Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- 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: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Tenchi Universe
Tenchi Universe Vol. #1
By Brian Beckham
February 18, 2002
Release Date: June 20, 2000
As a long standing Tenchi nut I have been dying for the release of this DVD and hoping it would get the same treatment that the OVA did. When I found out it would be released on 8 DVDs in the same way the original VHS was I got a little bent out of shape. Never the less I still trucked down and bought myself a copy. Still the standard Tenchi I've come to love just on digital media that won't wear as much as my VHS copies.
As far as the audio goes its pretty standard mix for a TV series. Both audio tracks are 2 channel Dolby digital that makes great use of the front sound stage and there is a peep or 2 out of the rear but nothing special. The audio is clear and up to Pioneer's usual standard. I was very pleased listening to the Japanese track, things were clean and the positional was great. The music was clean and crisp as always thankfully, because there's just nothing like Seikou Nagaoka. I only watched the first episode of the dub as dubs tend to bother me but I'm not going into that, although Tenchi is a decent dub. Overall the dub seemed to be of similar quality to the Japanese track with the exception of the ending song; the dub track came out a little better.
As far as video goes I'm very disappointed. I think this is the first time I've been disappointed with the video in one of Pioneer's DVDs. The non-stop shimmering got to me. It's still a solid release and better than some of the stuff out there, but coming from Pioneer I was expecting more. The colors are vibrant and look beautiful, definitely what I'd expect from then especially after the great job they did with the OVA. The subtitles are the now standard Pioneer yellow with black boarder style, nothing special or different.
The menu is nice, it's pretty fast nothing really special just simple, easy to use, and very effective. The language selection is a little different but its nothing hard to get used to. I kind of like this better than most of the other ones I have seen in the past since it requires you to only press enter to switch back and forth between the languages and the subs being on or off.
The packaging is just a standard DVD keepcase as per Pioneer's usual standard. Good cover art that does a good job of catching your eye. Although I'm still partial to the old VHS/LD covers, Pioneer did a good job with the new box-art. The backside especially; it's a lot more detailed and colorful.
The extras on the disc seem pretty good. This will hopefully continue and the later discs will have this many extras. Although I find the "Limited Edition Finger Puppets" to be slightly strange. The DVD extras are a good start. The first thing is the non-credit versions of the opening and the ending (the volleyball ending). The next are character profiles with a small little caption below a very short video of the character. And last but not least is the famous Pioneer line gallery where they have "pencil sketches" of the characters and some of the basic artwork for the episodes that's on just about every Pioneer disc. They could have put more on but overall it's good for just being the first disc, although I still would rather have seen more episodes especially since Kiyone isn't in there yet. ^^
Overall I was very pleased with the disc and if it wasn't for the video problems I'd say it was another solid Pioneer release. In closing, if you don't mind the shimmering and some slight mpeg distortion I'd say this disc is well worth the money and more than enough to fill that void of Tenchi until the last part of the OVA comes out.
Pioneer DV-525 DVD player, Pioneer Elite VSX-26TX (DD/DTS/THX) receiver, Toshiba 27" Cinema Series TV with monster cables used for audio and 3 standard monster cables for the component video.