Monthly Archives: November 2018

Ai Tenchi Muyo!

Type: Sponsored by the city of Takahashi, Okayama

Synopsis: Come visit beautiful Takahashi, Okayama, home to the beautiful Bitchū Matsuyama Castle. Be sure to also visit Raikyū-ji, a Buddhist temple with a historic garden. That’s all I could find on the Wikipedia for Takahashi!

Pros: This anime is also based loosely on the Momotaro, or Peach Boy, legend, and serves as a 20th Anniversary special for the Tenchi Muyo! series. We’ll get to how well the show represents the franchise later. Since Tenchi Muyo! holds a special place in my heart, this entry has been on my list for a while. As luck would have it, it’s got an English dub with all the original actors (except for Ayeka). So for a long time fan like myself, the best part was hearing Petrea Burchard play my girl Ryoko one more time. And the story really is the strongest when the original Tenchi Muyo! cast take part it it. The core characters get updated looks, which are pretty good (though Ryoko and Washi apparently grew a few cup sizes during the franchise break). And while the show says it has 50 new episodes, there’s about 8 minutes each with credits. So it’s really more like 10 regular episodes.

Cons: First of all, the show did a poor job of detailing Takahashi, Okayama natural splendor and charming locals. If I was the city council, I’d ask for my money back. Because all I know about Takahashi right now it that it has all girl’s high school that is severely understaffed, may have buried treasure, and suffers from dimensional breaks. It makes be reconsider my planned stay at one of their numerous and affordable 5-star hotels (free wifi included upon request). As for the show itself, the length of the show makes watching it inconvenient. While the episodes divided up, the story lines aren’t. So 3-4 episodes are really just one big story cut up to bloat the episode count. The plot isn’t all that special: Tenchi becomes a student teacher at an all girl’s school, and sexy misunderstandings happen. Being anime, the teenage girls naturally all hit on their new teacher, making feel all types of uncomfortable. To it’s credit, the show does try to utilize it’s short episodes by mixing in two parallel stories every 3-4 episodes. One parallel story follows Tenchi escorting a young girl in the past, while another shows Tenchi’s home life with the original girls. These serve as nice breaks between stories, though they do make you wonder they can’t be the main plots. Teenage anime boobs is probably the answer, I guess. Things do ramp up towards the end, with all the story elements coming together rather nicely. Except for why the Feudal Japan girls look exactly like the student council. Speaking of which, how are the new female characters? Ai Tenchi Muyo! basically adds a new harem for Tenchi to interact with. And it falls into the typical harem overcrowding problem because of this. Five characters in a harem is fine, moreso is hard to follow. But let’s review anyway: Rui and Yuki are nice comedic foils, Tori is pointless, kinda the same with Hana, Hachiko is fine, Beni is a good stoic addition, and Momo is…Momo. Yeah, Momo’s good girl “let’s all be friends” gimmick was not fun, and doesn’t really mesh well with Tenchi Muyo’s humor. Even Sasami has a playfull side. Plus, Momo’s speech defending the love between a teacher and student was weird. Ultimately, I just don’t know who this anime is for. If it’s for long time fans, then why focus on a new cast. And if it’s for new people, why use Tenchi, Ryoko, or the others in the first place? And easy fix would probably be using a new main lead, like GXP and Geminar did, but it’s a little late for could ofs.

Watch it: Skippable, but maybe hunt for the Ryoko scenes (3/5).

MVP: Ryoko

Because she’s always MVP

Best Episode: The Tenchi at Home episodes (a little too dispursed to track down the episode numbers).

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Tenchi Forever! The Movie [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: You’re saying that my grandfather’s girlfriend has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: I’m starting to develop some emotional discomfort due to all these inappropriate advances by female relatives and friends.

Pros: Ok, so Tenchi Forever! The Movie, also known as Tenchi Muyo in Love 2: Distant Memories, is the final movie and story in the Tenchi Universe cannon. So of course it ends with Tenchi finally getting laid. By his grandpa’s dead lover. Yeah. You know, it’s kinda weird that the least sexy Tenchi Muyo shows end up getting Tenchi to make more romantic progress than the original OVA’s. Tenchi in Tokyo shows us Tenchi’s first kiss. And this movie showed us Tenchi’s first sexual experience. I’m focusing on this a little because this movie is fairly melodramatic and mature compared to every other entry in the series. In the story, Tenchi disappears for 6 months, and all the girls separate in an effort to find him. The pairing we see the most of is Ryoko and Ayeka, who become roommates during their search. While they do bicker, this is the best portrayal of their friendship, as they provide emotional support for one another after, essentially, the loss of a love one. Speaking of which, I liked the way that Tenchi was removed from his weird life of aliens into a more intimate life with a girlfriend, something that was NOT handled well in Tench in Tokyo. We see an older and more self-assured Tenchi, who really knew how to rock long hair.

