Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #7 - 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: 24.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #7

By Chris Beveridge     August 06, 2004
Release Date: November 16, 2004

Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #7
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Kiriko and Seina are all set to join our ships forever and he's feeling more than a little nervous! What if something goes wrong? What if they aren't compatible? Whatever happens had better happen fast! General Daluma's huge fortress is on the move! And Lady Seto has organized a final one-on-one battle between Seina and Seiryo, winner take all! What could be worse than this? With his luck, something else is sure to go wrong!

The Review!
Tenchi GXP manages to bring in more interesting elements about this universe than the original series does and it only serves to enhance the enjoyment of all of it.

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 is once more in the middle as he attempts to save Fuku, he's flanked by Erma who makes more appearances in this volume as well as the always lovely Airi. She really needed more time in this series. The mixture of the character designs is decent here, especially since it could be really bad considering some of other varying character artwork collages we've seen over the years. 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 creepy shot of a young sexy woman sitting next to the Daluma. 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)
Closer still to the ending, a measly three episodes at a time, but the clearer the finale becomes as we get there. What's surprising with these last sets of episodes is that there's so much expositional material about the why's and how's of this universe that you'd normally get far earlier than this and instead a focus on the action. Not that I'm complaining since what we learn here certainly helps flesh out not only this series but the Tenchi franchise in general.

With her rise in status, Kiriko's an amusing character to be with now, particularly in regards to watching her friends try to deal with her new situation. Amane in particular is comical since she's suddenly deferential and tries to adjust her speech to something more polite that takes in Kiriko's status. This amuses not only everyone else but us as well since it's not a form she takes often and the way she handles it physically is just perfect. But Kiriko's spent far too long as just someone else in this large universe to let it really get to her so she's as sociable and friendly as always with everyone.

Some of the best material comes from her change in status. She's now been given her own Royal Tree in tiny form and we get to see the Royal Ship that's growing from it, named Mizuki. With Seto along to explain, we get to hear about the origins of the trees and the immense amount of power that they have when there are no limiters on them. Seeing the Royal Ship world that Kiriko is growing for herself with Mizuki is impressive, though Seto does provide some amusing commentary on her choice in design. Much of what everyone else tries to take in defies explanation or nuance since normal people very rarely ever see inside a Royal Ship like this.

Another area that becomes really interesting is during the time when Seina is being "trained" for his battle with Seiryo by a real master warrior. What he instead gets is something of an informal history of the Royal Family and the Masaki clan that highlights why that family is so spread throughout the galaxy. Instead of being so formal and stuffy, their lack of interest in the way the Royal Family operates has caused them to find other paths to pursue, including varying positions in the Galaxy Police or as we've seen in the original series, a return to the quiet Earth to live out in peace. This kind of fleshing out of the background characters and settings that make the backdrop of the other properties in the franchise as well as this one helps to really expand the connectedness of the shows. This is the kind of stuff that should have been done in past Tenchi properties but was missed in an effort to continually recycle things.

A good part of this volume also focuses on the Daluma (or Da Ruma depending on which version you're watching) and his Good Luck Fleet as well as Seiryo. This has been a huge part of the series so far with the pirates and their crawling along the space lanes and a lot of this gets resolved here as Seina and company head out into space to try out their new combination ship of the Mizuki with the Kamidake and Fuku. Seina's luck comes into play and the Daluma is quickly captured but this leads to an honor match of sorts between Seiryo and Seina in an effort to resolve the crisis and free the Daluma. The plot that's pushed a lot of this series turns mysteriously quiet towards the end here though and while it does provide for some amusing conflict and brings a number of powers into play within the Galaxy Police and the Jurai hierarchy, it feels like that plot just fell apart in order to focus on something else with just a few episodes left in the series.

In Summary:
Tenchi GXP continues to be both an interesting and frustrating series in a lot of ways. I love how it fleshes out the galaxy that it takes place in and the way Seina's luck causes so many problems. I'll even admit that there's a charm to the way he's managed to get a number of women interested in him for varying reasons, though of course I'm a fan of Kiriko's chances with him. At the same time, I can't stand the NB character and with this volume I dislike the way the pirates plot seems to have ended with a whimper and then refocuses onto something else with just three or four episodes to go. It's still very interesting and the new shift has plenty of interesting new angles, but the abruptness is just throwing me off a bit.

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 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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