Tenchi Muyo! GXP Complete Box Set (Viridian Collection) - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 49.99
  • Running time: 650
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo! GXP Complete Box Set (Viridian Collection)

By Chris Beveridge     March 05, 2008
Release Date: December 11, 2007


Tenchi Muyo! GXP Complete Box Set (Viridian Collection)
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Seina Yamada is your common 15-year-old boy with one uncommon ability: bad luck. He can't get through a day without causing serious harm to himself and those around him. So what in the universe do two gorgeous Galaxy Police officers want to do with him? It certainly isn't for his hand eye coordination!

Catch the adventures of Seina and his harem in their misadventures across the galaxy!

As part of the Viridian ("green") line, this set comes packaged in a non-Amaray cardboard case (consisting of at least 30% recycled material) to reduce its environmental impact.

Contains episodes 1-26.

The Review!
Seina’s role as the luckiest unlucky guy in the universe pays off as he finds himself knee deep in beautiful women, expansive travel plans and a whole lot more.

Audio:
FUNimation’s presentation of the GXP series is pretty standard fare for them even back when it first came out as there are three audio tracks. The original Japanese track is given a better than usual 256kbps stereo mix which is duplicated in the English stereo mix. In addition to those two tracks, FUNimation ponied up for an English 5.1 mix at 448kbps. The stereo mixes are pretty good for what the show is as there isn’t a lot of call for directionality. The forward soundstage has some nice placement to it and overall a good solid full feel. The 5.1 mix for the English presentation adds a bit more clarity to it and a touch more impact overall but is still primarily a forward soundstage presentation. We didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of the series.

Video:
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Tenchi GXP was authored by Vision Wise before FUNimation went in house and these eight volumes are exactly the same as what was released by them back in 2004. The first volume features five episodes while the remaining seven volumes have three episodes each on them. As such, they aren’t exactly bit starved but the aren’t given a lot of bits either as the average is in the fours and fives. That said, they still managed to pull off a rather good looking show all told. Colors are quite vibrant throughout and there’s pretty much no cross coloration and very little aliasing. Some of the backgrounds introduce a bit of noise at times, typically the dark blue sky scenes, but this is rather few and far between when looked at overall. The noise is the only real issue that crops up throughout which leaves this to being a rather good looking presentation overall.

Packaging:
This Tenchi Muyo GXP is the latest incarnation of the series to hit collected form and the first time in the Viridian Collection edition. The packaging for this is also part of FUNimation’s green intiative which means no plastic is used outside of the discs and the shrinkwrap. Similar to our thoughts on the Kiddy Grade Viridian Collection edition, there is a mindset that you have to take with it. As much as I like the feel of a proper plastic case, I have to appreciate the more eco friendly aspect of it and the fact that I don’t keep my stuff on shelves. The storage part is the problem as the case won’t hold up well under any kind of pressure, which was evident just in shipping as it was a bit bent upon arrival. Not to the point of real damage but it didn’t feel pristine.

The packaging is a slipcover over a cardstock holder that has pages for each of the discs. The slipcover is done in a dark blue that features the logo along the top along with a nod toward it being a complete collection. The Viridian logo is at the very top and does feel a bit out of place against the rest of the colors. The artwork is cute enough but I wish they had something with more of the cast on it since this features just Seina surrounded by Amane and Kiriko. Fans of the other women will feel left out. The back of the slipcover uses the same blue hues and features more of the women form the series in the background while a full length full color shot of a naked Seina draws the eye elsewhere. The summary runs through the basics of the premise and there are a couple of very tiny shots from the show. The back cover isn’t exactly a great sell for those unfamiliar with the show unfortunately. The bottom rounds out things with the standard tiny production grid and a look at some of the requisite production credits.

The binder piece inside the slipcover uses the same blue as the slipcover but the Viridian logo is done in similar which works much better than that on the slipcover. The cover artwork for this piece is cute enough with a comedy action shot of a few of the characters. The back of this piece uses an oversize Galaxy Police logo which is quite appropriate. Inside the binder is a series of pages in which the discs are slotted inside of. Each of the pages has a different piece of character artwork with it along with a listing of the episode numbers and titles. The interior front and interior back panels each have a great piece of full color artwork. I really like the interior back panel one as it features everyone gussied up for a wedding.

