Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Muyo
Tenchi Muyo RYO-OHKI Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
October 17, 2006
Release Date: October 17, 2006
Tenchi Muyo RYO-OHKI Vol. #2
What They Say
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Mihoshi's brother has come to Earth to pursue a deadly mission. Everything seems under control until warrior Z storms in to kill Tenchi and claim his place as the ruler of the universe! Can Tenchi's Light Hawk Wings save the day?
Contains the following episodes:
Here Comes Misao on The Chobimaru!
With a mildly interesting two part storyline revolving around Mihoshi's brother, Tenchi doesn't quite return here but the third episode has some solid payoff.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The included stereo mix is nicely done and has a decent amount of directionality across the forward soundstage and the music and ambient effects are well placed and sound full. I'm still disappointed that we didn't get the Japanese 5.1 release that's available however. The English mix, provided both in stereo and 5.1 formats, sound good and across all three soundtracks we didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally released to video back in 2003, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this release overall look to be really good and it manages to provide a fresh and more current look for the show while still very much retaining the style that made it popular back in the early nineties. The three episodes on this volume come across as very clean and generally problem free when it comes to areas such as cross coloration or aliasing. There are a fair number of space sequences throughout the episode so we get treated to some very good looking deep blacks that don't look fuzzy or gray. The only area that left me less than happy is with the ending sequence which looks very soft and fuzzy, likely due to it being an alternate angle. As much a fan as I am of having the original credits, I'd much rather see FUNimation drop this aspect since it's screwing up so many areas of basic disc playback.Packaging:
FUNimation's doing the packaging just right for this release by using the original Japanese covers. For this volume, Washu takes center stage with a very cute yet sexy kimono that's all black except for the carrots that Ryo-ohki is pawing at. Wwith the stark white background, the design and colors are even more striking. The back cover continues with the white and lighter colors by providing a number of character animation from the shows opening sequence and some shots from the episodes as well. The summary, in far too small text, is decent as is the list of extras. The rest of the cover is filled out with the basic production information and the small tight technical grid. No insert is included with this release but the cover does have artwork on the other side, each panel being a different character; one for Mihoshi and another that I think is Noike.Menu:
The menu layout goes for the simple but effective approach as the main menu is a slightly zoomed in shot of the front cover character artwork against a white background. The colors makes it stand out nicely and it looks really crisp and clean here as the brief bit of instrumental music plays along. Navigation is straightforward and it avoids the problems older menus had with language section. Access times are nice and fast and our players' language preset for the audio worked fine but with the subtitle tracks unlabeled, that did not pick up correctly.Extras:
After almost no real extras on the first volume this release more than makes up for it. The first is a two part "Real Tenchi Tour" that has some of the music oriented folks going on location to places down south in Japan to see areas that were the inspiration for character names and more. It's interesting but very laid back as you watch the singer basically wander around some of the locales. Each of the parts runs about twelve minutes in length. Also on here is a couple of Japanese TV spots for the DVD release and a music video for "Lovely Cookin'."Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Even after all these years I'm still something of a Tenchi fan so the return to the OVA series was a very welcome event. That enjoyment was fairly well neutered for some time as the first volume was released in July of 2005 and it took almost a year and a half to get the second volume out. Nothing slows down momentum like, well, dead space between releases. Thankfully, there wasn't too much of a real ongoing storyline occurring between the two volumes other than Zero and his observations so it wasn't too difficult to get back into the swing of things here.
Unfortunately, the first two episodes on this volume really leave something to be desired considering that this OVA series is "so many years in the making." One of the things that I've always liked about a lot of OVAs is that they tend to be a bit more focused on the story and less filler oriented. The first Tenchi OVA series was certainly that though the second one waffled would be the kindest way of saying it. This one is a mix of the two and this volume really hits home with it. The last thing I have to say I wanted to see was a two part storyline revolving around Mihoshi's brother Misao. I could deal with a Mihoshi as the lead story but this one just really left me wanting for something else. Even worse, it basically pushes Tenchi and the others out of the show for awhile.
