace... until six months later, when a signal indicates Tenchi's proximity. But why does he seem so different? Who is that girl with him? And why is it that the moment the gang seems to have him in their grasp, he just disappears again?
As with the majority of Pioneer's DVD releases, Tenchi Forever excels in the audio and video department. The picture is sharp and vibrant, without a flaw in the transfer. A slight drawback, which is not a fault of the DVD transfer, is the sub-par animation quality. Fans who are used to the smooth, life-like motion of Tenchi the Movie 2 may flinch at the slightly choppier framerate of the new movie. On a lighter note, the character designs make up for it, representing the Tenchi crew in a new, vastly different style - a bit more realistic, yet still glowing with the vivacious expressiveness that Tenchi fans know and love.
The sound booms with an impressive THX-certified Dolby Digital 5.1 on both the English and Japanese audio tracks. Los Angeles Foley artists bring the sound quality to a level beyond the bulk of anime out there. And the instrumental soundtrack (played by a real orchestra) heightens the impact of the story.
The packaging of Tenchi Forever is what we've come to expect from Pioneer as of late. Secure in a beautiful plastic keepcase, this DVD will go well with the rest of your vast collection. Unfortunately, the DVD doesn't come with any extra goodies, not even a collectible card. Otherwise, the packaging is perfect.
The menu is beautiful, but it's normal. Don't expect special effects that will make the actual movie pale in comparison. In addition, there is a severe lack of special features, things we've been treated to even in Pioneer's TV series DVD releases. Of course, this takes nothing away from the movie.
Tenchi Forever dives into a story that exposes a vast new history for the Tenchi universe, yet ties a multitude of separate Tenchi timelines (OAVs, TV series, two other movies) together into one justifiable movie plotline. This movie explores an untouched area of Tenchi Muyo's character development, and completes the mysterious stories of some of the series' characters. It's a truly strong story told expectedly well in animation.
However, if this is seriously the absolute conclusion to Tenchi Muyo - as the credits sequence would imply - there is a definite lack of closure. Some fans may rejoice in the open ending, but I feel there could have been a shocking, heart-throttling conclusion that still allows for an amount of openness. There were so many factors that could have lead to such a conclusion, none of which went to the extent that I was hoping.
Whether or not this is the end of Tenchi Muyo, Tenchi Forever is a must-see for any Tenchi Muyo fan. Tenchi Forever presents the characters in a drama that brings out emotions in the characters that the whole series has been building towards. Expect to see these characters as you've never seen them before.
This movie is a winner, just barely missing the perfection that is Tenchi's first movie.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 95
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Tenchi Muyo