Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: A+
- Video Rating: A+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B
- 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 Sean Connolly
February 18, 2002
Release Date: June 01, 1999
Well, let me just get this out right now; This is the best anime on DVD release yet. Period. There is none better. In fact, this is one of the best DVD sets out on the market right now. Now, with that said, let's jump into the review shall we?
This DVD set consists of the 13 episode OAV series released back in 1992. If you don't know about the series Tenchi Muyo!, or you've been living in a cave for the past 7 years, you can check out my Tenchi Muyo! Primer. For this review, I'll try and stick to the DVD aspects of this release.
Visually, this set is stunning. I've been a Tenchi fan since the show was released here and I must have watched the series hundreds of times now, and when I popped in the first disc, I was amazed. There are colors and effects that you totally miss on VHS or even LD. The opening theme animation alone was so stunning to watch is was totally unreal. It truly felt like I was watching this series for the first time again. This set is truly worthy of the THX certification. After watching this set, I just had to kiss and thank my DVD player ( and Pioneer ) for bringing me this set. It's truly unreal.
On the audio side of things, it's almost equally as stunning. There are two tracks on the disc. There is the English dub track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 ( which, since I have seen the dub so many times, I hardly ever touched ), and the Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese track. Needless to say, I watched the Japanese track all the way through ( which, marks the first time I have seen this series subtitled ). Again, right from the opening animation, the audio grabs you with a great 5.1 remix of the opening theme song. Throughout this set, I was continually shocked how much this track adds so much to this series. I'll give you an example. In episode 1, Tenchi enters a cave where he finds Ryoko. While in the cave, we ( the viewer ) is treated with the complete aural sensation of the cave. Water drips down to the ground all around you, the echoes surround you. You are there, in the cave with Tenchi. Simply wonderful. The only minus against the re-mix, is sometimes, in some episodes, the center channel where all the talking takes place, is muted slightly by either the music or the effects. However, it is time I upgraded my center channel anyways, so we'll see how it sounds after I get a better speaker. It is also kinda sad that the English dub never got the same Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment the Japanese track did, but after seeing this set in Japanese, I don't think I'll ever go back to the dub again. It's good, but I've been spoiled. ^_^
The menus on each of the two discs the OAVs are on are very basic, but they do there job. The only selections on the menus are chapter select, play all, and language selection. The menu is quick as it should be and I was happy with them. I do have one quirk with this set in regards to the chapter selection. The problem is, each episode is one chapter! Based on some of Pioneer's other DVDs ( Tenchi in Tokyo for example ) I would have thought they would have at least put each opening and closing in their own chapter, but alas, it didn't happen.
The packaging is very good. The box comes in a clear slipcase with the words " Tenchi Muyo " elegantly placed at the top and on the back in Japanese. The box itself opens into four sections. Three sections for each of the three discs and one for the little insert which lists the episodes and what's on the Tenchi encyclopedia. I've heard people rant about how hard the discs are to take out, but I had no trouble with them and I do adore this package.
The extras? Well, Pioneer did something very nice for us, they gave us a whole disc full of them! The new Tenchi Encyclopedia ( Version 3.0! Complete with Washu OS. " No bugs here! Unless Mihoshi tampered with this..." ) has been included with this set. If you remember the DVD version of Tenchi the Movie 2: Daughter of Darkness ( Bleah, horrid name ), it came with a mini encyclopedia full of Tenchi stuff.
Needless to say, there's a ton of extras on this disc. However, one big extra is missing...The Mihoshi Special! The Mihoshi special didn't make it into the set. Why? I have no clue. However, it's not such a big deal for me ( although more Mihoshi is *always* welcome ) since the Mihoshi special never really fit in anywhere in the OAV series, it's just always been included in with the OAV tapes. Hopefully, Pioneer will find a place for this cute little special. Maybe in a future set of Pretty Sammy. It would fit in nicely there since Pretty Sammy does make an appearance in the special. Despite this, this set is loaded with extras which makes this Tenchi fan happy.
The only real quibble I have with the set is the subtitling. Number one, the songs weren't subtitled! Huh? Why? Also, the subtitles seem a little off in some places or even dubtitled. I don't know if it's truly like that or what, but it did get kind of distracting. Also, there were a lot of grammar mistakes such as capitalization and spelling errors in the subtitles which kinda make ya think for a bit. However, it is minor.
The show itself really doesn't need to be explained here. If you really need info on the story check out my primer or one of the many website devoted to the series at the Anime Turnpike. I'll just say this, this is a terrific series that should not be missed by any anime fan. Casual or Otaku. Period. If you haven't seen any of this series yet, whether it be the OAV series, TV series or even Tenchi in Tokyo, go out right now and at least rent it. You owe it to yourself.
This set, raises the standard for not only Anime on DVD, but for all DVDs. This is how it should be done. Pioneer has set the standard once again with it's flagship show. ADV, CPM, Manga, Animeigo, Media Blasters, Animevillage, etc etc, take note. This is how Anime on DVD should be done from now on.