Menu:
The original menus are used here for each of the volumes which is nicely designed to fit with the theme of the show while not requiring a lot of work or any animation. Each menu has the same overall design and just has a different piece of artwork use within it to highlight that particular volume. A bit of music plays along to all of it and the menus are very easy to navigate. Interestingly enough, in looking back at my original reviews of these volumes I had complained about the way FUNimation titles never acknowledge on screen what your language selections are. They still to this day haven’t changed from the formula that they used then. The menus are quick to load and overall are easy and essentially flawless. Due to angle issues and improperly labeled subtitle tracks, we didn’t bother with player presets at all.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty weak and are essentially the same across each volume. Each volume has a brief character profiles section with a single small paragraph of text and clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. FUNimation wasn’t much into producing original extras content at the time but this is a release that could have benefited from it due to the wide range of material that preceded it and the various connections to the Tenchi Muyo series in general.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Directed by Shinichi Watanabe, Tenchi Muyo Galaxy Police Transporter is a twenty six episode series that has actually become my favorite Tenchi show out of all of them. Surpassing my love and nostalgia for the original six episode OVA series, the GXP series simply gets it right from start to finish by having a whole lot of fun, managing all the characters quite well and really playing up the sexy fanservice in a way that just clicks perfectly. The original release by FUNimation was awkward if only because of its release schedule across eight discs but seeing it in the space of three days in this Viridian Collection edition has truly solidified its position in my show rankings of the Tenchiverse.

Tenchi GXP plays in the same universe as the core Tenchi Muyo storyline which works to its advantage. What the series does is to take what’s come before and use it in a way that serves to expand on that universe and make it far more compelling and interesting. Utilizing characters that showed up in the original OVAs but weren’t properly fleshed out, Tenchi GXP breathes some real life into those storylines by virtue of its existence. When you go back and watch that original OVA series in full and see characters like Seto, Seiryo and Airi, especially in conjunction with OVA 3, you have a real sense of where they were at that time and where they go. Tenchi GXP takes place some two years after Tenchi released Ryoko from the cave and his adventures began. Unlike every other Tenchi release in the franchise, this one does not revolve around Tenchi Masaki.

This series revolves around fifteen year old Seina Yamada, a friend of Tenchi’s who lives in the main village. His relation to Tenchi is a bit more interesting since he knows him through Tenchi’s cousin Kiriko, a slightly older girl who isn’t home that often. Seina’s an interesting case as he’s been taken care of by Kiriko since she was young because Seina is the unluckiest guy in the world. His luck goes badly regularly and it spills over to others quite often which results in him and others suffering a fair bit from basic physical comedy elements. As that was discovered over the years, parents would keep their kids from him so he had few people to play with. That changed with Kai, Kiriko’s younger brother, who brought him home often and Kiriko would help to patch him up and comfort him. Unbeknownst to Seina, Kiriko was actually part of the larger Masaki family and has been a rare member to get into space from Earth heritage where she’s a ranking detective in the Galaxy Police intelligence division under Seto.

Seina’s life gets turned upside down though when he stops of at Tenchi’s residence to get his bike fixed and ends up getting accosted by a woman who appears out of nowhere named Amane. Amane’s a Galaxy Police detective herself and she oozes sexuality as she practically cons Seina into signing up as a GP trainee. This is only made more real when his parents find out and realize that they can get along better without him while he’s out there getting a wonderful experience. Seina’s bad luck takes him out into the galaxy when he shouldn’t be there and it’s that kind of luck that just follows him continually. So much so that the GP vessel that’s transporting him attracts a massive number of pirate ships that the Devil Princess of Jurai is hunting which earns him quite some kudos. Seina’s reputation precedes him which helps to smooth things out as he gets accepted into the academy.

From there it’s just one silly situation after another that grows over the course of the series as he first serves as a trainee in the academy, then as a member of a Decoy Unit designed to attract pirates and then finally as a quickly promoted Captain that gets his own Ryo-Ohki type ship. Seina’s got good luck in this sense but it continually puts him in bad situations that are difficult to get through and not without a fair amount of personal danger. Yet each of those situations in the end only serves to help him move up in the world and gain more recognition. Seina’s humble attitude is what saves him since he’s just getting caught up in it without any real ego about all of it. Seina is the kind of character that’s like Tenchi in that he’s a great guy who actually has something of an infectious personality as it comes about and he has a good run here to let expose the audience to it unlike Tenchi in the OVA series.

No Tenchi related series is complete without a bevy of beautiful women in tow and Tenchi GXP works that out in spades. In fact, outside of one character, I really find all of them to be quite good and enjoyable as well as instrumental to pushing Seina forward. Our original introduction is with Amane, a former model whose father has created a galaxy famous clothing label where she made her name. She wanted to make her name for herself however and to not be supported by her parents money when it comes to her work so she joined the GP to do it and has worked up the ranks pretty well. She’s the blonde bombshell with the outgoing attitude that plays her interest in Seina for all its worth, especially since she’s usually been set up with really awful people like Seiryo in the past. In fact, having Seiryo still interested in her makes the competition between the two men all the more amusing.

