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Tenchi Muyo in Love 2(1999)
No synopsis for Tenchi Muyo in Love 2.
For more about Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 and the Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 Blu-ray release, see Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on December 14, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, December 14, 2012
Note: This film is currently available only in this set: Tenchi Muyo!: Movie Collection.
There's no getting around the often confusing promulgation of various entries in the vast Tenchi Muyo! universe, and that confusion spills over into what would seem to be a fairly clear cut group of three feature films. But due to these films having been released with various titles in different markets, sometimes with numbers attached to them that don't really accurately convey their actual chronology, some may think that Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 (which also bears the name Tenchi Forever! in some releases) is a direct follow up to 1996's Tenchi Muyo in Love, but the similarly multi-named Tenchi Muyo! Daughter of Darkness actually came in between the two. Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 is actually fairly divorceable from both of the previous feature film entries, for it's a much more somber, even melancholic, affair that deals with Tenchi being drawn into a sort of trance state where his real memories are slowly erased and he's led to believe he's in love with a long ago paramour of Yosho. The first Tenchi Muyo in Love really had very little to do with romance, but the title is decidedly more apt for this third film, at least if one takes being put under a spell of sorts as one form of romance.
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2, like Tenchi Muyo! Daughter of Darkness has a brief prelude that isn't instantly relatable to what comes afterward, but once the actual main story gets underway, we're in familiar territory as Tenchi watches Ryoko and Ayeka having a knock down, drag out fight where they each injure each other (repeatedly) "by accident". Tenchi tries to get them to calm down, but of course only makes things much worse, and ends up running into the forest to escape. There a sort of sylvan spirit seems to appear within a tree after Tenchi notices a beautiful camellia bud on the ground and moves to pick it up.
Though anyone who has weathered the many different versions of Tenchi Muyo! through the years will attest that there hasn't always been a lot of attention paid to consistent tone or even character development, Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 is such a drastic departure from most of the rest of the Tenchi Muyo! canon that some may think they, like Tenchi himself, have wandered into a parallel universe. What's so especially interesting about this film is how it starts like any given Tenchi Muyo! OVA or even anime series episode, with bickering harem- mates, and then quickly becomes something much deeper, more disquieting and ultimately rather sad.
Part of the sadness is due to the film focusing on those Tenchi has left behind in the "real world". Tenchi's family is destitute after the boy disappears seemingly into thin air, and just as interestingly, Ryoko and Ayeka are both absolutely distraught as well, actually taking side jobs as they attempt to find clues as to what happened to their "Lord". Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 is therefore an unusually emotional experience, especially for a franchise that so often offered silly (even goofy) humor combined with some fairly standard action elements.
In the meantime Tenchi is lost in a haze created by Haruna, a woman with at least a couple of ulterior motives up her sylvan sleeve. Tenchi has become a totally new person in this dream state, slightly older and with different hair, and with a newfound talent and interest in drawing. Haruna is struggling mightily to keep Tenchi entranced, so to speak, and several times she needs to "restart" his life with her when his old memories start intruding. Meanwhile his harem has experienced several "close encounters" with this new, not so improved Tenchi which causes them to realize he's locked in a parallel universe that in some way is overlapping with theirs.
There's a quiet, almost meditative and mystical, quality about Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 which is distinctly at odds with a lot of the rest of this sprawling franchise, but which in some very real ways helps this film to become one of the most memorable in the entire Tenchi universe. Part of this is due to the fact that unlike a lot of the rest of the Tenchi outings, there seems to be some real, honest to goodness human emotion at stake, even if that "human" emotion is on the part of non-humans like Ryoko and Ayeka. But there's also something undeniably touching about Tenchi's "new" life with Haruna, as we slowly begin to realize that this ostensible villainess is herself a wounded soul, trying to come to grips with a long ago heartbreak. In fact virtually everything about this film has heartbreak written across it in varying levels, making it an often gripping story that eschews some of the goofiness of the franchise and earning kudos for suddenly making a lot of these often childish characters seem surprisingly mature.
The film does try to get back to something approaching the "normal" Tenchi way of doing things in the closing few minutes of the film, but it might have been a stronger property with less emphasis on the old way of doing things. There is a nice beat or two with Ryoko and Tenchi which is obviously a throwback to another scene in the first Tenchi Muyo in Love. It's a really touching moment for those who have stuck with this franchise through its many, many changes in tone, and it helps to settle some of the queasiness that this unusually disturbing and unexpectedly serious entry in the Tenchi canon is.
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. As with the first two Tenchi Muyo films, I only have discs in hand, no packaging, and so can't state with certainty how FUNimation is describing these new releases, but this third film looks about the same as the second film in terms of general sharpness and clarity, though in some scenes it might have just a slight edge on the second film (see the screenshot of Ryoko looking at food for a good example). Colors are generally very robust, but a lot of this outing is pretty soft looking, and not just the intentionally "fuzzy" parts that indicate Tenchi's dream state.
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 features two Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes, one in the original Japanese and another English dub. This is a fairly quiet film, aside from a few manic moments here and there, but the surround activity is quite effective, especially in some relatively subtle ambient environmental effects like the rustling of leaves in a breeze. There's not much dynamic range in this film, as a lot of it tends to be quieter dialogue scenes between two or three characters, but fidelity is very good and the both tracks feature clean and clear dialogue is an overall very appealing setting.
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If I were forced to choose only one Tenchi Muyo! film to keep in my collection, this one would probably be it. That might strike some fans as kind of strange, as this is by far the least typical Tenchi Muyo! outing maybe in the entire franchise, let alone the three feature films. But there's something so undeniably hypnotic about this film that gives it an emotional power that is really not just surprising, but actually becomes unforgettable. This isn't "your father's Tenchi Muyo!, so to speak, and someone experiencing only this film would probably not have a very good idea of the franchise as a whole, but it's a really unique little property that is among the best things this sprawling, sometimes unmanageable, franchise has ever offered. This Blu-ray features the same middling video quality as the other two releases, but the audio is very good, and unlike the other two films, this one at least has its trailer attached as the lone supplement. Recommended.
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