Tenchi Muyo box cover


Available on VHS and DVD from Pioneer Animation.
OAV Series: 6 episodes on 3 VHS tapes or part of a DVD box set
30 minutes per episode
Science Fiction/Comedy
Version I Watched: English dubbed
Objectionable Content: Violence, nudity

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Tenchi Muyo

I'm a tad puzzled by the fandom Tenchi Muyo has garnished for itself. After watching these OAVs, I don't think it's bad, but certainly not good enough to warrant the hundreds of web sites dedicated to this series.

Tenchi Muyo is basically about a teenager, Tenchi Masaki, who is living a normal life until he accidentally awakens the demon Ryoko (who is a tad more voluptuous than your typical demon). Following this turn of events, more females begin showing up from outer space, including Ayeka and Sasami of the royal house of Jurai, and Mihoshi, an intergalactic space patrol member. Tenchi is revealed to be descended from the house of Jurai and is gifted with latent abilities as bestowed on him by his lineage. Poor Tenchi's life will never be the same again.

The driving force behind Tenchi Muyo are its characters, and therein lies my problem. I didn't really like most of them, which naturally put a damper on my enthusiasm for watching this. Ryoko was the only character I sort of liked. Her spunkiness and flaming personality makes her fun to watch, although sometimes she was a tad irritating. However, no one else appealed to me. Tenchi was a bit of a weenie and kind of boring. Ayeka was too snooty, and tended to annoy me with her weird accent. Mihoshi... Well, she just acts like the dumb blonde cliche that she is, and I can't imagine her over-the-top ditziness appealing to anyone. And Sasami elevated "cute" to borderline nausea.

Plot-wise, things were pretty solid until the 5th episode. For the first few episodes, there are lots of background details on the characters, as well as developments into their current relationships. However, once the 5th episode rolls around, things start moving much too quickly, without proper explanations of why anything is happening. The pacing definitely could have been improved.

I enjoyed some of the humor, particularly the conflicts between Ryoko and Ayeka. However, the whole Mihoshi thing got old after about five seconds. Does anyone honestly like her?

Tenchi Muyo does have pretty good production values. The art and animation are easy on the eyes, and I found the theme song pretty catchy. The English voice-acting was generally solid, although Ayeka's accent got on my nerves after a little while.

Basically, I can't explain Tenchi fandom. I'd recommend you give this series a try since a lot of people really seem to like it. Personally, though, I thought it was mildly enjoyable, but nothing special.

The Verdict: * * * (average)