Posted by psgels on 13 August 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Okay, to be honest I decided to watch the first OVA of Tenchi Muyo!, the mother of all harem-anime, more as a fan of Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club, rather than expecting anything worthwhile to come out of it. Still, I guess there had to be a reason why this caught on so much in the first place. This six-episoded OVA isn’t perfect, but it does have its enjoyable moments.

Obviously, it remains rather questionable for so many cute girls to move in at the house of the male lead, but at least the creators made sure to create an alien subplot in order to explain where these girls came from, and it’s at least plausible why the most important characters fell in love with this male lead. At the same time, the story about the aliens is also interesting enough to keep the viewer busy, I guess, and at least some effort has been put into it to make it a bit coherent and original (for its time, anyway).

The characters are a mixed bag: like expected, Sasami and Washuu (the short part we see of her anyway) were awesome. Ayeka and Ryo-Ouki were also pretty interesting. Ryoko (the main female lead) is hilarious when she doesn’t take herself serious, though gets rather dull when the comedy’s gone. Mihoshi, however, was just too annoying that what was good for her (how did she become a genius detective with that attitude anyway?) and the main villain Kagato is your stereotypical Norio Wakamoto-voiced bad guy without much depth to him, and his only purpose is to explain where Ryoko came from.

The result is also a rather mixed bag of a series. The first half is really enjoyable, where especially the chemistry between the different characters stands out. Mihoshi, Kagato and Ryoko’s serious side do rather ruin the second half, though. I think the biggest mistake that this series made is the ridiculously stretched out final battle against Kagato. It takes 1,5 episodes (that means 45 minutes) before the bugger finally dies. Especially for an OVA, that’s precious time that could have been so much better spent to develop and flesh out the characters.

Okay, I should be cursing this OVA for spawning and popularizing a genre that lives on seeing who can rip off each other the most, but nonetheless Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ouki is a nicely written story (for the most part at least). It’s got a bunch of well-defined characters (and also a few annoying ones) and there are a few interesting ideas included for the OVa. I’m not sure whether there really is enough material for 78 television-episodes and a truckload of more OVAs and movies, though…

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10

8 Responses

  1. Avatar kacpy says:

    *Mihoshi (how did she become a genius detective with that attitude anyway?)*

    Where the hell did you find this? What kind of subs did you watch? Or did you follow it raw? If raw, you should probably just get subs for everything…

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Hmm, the subbed version that I watched seems to have been done by Anime-Archive. I was referring to the part where her superiors talked about how she was an excellent detective, only that she causes a large amount of damage. Even the English dubs said the same…

  3. Avatar kacpy says:

    She’s not genius by any means. She’s just a lucky klutz that can magically get to any place (hidden or not) without even trying – much like her mother, Mitoto.

    Also would you really tell her she’s a horrible detective when her grandparents are in charge of the GP? As I said… lucky klutz that somehow appears in the weirdest places at the weirdest times.

  4. Avatar csc says:

    spoiler

    In the third series in the OAV, it is revealed that something (a failed engagement?) caused Mihoshi to have a breakdown.

  5. Avatar Wyrdwad says:

    Have you ever seen Love Hina? I’m curious what you’d think of it. Of all the harem shows I’ve seen, Love Hina stands out as the most memorable for me, and the reason is simple: the main male character is actually really cool (so you can see why the girls all like him!), and the female characters are all really interesting, and get great character development. It’s a really excellent anime.

    As for how Tenchi can survive so many TV episodes, OAVs, and movies, the answer is simple: they’re all totally different! Tenchi doesn’t just have one continuous storyline like most series – no, every single Tenchi series starts over from scratch. The characters meet in a different way, the situations are different – heck, even the characters’ personalities are different!

    My basic run-down of the Tenchis:

    OAV 1 & 2: Probably the overall strongest of the bunch, but I like the first TV series better because of its second half.

    OAV 3: Haven’t seen much of it yet, but from what I have, it seems to continue in the same vein as the first two OAVs. A good sequel.

    First TV series: First half is downright unwatchably bad, but the second half is AMAZING. The direction this show takes during its second half is nothing short of incredible, and the last four episodes in particular are just wonderful. Best ending of all the Tenchis, too.