Misao is the kind of younger brother who really adores his older sister and doesn't want to look weak around her. But he also looks out for her without realizing what she really wants, something that's evident when he gets the completely wrong idea from the messages she leaves for him. He's also big on overreactions partly because he's led such a sheltered life. Unfortunately, he's in such a position of power that he has a rather powerful Galaxy Police ship under his command and he's now convinced that this Tenchi she's always talking about is some master villain with a harem of women under his thrall. To help his plans, he's got a very competent officer working for him named Mashisu. She's known him since he was a young man and has been deeply in love with him since though she shows it in odd ways but she can't help but do as he commands since she doesn't want to displease him. This leads to an elaborate trap to capture and kill Tenchi and make it look like an accident so the Jurai royal family doesn't get wind of it. With the kind of people who have an interest in Tenchi, you can imagine how poorly this goes.
Misao and Mashisu unfortunately take over much of the two episodes and Misao is a complete milksop with violent tendencies. Mashisu isn't much better since she's overly firm and hides her feelings. You can sympathize more with the crew of the ship they have command of as they try to keep their heads low and out of the way so as to not get caught up in the weird schemes. We've seen a lot of Mihoshi's extended family in previous incarnations and the main OVA series itself so getting even more of it and the background associated with it just felt really unnecessary. We've got such a big cast as it is and plenty of material to deal with, the seeming need of this series to introduce yet more new characters is what's the most off-putting about the entire project.
The last episode here is what saves the disc and harkens back to some of the better action moments of the first OVA series and the more epic moments of the second OVA series. Zero leaps into action after observing for awhile and after carving a massive hole in the Earth and then obliterating the moon, he takes on Tenchi directly and strips him of his Light Hawk powers. There's more to Tenchi than just this however as he is potentially the next big thing the universes will see but with his mind not ready to handle what may lay dormant in him, he could potentially rip a huge hole in the fabric of everything and destroy it all. This brings Tokimi back into the picture as she has to deal with Zero but it also begins to reveal some of the bigger plans that she, Washu and Tsunami have been working on for untold millennia. Similar to the previous two part storyline, much of the cast gets sidelined, but the story is much closer to the core cast than the Misao one is that you don't mind quite so much. The simple fact that Tenchi is on screen as much as he is, it's a dramatic departure from the first hour of the disc.
Though it's seemingly wrapped up fairly quick, there's a lot to like here in this episode as it expands on what's come before and some of the hints we've gotten about the hyper-dimensional beings and what they want. I also loved the way it took such a dramatic note right from the start as you have the visual of a carved up Earth with oceans flowing over the edges and the rampant destruction. Having Tenchi and Zero flitting about in space on their own, shifting between the Light Hawk designs or seeing into Zero's past and his origins, it brings back some of the feel of the last episode or two of the original OVA. Zero's fleshing out isn't anything terribly original and in some ways it feels like there wasn't enough to make a connection and truly explain his motivations beyond a base feeling, but I'd rather see the other areas expanded on before his so I can't complain too much.. In Summary:
The third OVA series continue to be a real mixed bag in terms of the stories they want to present. There is such a shift in how its playing out here between the second and third episode that you feel like you're missing a bridging moment. Even with the weak two part storyline, there is some good material to be found within it, usually during the quieter moments such as Seto's arrival, Sasami's making sure Washu doesn't dissect her or the humanoid Ryo-ohki's hand game. Ryoko fans don't get shafted as much as Ayeka fans since Ryoko gets to cause a lot of damage and has some good screen time on occasion but both of them get far less than either Misao and Mashisu " and that's the real tragedy of the story. With two OVA episodes given over to some meaningless romance in the grand scheme of things and the core cast becoming secondary characters, you really have to wonder what the creators intent was with this series.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,The Real Tenchi Tour, Lovely Cooking Music Video, TV Spots
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via DVI->HDMI set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.