Tenchi Universe Vol. #8 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

0 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Universe

Tenchi Universe Vol. #8

By Chris Beveridge     March 27, 2001
Release Date: March 27, 2001


Tenchi Universe Vol. #8
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Prince Tenchi? Tenchi’s grandfather, Hatsuhiko, reveals that Tenchi is the true heir to the throne of Jurai, but will the power of truth be of any consequence when the evil and powerful Kagato rules the Jurai Empire?

The Review!
The Tenchi Universe series finally comes to an end and the plot also works itself towards a conclusion I actually enjoy, only to find it was all a shell game.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to the original language, Japanese. Throughout the show, the majority of the dialogue is through the center channel with no noticeable distortions or dropouts. Music and sound effects are used well through the left/right channels with the music being the big beneficiary. There's no real surprises here since it's a mid 90's stereo TV soundtrack.

Video:
The quality here is pretty much a summation of the series in total. There are a bunch of really great looking scenes and then there's a bunch that are grainy and artifacting. The openings retain the rainbows and shiftiness, especially at the end, but the episodes themselves have a fair amount less rainbows and line noise throughout. Colors look good with several very nice looking vibrant sequences and fluid animation. A few areas looked a bit soft, but overall things look decent.

Packaging:
The final cover for the series, upon close inspection and not just a casual glance, looks really good. Tenchi's kneeling with the sword at full power while defending both Ayeka and Ryoko from the impending attack of Kagato. The colors are quite varied and the whole scheme just looks very slick. The back cover uses several animation stills, a couple of them somewhat soft looking. Thankfully as with past volumes, the episode numbers and titles are displayed. The insert provided shows another sideways image of the gang with the ladies in their skimpy revealing swimwear alongside the chapter listings.

Extras:
The usual suspects are here in the form of the character data similar to previous discs and several pieces of conceptual artwork. This volume did contain the finger puppets for Kagato, Ryoko and Tenchi with sword. Very neat!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Tenchi Universe finally comes to close with four episodes of straightforward action and minor plot revelations. This review will be spoiler filled, so read no further if you don't want to know anything.

Seriously.

With the big revelation out of the way about Yosho being the long lost powerfully strong Jurai royal family member who disappeared before he could ascend to the throne, Tenchi has a lot of new things to take in. Yosho reveals the story behind himself and the current ursurper to the throne, Kagato. Their past is pretty intertwined, but with Kagato being much more drawn to the dark side of the Juraian power. Things do take a bit of a Star Wars tone in a few scenes, but that's not completely unexpected.

The duel between Kagato and Yosho was pretty good, and obvious comparisons will be made to the OVA duel between the two. My preference leans heavily towards the OVA one if only for the revelation of style used and the intensity of the duel. This version is pretty decent, but lacked the surprise (at least for me) that the OVA did.

Once the duel is out of the way, Kagato plays dirty and takes Ayeka into his custody. Yosho places the weight of the world on Tenchi and passes the sword down to him and tells him he can't let things go on like this. Of course, this is all part of Tenchi's destiny. At the end of every Tenchi series, Tenchi actually has to do something!

With everyone in full support (those still conscious at least), the get the ship just outside of the royal houses of Jurai. Ryoko tries to convince Tenchi to abandon Ayeka and stay with her and to live life in the open space lines. Tenchi looks to almost go along with this, but his need to save Ayeka and set things right is much higher. But you know he really wants to go with Ryoko. It's plainly drawn.

Ryoko does offer one final option for Tenchi and that's to bring him, Kamidake and Azaka onto the planet via Ryo-ohki. The flight down to the planet is pretty dangerous, leading to a grave looking wound for Ryoko. When the goodbyes are made, a rather somber sequence follows Ryoko and Ryo-ohki flying off into deep space. While reminiscing about her time with Tenchi on Earth and in space, the blood flows and she goes limp. Ryo-ohki screams.

This is actually one of the best moments of the series. Not because I want to see Ryoko die, but because it gives the chance for the series to end without everything being nicely tied up in a little bow. During all of this, the trio race through the royal house and Azaka and Kamidake prove to be fairly mediocre knights for the most part with their one on one battles mostly ending in a draw with both combatants falling down. Better off as logs I say!

When Tenchi makes his way to Kagato, the ensuing battle is actually pretty short. It does work well though, but again this is an area where the OVA will win out due to the coolness factor of the extended fight and the outfit transformation. Tenchi's standard outfit is used here which contrasts against the more elegant outfit worn by Kagato.

Interestingly, the final episode of the show is almost entirely reflection, the type of episode that actually is pretty rare among anime shows. While loose ends are tied up, it's a fairly somber episode with Tenchi and his family returning to Earth while the women all return to various positions in their normal way of life. Tenchi takes the time alone to reflect on things, almost imagining the whole thing was a dream.

If it wasn't for the last 2 minutes of this episode, it would probably be my favorite episode of any of the Tenchi series. It practically ends on a downer but with the promise of something in the future. Instead, it slaps you in the face with the reapparance of Ryoko and the quick scene indicating Ayeka's run off from her duties as a member of the royal house. Everyone's making their way back to Earth and to Tenchi.

Of course, with an at the time hot property like Tenchi you certainly couldn't end it on a down note. I fully understand that, especially as Tenchi was one of the early jewels in Pioneer's growing anime division in Japan. You don't mess with a formula that works and you certainly don't kill off what many (not I) consider the best character in the series. But for a few fleeting moments, I was fully satisfied in my Tenchi viewing.

While Tenchi Universe isn't a top of the line TV series, it was pretty enjoyable, especially if you never saw the OVA's. The characters are fairly true to their original intentions and the animation is pretty decent. Tenchi Universe is a series I'm glad that I finally got to take in again after a few years since watching it on laserdisc. So until the new OVA series starts, that's all there is to Tenchi proper.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Data,Conceptual Artwork

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

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES



Be the first to add a comment to this article!


ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS