Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B+/B+
- Video Rating: B/B
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: C
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 165
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Muyo
Tenchi Muyo: Pretty Sammy/Mihoshi Special
By Chris Beveridge
October 20, 2002
Release Date: October 29, 2002
What They Say
The last of the classic Tenchi Muyo OVA specials are finally available on DVD! The Mihoshi Special reveals the inner workings of Mihoshi’s mind as she relates the tale of her most famous mission with the Galaxy Police and casts all of the Tenchi Muyo characters, against their will, in her story!
Then catch the adventures of Pretty Sammy! The magical kingdom of Juraihelm elects Tsunami as their queen and her first mission is to increase the amount of good in the world. Tsunami selects Sasami as her champion and bestows upon her the ability to transform into the Magical Girl Pretty Sammy. Unfortunately for Sammy, of the sore losers from Juraihelm has selected a magical girl of her own, Pixy Misa to defeat her!
Contains four episodes on one disc! The Review!
Pioneer goes for the double feature method of release for two related series with this package, as after four years we finally have the Mihoshi Special as well as the Pretty Sammy OVA series. For the purpose of this review, certain areas will have two listings, as we’re treating each show separately.Audio:Mihoshi Special:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The track is quite a number of years gone by now but features a good stereo mix. Dialogue is pretty clean and clear throughout and we noticed no distortions or dropouts during regular playback.Pretty Sammy:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese for the first two episodes and English in the final episode. Dialogue in both tracks is nice and clear, though there’s little directionality in general. Music sounds good through both speakers and there were no noticeable dropouts or distortions.Video:Mihoshi Special:
The special was originally animated around the same time as the first OVA series and before the second kicked in, so it has a good budget around it, but it’s starting to show its age a bit. The area that’s really the worst here in terms of the transfer is the opening, as it’s pretty grainy in nature, likely due to it being the original source material for the laserdisc release in the US as it has the Japanese credits and the hard English credits as well. Once you get past the opening, the colors look better and the image is much more stable, though grainy in areas. It seems to get better as it goes along.Pretty Sammy:
A little more recent than the Mihoshi special, the transfer for Pretty Sammy makes out a bit better in the looks department. The worst area is the opening sequence which again shows it’s a port of the same masters used for the laserdiscs back in 1997. These areas are pretty grainy in general, and disappears almost entirely once the episode proper starts. The colors will be the biggest change between the two areas, as the episodes look really good in this department. The only downside to this transfer otherwise is some pretty regular cross coloration in the characters hair and some outfits throughout the episodes.Packaging:
Having liked this method used on other releases in the past from other companies, I was really happy to see the split image providing the characters from both series and their own stylized backgrounds on the front cover. The overall look is really good with brights and darks. The back cover provides some small shots from each of the shows and a summary for each of them as well. There’s a clear listing of what episodes are on this disc as well as the basic features. The insert provides chapter listing and artwork for each show on their own side.Menu:
The menu is a nice static piece that mixes static images and logos from both shows while having most of the selections available from the top. The play all feature starts the disc off with the Mihoshi Special and then goes to the Pretty Sammy episodes. Selections are quick to load and access times are nice and fast.Extras:
The only extra included in this release is a design gallery that features twenty seven black and white pieces of conceptual artwork from both series.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)Mihoshi Special:
This special, done midway through the OVA series release, is one of those time honored traditions of storytelling. Take your existing cast and place them into another situation and tell the tale. This tale is told through the mind of Mihoshi, so it’s surprising that there’s any coherence at all. Mihoshi finds herself accosted by Ayeka for taking a nap while everyone else is doing their chores and then questions whether Mihoshi is really a Galaxy Police officer.
So she starts talking about one of her biggest cases, and as we’re introduced to the characters, she uses their names and images to take the place of the original characters. It helps that the pirate that was involved in stealing the ultra energy is just that, a pirate, since it allows Ryoko to take up that role again. She also ends up kidnapping Tenchi and having her way with him, while Tenchi’s fiancée in Ayeka seeks the help of the Galaxy Police. Unfortunately, she’s given over to the team of Mihoshi and Kiyone, with Kiyone making her first animated appearance here.
Poor Kiyone. She was having a great career until she got partnered with Mihoshi. Now she finds herself getting worse and worse assignments and having to deal with a truly clueless person. So the adventure goes off with the Galaxy Police along with Ayeka and Sammy chasing after Ryoko from place to place in order to stop her from stealing the ultra energy as well as trying to free Tenchi. It’s an amusing little episode, and with a runtime of only thirty minutes, it plays out with little downtime. It’s great to finally have this last missing piece of the original Tenchi universe finally out on disc.
While a good number of lines in the subtitles match up to the English language dialogue, it’s important to remember that back then, Pioneer was making extremely close and accurate dub scripts. So it’s again not surprising there’s a closeness in the two scripts, but there are more than enough differences here and there.Pretty Sammy:
After a brief appearance in the Mihoshi Special, there was a lot of clamoring on both sides of the Pacific for Pretty Sammy to get at the least its own OVA series. Not only did it get these three episodes here, it also spawned an entire twenty-six episode series known as Magical Project S here in the US. While not a huge success here, it’s pretty much loved by those who’ve seen it. And for good reason, it’s a solid entry in the magical girl genre while also parodying many aspects of it and AIC shows in general.
The setup is pretty simple. In the Magical World, which sounds via the music an awful lot like the Magnificent World of El-Hazard, Tsunami and Ramiya are in competition for who will become the new ruler there. The present ruler has chosen Tsunami, who must use her abilities and magic via another to prove her worthiness. Tsunami has chosen a young human girl named Sasami to wield these powers and to prove her the best suited for ruling the Magical World.
In the Pretty Sammy universe, we know the characters but they’re all rather different in some ways, but fundamentally the same. Sasami and Tenchi are brother and sister who live with their karaoke loving mother, who is also the owner of CD Vision, a CD/LD shop. Ayeka and Ryoko are Tenchi’s classmates who compete heavily for Tenchi’s attentions. Kiyone works for CD Vision while Mihoshi is her roommate. And in their building, a mysterious person named Washu has just moved in. Sasami has a pretty normal life though has to deal with the entire Ayeka and Ryoko issue, but she has her schoolfriend Misao to help her through that. But it all changes when her mother sends her on a special delivery.
The abandoned house she goes into brings her into contact with Tsunami, who lays out the basics of being chosen for a magical girl. A quick bit of magic brings Ryo-ohki into the picture as her talking anime sidekick. We get treated to the transformation sequence (scandalous!) and the cuteness that is Pretty Sammy. Through all of this, Sasami handles it pretty well but doesn’t believe much of it. Even with a talking Ryo-ohki. It isn’t until later on that things start getting weird, when Ryoko and Ayeka are fighting over Tenchi in a public park.
Out of nowhere comes Pixy Misa, a “bad” magical girl who causes the two girls to become large objects of love who start fighting over Tenchi even more. Ramiya has brought Misao into her service, unknowingly, to try and get Tsunami’s choice to fail. With Pixy Misa now on the stage, it sets things for Pretty Sammy to enter the picture and to start getting used to her powers.
That’s a good part of the first episode which does a good job of setting up things and getting the new but familiar characters into their positions and dealing with such a sizeable cast. From there it moves into other stories of Misa versus Sammy as the two larger powers of the Magical World work to achieve their goals. The second episode is particularly good as it deals with a Bill Gates parody and the concept of standardized software and a standardized world.
Pretty Sammy is a fun little show that I’m glad I finally got to see again after selling my laserdiscs of it off back when I first got into DVD. It doesn’t take itself seriously and just has fun with the whole concept.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Design Gallery
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.