Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: MVM Entertainment
- MSRP: Â£17.99
- Running time: 95
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Muyo
By Bryan Morton
June 30, 2006
Release Date: November 01, 2004
What They Say
© MVM Entertainment
Tenchi storms off into the hills after a fight with Ayeka and Ryoko, but doesn't return. After searching for some time Washu helps Ayeka and Ryoko locate Tenchi, but he has aged several years and has been seduced by a mysterious woman. To make matters worse - he can't even see or hear them! Will they be able to rescue Tenchi? Does he even want to be rescued?The Review!
What was billed at the time as the final instalment in the Tenchi Muyo! story arrives on UK shores, as Ayeka and Ryoko seem determined not to allow Tenchi to live a quiet, normal life...Audio:
Both audio tracks are presented in 5.1 surround - I listened primarily to the Japanese track for this review, and spot-checked the English track at various points. Both track are clean and clear - there isn't as much use made of the surround channels as there perhaps could have been, although with this film being so heavily dialogue-based that's not all that surprising. What's there is used effectively enough, though, with good use made of background music and effects. There were no obvious problems with either track.Video:
The movie is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a very clean transfer, with colours coming across very well and some nicely detailed backgrounds adding a lot to the atmosphere of the film. There were no obvious problems " overall, this is definitely a good-looking release. Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.Menu:
The main menu features a static image of Tenchi, against the backdrop of a tree with petals blowing in the breeze. The closing theme plays throughout. Static submenus are provided for scene select, extras and setup - with no transition animations, it's all quick & easy to use.Extras:
Not much in the way of extras with this release - the only options are two trailers for the original theatrical release and a small lineart gallery.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Life goes on in Tenchi's household - which mainly means an endless stream of fights between Ayeka and Ryoko, with the man himself invariably stuck in the middle and trying to be the referee. When yet another row ends in the girls demanding he finally choose between them, Tenchi takes the easy way out and does a runner. He eventually finds himself deep in the woods, where he finds a huge tree that's just coming into bloom - and from where the apparition of a woman is calling to him. Tenchi answers the woman's call - and disappears.
After six months of searching for him, his family and the girls finally admit he's gone and file a missing person report with the police. Fortunately, Washu's been able to get a track on Tenchi's rough location and has given Ryoko and Ayeka an area to search - but when they finally find him, it quickly becomes clear that something's not right. He's now living with Haruna, a young woman with long brown hair who seems to care for him greatly. He's got no memory of his time with Ryoko and the others, other than what he sees in his dreams, and can neither see nor hear them, which makes it just a little difficult for them to persuade him to come home. Add in the disappointment of finding him with another woman, and Ayeka and Ryoko are almost persuaded to give up on him. Almost.
Back home, meanwhile, Tenchi's grandfather has found the tree at which Tenchi disappeared, and doesn't like what he finds - he knows all about Haruna, and the story isn't a happy one. Washu also gets some useful information that leads her to believe Tenchi's been moved to a parallel world. Knowing that he's still appearing in the "real" world means that there's still a chance of bringing him back - but time is running short, as the longer he stays in Haruna's world, the weaker he becomes.
From the moment Tenchi disappears, Tenchi Forever becomes quite different from previous incarnations of the series " it's a lot more serious in tone, with very little of the slapstick comedy that underpinned the original series. Without Tenchi around, Ayeka and Ryoko are much more subdued characters, which in some ways makes them feel much more three-dimensional and real than they usually would, as they're not just there to make life hell for Tenchi. In some ways they're also the real stars of this story, as it's their search that's the main focus of events. It's clear early on that they're having difficulty dealing with not having the object of their affections around, and in some ways it's nice to get a good look at that side of their personalities.
Fans of Sasami, Washu, Mihoshi and Kiyone may feel a little hard done by, as the rest of the regular cast only get occasional look-in here and there, as part of their efforts to help track Tenchi down and later bring him back from Haruna's clutches. Sasami in particular barely plays any part in events at all " a little strange, maybe, as she's one of the more popular characters.
Tenchi himself seems quite happy with his new life. His time with Haruna has an almost Oh! My Goddess feel to it, with his daily trips to college and the perfect-woman feel that Haruna has around her. It's only when Tenchi has vague memories of Ryoko and the others that there's any sign of trouble there, as Haruna's faĂ§ade slips a little and her jealousy or possessiveness begins to show through. It was enough to make it hard to sympathise with what Ryoko and Ayeka were trying to do, initially " if the boy had found a new life he was happy with, who were they to try and take him away from it, regardless of how he had come to be there? Were their own desires or need to be with him worth taking him away from that? It was only later in the movie when it's made clear that Haruna was in some way living off Tenchi's own existence to create her ideal world that I started cheering for the home team again.
Despite some frustration with the way the story plays out, though, there are some good moments scattered throughout the movie that make it easy to keep watching, and for all my complaints about the girls' motivations the story does eventually come to a satisfying conclusion, as Haruna's history is filled in and you get to see why she became what she was. Part of me maybe wishes there was some way to have Tenchi stay with Haruna in the end, but we can't always get what we want.In Summary:
It's Tenchi without the frenetic comedy, and I can't say that I missed that aspect of it. Seeing Tenchi in a very different life from his usual mayhem-filled existence, with Ayeka and Ryoko coming across as much more rounded characters, does make this feel very different from the OVA episodes, but it's still well worth watching. Thanks to a theatrical budget it's also very well presented, and the end result is well worth watching.
Japanese Language 5.1,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Lineart Gallery,Japanese Teaser and Trailer
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.