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Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar(TV) (2009-2010)
Fifteen-year-old Kenshi Masaki has been taken from his home planet, transported to a galaxy far, far away, and captured by a gorgeous princess! This royal beauty quickly claims Kenshi as her personal servant - and lends him out to all the lecherous ladies at her prestigious boarding school. On the rare occasion Kenshi doesn't have his hands full with a curvaceous coed, he can be found training for the intergalactic mecha battle royale looming on the horizon. Helping the princess save her planet is Kenshi's ticket home, but losing means he'll be stuck scrubbing backs in the interstellar sauna for the rest of his life!
For more about Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar and the Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray release, see Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on May 15, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Jason Liebrecht
» See full cast & crew
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray Review
Would you believe Kenshi Muyo?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, May 15, 2013
You might want to call it "Bewitched Syndrome", namely the sudden change of a major character in a long running series with absolutely no explanation given to the audience, which is left to simply accept this "new world order". Bewitched had its share of these changes, most notably Dick Sargent replacing Dick York as Samantha Stephens' husband in the final three years of the long running series, though a number of other supporting characters had seen two (or more) actors playing the same role over the course of the show. But anime fans tuning into Tenchi Muyo!: The War on Geminar without foreknowledge of the series may be surprised to find out there isn't a different actor playing the same character (this being animated fare, after all), but a whole new character in the lead position, despite the perhaps misleading title. The Tenchi Muyo! universe is one of the most sprawling in the entire history of anime, so much so that even longtime fans can sometimes have a hard time keeping track of the various series, OVAs and feature films. The past year has seen a number of released of Tenchi Muyo! product on both DVD and Blu-ray, including:
Tenchi Muyo!: OVA Series
Tenchi Muyo!: Movie Collection which includes these three titles:
Tenchi Muyo!: Movie Collection
Tenchi Muyo! Daughter of Darkness
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2
(Part of the confusion that attends the movie releases at least is the weird numbering system that seems to defy logic.)
And so the first thing to know about Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar is that there is in fact no Tenchi. The lead character in this amusing if somewhat repetitive series is Tenchi's half brother Kenshi Masaki, a teenaged kid who is spirited away to another world where he finds himself involved in both some quasi-harem shenanigans as well as a mecha fueled internecine battle scenario. The series is often silly in the traditional Tenchi Muyo! manner, but which attempts at least to develop its own unique identity and, as the series progresses, introduce a distinctive mythology that adds to the ever burgeioning Tenchi Muyo! universe.
Tenchi Muyo!: The War on Geminar gets off to a pretty rocky start as we evidently join the story in media res without really understanding the context of what we're seeing. It's at least obvious we're witnessing a foreign land, one where a comely young woman named Princess Lashara is about to be crowned ruler of Shtrayu. But of course there are elements within this society that don't want Lashara to assume her royal throne, and that's how we meet Kenshi, who initially is out to prevent Lashara from inheriting what's rightly hers. That might seem to set Lashara up as the putative villain of the piece, but that actually turns out not to be the case, and instead it's Kenshi who has been unwittingly used for purposes that he doesn't yet fully comprehend. Lashara is a forgiving sort, however, and decides to take Kenshi into her court, despite the fact that he was out to get her in the early going. Playing out against this central plot development is an over convoluted set of introductions of a really vast panoply of supporting characters, many of whom make a brief entrance only to disappear for a while, something that adds to the general over busy-ness of the opening few episodes of this series.
Things improve, at least relatively, as the series progresses, but Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar has a bit of an identity crisis from the get go, and not simply because there isn't any Tenchi. The shows seems to not really know whether it wants to exploit the fan service element courtesy of its harem leanings or concentrate more on typical mecha battle elements, with Kenshi's abilities to kind of "mind meld" with his giant fighting robot resulting in unexpected carnage. The series might have been better, not to mention more cohesive, if one of these approaches had been more prominently featured, rather than the mishmash that ends up hobbling story momentum and never really providing enough of either aspect that will really fully satisfy fans of either.
Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar wouldn't be the first anime to get off to a lumbering start, only to pick up steam as it goes along. This first volume only gets us to Episode 7. That's enough time for the series to properly delineate its rather large cast, as well as to set up what ends up being the main intrigue of the series, namely the machinations of the bandit group that had initially (if only momentarily) seduced Kenshi to "the dark side". What ends up working best in these opening episodes is the often goofy humor, something that's more than a bit reminiscent of the original Tenchi Muyo! outings. The women who surround Kenshi have radically different opinions of him, and it's in their often ludicrous banter that Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar actually deals with a battle worth paying attention to.
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray, Video Quality
Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. Though this bears the typical FUNimation imprimatur of being an HD native source, I personally have to wonder if perhaps this is another case of a pre-upconverted source being labeled as HD simply because it was provided to FUNimation in that format. While there's nothing horrible here in terms of outright stair stepping or similar "SD give aways", the overall image is really peculiarly soft, even fuzzy, something that detracts from some winning animation. There's good use of distinctive character designs and some good, if minor, CGI elements which frequently are utilized to add some dimensional depth to the otherwise fairly flat presentation. Colors are nicely robust and well saturated, which helps to at least minimally offset the omnipresent softness of this presentation.
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar features Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes in English and Japanese. The mixes here are quite similar, though the English dub sounds at least relatively more aggressively mixed, especially during the noisy mecha sequences. There's good surround activity in most episodes, though those with a heavier action element tend to fare best in this regard. Dialogue and the nice score are very cleanly presented and are well prioritized. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is quite wide.
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I have a fairly soft spot in my heart for the original Tenchi Muyo! and that probably means I've given more slack to this newest outing than I might have otherwise. Similarly, my hunch is those who have the same fondness for Tenchi will find enough in Kenshi's story to warrant checking out this series, despite its flaws, while those who haven't yet been initiated to the wild and wooly Tenchi universe will probably find this outing one big yawn. Even longtime Tenchi fans will have to have a certain amount of patience, as Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar is awfully slow going at the start, with too many characters introduced too randomly and too much of a bifurcated approach that never quite settles on being a harem show or a mecha show.
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar: Other Editions
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Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar Blu-ray, News and Updates
• FUNimation: Four Anime Titles in May - February 20, 2013
FUNimation Entertainment is releasing four anime title on Blu-ray in May: Sekirei: Complete Series, Darker than Black: Complete Season 2 and Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar Part 1 and Part 2. All four sets are BD/DVD combo releases.
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