Synopsis - Tenchi Muyo |
Masaki Tenchi's problems all started when he visited the old shrine
without his grandfather's permission that one fateful summer afternoon. His
grandfather told him that a ruthless demon and the legendary sword that
defeated her were locked inside, and as a typical teenaged male, he was
curious and wanted to see the old legend for himself.
Of course, legend quickly turned to reality, and Tenchi soon found
himself in the company of a rather cute and affectionate "demon"
named Ryoko. And then Aeka, the Juraian princess, arrived soon after,
looking for her long-lost brother to wed (it's a long, long story) and for
Ryoko to arrest (of course she just ends up falling for Tenchi instead)
with her little sister Sasami in tow. And then Ryo-Ohki appeared, who looks
like a cross between a cat and a rabbit but is actually Ryoko's powerful
spaceship (or is that the other way around?), and the the ditzy Galaxy
Policewoman Mihoshi arrived (who also develops a crush for Tenchi), and the
mad (but cute) genius Washu, and ...
Not to mention that Tenchi happens to posssess a power crucial to the
protection of the universe, and that power is heavily sought-after by
various powers and interests. Yes, it looks like life will be very
interesting for Tenchi indeed ...
Anyone who hasn't heard of this incredibly fun series should immediately
go out and rent themselves some episodes of this thing. Tenchi Muyo! is one
of the most popular anime titles there is, and for good reason.
The art and animation of this series is very nice indeed, with bold,
vivid colors and lines to stylize the characters just the way anime fans
love. The art also tends to go super-crude for brief instances, but only
for humorous effect. Animation of the action sequences is fluid and smart,
with some really neat effects to be found in some of the scenes.
The soundtrack is pretty cool, too, capturing the excitement and
non-stop zaniness contained within the series. In grand Pioneer style,
dubbing is done fairly well, and some of the lines are actually funnier in
the English translation than in the subtitled version (although purists
will no doubt cry foul). Characters are all wacky and fun to have around,
even if they're a bit exaggerated at times. The interaction between the
characters make for some of the wackiest comedy you'll find anywhere.
Plot is actually quite smart and complex, with surprising plot-twists
and jaw-dropping developments to be had as you delve deeper and deeper into
the series. Some of the events are actually quite touching and poignant,
and clues are skillfully dispersed throughout the episodes, keeping you
guessing until the end.
In short, a fun and zany series even the most serious-minded can enjoy.
No need for Tenchi? I think not.
Synopsis - Tenchi Universe
This is a slightly different retelling of the story first introduced in
the Tenchi Muyo OAV series. Basically, Masaki Tenchi is a typical high
schooler (or so he thinks) who seemingly attracts these really weird women
from outer space for no good reason at all. The order and manner he meets
these ladies is a little different from the OAV series, and there's a few
additional characters to boot, but the plot is essentially the same. Girls
fight over Tenchi. Often, with a lot of collateral damage, to boot.
This is the series that launched a thousand alternate universes. As is
Tenchi Muyo wasn't confusing enough, the creators at Pioneer Entertainment
decided that a Tenchi Muyo TV series should be sufficiently different from
the OAV series already released that it remain original, yet recognizably
Tenchi Muyo. I'm not sure whether to send them flowers, or venus flytraps
for their trouble.
As it is, Tenchi Universe (as it's called here in the US to avoid
confusion with the OAV release for not-so-anime-savvy retailers) is a fun
romp through a scenario that's familiar with fans of the OAV series, but
perhaps not for newcomers into the anime medium. However, it should be said
immediately that the TV series takes itself a lot less seriously than the
OAV series, so expect a lot more sight gags, probably a tad dumber writing,
and much less actual situational tension should the characters get
themselves in a bind. If anything, the TV series is a lot more, dare I say,
cartoony than the OAVs were.
Also, the animation, though nice, isn't quite up to the level of the OAV
series. For that matter, there are sterlingly forgettable episodes (like
the carnival of "horrors"…ewww) that really don't fit into the
storyline expect to be "supposedly" funny sitcom material. That
isn't the strength of Tenchi by any means.
However, Tenchi Universe is still a great opportunity to show off the
characters that made the original OAV series fun, and as such, it works
quite well. One of the major improvements over the original is the
inclusion of Kiyone as a foil to the eternally ditzy Mihoshi (who really
needed one to be effective). Finally, a female character who is NOT in
competition in the Tenchi Sweepstakes. Thank you!
Oh, the plot, you say? Well, it starts up slow, but there is a plot in
there. A bit more meandering than the OAV series, as Tenchi and his harem
(just kidding) don't exactly stay on Earth forever. No plot holes bigger
than you'd expect, though.
The music's nice, with a catchy opening song (not heard on the Cartoon
Network version, blaaah!) and unobtrusive, but workable incidentals that
are fine for a TV series soundtrack. (And the ending credits are absolutely
adorable. C'mon, it's Ryo-Ohki! Myaaaa!)
Though perhaps not quite up to the quality of the OAV series, Tenchi
Universe still has everything that made the original TV series fun, and
twice as many episodes, to boot. It's unquestionably accepted as a valid,
and integral part of the Tenchi Muyo saga, and rightfully so.