Tenchi Muyo OVA Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 120
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo OVA Vol. #2

By Dani Moure     June 20, 2005
Release Date: July 05, 2004


Tenchi Muyo OVA Vol. #2
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Now that Tenchi has four beautiful alien girls living in his house, his definition of reality has changed, but his real test is about to arrive. The evil Kagato wants the power of Tenchi's sword and is powerful enough to make Ryoko betray Tenchi! Tenchi leads the whole gang against Kagato's fortress in space, but if they are going to win they will need help from unexpected places.

Episodes Comprise
6 - We Need Tenchi!
7 - The Night Before The Carnival
8 - Hello! Baby
9 - Sasami & Tsunami

The Review!
A little bit of this, and a little bit of that, as Tenchi Muyo ties up one storyline and launches into another, with some comic relief thrown in-between.

Audio:
I listened primarily to the Japanese 5.1 track, dipping into the other two tracks occasionally. The main 5.1 track is quite subtle in its use of the rear channels - while there are a few occasions where effects can be clearly heard, for the most part the sound mainly uses the front soundstage. The track is very clear, though, with dialogue easy to pick out and no obvious problems. It should be noted that there's no 5.1 sound for the 'coming soon' preview clip for episode seven (the 'Special' episode).

Both 2.0 tracks are free from any problems, and include the preview clip audio missing from the 5.1 track.

Video:
The only thing that gives away the age of the show is a certain amount of grain that's visible - apart from that, the picture is nice & clean, with good use made of colour to liven things up. There were no noticeable encoding problems.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
This volume uses the same menus as volume 1 - a static image of Tenchi, with the girls behind him, on a background of clouds & with some clips from the show playing in a window on one side of the screen. The show's opening theme plays throughout. There are submenus for episode select, language setup and previews - Ryoko features on the episode select screen, Mihoshi on the language setup. It's all simple enough to use, with quick transitions between the various screens.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
While MVM are releasing Tenchi Muyo! as a single series, it's really 2 OVA series and a special episode - this volume gives us the final episode of OVA1, the special episode, and the first 2 episodes of OVA2. The mix-and-match isn't a big deal on the grand scale of things, but it does leave the disc feeling a bit disjointed.

First up is the final showdown between the girls and Kagato, and with Tenchi apparently having been killed, Ryoko and Ayeka are out for revenge. The battle doesn't go particularly well, with Ryoko quickly being sealed up & Ayeka tortured for information about the 'Tsunami unit'. It's Tsunami who turns out to be Tenchi's saviour, reviving him and delivering him back to Kagato's ship where he's finally able to continue the fight. Meanwhile, below decks, Mihoshi is also on board, where her natural clumsiness awakens the self-proclaimed Greatest Scientist in the Universe, Washu.

This is quite a fast-paced finale, with Tenchi's true abilities being revealed and some great-looking battles between Kagato and his various adversaries. This being Tenchi, there's a good dose of comedy slotted in between the serious moments, mainly provided by Washu and Mihoshi. The story is never going to win any awards for depth, but it's fun enough to watch.

The special episode, The Night Before the Carnival, is pure comedy. It's another typical day at Tenchi's shrine, and he's no sooner out of bed than Ryoko's pestering him & following him around, refusing to give the poor guy a moment's peace. Tsunami has given him Ryo-ohki's seed, meaning Ayeka has a chance to 'grow' a replacement for her spaceship - if she can just persuade Washu to help her come up with a proper growing environment for the seed. Sasami, meanwhile, has been reading some shoujo manga - "how to win a guy's love, Earth-style" - and it's been giving Ryoko & Ayeka ideas, while Washu's captured Tenchi and is subjecting him to a barrage of experiments. Seems like poor Tenchi will never survive, especially when Ryoko's and Akeya's rivalry kicks into high gear. For me, this was definitely the best episode on the disc - it's a clear case of the writers just having some fun, without any pretentions at plot, with events moving quickly from one sketch to another. Sure, not every scene is side-splittingly funny, but I expect most people will be able to enjoy a large chunk of what goes on.

Finally, the second OVA series gets underway. From these two episodes, it seems to focus quite heavily on Sasami and her connections with Tsunami. While the first episode plays mostly for laughs when Tenchi and the women are left to look after a baby for a few days (which gives Washu a chance to play mother and shows a more adult and caring side to her that hadn't revealed itself until now), the second takes a quite heavy look a Sasami and how she became to be so closely connected to Tsunami, a connection that's left Sasami feeling both insecure about her own identity and maybe a little less than human. All the while, the great Ryoko -vs- Ayeka rivalry over Tenchi's affections continues, causing the usual havoc and destruction.

Tenchi Muyo! is a series I've been avoiding for quite a while - there's a lot of hype attached to the show and its status as the 'original' harem anime, and I'm always wary of anything that attracts huge amounts of hype. Fortunately, it hasn't been a disappointment. The women play well off each other - they each have their own distinctive personalities and there's more to them than just their obsessions over Tenchi, while the man himself is more than the characterless, cardboard-cutout that so many harem males have become. Story-wise, there's a good mix of comic & serious moments - the first storyline finished off very well, while the second has yet to really get going but looks promising.

In Summary:
So far, so good - with so many other harem-style shows having appeared in recent years, I was worried about having 'overdosed' on the genre, but Tenchi Muyo! manages to capture the attention with its mix of comic and serious scenes and a cast of characters whose relationships just seem to 'click'. If, like me, you've somehow managed not to see Tenchi before now, it's definitely worth checking out.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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