Three different Tenchi movies all together in one collection, looking the best they ever have in North America.
What They Say:
Tenchi Muyo in Love
The terrifying space criminal Kain has escaped from his galactic prison, destroyed the Galaxy Police headquarters, and singled out Earth as his next target! Can anything stop his reign of terror! Meanwhile, Tenchi has problems of his own! His house has suddenly vanished, his body is beginning to disappear, and his only hope for survival is a wild ride back to 1970!
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2
When Tenchi vanishes into thin air, Ayeka and Ryoko track their man to a parallel version of Tokyo! The luckless lad has taken up with a mysterious beauty named Haruna, and he doesn’t even recognize his lady friends from back home. Can Ayeka and Ryoko figure out what Haruna is up to in time to save dear sweet Tenchi?!
The Daughter of Darkness
Tenchi gets the shock of a lifetime when a pretty young girl wanders out of nowhere and starts calling him “Daddy”! Ryoko and Ayeka are beyond jealous, and everyone wants to know who the mother could be. Little do they know, Yuzuha, the Demoness of Darkness, is on a mission of vengeance that could mean big trouble for Papa Tenchi!
This limited edition includes an art booklet.
The audio presentation for all three movies is well done as we get the original Japanese and the previously created English language dubs in 5.1 using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The features are all similar in structure where the majority of them are largely dialogue driven with some fun bits of action along the way that ramps up the tracks a bit and then it goes big for the final act where the mix gets to really work things out well. The big scenes hold up very well with some good directionality to it and a good bit of bass that drives the impact of it home all the better. The dialogue doesn’t come across poorly though as there are some good sequences along the way where it stands out well. The mixes may not be the most dynamic but it hits all the right points and drives home both the action and dialogue in the right way. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in in 1996, 1997 and 999 respectively, the transfer for these three features is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The first disc contains the first two features while the second disc has just the third feature to it. All three of them were done originally on film so they have very good look here, where there’s a lot of warmth and detail that comes through, particularly with the first and third features as those are more real world based while the second one comes across more in the brighter and more vibrant style of the OVA series. Each film is certainly different in their own ways, but they all have a good film like feel to them that hits some very good notes with its appeal. The details hold up well here and colors are spot on but there’s also a good natural grain feeling to it, more so with the first film but it’s present in all three.
The packaging for this release gives us a very appealing heavy chipboard box that ties together two of the big parts of it all. The front cover gives us a look at the cover artwork from the first movie which has a good cast shot, lots of color but also some good dark aspects as well. The back cover works with the artwork from the third feature which has lots of large pieces of character artwork that’s separated by the light sword. It’;s similar in overall color style to the front side and it manages to tie things together well. Inside the box we get two clear keepcases, one for DVD and one for Blu-ray’s, as well as a booklet. The booklet is simple but very welcome as we get several pages of full color artwork for each of the features that was used for promotional posters and other advertising, but in clean form.
The two cases inside are standard sized DVD cases and they each use different artwork than usual, which is definitely appreciated. Both covers have a small strip along the bottom that just has the clean logo with the corporate logos as well while the artwork dominates the rest of it. Both of them give over a fair bit of space to the leading ladies of each feature, at least the new ones introduced here, with Achika and Haruna standing out well. The back covers are identical in their simplcity with just the blue background and a listing of all three movie titles as well as the Tenchi logo along the bottom. Each cover is also reversible with a piece of artwork from the Daughter of Darkness movie so you have plenty of choices when it comes to what you want on it. No additional inserts are included with the release.
The menu design for the release is very simple as it gives us just a small navigation strip along the lower left corner where that’s all there really is to it. The rest of the menu is given over to clips playing from the three features that mix both some action and some quiet scenes along with a bit for the overall logo as well. It’s not a bad menu but it fits in with what we’ve seen with the other Tenchi releases recently and gets the job done, but just not with much style. The menu nub doubles as the pop-up menu as well and is easy to navigate and quick to access. There’s little to the discs overall as it’s just the features and the language setup so it all works smoothly and without issue.
The only extra included with this release is the original Japanese trailer for the third movie.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the success of the OVA series and the expansion into the world of television, it was no surprise that Tenchi Muyo would enter the theatrical world. With the way the various series basically created their own timelines, the features were a bit confusing when they first came out, at least here, as it wasn’t entirely clear what belonged where. With the two Tenchi Muyo in Love movies, they served as follow-ups to the Tenchi Universe series, one that I rather liked overall but still felt it wasn’t one of the best of series. Amusingly, the second feature here, Daughter of Darkness, ended up standing on its own over time and isn’t connected to anything else. And it’s also the one that really feels like it’s completely disconnected from it all as well.
