Tenchi Muyo: Tenchi Muyo In Love (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, September 30, 1997
First of all, this DVD may not be suitable for people who don't have a clue about the first Tenchi TV series, simply because you cannot understand all the subtleties in the story without some background knowledge.
But that should not keep you from checking it out: I myself did not know much about Tenchi Muyo when I first saw the movie on VHS, but it nevertheless instantly became my favorite and stayed at #1 until Mononoke Hime appeared in the cinemas.
As with every Pioneer release, the picture looks very good, even though it could of course have been improved by a 16:9 transfer. The only bits that may cause a bit of worry are a slight rainbow-effect during the Dolby Digital trailer and partially lower quality of the bonus material. But then again, many bonus trailers, interviews, etc. of big Hollywood releases have far worse picture quality (e.g. "Star Trek IV", "Ronin").
And now for the best part of this DVD: the sound (this is where THX pays off big time).
Even on my rather low-end, surround-less equipment, the downmix from DD 5.1 to plain stereo sounds way better than what some other movies manage with full blown surround equipment.
I do not even want to think what it would sound like on a Dolby Digital surround system, it has to be absolutely stunning. The English audio dialogue is as usual a bit different from the original, but still very well done. Fortunately, both the English and Japanese track are presented in DD 5.1 sound, so whichever language you may choose, you won't miss any of the cool fx.
Speaking of languages, there is another cool feature: bilingual subtitles. Very nice for learning Japanese! Unfortunately, Pioneer no longer puts Japanese subtitles on their new DVD releases (Tenchi in Tokyo, Tenchi Forever, etc.). :(
Navigating the menu is a bit slow, but it looks very nice and is bilingual as well. The main index even contains a couple of animations and sound. If you are looking for bonus material, you will find plenty on this DVD, like several trailers, an interview with composer Christopher Franke, song lyrics and more.
Bottom-line: Tenchi fans and audio freaks will love this DVD. As for everyone else, it is definitely worth a closer look.
Creative Labs Dxr2 decoder card, NEC P750 17 inch SVGA monitor, Telefunken 40 cm PAL TV (sorry, I do not know the exact model), Panasonic RX-CT980 portable stereo
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: B
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: 95
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Tenchi Muyo