One of the more interesting choices for the show was the use of a female pirate captain as one of the women since it’s highly reminiscent of Ryoko. In fact, they even have her named Ryoko since Ryoko is a famous person for her work centuries early and it’s sort of a badge of honor. Seina’s Ryoko is a lot of fun and her screen time is a bit odd because of what she has to do early on but she’s one of my favorites of all the women in the Tenchiverse simply because she’s not so cleanly cut and her role changes throughout the series. Her history isn’t exactly complex but it has some layers to it that are slowly revealed as it plays out. Because of how she interacts with Seina from the beginning, seeing their relationship changing and growing is one of the more interesting ones of the series and one of the more believable ones.

The one that really wins out though is Kiriko which speaks more to what I find interesting than anything else. Kiriko fits into the mold of an Ayeka and Sasami type character in that she knows Seina the best. She’s also the most traditional in a way as she knows the traditions that Seina is familiar with from home, she’s know him almost all his life and she’s cared for him in a quasi motherly way. She’s also gone through some of the experiences that he’ll go through since she’s an Earthling making her way in the galaxy so she’s a bit protective of him. Though her arc isn’t quite so defined until the end of the series, I really enjoyed the way she slowly grew and provided something of a bit more maturity to the others.

Those three make up the main trio but there are a lot of other women interested in Seina as well. The worst of the group and the least defined is Neige, a priestess who realizes there is more to life once she meets him during a transport operation. Neige is a Washu type in that she’s much older than she looks and really plays it up as it goes along. She shows up about halfway through the series and really doesn’t get the time to be more than “one more girl” that’s into Seina for less than clear reasons. There are also a few older women that into Seina but more out of a cougarish playfulness. Seto’s interest in him is positively hilarious as she’s just got a great amount of spirit to her and a playfulness that’s reminiscent of a lion playing with a lamb. Even more amusing in a way is Airi’s role in the show as she’s something of a guardian to Seina and uses her position to keep getting close to him when she can. Similar to Seto, her age comes into play and the comments that tick her off are very amusing.

On the weird end, there are a number of very enjoyable characters in the show. The strangest one and the one that really points to this being a Watanbe show is NB. An oversized ball robot that Amane reprograms, he’s the dirty old man of the group that is intent on taking pictures of all the women and doing his best to get lucky. With all sorts of wild takes to his expressions and the amount of abuse he takes, he’s the one that gets picked on when the mood needs to be lightened or distracted. Another fun character of a similar nature is Seiryo who has nothing but good luck that’s tinged with bad. His love of Amane is strong which causes him to have to deal with Seina a lot and that means their opposite luck causes a lot of problems. There’s also a slew of other little characters that make their way throughout the show but none steal scenes like Mitoto, Mihoshi’s mother whose job is to clean every bathroom and hold across the galaxy. When she shows up I cannot help but smile.

One of the things that really drew me to the series beyond the characters is that designs for it. The character artwork fits in with the overall Tenchi designs of the last fifteen years while making it feel vibrant and alive. There’s a great fluidity to a lot of the scenes and the colors look great. It’s filled with lots of uniforms but there is plenty of time for more casual outfits as well. The space ships are pretty varied and we even get the cabbit creatures about halfway through when Washu introduces Ryo-Ohki’s sister ship Fuku. The series has a lot of sexuality to it with plenty of implied nudity due to various bath scenes which adds a really fun element. In some ways it feels even more risqué than the OVAs which is a surprise. Essentially, everything in this series comes together in a beautiful way, whether it’s the character designs, the Jurai design elements or the physical comedy.

In Summary:
While I had enjoyed the series a good deal during its original release, it’s been far more engaging to watch it in this collected form. The series simply comes together better and the larger threads about Seina’s rise and his interactions with everyone come across a lot better. The women are all very enjoyable to one extent or another and they’re able to tell the story without the baggage that came from the various Tenchi retellings that were done in TV form. There are some great nods to the core series but Tenchi GXP really manages to stand on its own and in the end has proven to be my favorite of all the Tenchi releases period. This new Viridian Collection edition is solid if you can handle the packaging that it’s done in and is definitely worth nabbing if you haven’t grabbed it. I do hope that someday FUNimation will fix some of these eight disc releases and give it to us on a few less volumes while cleaning up some of the minor subtitling issues.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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