Cons: The instigator of Tenchi’s disappearance was Haruna, Tenchi’s grandfather’s old lover and the reason why he left Jurai in the first place in this cannon. She was fine, and her design was pretty, but I had a though when watching this. The concept of Tenchi being stuck in a parallel world with a lover is great, but I would have changed the girl he was with. Instead of Haruna, it should have been Ayeka. Because despite Ayeka being one of the main love interest, she always plays second fiddle to Ryoko. So what better way to explore her underdeveloped character than by having her take the initiative and create her ideal world with Tenchi. It would have been a great spotlight on her character, and helped develop new layers to the love triangle between Ryoko, Ayeka, and Tenchi…I should probably also mention that Tenchi was basically brainwashed into being in a sexual relationship with a stranger, and that this would 100% not work if the genders where reversed.

Watch it?: No real finality, but an interesting  attempt at a more serious Tenchi Muyo story

MVP: Tenchi’s long hair

I mean, just look at it.

Best Moment: The Reveal that Tenchi was drawing Ryoko’s picture too (true love shatters any illusion!)

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Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: My daughter has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: Wait, that wasn’t my idea!

Pros: So this one is about a girl that says she’s the daughter of Tenchi and crashes the Masaki household around Christmas time. So this is really just a Christmas special. The self proclaimed daughter, Mayuka, isn’t all that interesting and can be irritating with her child like antics. What was most interesting what everyone’s reaction to her, especially Ryoko. Ryoko’s often the most reactive to romantic rivals (that was her entire arc in Tenchi in Love) so she’s allowed to act out more by the writers. This eventually culminates in a shocking moment that even had me go “whoa.” And I’ll admit, more a moment I did think that Mayuka really was Tenchi’s daughter from the future or something, and all her scenes with the other girls had me playing “guess the baby mama.”

Cons: Mayuka is annoying. Mayuka is very annoying. She’s got a woman’s body but a child’s mind. I’m not talking about a 17 year old mind. I’m talking about like 5 year old’s mind. Her childish demeanor was meant to be a hint to her real origins, but it didn’t make all the fan service any less creepy. By the way, this is NOT a movie. It’s a Christmas OVA. It’s one hour and doesn’t really reveal or change much. I know that the story implies that Mayuka is reborn as an actual child, but the events of the next film contradict this.

Watch it?: I’d say no, but that Ryoko moment has to be seen

MVP: Ryoko

If you haven’t realized, I really like Ryoko

Best moment: The Ryoko-Mayuka living room scene (Damn!)

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Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: You mean my mom has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: Man, this is heavy.

Pros: I mean really, this is just Back to the Future. This is part of a series of movies that I like to refer to as the “Tenchi Universe Trilogy,” or Tenchi Universe Season 2. Sorta how like the Futurama movies are all considered Season 5. The Tenchi Universe series isn’t my personal favorite in the franchise, but it is the most accessible. This one explore the issue of Tenchi’s mother. A bad guy tries to kill Tenchi’s family by attacking Tenchi’s mom in the past, so Tenchi in the gang have to go to the past to make sure that Tenchi isn’t erased from existence. This was pretty cool, and I liked Achika Masaki better than Kiyone Masaki, Techi’s mother from the OVA series. Mostly because Kiyone wasn’t given much screen time. I also really liked Ryoko, as I always do, and she had a pretty slick, if brief, but of fight animation. In fact, since this was a movie, it has pretty good animation in general.

Cons: The movie is fine for what it is, but is doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t play around with the 1970’s setting. It doesn’t play around with the idea of time travel much. But worse, it doesn’t really explore Achika outside of her early relationship with Tenchi’s dad. She isn’t really a character, she’s a Mcguffin. The only real emotional conflict comes from Tenchi trying hard to protect his mother, who he never really talks to in the movie. Which sucks because we could have gotten interesting interactions with Achika, Ryoko and Ayeka. We could have seen how Teanchi’s grandfather behaved as a father to a young woman. Or we could have just gotten a story of Achika’s daily life. Her status as at least a part-alien living on Earth with a royal lineage strongly mirror’s Tenchi’s life, and we could have seen them bond over their unique situations. Kinda a waste of potential at the end of the day. (p.s. There was also this bad guy that wasn’t really the antagonist who was really there to misdirect the audience and died a useless death).

Watch it?: If you like Tenchi Universe, then sure

MVP: Achika’s brief power ups

She also got the final hit on the bad guy.

Best Moment: Ryoko’s brief fight scenes (Ryoko deserves a killer fight scene!)

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