Tenchi Muyo: Tenchi Muyo In Love (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, September 30, 1997
If you have no idea what Tenchi Muyo! is, then you obviously haven't been into anime very long. Just in case you don't know, it is one of the flagship titles of Pioneer and perhaps the best comedy anime ever made. Go out and buy the OVA boxed set right now, and then watch this wonderful film.
At only $15, there's no way you can go wrong with Tenchi the Movie. In fact, it's pretty much a steal, especially for Tenchi fans. Although it takes place in the same continuity as the incredibly mediocre Tenchi Universe TV series, the movie is one of the best pieces of Tenchi anime next to the original OVAs. It packs all the standard TV to movie features, like a large budget, great animation, and all your favorite characters in a brand new adventure. Plus, Pioneer wisely left the film letterboxed so you don't miss any part of the action.
The story in Tenchi Muyo! In Love is great. Okay, time travel is a plot device that leaves open all sorts of logical loopholes and will likely hurt your head if you think about it too much, but if you just agree to play by the movie's rules then you'll have a blast. The movie opens with the Super Class A-1 Criminal KAIN escaping from the Galaxy Police Headquarters and traveling back in time to 1970 Japan. There, he plans to wipe out Tenchi's mom, Lady Achika, and thereby put an end to the Jurai royal family line.
If Achika dies then she'll never give birth to Tenchi, and of course the Tenchi girls aren't going to just sit back and watch their dream man disappear. Everyone decides to travel back in time to put a stop to KAIN's evil plans, but they have to find him first. The movie ends with a gorgeously animated climax that will satisfy the need for action, but that really isn't what this movie is about. The much more interesting and subtle story is the budding romance between Achika and Tenchi's dad (sorry, I forgot his name). It's well done and thankfully not heavy handed like so many romances tend to be.
Being Tenchi, there is a fair sprinkling of hilarious jokes. All of the main characters make an appearance, although it's Ayeka and Ryoko that get the most screen time, as always. Their bickering is hilarious in both languages, and Pioneer did an excellent job with the dub. However, on the whole this is a more serious movie.
I haven't seen the 2nd one, but I'm willing to bet this is the best of the three Tenchi films. Although the title is a bit misleading, the actual film is excellent and a fan's dream come true. About the only thing its missing is the too-cute Ryoh-ohki transforming into a space ship.
KHL DVD 221; RCA 21" TV
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A
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