Tenchi Muyo in Love
The first Tenchi movie was also my first anime DVD purchase way back in 1997 when it rolled out back as DVD was just in its trial markets. The film, taking place in the Tenchi Universe world, gives us a pretty good story where something that was captured over a century ago by the Galaxy Police and the Jurai royals has broken free and is intent on revenge against the Jurai family. The ones he want don’t exist anymore so he intends to go against one that he can grapple with. Unfortunately, it’s Tenchi’s mother, Achika, that he intends to kill so he’s going back in time to 1970 in order to eliminate her when she was still in high school and before she and Nobuyuki got together.
Naturally, it has impact on the present and Washu helps to send everyone back to find out when this creature, Kain, will try and strike to kill her. That gives us a lot of time with the cast in the past, working and living and spending time with Achika, giving us a good look at Tenchi’s mother in her youth. Tenchi keeps his distance but it’s fun seeing how she lived and acted and how she was interested in the oblivious Nobuyuki. The movie does move a bit slow overall, but it spends its time well to give us this look at the family past and it goes quite big towards the end when Kain arrives and the fight gets underway, both on Earth and in another dimension that explains away part of Achika’s future/past.
Tenchu Muyo: Daughter of Darkness
While the other two movies are connected to the Tenchi Universe storyline, Daughter of Darkness stands alone and isn’t formally connected with any of the other Tenchi continuities. It’s also the weakest and the shortest of the three movies as it feels like it fits more into the OVA side of things, especially with its bright and less detailed animation. It’s also shorter, clocking in at just under an hour as a girl named Mayuka arrives claiming to be Tenchi’s daughter. That sets the whole group into a tizzy, especially when Washu figures out that she does have a genetic relation to Tenchi, though she can’t figure out who the mother is. That leads to a lot of playfulness in general but also some friction as we see how Mayuka is able to be controlled and part of a bigger plan that she’s not aware of. When the reveal hits, it’s all kind of childish, but honestly you can say that about all three movies with how the “villains” of them all are just selfish and petty in their own ways. There’s some fun moments to be had here with how everyone interacts, but it’s also the emptiest of stories.
The third and most controversial of all movies, at least at the time of its release, it’s one that I found at the time that I enjoyed quite a bit. Largely because, similar to Tenchi in Tokyo, I rather like seeing Tenchi with people other than the core group of women that the franchise has been built around. They’ve simply worn their welcome out with me and the bickering has made them all unattractive at this point. Here, we get Tenchi suddenly disappearing while on his way home one day and that pretty much sticks. Time goes on and the hunt for him by the girls expands, where they have to try and figure out what happened but have to hold down some menial jobs in order to live out in the city where they’ve had faint glimmers of him. Similar to the first In Love movie, there’s a connection to the past, this time with Yosho, as something that happened to him that’s been long done and over with has resurfaced and is using Tenchi to try and have a feeling of victory or closure, depending on your point of view. With a mysterious woman named Haruna having taken him to a side-dimension of sorts, we get to see Tenchi lead a somewhat normal life, though it’s slightly dazed. There’s something good about seeing him generally happy that makes you wish he was finding true happiness. There’s plenty of reasons to dislike the feature if you have a real passion for any of the lead girls, but for people like me it’s an avenue that’s welcome to see.
I’ve had a long and awkward relationship with the Tenchi franchise over the years, liking the original six episode OVA series, enjoying some of the movies and being a big fan of the GXP series. And even enjoying Tenchi in Tokyo, something that many believe shouldn’t be allowed. The movies are a mixed bag which depends on which aspects of the overall franchise you like, and even then it’s going to be problematic since you can be a big fan of the first movie but really dislike the third. Revisiting them after so many years has definitely been a lot of fun and in general I think my opinions and feelings on them have largely remained the same. Daughter of Darkness continues to be the weakest for me and the first movie is still my favorite. And even though I know how much hate Tenchi Forever generates, it’s a film that I do find myself enjoying a lot and this was no different. This is a good collection to have and I’m loving getting all the Tenchi properties released again, though wishing that they were all getting the high definition treatment.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Original Movie 3 Trailer
Content Grade: B+ / C / B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A- / B+ / A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: December 18th, 2012
Running Time: 250 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.