Tenjho Tenge Vol. #7 - 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. #7

By Chris Beveridge     May 10, 2006
Release Date: June 13, 2006

Tenjho Tenge Vol. #7
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
The Imperial match tournament has begun and the natural pair of Mitsuomi and Maya are more than enough to create a name for the Juken Club. Meanwhile, Dogen Takayanagi and Fu Chen continue their plans for the birth of the true warrior and, in so doing, unleash the deadly Dragon's Eye residing in Shin, a mistake that will forever alter Shin's friendship with Mitsuomi.

The Review!
The series shifts between time periods as it focuses on the tournament, what Shin is going through and how everything just seems to get worse for all involved.

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 with Kuzunoha getting a stunning piece here with her outfit and design while Mitsuomi is in the background with a face shot that's blended into the overall design beautifully. These covers continue to be great all around but this one stands above most of the others. 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 Mitsuomi's 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 gets close to the end of its run and continues to play in the past as it follows the strange and weird paths that Shin and Mitsuomi are on. Each of them have their own goals and people behind them pushing their own agendas but a lot of it comes down to the basic interactions between high school kids who are in possession of insane powers or developing some very strong ones. What's even more amusing is how the new Juken Club is now made up of people who are almost more interested in taking each other down rather than taking out the other clubs.

The design of the tournament is fairly straightforward but with some nice changes. The goal of becoming those who take over the Executive Council is certainly enticing, especially for Shin and those who want to exert some serious control, and the path to it isn't quick and easy. There's some ninety or so clubs in competition for the top positions and they have to basically take each other down in various matches throughout the school when challenges are issued. The final five matches are held in the gymnasium where everyone will come to watch it play out. The design of the matches means that it's not a general deathmatch but it's something that people like Maya would be interested in. But there's a lot of uncertainty about when matches will happen which means the bulk of the student body is spending time away from each other and looking for opportunities.

There's a general breakdown in the make-up of the cast in this volume as the actions and agendas of those behind the kids starts to come into play and Shin in particular goes under a number of changes once he's given permission to use his powers as he sees fit and to kill whoever he needs to kill. This is something that Leon has been waiting on and now that the gauntlet has basically been thrown down, they're now able to find out who is going to be the real master and true power on the campus. There's plenty of competition still going on but it's quickly becoming a series of fights that have little meaning in the long run as those with the real power are facing off early and with little remorse about what they're doing.

There's a good series of fights that lead up to when Leon and Shin actually face off and we get to see the involvement of Kuzunoha and some of the other clubs but it's one things really get underway between Leon and Shin that the show once more shows off its brutal level. It's actually fairly tame in some ways but as the two go at it, there's such an element of disbelief by one of them over what happens that it's almost comical to watch it happen. These last few episodes as we get closer to the end goes through a number of changes and jumps forward in time by a year in order to show the way it affects everyone and how the plans have changed. What doesn't seem to jive too well is how the subsequent leap in time to the "present" storyline brings it all together since some of the characters have so radically changed in a short period of time, such as Mitsuomi.

As much as I'm enjoying the somewhat disjointed tale from the school's past and how it is all the foundation for what's going on in the present, I'm really missing the cast from the present and the way they all interacted. There's less of a sense of camaraderie with Shin's crowd than there is with Aya's and knowing how several of them end up just leaves you to watch what's going on as opposed to wondering how it will all come together. There are certainly revelations to be had and twists there but knowing where things land in the present renders part of this to not be quite as enjoyable as it could be. Add in that there were plenty of interesting things going on in the present and I think more likeable characters that it works against the overly extensive flashback sequence.

In Summary:
Tenjo Tenge continues to be an enjoyable series but the problems are more apparent as it goes on and it has the lame duck feeling about it in that I can't even check out an unedited version of the manga in order to see where it's going to go after the last volume comes out. That's certainly not Geneon's fault but there's plenty of times where outside influences can affect a show. This volume certainly has some very good moments to it, particularly since I like it when characters simply cross the line and continue in that direction, which lead to some brutal moments during the fights. As much as I like it, it's hard to recommend the show unless you're really into this particular crowd of characters since it's not exactly the same series we started out with.

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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