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[ café reviews ]


Tenchi Muyo! TV Episode 1
(No Need for Discussions!)

Distributed by: Pioneer LDC (world-wide)
Length: 23 minutes
Rating: NR, Adult situation with brief nudity, parental guidance suggested
Format: Original Japanese dialog (LD), subtitled (VHS) and dubbed (VHS)

[ plot summary ]

It's bright, spring morning, with cherry trees in full blossom. As Tenchi heads off to school, he ponders past hectic events... A chance encounter with a stray cat reminds him of a similar, yet very different creature...

Flash back to a warm autumn's day... Tenchi, on his way home from school, sees a mysterious object falling out of the sky, not too far from where he is standing. Wandering off to investigate, he comes across a beautiful young woman amidst the wreckage of what appears to be a spaceship. Ryoko, in a state of intoxication, regains conciousness, and tells Tenchi that she is being pursued by a fearsome space pirate. As if on cue, a powerful mecha appears, weapons drawn. Of course, Ryoko wasn't telling the truth: the mecha is piloted by none other than Mihoshi, detective first class of the Galaxy Police. And the space pirate in question is, of course, Ryoko!

[ capsule review ]

Having seen the two OAV series, the Sasami special and the recent Tenchi in Love! movie, I figured that the TV series would be more of an expoundment on the characters' daily lives... Well, not entirely. For starters, the OAV and TV series universes are slightly different, as you might have guessed from the synopsis. The characterisations of the characters, however, are basically the same, with a few minor exceptions (and that's the only mention I'll make about the OAV series in this review!) The first five episodes of the TV series basically serves to introduce the characters. Story-wise, this is a very light-hearted, "cute" show, blended with slap-stick comedy and the occaisonal parody of some recent movies. The antics come fast and furious, and there are some wonderfully unexpected scenes -- such as having an armed mecha come to your door, politely using the doorbell. (There's also another scene which unabashedly steals from a very popular Verhoeven SF movie -- which I'll leave as a trivia question -- but wasn't quite as witty.) Don't look for anything too deep -- the characters are all very simple and one-dimensional; besides, you'll miss out on all the fun if you let your mind slip out of neutral. Music is pretty good, and while I generally despise anything sounding remotely like rap, dance or techno, I found myself boppin to the opening theme song, and the BGM throughout the show is very well suited. (But don't listen to the end theme of volume 1; it will irrepairably damage your ears, and has been known to cause massive, uncontrollable brain hemmorrhaging. There are actually two versions of the end theme -- the version at the end of Volume 1 is sung by Takada Yumi; the other version is sung by Orikasa Ai, and is better -- but her singing voice isn't very strong, either.) The plot isn't as strong as the OAV (the motivation behind Ryoko's affections for Tenchi are much better realised in the OAV), but I like the flow of the TV series better. (Oops! I made another comparison to the OAV series again, didn't I?) - AN

What a way to start out the TV series! They've rewritten the story from the original OAV so we have a bit of a different meeting between Tenchi and Ryoko. Also we meet Mihoshi in this first episode. The action is very fast paced and features lots of humour and property damage. The animation quality is very good for a TV series and the music is also lots of fun. The story here is lighter than the original OAV and less solid, but holds up on its own in its own way (extremely lighthearted and escapist). Mihoshi is extremely clumsy and seemingly utterly incapable of being part of the Galaxy Police forces while Ryoko is the ever flirtatious and clutchy space pirate. Still, you've got to love the sheer politeness of Mihoshi ringing the doorbell when she finally gets to the Masaki residence. The mecha's inability to get up after tripping on the can is also very amusing even though it is a spinoff on a scene from a North American movie (hey if you've never watched the movie or you don't remember the scene, you won't know where it's from originally anyways...) The weakest point in this episode was the reasoning behind Ryoko halting her attack on Tenchi and Mihoshi; it wasn't very well explained and almost presumes a prior familiarity with the OAV series and her feelings for Tenchi. As an introduction, this is very fast paced and even if you've seen the original OAV series, you'll still find that the TV series has its own merit. 'Sides, you don't have to contend with huge subtitles either. The one bit which suggests something other than sheer lightheartedness is the very beginning where you have Tenchi remembering the chaos when everyone was living at his home as his life presumably has returned to normal and is rather quiet. Hearing a cat meow reminding him of Ryo-ohki (whom we haven't met yet), before flashbacking to the history about to unfold before us. -JYN

[ café rating ]

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

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