Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #5 - Mania.com

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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: 24.95
  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     August 22, 2004
Release Date: August 24, 2004

Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #5
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
When it appears Fuku is unable to handle combat stress, Kiriko suggests an alternate means of controlling the Kamidake II. However, when an accident sets the ship adrift, sailing into a nest of pirates, Fuku is all that stands between Seina and total annihilation!

The Review!
GXP continues to move along by going into some character study material but also provides fans with the "money episode."

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.

While Seina shows off some skin on this cover, providing fan service for the ladies at long last, the main influences here look to be the women who are manipulating his life to their own ends with three of them surrounding him. Once more, the images look to be pastes from different sources they don't look to mesh all that well. 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 a rather nice shot of Seina taking care of a slightly weepy Fuku. 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 continues to be relatively the same as it covers some of the cast members as before in the profiles section 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)
Now past the halfway mark, there are some hints of the last arc that's still to come but that's not given too much time as we're instead going to get to know some of the characters better. Most importantly it seems that we really need to understand all about Fuku as an entire episode is devoted to her.

Much like Ryo-Ohki, there's a lot more to Fuku than what you see. She's cute and furry and can warm up your lap pretty quickly but she also controls a very advanced interstellar space ship that can do quite a lot of damage. But she's also quite young since she was birthed only recently. She's taken quite well to Seina since he comforts her and does things with her, but she's still quite unsure about everyone else and what they're doing. Her hesitation in battle, which isn't surprising since she's not sure of her own capabilities as she's so young and inexperienced, is interpreted wrong by the girls though and they start working on ways to bypass her systems so they can manually pilot the ship and use its weapon systems.

Talk about hurting her feelings even more! With only the usual mewling and other noises that her kind can make, it's an amusing and fun little episode as she manages to express so much emotion so clearly. A lot of it is missed by the other characters though since they're so wrapped up in what they're doing and have a hard time thinking of her as a real part of the crew as opposed to either a computer system in furry or maybe even just a pet. They're not condescending but rather just ignorant in what they're doing. Fuku really shines throughout a lot of this and manages to start really building some sort of different personality from Ryo-Ohki.

What will make this volume really sought after is that the last two episodes here are kicked off by the crew being told to go take some vacation time since they've been doing so much decoy duty lately and everyone could use something of a break. Seina and Kiriko decide that a trip home to Earth is in order and both Ryoko and Amane certainly aren't going to complain since they get to spend time with Seina and they also finally get to meet his parents, so both of them have big plans to impress them. The two of them also provide some good humor in their choice of attire for the trip by thinking present day Japan is similar to medieval France aristocracy.

The way everyone greets Seina is spot on. Most people are at a distance just due to the way Ryoko and Amane are dressed but even his friends keep their distance and wave, not wanting to get caught up in his bad luck. Most surprising through is the massive changes not only in the store his parents run but their home as well which has Seina wondering just how much better everyone does when he's not there. Kiriko's response to it is amusing and shows just how little Seina has thought of his situation, status or life in general since getting thrust into the hands of these three women.

The two episodes really keep their focus on two things. One of them does the friends and family bit with lots of drinking and sucking up to the parents. The other is the episode that has Seina going off to find Washu so Fuku can meet her "mother" at last. This brings him into the Tenchi household where one by one we get introduced to all the cast members from the OVA series again. Going by this, it's been two years since Tenchi first freed the devil from her prison so there are some small changes to the characters. They do look a slight bit older, particularly Tenchi and Sasami. Tenchi comes off very well and just the few minutes throughout the episode that he's there it manages to wash away much of the wimp-nature that filled up the TV series. Tenchi and Seina have some conversations that only men in their positions could have and we also get some really nice bits where we can see just how similar yet different the two are, mentally and physically. This is one of those episodes where it's great to see the cast that started it all, having them act mostly in character but without going over the top and used to add some depth to the characters carrying this series. This is most definitely one of the money episodes.

In Summary:
Tenchi GXP continues to suffer in only one way and that's the fact that it's over far too fast. This batch of episodes is among the best in the series and even with seeing the more serious side of the original cast it helped to reinforce my enjoyment of this show over that one more. While I doubt GXP will ever spawn any other versions of itself or a continuation, the show moves forward with both plot and characters in such an interesting way that it has me smiling constantly throughout it and providing a good number of laughs at that. This is what I think of when I want fun and enjoyable shows.

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, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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