    Second TV series (Tenchi in Tokyo): Worst version of most of the characters out of any of the Tenchis, but probably the BEST incarnation of Tenchi Masaki himself, and the new girl Sakuya is actually really cool and interesting. The story is ho-hum, but the villain is really nifty, and the plot twist is excellent. This is also the funniest of all the Tenchis, with some of the most over-the-top humor in any of the continuums. Still, because of the lackluster plot and poor characterization (Washuu, in particular, got totally shafted in this one!), this TV series deserves its negative reputation, I believe.

    First movie (Tenchi in Love): Absolutely wonderful. This was my introduction to the Tenchiverse, and it got me hooked with its excellent plot, excellent characterization, excellent music, excellent ending, and just overall excellence. A winner all the way, and I can’t recommend it enough!

    Second movie (Midsummer’s Eve): Short, but sweet. Not as good as the first movie, but still quite entertaining, and the new character Mayuka is really cute and interesting. The villain is kind of cool, too. Average as Tenchi goes, but I still liked it.

    Third movie (Tenchi in Love 2): Not all that great. Very forgettable, as this is almost entirely serious and melodramatic, and really doesn’t do very well with its characterizations. Overall disappointing.

    Tenchi Muyo GXP: Started off great, but man did it ever go downhill! I love the general concept behind this show, but that’s about all I ended up loving when all was said and done (save for the music). Simply put, this show has NO good characters… except one. And the big plot twist with her pretty much ruins her character. Like, seriously, they took the ONLY good character in the show… and just ruined her. In the blink of an eye. I’d say watch the first episode, MAYBE the first TWO episodes… but then stop. It’s not worth going any further, as it just keeps on sliding further and further downhill as you go along. (:

    -Tom

  6. psgels psgels says:

    Tom: Ah, thanks for the recommendations. I’m not sure whether I’m going to check out the tv-series, but the movies (especially the first) are on my watch-list now.

    And about Love Hina: it was the first harem I ever watched, so I wasn’t bothered yet by overused clichés at that time, but I remember liking what I saw of the series. Seeing Keitarou getting beaten up over and over did get old rather fast, though. ^^;

  7. Avatar Wyrdwad says:

    I’m pretty sure you’ll like the first Tenchi movie A LOT. I think it’s pretty much universally considered to be the best Tenchi has to offer, and for good reason. Everything the series does well can be found in the movie, and everything it DOESN’T do well pretty much CAN’T. (: Heck, even if it weren’t Tenchi, it would be a very good movie in its own right.

    You’ll be meeting a new character, too: Kiyone, Mihoshi’s significantly more competent partner. Kiyone doesn’t exist in the OAV series, only in the TV series, and in the first and third movie. She’s… not especially memorable, but her presence helps make Mihoshi a little less annoying. She essentially exists SOLELY to be a foil for Mihoshi, I think. (:

    Oh, and since you’ve been watching the OAV, you’re probably already used to the Japanese voices… but I generally recommend that when people watch Tenchi Muyo, they watch it dubbed in English! I know it’s a bit of an odd recommendation, but I just really think the English voice-actors suit the characters a lot better than the Japanese ones. The Japanese voice-actors all kinda under-act (except Orikasa Ai as Ryoko, who’s spot-on as usual!)… whereas the English voice-actors OVER-act. And in a show like Tenchi, over-acting is MUCH preferrable to under-acting, IMHO. (:

    As for Love Hina, just be glad you didn’t read the manga (or did you?). The anime Keitarou gets off easy by comparison… the girls are all MUCH meaner to him in the manga, which makes the manga nearly unreadable for me. (Plus, Shinobu’s introduction in the manga is NOWHERE NEAR as cool as her introduction in the anime! And Shinobu is one of my favorite characters!)

    -Tom

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Hmm the first Tenchi OVA is kind of lame, the others a little more interesting, but like another commenter said the Universe series has a soso start andthen turns into an excellent and fun adventure.

    The movies are fantastic, the 1st one has got the best mix of genres of adventure to action to comedy to surprisingly deep romance for a harem and the 2nd movie is also very touching and sweet, and the final movie is actually my favorite unlike Tom’s there’s excellent development for Ayeka and Ryoko who become extremely close and I’m surprised how mature the characters become, I didn’t mind the seriousness because I think to end the Universe series it needed to become a little more adult, plus you finally find out who Tenchi loves out of the main 2 girls in that movie.

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