Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     May 10, 2004
Release Date: April 20, 2004


Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #2
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Day One of training at the Galactic Academy finds Seina Yamada unable to keep up... literally! Without the benefit of a body enhancement procedure, Seina faces the possibility of failing P.E. However, his instructor hopes to see to it that failure is Seina's only option.

Yamada also faces a difficult decision when he learns that undergoing the enhancement operation may handicap him from ever being able to set foot on Earth again!

The Review!
Avoiding anything resembling a plot, the episodes on this volume of GXP simply go for pure fun and fanservice with Seina and the girls.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for the series is quite good with a lot of directionality across the forward soundstage, generally in sound effects and less so for dialogue, that worked nicely in enhancing the show. With a lot of crashes and other moments requiring things to go all over the place, it's represented nicely here. Dialogue is clean and clear on both tracks and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions. English language fans make out well on this release by also getting a 5.1 remix, which added some noticeable clarity to the forward soundstage but we didn't listen to it enough to notice much to the rear channels.

Video:
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer here is presented in its original fullscreen aspect ratio and really looks slick. While the production values obviously aren't OVA level, they've managed to take the best aspects of the original series in its designs and maintain the continuity there, which means lots of bold bright colors. From the time spent on Earth where there's a number of lush looking backdrops to the excellent black levels in the space sequences, this is a transfer that just looked good all the way through. Cross coloration was practically non-existent from what I could see and aliasing was very minimal overall. The opening and ending sequences are done with alternate angles, so depending on how you select your languages will impact what version you get here, but thankfully the ability to change it is not locked and you can adjust it easily.

Packaging:
Continuing with the gray keepcases, the cover this time around shows some of Amane's nature as she runs her hands all over Seina while an amused Mitoto looks on from behind them. Amane's design doesn't come across too well here, though I think that's not too much of a surprise for me since she's the least attractive of the characters a lot of the time. The back cover provides a number of screenshots from the show that take up the top half of the cover while the bottom provides a summary that takes up most of the rest of the space along with the basic production and technical information. The discs running time and features are listed but a bit awkward to find in a few places making me wish that they'd adopt the "info grid" that's so very clean and useful. I did get an insert with this volume unlike the first one. The front page is a slightly cleaner version of the front cover that opens to two panels that talk about the individual episodes. The back panel is an advert for another FUNimation show..

Menu:
The menu layout is a static piece that takes the science fiction design nature and applies it here with half the screen given over to rather poor choice of images of Seina being knocked out, all set to some of the bouncy music from the show. Selections are right down the middle essentially and are quick and easy to access and the layout is essentially the norm for FUNimation. My main gripe with their menus continues to be in the audio section where nothing changes when you make a selection, so there's no real indication of what it's set at.

Extras:
With only three episodes here, I'm a bit surprised the extras are still the same as the first volume. The profiles section provides a single screen worth of information on just over half a dozen characters that show up throughout these episodes and we get the textless opening and closing sequences as well. These continue to be nicely done since you can select the three audio track or two subtitle tracks with it depending on what you want.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of Tenchi GXP did a great job of getting the show to just the right point. It took Seina from his normal screwed up environment and placed him in a completely new one, but one where he's a bit more in charge of his own destiny. The first five episodes of the series were perfect for what was really an opening arc that takes Seina, moves him through various setup events, and then ends with him now moving onto the next phase.

The next phase, depending on your view, is one where they decide that the plot of the show can step aside for at least three episodes and they'll just have a heck of a lot of fun with the cast. Now that Seina is part of the cadet corps and has passed most of the initial instruction phases of it, they're all getting ready for the next phase which is on the job training. With the size of the GXP being as big as it is, this really makes a heck of a lot of sense. Instead of a massive educational compound, they literally rush the cadets through the basics and then send them off to their initial launch points where they'll get hands on training to being real officers alongside those who are living the life. It's got its pluses and minuses, but when you're looking at a galactic size organization, it's probably the best way to keep the bureaucracy down, especially when there's so much aristocracy running around the galaxy.

Seina has two big issues to face across these episodes. One of them comes in the form of his instructor, Seiryo. Seiryo continues to use his superior feeling and dislike of Earthlings to humiliate and generally abuse Seina. Of course, with Seina's probability problems, it generally helps Seina out in the end by causing Seiryo to get messed over fairly well. To make things worse for Seina though is that Seiryo also considers himself the number one candidate for Aname's affections, so her treatment of Seina only serves to infuriate him more, which makes him work Seina over more which causes his special abilities to work Seiryo over more. It's a vicious cycle and one that Seiryo seems incapable of avoiding.

One of the reasons that Seiryo can work Seina over so easily is that Seina hasn't been given his body enhancement application yet, so he's woefully behind everyone else. In one scene where everyone is doing laps, it's like Seina's walking while everyone else is driving along. His getting the enhancement seems to be put off, which makes sense when we learn that Seiryo was the one who was supposed to ensure that it gets done. So to make things move along, both Kiriko and Aname end up taking on the task of getting him "upgraded" and them spending the time required for him to adjust to the newfound strength by going through the regime that they set for him, such as training to handle objects more carefully and getting lots of massages.

And to do so, Aname takes them all off to her second house that she has on the planet and she lives there with Seina, Kiriko and the body enhancement specialist woman named Erma. All of them have various designs on Seina, from Aname's outright flirting to Kiriko's more motherly nature that belies her true feelings as well as Erma's interest in Seina's bad luck probability index. She of course likes to flirt with him too and they all cause him to go beat red quite often with their various stages of undress, swimming, bathing and other near-naughty moments. This makes up a good chunk of the three episodes once they're all starting to live together, though they do give hint to the larger storyline that will be kicking in shortly.

These episodes really do just give good fanservice though but also do move things along slowly but surely. There's some elements of an everyday routine that get brought in so we get to see new sides to most of the characters as well as learning more about them, from Aname's being a supermodel in the past to some of the intriguing little gimme's of the place, such as one expansive view that was caused by "someone named Washu" some time ago. There are a lot of nice little moments throughout these episodes that help give the characters a lot more character without trying to play it off of the plot itself. So depending on what you're looking for, these episodes may be a bit tough to take.

In Summary:
For the most part, we really enjoyed these episodes and the comedy within. The dynamic of the cast is really working well and Seina is a great change of pace from the way Tenchi handled all the women that were after him. With him already having a serious interest in Kiriko and her trying to handle the changes in Seina and their new arrangement, there's some good fun for the two of them to deal with, all while both Aname and Erma mess with their heads. Seiryo can get a bit annoying at times, but the addition of another male foil for Seina helps break things up a bit so it's not so female heavy. With only three episodes, this disc goes by quickly but quite enjoyably. GXP continues to be a heck of a lot of fun.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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