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Tenchi Muyo! OVA Collection Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit),  English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Discs: 4 (2 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 405 Mins.
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 18, 2012
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

Funimation’s U.S. Release of this popular anime series from the early ’90s is a bit misleading. While it is labelled the Tenchi Muyo (天地無用!)“OVA Collection,” it technically only contains OVA seasons 1 & 2, taking in episodes 1-13. The third OVA season isn’t included. For those unfamiliar with the series, Tenchi Muyo follows the story of Masaki Tenchi, a teenage boy whose family has a long history and mythology surrounding a temple they upkeep. Tenchi, who trains in martial arts under his grandfather, but isn’t very good at it, unleashes an ancient “demon” by the name of Ryoko who has been locked away in the temple. She’s actually an alien pirate, a pretty one at that. It thereby thrusts him into an adventure involving numerous gorgeous alien women who crash to Earth and all find themselves attracted to him. Ayeka, who comes hunting Ryoko (she’d attacked their planet of Jurai), along with her little sister Sasami, Galaxy Police Woman, Mihoshi, and Ryoko’s “mother” Washu, a genius scientist are all among the women that end up living with and quarreling over Tenchi’s affections, all while they battle numerous threats to themselves and the planet.

The series’ quirky, comedic, and risqué tone, its blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and awkward teen romance have long made it a favorite of fans. Its themes and basic storyline have been copied numerous times in various anime series. It’s very easy to pick up on the influence of it, from the nude bathing scenes, to the tsundere characters, and multiple cat fights over the unlikely male hero. Despite this series having been copied and turned into a genre cliché, Tenchi remains very enjoyable to watch, especially in these original 13 OVA episodes.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Tenchi Muyo OVA series featured here was originally done on film and hails from the early 1990s. As such, it doesn’t have the clarity of the digitally animated anime we are used to seeing these days, but it also is still superior to the many up-scaled standard definition releases we often get from Funimation. The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer, in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, has many moments where the colors are rich and detail is strong and film-like. Where the transfer really shows its roughness, however, is in the numerous scenes with black or other darker backgrounds. Then you really see the source damage and inconsistent dark levels and some noise.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Tenchi Muyo is unusually supplied with a lossless Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack and an English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) dub. It’s usually the other way around. This is fantastic for someone like me who prefers to watch with the original language and English subtitles. The 5.1 mix is truly engaging, it has lots of atmospherics, great balance of sound, big lows, and good panning of sound effects from front-to-back and vice versa, such as spaceships and laser-guns. The English track is somewhat less engaging, but the stereo sounds are fairly wide with clean dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Only one, brief additional Tenchi Muyo episode and a U.S. Trailer are included as extras.

The supplements:

  • Omake: Here Comes Jurai Part 2 (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:16)
  • U.S. Trailer (1.33:1; 1080p/24)
  • Funimation Trailers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Even though this is a barebones release, the film-like transfer (rough patches notwithstanding), excellent lossless Japanese 5.1 mix and classic 13 episodes make this well worth owning for anyone in the U.S. who’s been waiting to own Tenchi Muyo on Blu-ray.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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