Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki Anime Review

Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
Complete Collection - 3 discs
295 mins. - 7 episodes
$39.98 (2007)
$29.98 (2009) Viridian Collection
$19.98 (2011)
ISBN 704400076619
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Kenichi Yatani
Studio - AIC

Synopsis: The Masaki household is still wild and crazy after all these years - Tenchi Masaki released a space pirate from a 700-year imprisonment in his family's shrine only to have her (Ryoko) fall in love with him, then a royal princess (Ayeka) from space gets stranded on Earth and falls in love with him, along with her sister (Sasami) who falls in love with him, a klutzy Galaxy Police member (Mihoshi) shows up and falls in love with him, and finally a mad scientist (Washu) appears who falls in love with him.  Buddy, that might be too many girls for your own good.  Along the way we are introduced to Ryo-Ohki the cabbit (cat-rabbit, get it?) who transforms into a space ship (huh?) and also into a young girl...who is in love with Tenchi.  Notice a theme here?  We learn Tenchi is a royal prince of Jurai and has several cosmic powers - he forms a lightsaber blade, has a battlesuit, performs matter-energy conversion (energy projection), teleportation, and manifests 'lighthawk wings' which do other 'stuff'.  He's really just a mild-mannered dork and completely embarrassed with all the attention heaped on him (especially the female kind). 
Can you spot the cock-blocker in this picture?
None of the above happens in this series - it's a sequel to two previous series about Tenchi where we learn and meet the cast of characters.  What happens here is a continuation of the abnormal adventures of Tenchi's household along with some startling new developments.  These include:
    Noike - Tenchi's fiancee!?
  • We learn what Tenchi's mother was like and the truth about her death
  • Tenchi has an older sister
  • Cosmic confrontation with Z - he was experimentally modified by Lady Tokimi with incredible powers to rival or surpass even Tenchi's.  He is a tormented soul and lashes out with blind rage
  • Another love interest - meet Tenchi's arranged bride Noike who turns out to be Ayeka and Sasami's aunt and a really nice person 
  • Fight off a band of mercenaries trying to kidnap Ryoko, Ayeka, and Washu
  • Meet Mihoshi's bungling twin brother Misao and his involvement in a dastardly plot to destroy Tenchi (by destroying the Earth)
  • Find out what the heck all this royal family, lighthawk wings, arranged marriages, experimental beings, goddesses, and cabbits business is about!

Pros: The Tenchi gang are back in all-new adventures, new characters add some fresh air to the cast, some good comedy, better CG, action and explanations - an ending after all these years!

Cons: Voice actress for Ryoko is different from the previous series and doesn't sound the same, new characters added to an already excessive character count, royal family and hierarchy between character lineage is horribly confusing, explanations just leave more questions, Tenchi remains a bland character
Z - this guy is pissed off

Mike Tells It Straight: Tenchi Muyo! was a great anime and one of the first shows to go mainstream on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming back in the '90s.  The first OVA is a classic and I was completely excited to hear about this new series.  You absolutely must have watched the previous OVA episodes in order to even remotely have a chance at understanding this series.  The character relationships are oppressively complex in this show and I felt totally lost without a major scorecard (thank goodness for the internet).  Apparently Tenchi Muyo: GXP will also help prepare you for the convoluted mess of this finale series. 
This is a cabbit.  Kawai!

The production timing of this finale detracts from the impact of the show - the first OVA (seven episodes) was released in 1992 (in Japan), the second OVA (six episodes) in 1994, and this final OVA (seven episodes) didn't show up until 2003.  That's a long time and the GXP television series (26 episodes) helps to make things even more confusing by adding more layers of complexity to the intergalactic/political relationships of all the characters.  I forgot most of it and since it's so damn complicated it took awhile (and a fair amount of time on the internet) to get back up to speed. 

Overall an amusing show with a decent finale.  Although it fights an uphill battle I think the series will satisfy most Tenchi fans (who are more interested in just having more Tenchi after all), but will warn it's a love/hate scenario.  You will either love that more information is given about the major powers playing behind the scenes (and the Tenchi cast hijinks) or hate all the additional crap thrown into an already convoluted storyline.  Your therapist would recommend watching this show just to get closure. 
Seriously, this will help

TO BUY and Recommendations: