Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tenchi Universe

In 2000, this show aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami block and it is from that point on that I think that anime began to leave a pretty large imprint on my life. While I don't really remember Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki from my childhood, I do remember Tenchi Universe enough to apply the label of "nostalgia" to a few of the episodes. This series is actually a bonafide TV series in that it was made and broadcasted for television and not for video like its preceding series. This show ran in Japan in 1995 on TV Tokyo. 

When this show played on Toonami in the States it was heavily edited, but I don't remember just what the editing took away from the show. I was ten when I first saw it and I don't remember that much. But it is weird to think that a harem anime could ever be converted into a show aimed at preteens. Yeah, it's goofy and silly and sometimes even stupid, but the plot does get a bit complicated toward the end and... yeah, there's that whole "harem" thing going on. 

I don't know. Looking back it really is amazing what passed for kid shows back then compared to what does today. 

Anyway, that was then and this is now. This time around I acted like a good anime fan and watched the uncut sub thanks to FUNimation streaming on my ROKU 3. 

The reason I chose to watch the sub was because the dub just didn't quite do it for me anymore. Sure, it's more familiar because I remember hearing those English-speaking voices so long ago, but nostalgia tends to impede on objectivity. Plus I really have gotten to where I enjoy watching subs for shows I haven't seen a million times. 

Having watched the show in a much different fashion this time around, I can honestly say that Tenchi Universe is everything I remember and even some things I didn't think I did or could. 

The nostalgia was there even though the voices were not English anymore and the music wasn't what I remembered, either. Toonami never did use Japanese opening or ending music theme that often. 

Anyway, the deeper into the series I got the more that the nostalgia began to overflow and by the time I made it to the last episode I could remember what I was thinking and where I was at mentally the first time I saw it. I can remember what I felt back then and it was the same as what I felt as I watched the final episode a few days ago. 

Emotion really does transcend time and cultural barriers, I think. 

Okay, enough of that. 

You gotta see the show. It's a dynamo! You gotta see the show. It's rock n' roll!

Tenchi Universe is a loose adaptation of the first OVA of Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki. So it's not a sequel, but a re-telling. There are some character changes in terms of temperament and a few character additions, too. These changes work for the story, though. Mihoshi's space partner Kiyone, the bounty hunter Nagi, and the cabbit Ken-Ohki all bring a neat charm to this show that the OVA didn't have. 

The fact that this show is meant for TV means that the episodes are no longer than 23 minutes. I actually prefer this show for that reason because it has a much more linear and cohesive storyline than the OVA series. The plot isn't quite so out there and when the series ends it is a definite end. There could very well be another entry in Ryo-Ohki, but adding anything to the end of Tenchi Universe? Nothing could do it justice. Although an attempt to do so would have been better than another re-telling in the form of Tenchi in Tokyo

The first half of this series is Tenchi and harem hijinks at home. Tenchi meets all of the space girls over again in different ways and they end up living with him and his grandfather and father again. Comedy and chaos ensue.

The second half of the show takes place in space and Tenchi and the harem travel to planet Jurai to seek justice on behalf of Princess Ayeka. Of course, the journey isn't easy and all of them are branded criminals. But there's apparently time for a swimsuit contest for the most wanted fugitives in the universe so it obviously isn't all that bad, right?

By the time it is over the show is almost stripped of the comedy, though. It gets more serious and more serious and then the final episode is almost insanely depressing. For the longest time it appears that several of the characters are dead. 

But spirits are lifted just a little at the very end when it is time for one of life's ultimate lessons:

The carnival always goes away for a while, but it always comes back, too. 

This is one of the good shows, folks. Classic harem anime with a bit of slice of life thrown in for good measure. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you've ever heard this before but it comes from the vast wasteland of popular 80s music. I think you will get a kick out of it. Maybe you could metal it up and do a cover.