Mania Grade: A+
0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: A+
- Video Rating: A+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 119.99
- Running time: 420
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Muyo
Tenchi Muyo Ultimate Edition
By Christopher Pluta
February 18, 2002
Release Date: June 01, 1999
First off, there has been a lot of anticipation for the particular set. Originally set for a March release, it has been delayed several times. At one point my own prepaid reservation was about to canceled, but I disputed furiously and had it reinstated. Fortunately because of this, not wanting to disappoint me again, the store allowed me to have it four days early!
When I first looked at it, my reaction was of disappointment. The box it came in seemed too small for the price I had paid. Being familiar with Tenchi Muyo! and how the previous Pioneer releases were, I was surprised by how simple the packaging was. The box is plain and almost completely devoid of artwork. Things become more complicated. As all new disks are difficult to remove from their packaging for the first time, these disk were remarkably difficult. I was so nervous about breaking the disks, mind you this set cost $130, I nearly had a heart attack when the first disk finally came loose.
Popping this disk into my player, I was very apprehensive of what I was going to see. The packaging was not what I expected and removing disks nearly put me in an early grave. However, the second I hit play my uneasiness was silenced. The video surpasses everything I have ever seen. Not VHS quality, not LD quality, not even DVD quality, but movie house quality. In the first five minutes alone, I came across colors I didn't even think that a TV could project. There is only one sight of pixellation and that is a quick flash of it in episode 6. Other than that, there is not one speck that was not originally on the 35mm original.
The audio, although sometimes slow when switching, is perfect. The Japanese track is easy to here and makes such excellent use of the 5.1 format sometimes you almost feel like you're inside the TV. Even the English language track which is only 2.0 sound is crystal clear and has a low noise ratio (meaning: there's no sound when there shouldn't be). By the way, if you hate dubs you might have a change of heart. Tenchi Muyo! is THE BEST English dub out there and surpasses the Japanese in all respects except one (J-Washu speaks with two distinct voices that is critical to the understanding of her character). Subtitles are yellow and shadowed in black. Also, there is subtitling for the hearing impaired. This is very cool and helps to clear up some of the dialogue if you really want to know what they are saying.
With all this there must be a draw back, right? Well, there is a huge one; no interactive menus at all! The menus are bad, even for such companies like Paramount and Warner Brothers, but especially for Pioneer. There are not even any photos for the individual episodes, just the titles of the episodes. Another huge blunder is the lack of chapters during episodes. If you want to get to a certain part in the episode, you must use the dreaded fast-forward button. This is extremely disappointing, since chapters are one of DVDs' finest qualities. On the good side, the menus are blazingly fast, as they should be, compared to the menus on the Tenchi Muyo in Love disk which tended to get annoying while waiting for the video to play even if you didn't want to watch them.
Despite the great menu tragedy, the Tenchi Muyo: Ultimate Edition comes out on top again with the inclusion of the Tenchi encyclopedia 3.0. Though not as thorough as I had hoped, it features a ton of background and extras. Video clips, trailers, promos, and even an interactive tour of the Misaki residence are all included on the disk. The tour of the Misaki residence is one my favorite. First difficult to navigate, once you get the hang of it this brings the world of Tenchi to life. Every room of Tenchi's house is laid out as well as the shrine and the surrounding land. Each part of the tour is supplemented with video and photos of that area. Also, to make up for the lack of artwork on the box, this disk has over 200 pieces of artwork. This set also includes a "gold" plate with Ryoko on it and a number stamped on it. (I happen to be 2820 of 3000) A very token gesture considering there is not an once of gold on it.
Finally to the film itself. Tenchi Muyo!, in my opinion, is the best sci-fi comedy out there, killing both Project A-ko and Spaceballs. Some may even point this out as one of the best if not the best anime out there. I wouldn't go as far to say that but I am (having my plush Ryo-Ohki as proof) a huge fan of the series.
For those who have no idea what Tenchi Muyo! is, it is a microcosm of ever girl I have ever met in my life so far. From the posh to outlandishly voyeuristic, no one goes unrecognized. The plot of Tenchi Muyo!, for the most part, is pointless and pathetically weak (minus Tenchi in Love and a few select episodes). So pathetic are the plots, by the time the TV series comes out even the show itself pokes fun of their weak story lines. However, I am being precocious, each episode has a little part that adds to the whole story, some more others. I won't spoil the film by giving you a plot synopsis. In essence, Tenchi Muyo! is about characters and how they interact. That's how this show has survived despite three distinct story lines (OVA, Universe and Tokyo) and a lot of competition (EVA, Gundam, Utena). Just expect to have a fun time following all these great characters on their grand adventures. These are characters you will fall in love with every time you see them. DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS SET!