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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Tenjho Tenge - Round Five
Tenjho Tenge - Round Five
Geneon // R // February 14, 2006
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted February 13, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

Based on a popular manga from the Ultra Jump publication, Tenjho Tenge has finally seen release here in the states after some slight delay. The anime version of the violent manga has been toned down a tad, but that doesn't mean this release is a push over. Fans will still revel in the crunching bones, spraying blood and sexual innuendos provided here, there is just arguably less of each compared to the manga.

The show focuses on a faction of the Todo Academy named the Juken Club whose martial arts are arguably the best. Souichiro and Bob who were newcomers to the school have joined forces with Takayanagi, Aya and Maya to train and grow stronger. Unfortunately this alliance has caught the attention of the school's executive council and all sorts of fights ensue.

There is a lot of fanservice with the show, so be prepared to see an ample amount of cleavage, panty shots and magical girl transformations. While it's a martial arts, kung-fu-fest, the real focus here is on the magical powers of chi, so everyone has special abilities. Aya is arguably one of the more powerful with her budding technique called the Dragon Eye, but Souichiro isn't going to be too far behind when his training is complete.

We last checked out this series back on volume three when the Juken Club finished off their fight with the Executive Council at the bowling alley. Things had started to head down the road of character development with a flashback to an earlier point in Maya's life. The fourth volume left a lot of promise for learning about her history and what started the whole rivalry with Mitsuomi, but unfortunately we never got the chance to check it out. So here we are a volume later with the fifth installment into the bare-knuckled and tough as nails series.

The newest release for the anime features three more episodes and starts off with more of the development backlog as Bunshichi and Shin duke it out big time. Shin (Maya's brother) repeatedly stabs Bunshichi in the legs with his katana, but once the user and the weapon become separated the tables turn. The ensuing battle is brutal and really shows Shin's character as part of a stepping stone to future events. Mitsuomi is also left as the solo member of KATANA still standing.

Yoshiki Kato and his gang try going after the lone KATANA survivor in hopes of toppling the groups reign over the school. Of course Maya steps in to say her piece in the matter since she is the major player in the background story. Things flash forward back to the current point in time and we join the group all sitting around listening to Maya's tale. They take some time to reflect on what they just learned and to also gloat in the aftermath of their fight at the bowling alley. Even though they still got the crap kicked out of them they did hold their own against over 200 fighters so that earns them some street cred.

This means that a new world of challengers opens up for them and before long Souichiro and Bob find themselves being chased by a crazy kid with a katana. Even some of the Todo Academy's teachers want to get in on the action and see what these punks are made of. The disc ends on a climactic note as a figure from Maya's past steps into the picture to put a stop to what's going on. The next volume promises to be action packed and it'll be interesting to see how the kids do against this new opponent.

I still can't but wish that these volumes had more meat on their bones because having three episodes just doesn't cut it when it comes to this show. Of course having missed the fourth volume probably didn't help my enjoyment of the fifth because I didn't get the opportunity to see Maya's past 100%. Still, Tenjho Tenge is a decent enough fighting anime with a bunch of humor, cleavage, and violence to satisfy your appetite. The series feels a little stretched too thin at points thanks to the limited amount of episodes on each release, but holding out until a box set comes out could help change that.

The DVD:

Video:

Tenjho Tenge is presented with the 1.33:1 full screen aspect ratio that it was originally broadcast with. The images are very crisp and clean with only a couple minor snippets of pixilation that popped up on dark backgrounds. There are also a few points where some aliasing is noticeable, but the colors are very vivid and the transfer is very clean otherwise. I really enjoyed the art direction of this show and the animation is top notch, though some still character shots and repeat animations are used here and there.

Audio:

Tenjho Tenge features two audio tracks: 2.0 English and 2.0 Japanese. While I am a fan of original language tracks with subtitles, the English Dubbing here was pretty good. The Japanese track feature comparable audio quality with accurately translated subtitles as far as I could tell after having watched the show with both tracks. There was a fair amount of directionality to the audio, but it wasn't anything revolutionary for a stereo track. I was a little disappointed that there was no 5.1 audio included, but even still the sound from this disc was good quality.

Extras:

All that appears on the disc for extra content this time around are some Geneon Previews. It's almost like adding insult to injury when you take into consideration the three episode count on the disc. This seems like the kind of show that would have benefited from bonus material such as outtakes, commentaries, or even character profiles. Sadly, we get none of those things.

Final Thoughts:

Tenjho Tenge has been kind of an anime rollercoaster. At some points you have some really high peaks, but then the quality will drop off right underneath your feet. The fact that there are only three episodes on each volume is probably the cause of this though it's a little too late in the game for that to change. The content here is decent enough with a lot of action, humor, and intrigue, but it's just not enough to pull the show back into recommendation territory. I would probably recommend it if this were a boxed set release and you could get all of the episodes at one time, but these individual release are probably best served as a rental.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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