Tenjho Tenge Vol. 1
Written by Stuart Dawson on 13 May 2006
Distributor MVM • Certificate 12 • Price £19.99
A quick glance which trailers were included in the extras for Tenjho Tenge left me very worried before I watched this first DVD. Any series that wants to run itself alongside Battle Vixens (Ikki Tousen) and Burst Angel is one that I'm probably not going to rate highly...
It was with great surprise then that I found myself being really quite entertained by the first episode. Sure there was a fair amount of pointless cheese but there was also a lot of real humour in there to keep me chuckling along. So why was it thrown away in the next three episodes? Honestly it's like there was a change in director for the next episodes and they've decided to sling out most of the humour and crank up the fights and cheese. I can't tell you how disappointed I was.
So the setting for Tenjho Tenge is as follows; We have a school that was designed to preserve the martial arts - which means there's loads of tough fighters and many martial arts clubs. We have a pair of anti-heros who arrive in true japanese schoolboy gangster fashion on a loud motorbike, whereupon they set out to beat up as many people as they can to "take over" the school as they have done before with 99 other schools. After some initial success they find themselves up against a couple of members of the Juken Club, which we're told is the weakest martial arts club in the school (a fact which looks to be seriously debatable). The diminutive female captain of the club quickly disposes of one of them through a window, across a courtyard and, by pure bad luck, into the girls shower room. Here he meets the captains younger sister and she quickly decides to marry him - which he is dead set against.
And so we have the set up for the initial part of the series. The girl wants to marry the boy who doesn't want to marry the girl. All he wants to do is feel the rush he gets from fighting. To become stronger he signs on with the Juken Club. The school and supporting cast all have their obligatory mysterious pasts and I believe anyone who seen any series like this before will have a fair idea of where things will head.
The animation is quite adequate for the job. All very shiney but not quite a high enough cel count to make it rise above the average. Four episodes on the DVD is also quite normal but the 'extras' aren't exactly spectacular. Textless opening, two trailers for other (and in my opinion decidedly worse) series and the credits for the DVD production is pretty poor these days.
Anyone thinking about buying Battle Vixens, Najica or whatever should definitely buy this instead. Unless you've got a panty fetish, it's going to be superior in almost every way. If episodes two to four are indicative of the rest of the series then it won't be going very high on my list of things to watch, yet the entertainment the first episode provided me has made me want to cut it some slack and see what's going to happen next.
One last thing. This series has one of the most annoying opening themes I've ever heard. Never have I used the skip function with such venom!
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