I’ve had to get through a bunch of Tenchi Muyo in the past year, with Funimation having swept up all of the former licenses held by Pioneer/Geneon Entertainment. Having sat through most of it, I managed to see the charm of the series and understood why it’s a staple in American anime fandom and found a slight appreciation of it, even though I despise the harem genre in anime. Released in 2009 by AIC Spirits and BeSTACK, Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar takes place 15 years after Tenchi Muyo! GXP. Instead of following the cast that we already know and love, its set upon the world of Geminar, where Princess Lashara has been crowned as the Empress of the Shtrayu Empire. Upon receiving this honor, assassins are sent kill the empress, send chaos upon the empire. Amongst them happens to be Tenchi’s younger brother, Kenshi, who happens to be a sacred mechamaster. After her guards take down the hitmen, the princess takes Kenshi into custody and begin to investigate why he was hired to kill her. It turns out that he was kidnapped and was told that he couldn’t return to Earth, unless he had disposed of the Princess. After finding this out, she decides to bring him into her entourage, in order to find out who wants her dead and where his special abilities come from.
While the series can be enjoyed on some levels, I didn’t have a fantastic time with War on Geminar. One of the things that I got used to having to watch a lot of Tenchi Muyo, was its cast of characters and how they contributed to the enjoyment of each of the series and movies. This OVA has really none of that and really plays up the harem aspect to perfection. The overall aesthetics are pretty nice and the character designs from Hakime Watanabe and Katsumi Enami are incredible, but nothing in the show kept my attention for very long. It also takes awhile to get into gear, with the first part of the series being mainly filled with comedy and gags, with the second part being filled with the “war” of the series. If the series wasn’t even tied to the Tenchi universe, the series could have held up as its own sort of sci-fi/fantasy series of its own, but never really manages to capture the full feeling of a Tenchi show.
The video on the Blu-Ray’s for Tench Muyo: War on Geminar are presented in 1080p, AVC encoded transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. While the transfer doesn’t look that bad, it looks really soft, which is sometimes overridden with nice bright color schemes in characters or other elements that make the image stand out a bit. The audio on the discs are presented in both English and Japanese in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound. The original language track sound really tame, in comparison to the English one. Sound effects and the overall mix are presented much better in English than they are in the original Japanese track. The dub is really solid and it made for a really pleasant experience seeing this series done extremely well by Funimation’s team. There’s a few extras, like the making of one of the outro’s, an episode commentary and a bunch of Funimation trailers for other products.
Most Tenchi fans might find something to like in this series, especially with the amount of hijinks and eye candy found within. I certainly didn’t enjoy it and kinda wish that AIC Spirits would have just left Tenchi alone, because this was a pretty big disappointment.