Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tenchi Muyo OVA's 1 and 2 Review

Tenchi Muyo OVA's 1 and 2 Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first two OVA's of Tenchi Muyo, which consists of Episodes 1-6, special 7th and 13th episodes, and Episodes 8-12. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you and onto the review:

Ah, Tenchi Muyo. You may remember my review back in August, when I said how much I LOVED Tenchi Universe. It's one of my most favorite animes, and it leaves a special place in my heart. Well, Ryoko leaves a special place in my heart, but moving on from that.

I did mention at least once that that was the first Tenchi series I watched. I hadn't seen the classic OVA's yet, and since I was curious to see them, I requested my local library to get the OVA Collection that FUNimation had released a couple months prior. It was successful, and in late March, the first set was in my hands.

So how was it? Was it as good as Universe?

Well, it's not horrible. I actually still found enjoyment in it, and I still love the characters for the most part. But as a whole, it's not as good as the series is. There are issues with the story being incredibly choppy during the end of the two separate sets, and some things are just put in there to "develop" our characters, but aren't properly explained. It also pioneered the harem genre, so with it, it might have started trends that I'm sick of seeing in about every harem these days. I do know there's a third OVA, but I'm not so sure I'm going to watch it, because people say it's garbage. 

Now it's story time! Let's see how the story is different, and yet somewhat the same:


So basically, Tenchi is kind of unlucky. He's not really memorable, not very strong, and he doesn't always follow his grandfather's wishes. One day, after he specifically tells Tenchi not to go into a cave near the shrine, Tenchi decides to go into it anyway because he's been told not to all of his life. When in there, he accidentally releases a space pirate trapped in that cave for 700 years, by the name of Ryoko. Once unleashed, and after Tenchi takes a nap on his school roof, it's a wild goose chase throughout said school, destroying it entirely, and giving us an excuse as to why Tenchi's school life is hardly mentioned. Well, it is mentioned that he goes to school in Universe, but we never actually see him there. That's better anyways, as we're only there for 1 episode, with a guest character whose friendship with Tenchi seems so artificial, it's like every single girl and girl friendship in every paranormal YA.  Oh, and Tenchi punches him too. :D

After this, it is revealed that Tenchi may have more power than he lets on, and Ayeka comes to planet Earth to try and find her brother Yosho. Oh, and to capture Ryoko too, since Yosho has been missing for oh quite some time. 700 years is not that long. After getting captured from a failed escape attempt on Ryo-Ohki, Tenchi meets Sasami, and she says that she will help him out if Tenchi goes into Ayeka's bedroom, and takes her head ornament. Well, that attempt goes splendidly. After telling Ayeka that Yosho is probably dead, Ayeka lets them go, but not without a fight! After Ryoko crashes their ships together, and puts a lot of pressure on them, they are destroyed. So now, Ayeka and Sasami can't get back home. 

So as you see, the backdrop is a little different for this series. Tenchi and Ryoko do meet first still, however while in the OVA's she was trapped in a cave. In Universe her ship crashed to the ground. There are also differences in Ayeka's backstory a bit, how she and Tenchi first met, and other mild differences. Though compared to Universe, this feels a bit faster paced. 

But this fast pacing backfires, especially towards the ends of our two respective sets. When our villains for each OVA are introduced, specifically Kagato and Dr. Clay, the pacing goes out the window, and the anime lays down fact like it's the law. Not only are their motives mostly never answered, but they feel VERY forced, and put onto the episode just for you to process more information. The first OVA is worse than the second, as Dr. Clay is given a bit of background with Washu, and appears in the beginning of Episode 11 rather than shoehorned in the middle of it, such as Kagato in Episode 5.

It's not that the show has many bad moments. The humor is still VERY good, as hence the video linked below. The first funny moment is one of my favorites of all time:

Plus, the special OVA's The Night Before the Carnival and Here Comes Jurai are HILARIOUS! But the pacing is much worse than Universe when the villains come in. 

Now, let's compare the characters from their forms here, and in Universe:


Majority of the characters still have some of their main personality traits as in Universe. However, some of them, plus some backstories, are changed in Universe. So, let's start comparing, shall we?

Tenchi is more of a stereotypical harem lead in this one. However, he is more tolerable than ones I've seen in this anime season. He is more of a idiot, has no clue that Ryoko and Ayeka want to get in his pants, and he has a VERY SPECIAL power. He is able to use the Lighthawk Wings, which are powers of the goddesses. However, we only see him use it in Episode 6, and he can't master the power due to the fact that he is still a teenager.

Ryoko was actually created by the great scientist Washu, which makes Washu Ryoko's mother. She is still a space pirate in Universe. However in the OVA's, she was of service to Kagato. After a battle between her and Yosho, which resulted in her getting sealed in that cave, Tenchi accidentally releases her in Episode 1. Her power source is from 3 gems, and she is able to use the majority of the powers I first saw in Universe. 

And yes, Ryoko and Ayeka still have arguments. But they don't have the childhood rivalry thing, where one of them lies about the other in order for Tenchi to sympathize with them more.

