Tenchi Muyo (1st series)

[Volumes 1-3]

Volume 1 sleeve Volume 2 sleeve Volume 3 sleeve

Official Blurb:

"TENCHI MUYO, roughly translated means "No need for Tenchi" or "Good for nothing Tenchi". TENCHI is a typical Japanese high school student who finds himself in a whole heap of trouble when, on summer vacation with his grandfather, he unleashes a demon which his forefather had imprisoned in an old historical shrine 700 years earlier. The series follows Tenchi's adventures while he battles with the beautiful and mischievous demon RYOKO, discovers her true identity and joins forces with other strange and wonderful characters who also want to see RYOKO back in her eternal prison. Filled wth sci-fi adventure, non-stop action, a lot of laughs and even a touch of romance, TENCHI MUYO offers both longtime "anime" fans as well as first time viewers the best that Japanese animation has to offer. Suitable for audiences of all ages, TENCHI MUYO bears the rare distinction of having been commisioned for the ultra exclusive Japanese TV market following its video release - making it only one of two anime series to have ever achieved this feat. A testament to the quality of the animation, well rounded and lovable characters and full blown, memorable storylines, TENCHI MUYO is garanteed to get you hooked on anime forever".

Director:     Hiroki Hayashi
Screenplay:   Naoko Hasegawa
Copyright:    AIC/Pioneer LDC Inc.

VHS version
Language:     English
Label:        Pioneer

Volume:       1               2               3
Running time: 60 mins         60 mins         60 mins
Certificate:  PG              PG              12
Catalogue no: PIO 10001       PIO 10002       PIO 10007
Price:        £12.99     £12.99     £12.99
Release Date: 10th Oct 1994   10th Oct 1994   13th Feb 1995


Tenchi Muyo is about a student, Tenchi, who releases a demon that has been trapped inside a cave, near a shrine looked after by his grandfather for the last 700 hundred years. Tenchi frees the demon by taking the sword that was originally used to defeat the demon. More about the sword later. After his first encounter and escape from the demon in the cave, which resembles a mummy, Tenchi goes back to school, where he ends up falling asleep on the roof. He is woken by Ryoko, the demon, this time looking like a very sexy girl. Ryoko is apparently frustrated with Tenchi for his ancestor having locked her up in the first place, and proceeds to take it out on him, nearly levelling the school in the process. She is defeated by Tenchi using the sword to cut off her hand, which has a 'power' gem on the wrist. At this, Ryoko stops fighting, regenerates her hand, and disappears. Tenchi heads off home, running away before he can be blamed for the destruction of the school, only to find Ryoko asleep in his bed.

Episode two, which is also on the tape, shows an old nemesis of Ryoko coming to Earth, and Tenchi gets drawn into the fight between them. This, in my opinion is one of the best series I have ever seen. The animation is good, but not brilliant, with use of the 'exaggerated' style in places to show emotions, the dubbing is, well, dubbing. The characterisation however, and the way the you are sucked into following the story, is exemplary. You cannot help but like this anime once you have seen it. This is a truly unmissable work, and the only anime series where I have watched the same 4 episodes (2 more in volume 2) three times in one week, and then immediately ordered the next two volumes. There is something for everyone here, Ryo-Ohki, introduced (properly) in volume 2 episode 3, is *the* most cute anime 'character' ever, Ryoko is a semi-psychotic self-interested space pirate, who cares for Tenchi, Ayeka and Sasami, from episode 2 are Princesses, Tenchi's grandfather is a mysterious old martial arts expert, and guardian of the shrine, with other characters being introduced later.

To sum up, there is no excuse for not going out and buying this series immediately. I guarantee that it will be one of your most watched tapes. [Andrew Walmsley]

This is Pioneer's flagship title, a best seller in Japan that has the rare distinction of making the transition from an OAV series to a TV series, a feat only achieved once before (by Patlabor).

The plot of the first episode involves the Tenchi of the title accidently releasing a demon that was imprisoned by an ancestor of his 700 years ago. The 'demon' turns out to be a notorious female space pirate named Ryoko, who is none to pleased when she is released and proceeds to vent her anger on Tenchi. Further episodes introduce Akeya, Sasami, Mihoshi and Washuu, who all wind up staying with Tenchi as well.

Tenchi Muyo skilfully parodies the ordinary-boy-meets-weird-girl genre that is so common in anime (cf. Urusei Yatsura, Video Girl Ai, 3x3 Eyes, Outlanders etc.), as Tenchi tries to cope with not one, but five cute girls entering his life. There is minimal plot development, as the series concentrates on character development and situation comedy. It is also extremely cute - you have been warned!

The English dubbing is good, but not up to the high standards of the original Japanese. Despite this, I highly recommend it. [Jonathan Weeks]