Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #3 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     May 31, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004

Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #3
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Having completed his first stage of body enhancement, Seina embarks on his first training mission in space. But the routine voyage goes awry when pirates attack! With a damaged ship, marauding pirates afoot, the alluring but deadly pirate queen Kyo Komachi onboard, and a power-mad Seiryo on his heels, Seina gets some on-the-job training that he never expected!

The Review!
Seina's life continues to move at a whirlwind, from going on a training cruise to getting his own command in such a short space of time.

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.

Originally airing in 2002, the transfer here is presented in its original full screen 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.

Continuing with the gray keepcases, this cover puts Seina square in the middle of two more of the problems he runs into during the course of this volume with the lovely pirate Ryoko as well as the dangerousness that is Mitoto. Since the images look to be pastes from different sources they don't look to mesh all that well, especially with the smaller Seina. 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. The included inserts front page is a slightly cleaner version of the keepcase cover that opens to two panels that talk about the individual episodes. The back panel is an advert for another FUNimation show.

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 an amusing action shot of Seina leaping and taking down the lovely Ryoko. This is 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.

The profiles section essentially covers some of the cast members as before as well as a few new ones to this particular volume but they're still fairly meager with a short paragraph each. In the songs section, 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)
After getting a few episodes of fan service with the main group of ladies in Seina's life, the show finally decides to get moving onto the plot again and finishes up the training sessions that he's been going through in adjusting to the different weights and strengths of the new world he's living in. Seina's managed to master all of it even with his uncanny luck and is now ready for training missions in space with the rest of the trainees.

A large training session with the current crop of cadets has Seiryo captaining the ship with Amane as his first officer. Both of them have records of being "Zero Pirate" people. In other words, no matter how often they go out into space they never run across pirates. This is actually a good thing for a training session, even one that doesn't really go all that far from the home base for its first run. So with a large number of cadets on board and the ship making its way into the space lanes, everyone gets on with their jobs.

Seina's enthusiasm for the entire adventure is spot on. With his realizing that he'd never get into space if he stayed back home on Earth, he's put everything into this and into making sure it goes his way since he can live some of his childhood dreams. While everyone else is fairly blasé about their duties and being in space in general, he's the gung-ho guy who's doing all that he can. This is particularly amusing since it looks like some of the first assignments most of them get is doing some sort of manufacturing job as opposed to real space or ship work. They've been reduced to factory workers without even realizing it. But there's payoff for the boys as Seina's helper, NB, has spent his time around the ship getting panty shots of various female crew members to show them.

It goes without saying that the training mission goes horribly wrong. With two Zero Pirate people aboard, they're nowhere near enough to counter Seina's brand of luck so the ship ends up getting attacked by a single round of pirates. While the students get instructed to stay in their quarters, Seiryo heads into the bowels of the ship to find and fight off the pirates in a way only he can. Seiryo continues to symbolize all that is froofy with the GXP world. His departure actually makes things easier for the rest of the crew to deal with since he's not trying to get them to just use the main non-working cannons continuously. But in the end, things just do not work out at all for Seiryo and we're blissfully given a reprieve from him for a bit as the pirates kidnap him.

Surprisingly, it only takes on space based training session before the cadets are sent off on their first assignments and make their way into the galaxy to find their real training. The on the job style works well when you take into account the size of the galaxy and the number of cadets that go in and out of the academy. For Seina, well, his abilities actually work out really well for him even though they've given him mostly just grief up until now. Once he met Amane though, his luck has taken him from his small town home all the way up to the highest level of the GXP. His name has spread throughout the ranks of the command level so that there are many who actually want him on their ships so that they can try to utilize him to their advantage and that of the GXP.

In his being assigned to the "Decoy Division" of the business end of the service, we end up learning a lot more about the GXP in general than before. As Airi says, the bulk of cadets want to be in the justice division so they can travel the galaxy and shoot a gun. But as it turns out, the taxes that are brought in from the shipping lanes make up the bulk of the money that the GXP brings in and protects for the Royal Family, so it's among the most important of the divisions. Being assigned to the Decoy arm of it means that Seina's going to be facing a lot of dangerous situations, so Kiriko's all up in arms over it, but Seina accepts it readily and starts looking forward to it.

Until he shows up there and finds out he's been assigned captain of the ship.

Ah, I love plot twists like that. While it'd be unheard of for any other cadet, it just seems to work for Seina due to what they want him to do. He's a decoy after all and his ability to draw in the pirates from all over when he's in space is a profoundly useful skill, enough to warrant him taking command of a ship at that. With this, his real space adventures set off and he ends up in the thick of pirates before you know it. His skills kick in readily and frequently, providing a lot of amusement as well making sure he's teamed up with the right people on his ship. His continual encounters with Ryoko are also priceless.

In Summary:
With another three fast moving episodes, we get a lot of good material here. The biggest change is learning that there's someone gunning for him out there, the son of a now disgraced pirate. His encounters with this pirate prove to be interesting, especially when the larger pirate picture starts to take shape here. There's looking to be an interesting plot coming up for the remainder of the series that will keep Seina occupied, in addition to the women who are all over him that is. There's just something about this show that's a lot of fun to watch even with the way it just moves through things so quickly. A lot goes on here and these episodes are filled with more things going on than most other shows I can think of these days. GXP continues to be a very enjoyable surprise.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Songs,Character Profiles

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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