Ayeka is still a princess from the plant Jurai, and she comes down to Earth after detecting Ryoko. She has been looking for her brother Yosho for the past 700 years, as he was pursuing Ryoko. He promised Ayeka when he got back, he was going to marry her. So Jurai doesn't have an issue with incest. She is also the daughter of the emperor this time around, rather than coming from a royal family in Jurai.

Sasami is still Ayeka's little sister, who is still as adorable as she always is. However in the OVA's, she is actually a merged spirit with the goddess, Tsunami. 700 years ago, while Ryoko was attacking Jurai, Sasami wandered off into Jurai's Royal Arboretum, and was mortally injured after falling a great distance. Tsunami absorbed Sasami's body into her own, and is now merged with her. Sasami actually does not know this however, as she believes she is a "copy" of the real Sasami. 

This is a bit confusing, and feels like it's kind of dumped on the viewer for shock value. It's a worse case than Washu's, and some questions are still not answered by the time the 2nd OVA wraps up.

Mihoshi is still Mihoshi, though slightly less dumb. Oh, and Kiyone isn't with her either.

Washu is still the GREATEST SCIENTIST IN ALL OF THE LAND! In the OVA's, she is actually the catalyst on how some of the bigger conflicts in the series happened. She used to be a director at the Galaxy Academy, where she had a baby with someone from the royal Kuramitsu family, but since their marriage was technically forbidden, the baby was taken away from her. This is revealed in the 8th OVA episode, and it's also revealed that she can change forms from a pre-adolescent that she's usually in into a grown adult. They don't care to explain this, either.

She is also the creator of Ryoko, and was sealed for over a thousand years on Kagato's ship. She also makes Tenchi her research project once she moves into the Misaki household, much to the latter's chagrin. For example, one of the more famous Washu moments of the show:

Some other characters return into the OVA's, where Yosho is still Tenchi's grandfather, but he can turn back into his younger form. And don't expect to get an answer for this, because the show only shows this in Here Comes Jurai, and they don't bother to explain it.

We also get to meet new characters, such as Dr. Clay, his robot Zero (who becomes a copy of Ryoko when she is kidnapped, and forced to go into Dr. Clay's ship), and Ayeka and Sasami's relatives from back home. Misaki, Ayeka and Sasami's mother, is easily my favorite out of the new characters. Not only does she mistake Ryoko for Sasami seconds after first appearing, but she also is pretty hysterical throughout the episode.

You still know who my favorite character is though. ;)


The animation for this series was done by AIC, which stands for Anime International Company. They are also known for producing Haganai, El Hazard, and Oriemo.

For a 90's anime series, this show actually does have some decent animation here. Don't expect anything AMAZING, since this show is 2 decades old, but I still like the animation for what it is.

Also, it's a great way to compare fanservice from 2 decades ago, as least compared to ecchi shows today. It's only in 4 episodes though (briefly), and it's not sprayed everywhere just for money purposes.


The score for this series was composed by Seikou Nagaoka, who also composed OST's for series such as Strike Witches, Tenchi Universe, and Chaika- The Coffin Princess.

Overall, like Universe, the score is really good. It does have uniqueness in it that scores sometimes don't have these days, and a lot of the tracks are memorable. 

My favorite would have to be Ryoko vs Tenchi. It was a nice track to listen to during the first battle, and also at various moments of the show, such as Tenchi running away from Ayeka's bedroom after failing to take off her head ornament. It was even in Universe too!

Take a listen:

Another cool thing is that the 1st OVA opening is only instrumental. And it's a good one at that.

For audio wise, it's the same as in my Tenchi Universe review. Japanese is fine, and so is the English dub. Even though it does have a lot of awkward moments, and some weird pronunciations, it's still good overall. It's a bit better than some other dubs I've seen today at least.

Highlights from the original Japanese include Masami Kikuchi, Ai Orikasa, Yumi Takada, Chisa Yokoyama, Yuku Mizutani, Yuko Kobayashi, Yoshiko Sakakibara, and Mitsuaki Madono.

Highlights in the English dub include Matt K. Miller, Petrea Burchard, Jennifer Darling, Sherry Lynn, and Grace Zandarski.


Overall, this is a good show for one that managed to popularize the harem genre into today's modern day anime. But for a reimagination of a story to be better than the original source material is kind of a letdown. But, I wouldn't call it bad. And hey, the second OVA is better than the 1st after all.

This franchise is worth checking out, and the specials are hilarious. Both have great comedy, and can be entertaining on their own. Though it might need some actual watching first, as it does have some things you will be confused about.

In the end, Tenchi Muyo is still very good. And I recommend it to everyone I know. Hopefully this year, I watch the first movie, and Tenchi In Tokyo too.

OVA 1 score: 7.5/10

The Night Before the Carnival score: 10/10

OVA 2 score: 8.5/10

Here Comes Jurai score: 9/10

Overall score: 8.5/10


Great story.

Interesting characters.

Good animation.

Awesome score.

Nice in Japanese.

HILARIOUS specials!



Some character traits aren't properly explained.

Villain development is wonky.

Episodes 5-6, 11-12 have habits of dumping information.

OVA 3 doesn't look promising.

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