Tenchi Universe Vol. #3 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • 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 Universe

Tenchi Universe Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     September 26, 2000
Release Date: September 26, 2000

Tenchi Universe Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
Rampaging robots and bounty hunters! Can it get any worse? Come join the fun as Tenchi Masaki attempts to act as mediator for these out-of-this-world characters as they fight with each other for Tenchi's attentions. Chaos reigns in the Masaki household! First Washu, the resident mad-scientist, attempts to make an android genius modeled after herself, but Mihoshi adds her own touch and soon they find themselves in a life-and-death struggle with a maniacal mad-scientist mecha-air-head! Then, Ryoko's past comes back to haunt her when the top bounty hunter in the Galaxy, Naga, comes looking for Ryoko...It's a showdown old west style.

The Review!
Disc three of Tenchi Universe brings us a hair under the halfway point of the show, though in terms of the storyline, things are still in their episodic state.

As with previous volumes, we get pretty solid audio tracks for both languages. The opening song is still one of the best sounding stereo mixes I've heard in quite awhile. In the episodes themselves, the incidental music works well and the sound effects are spot on.

What isn't spot on though is the video. I'm actually very surprised at how poor this transfer came out. It's spread across all three episodes, though it's less persistent in the third one, it's there through them all. It's most noticeable with character animation and the hair specifically, you'll notice a lot of edge enhancement and pixellation along the lines. There's a lot of shimmering going on there too, with the occasional rainbows thrown in. During the first episode, you'll notice similar things in some of the characters outfits, such as Ryoko's blue/green dress and Mihoshi's pink sweater. This seems to affect all the characters at some point, though not to the same extent. Nobuyuki and Tenchi don't shimmer that much, though mostly due to their hair color being a solid black as opposed to the lighter colors of the other characters.

Also noticeable, most especially during the first episode, is the darkened room/outdoor scenes where there's a lot of blues and blacks intermingling. The walls begin to shift quite a bit and you can definitely see some artifacting going on here. It's nowhere near as bad in the second and third episodes though.

The background color on the cover this time around changes to a deeper shade of orange, so don't expect your covers to match like the first two did. The front cover has the big cast shot with the bounty hunter and the cute Ken-ohki making their debut. It's a little busy, but there's plenty of vibrant eye-catching colors there. The back cover gives some good pieces of animation and summary of the episodes as well as listing the episode #'s and their titles. The insert, which contains the episode chapter listings, has a really great piece of artwork with Ryoko. Probably one of the best looking inserts I've seen in the Tenchi releases so far.

The menus are similar to the front cover with static screens throughout. There is a bit of music playing through the main screen, but the important thing is that all the selections are accessed very quickly and accurately. My only gripe is that the language selections don't pick up my player defaults, which you would kind of expect from a Pioneer DVD being played on a Pioneer deck.

Also similar to the first couple of discs are the extras. The textless ending this time is #3. The character profiles section is pretty spot on and as usual, there's some great pieces of conceptual art in the gallery.

As mentioned earlier, the three episodes here are self contained, though there's some gems within them. The opening episode, No Need For A Genius!, asks the question that shouldn't be asked. What if Washu made a mechanized version of herself and Mihoshi's mind was placed within it? We get a lot of Washu wackiness and the usual goofiness of Mihoshi doubled, as Mihoshi and Mecha Washu run and around rampaging things. The final defeat of Mecha Washu was however quite amusing.

No Need For Memories is pretty much a non-event episode, though it does a good job of getting you a bit closer to the characters. There's no real action or sense of purpose to the episode other than to show how life is for the characters during the first snow of the season. The women play a truly minor role in this episode (other than Sasami) and we get to focus more on Tenchi, Nobuyuki and the grandfather. Quite good stuff.

The final episode, No Need For An Arch Rival, brings two new characters into play in the form of the bounty hunter Nagi who is after Ryoko. Nagi's sidekick/spaceship is the same race as Ryo-ohki, named Ken-ohki. You can just imagine the creative team thinking about how cute it'd be and the royalties to be made from having another cute animal to push onto the Ryo-ohki loving public.

This episode has some good action sequences and shows a bit of the history between Nagi and Ryoko. Of course, Tenchi gets himself caught up in all this pretty easily, but that's to be expected.

Tenchi Universe Vol. #3 gets things close to ending the On Earth phase of the series and soon we'll see things start to kick into gear. Hopefully the next round will look better though.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Non-Credit Ending #3,Character Profiles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster gold plated component cables and Sony speakers.


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