TENCHI MUYO! (1993-1995)

 

Format: 12 30-minute and 1 45-minute OVA episodes; available as a boxed set or 4(?) separate DVDs

Rating: PG (Toonami version, V) or PG-13+ (uncut version; BN, AC, GV)

Type: Sci-Fi Comedy-Action-Drama-Romance

American Production: Geneon (formerly Pioneer)

English Dub Production: Network

Japanese Production: AIC

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C+

Story:

B

Writing:

B

Character Design:

B

Animation:

B

Artistic Merits:

B

English Dub:

B

Musical Score:

C+

Opener:

B-

Closer:

C+

 

 

Humor Content:

B

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

B

 

 

DVD Presentation:

not available

DVD Extras:

not available

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

      Tenchi Masaki, a 17-year-old boy who lives with his father and Shinto priest grandfather, thinks he’s just an ordinary boy until alien women start dropping in on him and living with him! Soon he discovers that his grandfather is actually an exiled Prince of the alien Jurai Empire, which makes him a Prince, too, and inheritor to the mystical Jurai power.

      In this version of the basic Tenchi story, Ryoko was created by Washu but became imprisoned in a cave at the shrine of Tenchi’s grandfather after a battle hundreds of years ago with his grandfather. A curious Tenchi accidentally releases her, which draws the attention of Ayeka, who has been searching for Ryoko and Yosho for a very long time. Mihoshi shows up on the scene while investigating another matter. The villainous Kagato soon follows, as does Dr. Clay and Zero, his Ryoko look-alike, who are working for the goddess Tokimi. Washu comes into the picture upon being freed from Kagato’s spaceship. Later on the parents of Yosho, Ayeka, and Sasami show up, intending to take their wayward children back home and marry off Ayeka properly.

 

The Long View

      Though the whole is classified as a single OVA series in the States, the series under the name Tenchi Muyo! was originally two separate OVA series (the second a direct sequel to the first) with a special episode sandwiched in between. This can be seen in the story arc breakdown. It is by far the best of the core series in terms of technical merits, and the most serious (although it also has an ample share of humor). Unlike the other series, the events in Tenchi Muyo! span hundreds of years. It is also in this series where Washu is actually a goddess, where Tsunami bonds with Sasami (who will grow up to be her) after a fatal accident that happened when Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki attacked the Jurai Royal Palace, and where Ryoko’s powers are based on gems that can be taken from her. This series also delves most deeply into the nature of the sentient trees of the Jurai. Whether it is the best of the series or not in terms of storytelling is solely a matter of personal preference. What I can assure you is that Tenchi Muyo! ends very abruptly, a fact that his displeased fans so much over the years that a new OVA series to complete the story of the original one is finally (supposedly) in production.

      Those interested in picking up Tenchi Muyo! on DVD should be aware that two different versions exist in the States. The uncut version is loaded with risqué humor, innuendo, a bit of nudity, and some graphic violence. It is definitely for teenagers and older audiences. The Toonami version is sanitized to a strict PG standard (including putting swimsuits on characters that were in the nude in the uncut), which cuts an average of a minute or two out of every episode and rewrites some scenes so completely that it’s practically a different series.

 

DVD Extras

      I cannot comment at this time on what extras are available on the DVDs.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Tenchi Masaki, Katsuhito

Matt “Kermit” Miller

Noboyuke Masaki, Yosho

Jay Hopper

Ayeka, Tokimi

Jennifer Darling (aka Kristen Tanner)

Sasami, Tsunami

Sherry Lynn (aka Kate Ashley)

Ryoko, Zero

Petrea Burchard (aka Celeste Burch)

Mihoshi

Ellen Gerstel

Washu

Kate T. Vogt

Ryo-Ohki

Debi Derryberry

Azake (Guardian), Yukinojo (AI of Mihoshi’s ship)

Mark Tracy

Kamidake (Guardian)

Phil Fox

Dr. Clay

Wess Mann

Azusa

John Lee

Funaho, Misaki

Grace Zandarski

 

 

 

Home   |   Anime Reviews   |   Manga Reviews   |   References   | Links |   Bibliography