Type: TV Series
Episode Count: 26
Genre: Comedy / Sci-Fi
Version reviewed: English Dubbed / Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 30 Oct 2005
The TV incarnation (and first of many alternate universes) of the Tenchi Muyo! story. This was the first show I discovered once it was established that I was an anime fan. Way back when Cartoon Network had their Toonami Midnight Run block, I happened to catch an episode while looking for something to watch. And so it was… the remarkably well dubbed Tenchi Universe.
Tenchi Masaki is your average high school student. He leads an unremarkable life at his grandfather’s shrine, doing chores and training in ancient martial arts. One day on his way to school, a shooting star falls from the sky near his home. He follows it to find a beautiful woman has fallen and may be injured. As he rescues the blue-haired woman, a robotic suit appears, and is after said blue-haired woman. One is a space pirate, and the other a Galaxy Police officer. Such is the beginning of an adventure where Tenchi attracts, through no fault of his own, another GXP officer, Princesses from an alien world, and a mad scientist, most of whom are interested in Tenchi in some form or other. Along the way, they’ll encounter a bounty hunter, multi-dimensional worlds, and an intergalactic conspiracy of royal proportions.
When it comes to just plain fun, it’s hard to go wrong with Tenchi. There is a larger story at work here, though it doesn’t truly show up until the second half. The first half of the series concentrates on developing the characters, who are slightly different from their OVA counterparts (and one of them is new: Kiyone, Mihoshi’s GXP partner and polar opposite). Even the filler episodes are entertaining, and when you consider that there is a three episode side story right in the middle of the series that is nothing but filler, this is an accomplishment indeed.
There are two major story arcs in this series. First is the ongoing feud between space pirate Ryoko and the bounty hunter Nagi. In the second half is the scandal involving the succession of the throne in Jurai (Ayeka and Sasami’s home planet), as well as a revelation by Tenchi of his true origins. Sandwiched between these two is a completely-unrelated-to-anything-else three episode side story where Washu has invented a space and time machine that can give anyone their own ideal world. Naturally, and much to Washu’s horror, somebody sets it off, and Washu must repair the machine while deleting each of the other girls’ ideal worlds one by one… until one of them doesn’t want to give theirs up. Were this part of the series not so well written, it would have detracted from the flow of the plot. Fortunately, it is brilliantly written, and provides a very entertaining intermission to the series, insofar as it can stand alone as a three episode OVA watched independently of the other 23 episodes; it is completely self-contained.
Sub and dub fans can both rejoice, as each set of voice actors does a wonderful job at bringing these characters to life.
Overall, if you want a great series that isn’t too deep, and loads of fun, cue up Tenchi Muyo!