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[ café reviews ]

[Mayuka and the Tenchi gang]

[Tenchi Muyo! The Movie 2]

Tenchi the Movie 2
Manatsu No Eve
(Daughter of Darkness)

Copyright: © 1998 Pioneer LDC
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: DVD (Japanese Language/English Subtitle/English Dub) VHS (English Subtitle/English Dub)

Written by: Hasegawa Naoko Directed by: Kimura Satoshi Music: Otani Koh Planning: Maki Taro

[ plot summary ]

vhs cover

Startica: the mid-summer's festival on Jurai, celebrating the hope that two people, bound by the bonds of a symbolic fruit may meet sometime in the future. A young Yosho finds himself presenting such a fruit to a young creature, a creature who tries to give him a gift, only to have the royal guards dispatch the mysterious figure...

A hot mid-summer's day. Everyone is working, doing chores -- everyone, except Ryoko, of course. Tenchi attends to the Masaki grave, when he's disturbed by the appearance of a young girl... a girl who claims to be Tenchi's daughter. If that wasn't enough, Washu's analysis of her DNA confirms that half of the mysterious person's genetic make-up is in fact from Tenchi...

But the Masaki household discovers that there's something very unusual about Mayuka, the new house guest. Why is Ryoko so suspicous of her? Why is Mayuka so intent on getting Tenchi alone with her? And why does the DNA pattern of Mayuka's maternal side seem so unreadable, as if it were deliberately being hidden?

[ a parent's guide to anime ]

Parental guidance advised

A decidedly more intense feel than the TV or OAV series, and on par with the first movie. Some scenes of sexual innuendo and suggestive scenes, and several Japanese curses have been translated as English four-letter words. Several scenes of violence are not suitable for younger teens, and several scenes may be too intense for some viewers.

[ capsule review ]

Before getting to the contents of the movie itself, I should probably have a quick discussion about this movie's title: no, Daughter of Darkness is not a direct translation of the movie's original title, Manatsu No Eve ("Midsummer's Eve"). Pioneer probably decided that the translated title sounds too much like William Shakespear's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and thus changed the title. Probably a good call on their part...

Manatsu No Eve is one of those movies that tells you that the material is starting to get worn a little thin -- while the action is quite intense, the plot line is fairly predictable, and I found that the characterisations were getting a little wearysome. (Perhaps that's the reason for the marked change in storyline in the newer TV series.) Those of you who like the perpetually cute depiction of Sasami by Yokoyama Chisa will be doubly thrilled by the equally saccharine depiction of Mayuka by none other than Iwao Junko. Iwao's acting ability isn't quite in Yokoyama's league, however. Yuzuha, the mysterious denizen of Darkness (played by Inoue Yo) sounds a little too much like Washu for my tastes. A little more variety (and perhaps originality) would have been nice. And while some backgrounds were very nicely rendered, the animation for the most part was very ordinary, with the exception of two scenes: the first time we see Yuzuha re-materialize in front of the Jurai guards, and the wonderful forced perspective shot of the 'Christmas ribbon' being spewed by the Tree of Darkness -- I wonder if these were computer-generated?

Putting the weaknesses of the storyline and casting aside, there's one area where this show does shine: the direction. The movie is surprising engrossing, and at times I found the intensity of the show a little uncomfortable to watch. The final battle scene between the forces of Light and Darkness may have been somewhat predictable, but that didn't seem to make any difference to me; I was still intent on watching the show. I was most impressed with how the edits were done; the revelation of what really transpired during Ryoko and Mayuka's confrontation above the lake is no real surprise, but was very skillfully implemented. The movie was entertaining, and I'm sure that those of you who like 'happily ever after' storys will find the scenes during the final credits right up your alley.
- AN, 98.04.24

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 3 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 3 stars N/A
Music: N/A 4 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A 3 stars N/A

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