Mania Grade: D
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 95
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Muyo
By Joshua Carvalho
February 18, 2002
Release Date: August 31, 1999
Well this is the big finale to the Tenchi TV series, and possibly all of Tenchi itself, although I pray it isn't, as I'd hate to see the series go out on a whimper. As you can probably tell from the rating above, I was none to thrilled with the final installment of the TV series. I'll get to that shortly though.
Obviously, this being a Pioneer release, the various ratings for quality in sound, packaging, and so on all are high. Since you can find out all this information in the various other reviews, I'll skip to movie review.
The movie's soundtrack I found very out of place in the film quite often. On its own, it isn't that bad. In the movie however, a lot of it doesn't work. The animation is not as bad as I thought it would be, although some of the character designs don't look that great. The backgrounds were very well done however. A lot of the motion of the characters was extremely well done too. This is one of the few areas the movie really impressed me in.
Getting down to the most important part of Tenchi Forever, the story itself, here is where it falls flat on its face. There are lots of good ideas presented here, a few good attempts to make it artsy, but the overall movie flat out fails because of poor handling of the material. Here we go with another "Tenchi gets involved with randomly inserted girl" plotline that makes you wonder if the Tenchi writers actually have any original ideas left in their heads. To make it worse, this is now in the TV series 1, which I was hoping was not going to be invaded by such a story. To make it even worse, this one is the worst of the bunch. Haruna, who was just plain painful to watch on screen, managed to do what Sakuya never could and severely hurt my interest in Tenchi. Upon new viewings of the movie I find myself just skipping past her portions to the Ryoko and Ayeka parts of the movie, which are what drives the movie. Unfortunately, everything I liked about the movie was offset by having to watch the Haruna portions of the movie. Quite frankly, I wish Tenchi had just ran from the tree at the start of the movie to avoid dealing with her so there could've been a better plot. It was nice to get Yosho some screen time, as he is one of my favorite characters, but again it was all through Haruna.
There is no action and very little comedy in the movie, which could work if there was more to carry the movie, but I would've preferred a better mix if possible. There is also little dealing with cast members like Kiyone, Mihoshi, Sasami, and to a certain extent Washu. Considering this was the ending to the TV series there should've been a much better effort to include these characters in the movie, especially considering so much time was spent on Haruna, again a character that should've stayed on whatever drawing board she was originally designed on. What does make the movie work is mostly the Ayeka/Ryoko portions. One in particular near the end of the movie was extremely good in my opinion. Without this part of the story in there, there would've been no reason to suffer through the rest of the movie. It does a good job of also making clear Tenchi's feelings towards the girl who he chooses in the end. However, watching Tenchi in his own little world was mostly painful due to the fact Haruna was around in the scenes with him. The worst scene of all of this is probably familiar to you, which should've never made the movie and degraded it quite a bit.
The worst part of all of this is the actual ending. Now the whole movie shows this relationship between Tenchi and Haruna and the girl who wins at the end got quite frankly jack. This was just the finisher for killing the movie for me. The device at the end of the movie to kind of get them out of hot water saves the whole thing from a flat out F from me, but still wasn't enough to make up for it. It left me feeling cheated after having to watch another Tenchi/girl x relationship.
If they knew they weren't going to show anything of their relationship they should've never chosen this plotline as it leaves you feeling extremely gypped. Some might praise its open endedness, but instead it is rather clear who Tenchi chose yet gives her nothing and the girl who lost then got seriously shafted. At least if they brought closure to things they could've then done something for the girl who lost, but instead she kind of gets tossed aside without a thought to her feelings at the end. Now, to be honest, the girl who lost is not my favorite character, but I know how I'd feel if it was the other way around with who won/lost, and so I think this was really unfair to fans of that girl. So instead of having a good ending where both girls are happy, you kind of feel in the end neither one did that great in the movie. I'm sorry, but not even the girl who won did that great as we'll never get to see anything of her relationship with Tenchi, although admittedly if they were willing to do it in a future series I would be more then willing to live with this portion of the movie.
In the end, I felt this was the worst of the three films and a rather sad way for the TV series to go out. If this is the end of Tenchi I will be extremely upset as this was such a weak way to end it. I would really enjoy seeing a relationship between the girl who won here and Tenchi in the OVA or a future series though and it would probably lead me to accept some of this movie a bit more then I can at this time. However, it still felt like a rather weak conclusion as very little was concluded, especially as far as the rest of the cast goes. It was a nice attempt at something original and I would've loved to have seen it work out, however it was just offset by too many negative portions of the movie. Again, a lot of things done here were rather interesting, but originality and artsy ideas only can do so much and more time should've been spent on a better storyline then these elements of the movie. If this had been a bridge into a third movie that actually dealt with concluding a lot of things and a relationship between said girl and Tenchi, then it would've possibly worked. As a conclusion though it fails to satisfy.