Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
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- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Universe
Tenchi in Tokyo Vol. #1
By Jme Wheeler
February 18, 2002
Release Date: January 19, 1999
I've been visiting this site quite frequently since I got my DVD player in December. I think it's a great site, so I thought I would contribute to it.
Please keep in mind that I am writing this while making a couple of assumptions. One, that you know a little about the characters already, an assumption that the show actually makes as it drops you into the middle of things. Two, that you have also read the other reviews on this site regarding Tenchi in Tokyo. I am writing this as an alternate angle, and assume that you have already read about the technical aspects of the disc.
I was really excited when I heard that Pioneer was bringing this show to DVD, but at the same time, I was a bit hesitant because it was a new series. To my surprise, I actually like it a lot better than all of the other Tenchi series thus far!
As far as tech stuff, Pioneer has really given us nothing to complain about. An English 5.1 soundtrack would have been nice, but I can live without it. The Japanese soundtrack is great, and this was the first time I've hear the original Japanese voices. I actually prefer the Japanese track with this show. Don't get me wrong, the English cast is excellent, one of the best dubs out there in fact, but I don't like the way the lines delivered and the subtitles are often almost completely different. I don't understand why shows do that. The odd thing is that if you look at the Nightwarriors anime (also from Pioneer, and Viz), the dialogue is pretty much spot on. So ultimately I feel the Japanese track is preferable on this show.
As for the video quality, nothing to complain about either. The colors are sharp and vibrant, and there's no noticeable sign of glitching. One of the great things about the DVD aspect is, in this show, there are a lot of people's expressions that move by quickly on the screen, and with a clean DVD pause, you can really stop and appreciate them all. Some people have complained about the super deformed expressions, but I think it's one of the funniest things about the show. It helps of illustrate the extremity of the characters' emotions. Let's not forget that this is a comedy show, so I think a little SD is completely appropriate. I don't like it on shows that are supposed to be serious. For example, if Akira had peoples' heads getting all giant and deformed (besides Tetsuo's), it wouldn't work.
Now, on to the story. The reason I like this story more so than the others is that it puts Tenchi in a normal setting, with other normal people aside from his father and grandfather. It gives him a chance to meet new people and do more mundane kinds of things. I like those kinds of stories where things are a little simpler. There are plenty of over the top things in the series, but they're balanced out nicely by the normal stuff.
I think the character of Sakuya is terrific, and I really want to see her and Tenchi get together. She has a really good character design and the way she cares about Tenchi is a nice change. The way the alien girls behave, you don't get the sense that they really care about Tenchi all that much. In one episode on the second disc titled "Play Date", Sasami uses Washu's dimensional tunnel to go see Tenchi because everyone was trying to steal the money she had earned in the previous episode. That kinda demonstrates how despicable the other characters can be, and why Tenchi can't help but be interested in someone else.
The way Tenchi reacts to Sakuya's advances is pretty much what one would expect. With what little we know about his character from previous shows, he seems shy and polite. Thusly, he doesn't really know what to do. You get the sense that he wants to like her, but he doesn't know how to deal with Ayeka and Ryoko. Also, if he allows himself to get close to her, how does he explain to Sakuya that he has six girls from outer space living in his house? This kind of dilemma works really well in this show. The series is a little like Ranma in the sense that this one guy has all of these girls surrounding him, none of which are by his own doing (necessarily), and he doesn't know what to do about it.
There is also in this series a main villain, Yugi, that appears throughout each episode to help keep the craziness moving along. It will be interesting as the series progresses to see what her real role will be.
All in all, I think this show is definitely a welcome addition to the Tenchi universe, and would also be a great addition to any anime fan's collection. Thanks for reading!