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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