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[ café reviews ]


Shin-Tenchi Muyo! TV Episode 1
Sakura Saku Hana no Miyako de Ula Ulala

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 ]

As the heir to the Masaki shrine, Tenchi and his grandfather have decided that the best thing for Tenchi is for him to transfer schools and move to Tokyo. There, he can learn more about becoming a priest as an "apprentice" if you will to an acquaintance of Tenchi's grandfather. However, there are evil plots afoot as Tenchi's grandfather discovered when trying to drive away and pacify any spirits associated with a sacred site about to be demolished for a construction project. Rather than being pacified, the spirits are instead roused in anger and chase after the chief focus of their ire, Tenchi and his grandfather. Will Tenchi and his grandfather escape alive, or will the marauding spirits succeed in doing away with the pesky priests? And who is the laughing figure behind these spirits awakening, and why does this person seem to want to make life so interesting for Tenchi?

[ capsule review ]

A little different than the original Tenchi TV series, Shin Tenchi Muyo takes place with Tenchi about to transfer high schools and move to Tokyo. The initial impression one gets from watching the opening to the video is that maybe it'll be similar to the original TV series as there's a new boppy opening theme song. However, it doesn't take long to realise that this new incarnation of the Tenchi universe has neither a great budget nor any real new material. The story line, while always having been fairly slapstick, has since taken a turn to the extreme; this time however, without the balancing effects of a good story. Likewise, the animation quality is decidedly a lot weaker than most TV series, with heavy use of stars and other heavy visual effects of "confusion" "noise" "odours" or what have you as well as heavy use of super-deformed animation, still backgrounds and non-scenic backgrounds. This is however balanced (a bit) by some nice opening scenic shots of metropolitan "Tokyo".

While in the first two series of Tenchi, we had very clear differences in the characters' personalities, especially with Tenchi's grandfather and the different female guests in the Masaki household, now, all of the characters seem to blur together into various incarnations of the same exaggerated, slightly rough and tumble, slapstick personality. This is especially saddening considering the strength of the previous series in maintaining the various different characters personalities from Mihoshi's complete bimbo-like mentality to Ayeka's jealous but softly gentle nature. Likewise, the original tension that was so obvious between Ayeka and Ryoko is decidedly lacking in this first episode with the main concentration being more on just the extreme ridiculousness of the various characters' traits.

While first episodes often don't have much story compared to focussing on introductions, the main "story" concept to this first episode lies more in rushing from one ridiculous event to another and keeping the action heavy and high, rather than having any true continuity and flow to the episode. The main impression one gets from watching this first episode is that the series has finally outlived itself and that rather than concentrate on content and creating a fresh new story for an old favorite group of characters, the whole purpose was instead to try and continue capitalizing on the original series popularity. However, this is not to say that all people will be disappointed. Young kids around 10 years of age might find the high paced action and slapstick humour entertaining.

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: 1 star
Direction: 2 stars
Acting: 2 stars
Animation: 2 stars
Music: 3 stars
Translation: N/A N/A N/A
Overall Rating: 2 stars

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