Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Revelation Films
  • MSRP: £29.99
  • Running time: 300
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki Box Set

By Bryan Morton     August 16, 2007
Release Date: July 23, 2007


Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki Box Set
© Revelation Films


What They Say
THE COMPLETE SERIES IN ONE GREAT SET AT A GREAT PRICE!
In the aftermath of Tenchi's battle with Z, events seem to once again be proceeding as they should. With normal life back on track, Tenchi's father and grandfather decide the time is right to let him in on the truth about his mother's death. One thing is for sure... on this day, the answers to all of Tenchi's burning questions will finally be revealed.

Episodes Comprise
1 " Visitor from Afar
2 " Fiancée
3 " Strategy
4 " Here Comes Misao on the Chobimaru!
5 " Operation: Lovey-Dovery
6 " Z
7 " Final Confrontations

The Review!
After a very long break, Tenchi Muyo! gets what's expected to be its final OVA instalment " and as if dealing with the arrival of a fiancée that nobody told him about isn't enough for Tenchi to deal with, there are even greater problems on the way " first in the form of Mihoshi's little brother Misao, and then the mysterious Z...

Audio:
Audio comes in Japanese 2.0 stereo and English 5.1 surround tracks " I listened to the Japanese track for this release. Good use is made of the available channels, with dialogue being well placed and both music and effects using the full soundstage to provide a good, full sound. There were no obvious problems.

Video:
Video is in the original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect. Episode 1 uses a lot of material from the original OVAs, which shows its age a little but comes across well. New material is bright and well-animated, with surprisingly few changes in style from the original series. The encoding appears to have been well done, with no apparent problems.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
The menus on each disc all follow the same basic layout " a static screen featuring one of the characters (Ryoko on disc 1, Wasshu on disc 2, and Tenchi & Ryo-Ohki on disc 3), with direct access to episodes provided from the main screen. Submenus are provided for language setup and extras. With no transition animations to sit through, it's all quick and easy to use.

Extras:
There's a decent selection of extras provided here. Along with a set of character profiles and Japanese TV trailers for the show, there are two "Real Tenchi Tour" shows, each showing some of the areas in southern Japan that were the inspiration for different aspects of the show; a "Lovely Cookin'" music video; the Himitsu Nabe Live-Action Special, which features two of the show's VA's discussing the show; and the Himitsu Nabe Radio Drama, which is presented subtitled alongside a set of still images to liven things up a bit. All told, there's plenty here to keep your interest for a while.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
With around an 8-year gap between the 2nd Tenchi Muyo! OVA and this series' original release, it was a fairly safe bet that there would be some people watching this release who wouldn't have seen the previous incarnations " and so the first episode here is a recap episode of sorts, with Tokimi and her minions featuring at the beginning of the episode and a fair amount of time taken to re-introduce Tenchi's harem of alien women and the town he lives in. It's done through a mixture of scenes lifted directly from the older shows, and new scenes, so it's not the traditional (and ever-so-tedious) style of recap, but something that's quite enjoyable to watch and that provides a gentle return to the original Tenchi Muyo! world. Anyone who has seen the alternate Tenchi timelines (Tenchi Universe, Tenchi in Tokyo et al) will have to put them out of their mind when watching this series, otherwise confusion may well set in.

With the prologue out of the way, the real story begins towards the end of episode 1 with the arrival on the scene of someone who looks very much like Tenchi's mother, Kiyone " a big surprise for him, as Kiyone's meant to be dead. Of course, there's more going on than meets the eye " the woman is really his long-lost sister Tennyo, who has come to break the news of the impending arrival of Noike, the woman he's been promised to in marriage. When she arrives on the scene, Ryoko's and Ayeka's jealousy buttons are properly pushed, and events spiral out of control from there.

One thing the passage of time doesn't seem to have harmed is the Tenchi chemistry " the original characters are all recognisably themselves, in both design and personality, and they interact in much the same way they always did " Sasami is the would-be mother hen, Ryoko and Ayeka are still at each others' throats, and Wasshu still spends much of her time in her dimensional chamber carrying out her experiments. Noike's arrival doesn't break that dynamic too much, other than giving Ryoko and Ayeka someone else to focus their energies on " but she does begin to hog the limelight a little, leaving the original girls to fade into the background a little.

As the series goes on and Noike becomes more accepted, the story shifts onto other things. First up is the arrival on the scene of Mihoshi's little brother, Misao, who's come to rescue his sister from the evil, manipulative misogynist that he's come to believe that Tenchi is. His "rescue" plan would involve a fair amount of planetary devastation, which forces Ryoko and the others into action. Later, Tenchi has to face yet another person who would like to see him eliminated when the catchily-named Z0001332536873 ('Z' for short) arrives to remove him from the scene, and it's only the intervention of Tokimi, Tsunami and Wasshu that can save the day.

I'm told that there are a lot of pointers in this OVA to the spin-off GXP series, with the introduction of Misao and his crew playing a large part of that. Misao's story arc fills the comic-relief role here " it's hard to take him even remotely seriously or see him as much of a threat. He is, after all, related to Mihoshi. His antics are enjoyable enough, though, and the way he's eventually paired off with his crewmember Mashisu thanks to his sister's Lovey-Dovey Play does bring a bit of a warm glow with it. At least someone gets the girl.

Z's appearance ramps up the action side of things to dimension-destroying levels, and sees the best real confrontations of the series. The intervention of Tokimi and the others slows it down a bit, though, leaving the resolution of the arc to be done through explanation rather than Tenchi's heroics, which was a shame. The previous Tenchi OVAs had good, explosive climaxes, but this falls flat a little " it's enjoyable as far as it goes, but definitely missing something.

The final episode tries to tie up a number of loose ends, including the fate of Tenchi's mother, and gives a real sense of closure to the franchise " I believe there aren't any further Tenchi episodes planned, and as ways of winding things up, this episode works quite well.

There's a big problem with this Tenchi incarnation, though, and it's in how the characters are used " the original 'core' cast are all here and all themselves, but for the most part they're chronically underused and ignored in favour of the newcomers. Even Tenchi himself is only "there" a lot of the time " and to fans of the original OVAs, that's going to be a major flaw. I can't say anything against the new characters in and of themselves " they're a good, likeable bunch " but given this is meant to be a continuation of an existing series, they're not what I was expecting to see. Tenchi Muyo! was always about Tenchi, Ryoko, Ayeka, Sasami and Mihoshi, but this series isn't, and that has to count against it.

In summary:
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki is an enjoyable little mini-series " come to it without expectations, and you'll find a cast of likeable characters, a good mix of action and comedy, and plenty to keep you entertained. Come to it expecting more of what made the original Tenchi OVAs fan-favourites, though, and you'll be expected " the original cast are here but largely overlooked, and too much time is spent looking forward to the GXP spin-off. It's not bad by any measure, but it also doesn't live up to expectations, and that makes it a disappointment.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Real Tenchi Tour parts 1 & 2,Japanese TV Spots,Lovely Cookin' Music Video,Himitsu Nabe Live-Action Special,Himitsu Nabe Radio Drama

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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