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[ café reviews ]


Tenchi Muyo! TV Episode 4
(No Need for Monsters!)

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 ]

Mihoshi and Ayeka, hard at work maintaining the Masaki temple grounds, are eagerly awaiting Sasami's next gourmet meal. But as always, Mihoshi can never seem to do anything right, and discovers some food sitting out in the open... on an offering table. Just then, Ryo-ohki emerges out of a cave around which the Masaki shrine was built. Katsuhito explains that the shrine was constructed about 700 years ago, when a strange meteorite fell from the skies. According to family legend, the people of that time somehow knew that the object contained some unimaginable evil, and sealed it away in the cave. The legends tell the tale of a terrible spirit which exists within the meteorite. This, of course, is simply too good of a story for Ryoko to pass up. Besides, what better place would there be for her to get Tenchi all to herself?

[ capsule review ]

As the back of the video jacket says, it is indeed Washu that we find in the cave, not Ryoko. I really prefer the OAV version of the story build-up compare to the TV series; there being so very little substance in the TV series. But, it does have its moments. The booby-trapped cave is full of little surprises; none better that what gets Ryoko squarely in the middle of her forehead. Visual gags abound, from the silly look of Tenchi as he's dragged behind a possessed (figuratively) Ryoko in her quest to find the mythical demon, to much cuter moments -- such as subsequent reactions of Ayeka, Sasami and Mihoshi when the three discover Ryoko and Tenchi in the cave. That, and the wild scene with all of our heroes running madly to escape the evil unleashed. Yes, it's very childish. But kids are this show's target audience, and in this regard, this episode scores a bulls-eye. What's very obvious throughout is that Tenchi is very much a majime shonen (as square as an ice cube), but even more curious is that absolutely nothing that has occurred has fazed Katsuhito one bit. Ah, but that little tidbit is for future episodes to deal with... As for the rest of this episode, leave your brains at the door and let it all soak in. - AN

High action and insanity (or is that inanity?) continue in the fourth episode. The sealed goblin in the cave in the TV series (obviously) isn't Ryoko but instead is Washu, the mad scientist. The sheer mindlessness of this series is great when you're in the mood for property damage and nothing particularly deep, and the animation and music really adds to it. Of course, the hilarious situations that the various people find themselves in helps. I wonder if the puppets that we see on Washu's shoulders have been marketed yet, certainly Ryo-ohki and Ken-ohki (whom we haven't met yet) have been. Still, the one interesting tidbit which hasn't been expanded on whatsoever yet is Katsuhito (Tenchi's grandfather). He was able to take apart Mihoshi's mecha with a ?? wood practise sword and was likewise able to see through the floating light which was Washu as she came out of the cave. Makes you wonder a bit. Once again, we see the sheer determination in Ayeka's character as she completely forgets about the supposed existence of a goblin in the cave where Ryoko absconded with Tenchi in order to make sure that nothing untowards happens to him. The odd humour of the traps in the cave and the accompanying taunts was... different. This series is definitely aimed at a younger crowd than the original OAV series, and little touches like those only emphasise that point. -JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: 2 stars
Direction: 4 stars
Acting: 3 stars
Animation: 3 stars
Music: 3 stars
Translation: N/A 3 stars
Overall Rating: 3 stars

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