Tenjho Tenge Vol. #6 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenjho Tenge

Tenjho Tenge Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     March 27, 2006
Release Date: April 11, 2006

Tenjho Tenge Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
After Maya's dismissal from school, Souichiro and Bob also submit their resignation from school in protest. Meanwhile, Aya disappears with the Shin's cursed sword, the Choukto-reiki. With Dragon's Eye growing hold over Aya along with Shin's sword, both Maya and Mitsuomi fear that history will repeat itself and Aya will continue the path of blood that her older brother started in the past.

The Review!
Tenjho Tenge delves into some of the final bits of the past and how the relationships have changed into what we know now.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for this track is pretty solid and makes good use of the directional channels along the forward soundstage for the action sequences and on a few occasions for the dialogue as well. While not a completely immersive track, it does a good job of bringing the action sequences out in a strong manner that provides plenty of oomph to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no trouble with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Being such a recent show, the transfer here looks really good with bright vibrant colors, solid backgrounds and plenty of visible detail. The show manages to avoid some of the pitfalls of a few other recent shows as it doesn't rely too heavily on pans and stills to get things done as there are a lot of scenes that just have small bits of movement that help the flow of things. The transfer is relatively free of problems such as cross coloration or issues with the gradient being visible. There is a bit of stuttering in a few scenes during a couple of the pans across the background but that's just inherent in the source itself. A few scenes here are really standout but the transfer overall is solid and looks good but doesn't really leap out throughout.

The layered cover artwork has another striking volume though this time it's more for Bunshichi than anything else as he has that laid back relaxed motif going with an interesting aura about him. The colors are all over the place again with a lot of matches you wouldn't normally make but it provides a very vibrant piece. The back cover has an interesting looking layout to it with some sort of concrete style wall with various sections to hold the summaries, shots from the show and the production information. The technical information is listed all over the place so it makes it a bit difficult to track down things. The insert for the release has the same artwork as the front cover minus a couple of small logos while the reverse side has a pencil illustration of Bunshichi and a listing of the release months for all eight volumes. What's really nice is that with the clear keepcase, the reverse cover is the same as the front cover but the back panel is the expanded version of the illustration that has her hair flowing across it as well Bunshichi image being larger and more visibly detailed.

Using the same artwork as the front cover and animating in a few cherry blossoms to fall over it, the main menu is a good looking piece with a brief instrumental music loop that ends kind of awkwardly before it cycles over again. The artwork looks really nice here and more vivid than the printed cover. The navigation selections are lined along the left with a blue/purple hue as well and blend well, almost too well, into the artwork but are still visible enough. Access times are nice and fast and the menus easy to navigate. The players' language presets were read correctly and we had nothing to change once it started up.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Tenjho Tenge moves in some interesting ways with the latest three episodes from the series as the results of the last incident become painfully clear. With Maya taking the expulsion, Souichiro and Bob try to go for the same angle by making a play against the Student Council. Aya tries to cope with the reality that Souichiro never really loved her while falling to the influence of the Reiki sword. And poor Takayanagi is left holding the bag as he tries to pick up so many of the pieces that are scattered while his own heart is seemingly shattered as well.

There's a fair bit of movement going on here while the very minor background plot of moving the show towards a true tournament stage starts to get pushed forward more heavily. This is kept to a few simple pieces of dialogue but it gives hint where the larger storyline is going as some of those on the Student Council start going on about how the arrival of someone like Souichiro may actually be the thing that's needed. As expected, the Tenjho Tenge anime series is really just a prologue for a much larger adventure and when looked at in that context it flows better but still feels a bit cheap. Of course, that's the price that's paid for animating a manga series so early in its run.

So many things are wrapped up around each other now that even though the cast has spread out nicely and going through their own issues, it's all related and tied together. Souichiro and Bob have a great little adventure that puts them through the paces with Bunshichi, a character that's quickly becoming my favorite out of all of them. With so much of the past having been explained, there are still mysteries and the pair try to use their meeting with Bunshichi to get the answers that they need regarding Maya. Souichiro's continuing firm revelation that Maya is the first woman he's ever loved is fun to watch since the reactions are so varied to it but seeing his own determination in not stepping down from his feelings only makes the character more entertainingly stubborn.

Aya's own reaction to it isn't all that surprising. From the start she's trying to figure out exactly how to handle it, from either realizing she pushed him without ever letting him really say or do anything or just admitting that it was his problem. A lot of her issues are internalized in just how she looks and walks about but there's also the influence of the massively long sword she now carries. There is a really beautiful scene where she's on top of the school crying away and the rain's coming down on her as she tries to wash away the tears. Combined with the daylight nature of the sky, the music and just the way it's all put together it's a great emotional scene and one where fighting isn't involved but ends up changing the character.

But poor Takayanagi as he's witness to all of this and her new attitude which has her leaving home for awhile and crashing with him. This does lead to a massive amount of fanservice as the show takes a domestic detour but it keeps with the emotional issues that Aya is going through. You have to feel for Takayanagi throughout this though as he really is different from most male characters that would be in this situation since he really wants to try and take advantage of it. Most of the time it's the male trying to be as chaste or oblivious as possible but here, man, he just really tries to get into being into her. Not that you can blame him of course but an overly emotional Aya is not something that's safe to approach.

Though a bit awkward considering how many recent episodes dealt with the past, a lot of this volume is just setting up the characters to where they need to be for the next major storyline and changing the group dynamic. Where once we had a group of characters who, while somewhat awkward with each other and unsure of each others real feelings, could work well and learn together there is now a split among them that's gone so far as to push Maya to work with Mitsuomi to try and correct at least part of it. Aya's use of the Reiki sword and what it may really contain is something that seems to rise above a lot of the more basic issues that have filled the show so far and will bring apparent enemies together. Aya looks to be learning interesting things from it but it's still unclear whether it's just showing her the way or nudging her in the direction it wants.

In Summary:
It's been apparent for a number of volumes now how frustrating this show can be for a number of reasons but once the episodes start up and that music kicks in, I can't help but just get into a happy place, bob my head and enjoy what comes from it. This volume is a bit slower overall but it still brings us some more interesting elements from the past that have shaped the present as well as letting Aya have some really great fanservice moments while combining it with solid emotional issues as well. Tenjho Tenge really is just trash anime in the greatest sense of the phrase and it revels in what it does.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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