Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki – Target: Tenchi! (Vol. 2)

Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki – Target: Tenchi! (Vol. 2) (1992)
FUNimation Entertainment
Extras: Featurettes, TV Spots, Music Video, Trailers

The interplanetary struggles between a high school student and vengeful deities are put in the spotlight in "Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki, " an OVA (Original Video Animation) series from Japan. Released through FUNimation Entertainment, Volume 2 of this popular series contains three episodes of excitement and adventure. With various spin-offs and movies, "Tenchi Muyo!" has developed a large following around the world, and fans should be very happy to add this volume, "Target: Tenchi!," to their collections.

The first episode in this set is "Here Comes Misao on the Chobimaru!" After receiving several letters from his sister, Mihoshi, about her growing relationship with high school student Tenchi, the overprotective space-cadet Misao immediately thinks Tenchi must be taking advantage of her. He devises a plot to rescue Mihoshi with help from his tough-as-nails female assistant. Of course, the relationship between Mihoshi and Tenchi couldn't be more innocent, but Misao's jealousy blinds him to his sister's happiness, and his mission to save her actually puts her in more danger. In "Operation: Lovey-Dovey," Misao's rescue attempt is thwarted when his assistant is captured on Earth. It is here that Mihoshi discovers the assistant's romantic feelings for Misao and decides to bring them together. Her match-making strategies prove to be quite over the top, but surprisingly successful, as Misao realizes who he truly loves. The final episode, "Z," marks a major shift in tone as a vengeful warrior does battle with Tenchi to become the ruler of the universe. Three godlike sisters do what they can to help Tenchi, but their power may not be strong enough to counter Z's attack.

"Tenchi Muyo!" is indeed an entertaining series. The characters are broad and appealing, sometimes manic and always engaging. As with many anime series, the tone shifts from episode to episode, going from hysterically funny to bleakly serious. As I have not seen Volume 1 of this series, I was frequently confused by the storyline, but that did not stop me from having fun. Each episode is interesting enough on its own to draw you in, whether through slapstick comedy, blooming romance, or impending doom.

The show is presented in fullframe on this disc. The image is clean and free of artifacts or dirt. Overall, the picture seems a little soft, with slightly washed-out colors. I'm not sure if this is due to the series' age or if it was intentional. Regardless, it still looks quite pleasing. I should also note that although FUNimation seems to make a point of labeling all of their DVDs at 100 minutes, this one only lasts 90 minutes.

An English dubbed track is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo, while the original Japanese is provided only in stereo. Dialogue comes through clearly and fluidly through the front speakers. Some of the explosive sound effects are not as loud as I would expect them to be and are somewhat stifled. In general, the sound is adequate. The English dubbing actually sounds pretty good as well. English subtitles are provided for the Japanese track.

The first special feature is a two-part featurette called "The Real Tenchi Tour." This follows series composer Akifumi Tada and vocalist Tomoko Odajima as they travel through various locations that inspired or are in some way connected with the show. While not exactly informative, it is a fun piece of fluff.

Next are two Japanese TV spots for the Volume 3 DVD. A music video for the show's closing theme, "Lovely Cookin'," follows, made up mostly of behind-the-scenes footage from the recording studio. A gallery of trailers finishes things off.

"Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki" is definitely entertaining. It has wit and action to spare and enough wacky characters to keep up an energetic pace. Anime enthusiasts should certainly give this a look. You will be drawn in by its beautiful animation and complex storyline. With FUNimation's release, you are guaranteed good fun and great viewing.