Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A+
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Muyo
Tenchi in Tokyo Vol. #4
By Steve Brandon
February 18, 2002
Release Date: June 22, 1999
I'm at a loss for words here. The problem with reviewing each individual volume in a series is that every volume is pretty much the same, at least from a technical standpoint. Generally speaking, most of what I've said in the past applies here. The video quality is quite good. You still sometimes get a little of the white static at the top of the screen when the shot changes, but not quite as much as in the previous volume. Since I only have one DVD player, I can't do a direct comparison, but the picture looks a bit sharper than earlier volumes.
I am grateful that Pioneer switched to yellow subtitles in the previous volume. I have one small problem with the subtitles, however. On my video set-up (Toshiba SD-2107 DVD Player viewed on a 28-inch Sony Trinitron- model number unknown), I get terrible "rainbow" effect around the subtitles. I believe that AnimEigo solved this very problem in their VHS releases by using a blue border around the letters instead of black. Perhaps Pioneer could consider doing this. Otherwise, the "rainbow" effect has diminished greatly since the first volume (you still get a little around the reds).
The dubbing is first-class, as always. Some people might complain that the dub script takes some liberties with the original Japanese version (try watching it dubbed with the straight subtitles), but this is necessary in order to make it sound more natural in English.
The bonus in this volume is Mayumi Iizuka's (the voice of Sakuya) video "Romantic da ne?" ("Isn't it Romantic?") As you may recall, this video was also included on the "Tenchi Encyclopedia 3.0" disc from the "Tenchi Muyo Ultimate Edition" OVA DVD set. (It's the one with the sunflower.) I mentioned in my review of that that the 2 Mayumi Iizuka videos would have been more appropriate as bonuses on the "Tenchi in Tokyo" discs. I guess that I'm just like Nostradamus (except my predictions are more accurate). Let me make a crazy prediction: the "Mint to Kuchibue" video will be the bonus included on volume 5. Personally, I'd love to see some Ai Orikasa (the voice of Ryoko) videos. She's by far the most talented of the Tenchi voice actresses at singing. Also, if anyone from Pioneer is reading this, I'd like to see the audio dramas from the Japanese "Shin Tenchi Muyo" CDs subtitled as a bonus on future installments of "Tenchi in Tokyo". (I know that I've mentioned that idea before, but it's such a damn good idea and you could also use it for other Pioneer series like "El Hazard".) Some AnimEigo-style cultural "Liner Notes" would also be much appreciated.
Now I'll comment on the episodes themselves. Spoiler haters please press the "Back" button on your browser now!
Episode 11 is "Moon Mission". This episode is actually the silliest episode of "Tenchi in Tokyo" thus far. After a misunderstanding, which leaves her feeling unwanted, Ryo-Ohki runs away and meets up with another "cabbit", who is actually one of Yugi's monsters of the episode! Ken... er, I mean, Yu-Ohki lures her to the moon, where there is a whole colony of "cabbits". (Fans of "Sailor Moon" will no doubt get the joke; instead of a face, the Japanese see a rabbit in the moon. Hence, "Tsuki no Usagi" or "The Rabbit of the Moon".) Perhaps the highlight of the episode is that you actually get to see scenes from "Space Police Policemen", which was mentioned on a previous episode. This "series-in-a-series" is done in a retro-anime style not unlike "Gekiganger 3" from "Martian Successor Nadesico". (I somehow doubt that "Space Police Policemen" will play as an important role in "Tenchi in Tokyo" as "Gekiganger 3" does in the "Nadesico" story, however.) The Sherlock Holmes costumes are also a blast. And Kiyone, my favorite Tenchi character, plays a major role in an episode at last! I also like the "Star Trek: The Next Generation: style graphics on the Galaxy Police view screen. One big question, at 0:19:49 on the disc, what is the pink thing that Ryoko is holding at the side of the screen?
Next is "Stupid Cupid" (one minor criticism: I wish they'd provide a literal translation of the episode titles in the subtitles). Sasami is sick so Tenchi's father, Nobuyuki, must do all of the cooking and cleaning himself. (What? They make the kid do all of the chores?) He flees to Tokyo to see Tenchi. Yugi's agent Matori fixes it so that Nobuyuki runs into Sakuya by chance just so that she has a reason to visit Tenchi. Matori then makes a clone of Nobuyuki to ensure that Sakuya and Tenchi get back together, but he doesn't quite perform according to her expectations. This episode brings up Achika. First, we see her in the sky, as she looked in "Tenchi Muyo in Love" (1st TV series continuity), and then we see a photo of the woman (who was identified either as Tenchi's grandmother or aunt, depending on whether you believe Pioneer's translation or the Internet "Tenchi" fans) who took the young Tenchi out walking in Ryoko's flashbacks from episode 5, "Kagato Attacks" of the original OVA series. I suppose it's nice that they are trying to tie this series in with the other two, but the two versions of Achika really don't look all that much alike. On the odd chance that you've never seen any other Tenchi besides "Tenchi in Tokyo", it may prove to be a little confusing. Just an observation, but did anyone notice that Tenchi was wearing cargo pants a couple of years before it was cool? Also, since I already mentioned "Nadesico", am I the only person in the world who notices the astounding similarity between "Prospector" and Nobuyuki? Separated at birth?
Finally, we have "The Eye of the Destroyer". Yugi and her agents plot to divide Tenchi and friends by having the agents "protect" them from being attacked by Yugi. Meanwhile, the "friendly" half of Yugi keeps Sasami occupied. We still don't find out where Yugi and her agents are from, or what their ultimate plans really are (other than some vague mutterings about taking over the world), but it looks like we will find out more soon. Why Yugi separates into two selves isn't clear either. Some of the animation in this episode briefly approaches the same quality as "Tenchi Muyo in Love", particularly the scene where Tenchi senses that Ryoko has been injured. Now, as a public service to the Japanese impaired, I'll try to translate the text seen in the sequence where Ryoko is imagining what Tenchi might be up to with Sakuya. In the first frame, the sign on Sakuya's head reads "Busaiku", which means "unattractive" or "clumsy". I'm not so sure what the sign coming out of her back says. "Sentaku" is "choice", but the Kanji below it is unclear. The problem is that it is in the lower right corner of the screen, and if I use the Zoom function of my player to make it bigger, there is the word "ZOOM" over the character! In the next picture, I believe that the label on Sakuya's head reads "Mijika ashi" or "short legs". I'm not too sure of the meaning of "Do BASU chishi". Kiyone's writing is too small for me to make out much, but the big characters on Washu's sign read "Jikken" which mean "experience" and "Karada" which means body. This is a minor note, but I've had certain, shall we say, suspicions about Tsugaru (Yugi's agent with the earrings and the ridiculously oversized sweater) ever since volume 2. Um, how should I put this politely? If Tsugaru were to date one of the other 2 agents, whom would he rather date: Matori or Hotsuma? According to the next episode preview, it looks like I may just get an answer!
I'd say see you in my review of volume 5, but I think that "Tenchi Forever" might be coming out first.
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.