Anime Meta-Review


Tenchi Muyo!


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-6 of 6
  • type: OAV
  • grade: exemplary
  • genre: harem
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title is a personal favourite.
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
  • made: 1992
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

This well liked anime has spawned a host of progeny, but continues to outshine most of them. This anime is almost a required part of the total anime experience. The story begins with a teenage boy, in a contemporary setting, finally gaining access to the `demon cave' in his families shrine. Needless to say this proves to be an unwise step, although this `demon' is a far more complex (and attractive) character than the name would imply. Of course the `demon' has enemies of her own, and they have enemies of their own, and before you know it the ordinary boy is knee deep in weird occurences. Of course, it may be that he is not as ordinary as he always thought.

Writing the above was suprisingly difficult, because the story is so much fun you don't want to give anything away. It is also difficult because the story is secondary to the wonderful characters introduced in this tale. Indeed Tenchi, the male lead, is generally a stable pivot, around which the characters interact. Of course this is helped by the fact that most of the characters are attractive, albeit weird, females. This has led many people to lambast Tenchi as a character, and the show as a babe fest, without realizing that this sort of mechanism is required to explain how so many strong characters, and so much interesting dialog and character action, can be contained within such a short OAV. And there is an awful lot of good stuff here, with strong dialog, great scenes, likable characters and interesting events. Even the concluding villain is both rich in character himself (possibly one of the coolest villains in anime) and the conflict draws out the natures of the various characters. The writing on this anime is simply superb, both in the small details and the larger scope.

And it is this skill in writing and character that will enable it to survive the passing of time so well. However, it will be a while before that becomes an issue, because the production is also ridiculously good. The world design is astoundingly strong, with all this strangeness still seeming suprisingly believable. In addition the `hyper-technology' is well designed, interesting and stylish. Add to this excellent character designs, very (very) nice action scenes and a great sense of style along with high production values and you have an excellent product. The fact that all elements are strong, and amazingly well integrated, makes this a great example of the best anime.

Sadly this has also led to a lot of offshoots (of wildly varying quality) from this original seed. The sad part is that most of these have failed to equal the quality of this piece, with some being truly awful even without being compared to this. In addition the English dub has received a lot of criticism. It seems to use strongly characterised voices and accents, which some, especially those who started with the sub version, find a bit over the top. Finally some people find the `romantic feuding' between the characters irksome. Personally I think these issues are much too small to stand in the way of viewing and appreciating some very high quality anime.

Tenchi Review at THEM. An unimpressed Review from the Anime Critic who wonders what all the fuss is about. Review from Animejin which specifically mentions the dub-sub comparison.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:25 WST 2009