TENCHI UNIVERSE (1996)

 

Format: 26 24-minute episodes on 8(?) DVDs; a boxed set is available

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

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

American Production: Geneon (was Pioneer Animation)

English Dub Production: Network

Japanese Production: AIC?

 

Grading

 

Premise:

B-

Story:

B-

Writing:

B-

Character Design:

B

Animation:

B-

Artistic Merits:

B-

English Dub:

B

Musical Score:

B

Songs:

B

Opener:

B

Closer:

B

 

 

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! Eventually 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 alternate take on the story of Tenchi, Ayeka and Ryoko crash-land on Earth after a space duel and Mihoshi, this time with long-suffering partner Kiyone, are sent to find them but wind up being based on Earth for the long term, so they join Tenchi’s group. This time Washu is the one trapped in the cave that is accidentally freed by Tenchi and friends. The bounty hunter Nagi appears in this series, and Kagato is back, but this time as a former friend of Yosho’s who has become a false claimant to the Jurai throne rather than a ruthless space criminal. Accidental trips into parallel universe – one of which is the origin of the Pretty Sammy spin-off series – are par for the course, and the second half of the series sees most of the main characters traveling into space to rescue the Jurai throne from the pretender Kagato.

 

The Long View

      Though it was originally called “Tenchi Muyo TV,” the first Tenchi TV series has come to be known as Tenchi Universe in the States to help distinguish it from the original OVA series. The first few episodes, where the characters are introduced, vary only slightly from the original OVA series but after that the two series diverge greatly. The two biggest differences are the inclusion this time of Kiyone (who first appeared in the Mihoshi Special) and the fact that Tenchi and the others do not learn of his true nature until late in the series.

      Tenchi Universe is more light-hearted in overall tone than its predecessor, with slightly better and more free-flowing humor. Things do turn heavily dramatic towards the end, though the drama is not quite as effective as in the original. This series also suffers from filler episodes, which the original did not have. The technical merits are respectable but nothing special; a small step down from the original OVA series.

      As with the original series, those interested in picking up Tenchi Universe 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. This editing is particularly galling in one late episode when a trickle of blood down Ryoko’s arm is edited out for the Toonami version, thus giving an entirely different meaning to one crucial scene.

      If you liked the original Tenchi Muyo! then you will almost certainly like this longer remake.

 

DVD Extras

      Not available at this time.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Tenchi Masaki, Katsuhito

Matt “Kermit” Miller

Noboyuke Masaki

Jay Hopper

Ayeka

Jennifer Darling (aka Kristen Tanner)

Sasami, Kiyone

Sherry Lynn (aka Kate Ashley)

Ryoko

Petrea Burchard (aka Celeste Burch)

Mihoshi

Ellen Gerstel

Washu

Kate T. Vogt

Ryo-Ohki, assorted minor roles

Debi Derryberry

Azake, Kamidake (Guardians)

Mark Tracy

Nagi

Julia DeMita

Kagato

Michael Scott Ryan

 

 

 

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