Having already gone through Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo, I certainly didn’t know what to expect when it came time to watch through the original Tenchi OVA Collection. I mean sure, Universe was an extension of what was laid out in this original OVA series done by Studio AIC and original creators Masaki Kajishima and Hiroki Hayashi, so I had an understanding of what to expect. While I got the space pirates and tons of female characters, I got plenty of other things as well. In this OVA, we still follow Tenchi Masaki, a young boy from Earth, that manages to get involved with the wacky female cast, in one way or another, but things play out as a space opera in a different way than before. After being license rescued by Funimation Entertainment, this marks the first entry into the Tenchi series in HD and shows some excellent quality to go along with this anime classic that should please existing fans and create some new ones.
Many of the elements that I liked in Tenchi Universe are at the very forefront in Tenchi OVA. The space opera aspect and the Tenchi’s character going through the typical Hero’s journey is laid out from the get go. The character relationships are very different in this version of Tenchi as well, especially the link between Washu and Ryoko, that add some interesting dynamics to this series, as opposed to the harem aspects that exist in the many other versions of Tenchi in anime form. There’s a whole lot more action dispersed throughout as well, from all of the female characters, along with Tenchi showing off some really powers he inherited from his grandfather. The character development is also handled very well in this, compared to Tenchi Universe, with the characters of Ryoko, Washu, Princess Ayeka and even Tenchi’s grandfather. While I really enjoyed the way that Tenchi Universe unveiled itself as a space opera over a period of time, that same feeling is conveyed in a big way in this OVA series and I can see what has attracted anime fans for the longest after finally laying my eyes upon it.
This new collection comes in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, housed in a really nice chipboard box and a small booklet, that has some great key art within. The video on the Blu-Ray is presented in a 1080p, AVC encoded transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.38:1. For a show that is now 20 years old, Tenchi Muyo looks pretty great on Blu-Ray. The animation production from AIC has aged really well and the colors are really sharp and vibrant on Funimation’s release of this. On the audio side, the set comes with two Dolby TrueHD tracks, an English 5.1 track and the original Japanese track in 2.0 Stereo. Both tracks are really great and its up to a matter of preference. While its obvious that the surround English track provides a wider mix, the Japanese mix sounds really great. It manages to convey many of the elements that are in the English track, while only having the use of two channels.
Tenchi Muyo was something that I actively avoided for a really long time, due to it creating many of the tropes in anime I despise. Even with this in mind, I was still able to appreciate Tenchi Muyo OVA for what it does offer, some pretty cool characters and an interesting premise, that still manages to hold up to this very day. If you’ve never seen any Tenchi, you should do yourself a favor and check it out. If you’re already a Tenchi fan, then you’re going to fall in love all over again with the care that Funimation has placed in this Tenchi OVA Collection, because its awesome presentation and care that went into this anime series that has withstood the test of time. Recommended!