Otaku Corner: Tenjho Tenge Vol. 1

Don’t miss a great fighter anime in Ten­jho Tenge

Brandon-2012-cutoutWel­come back, read­ers, to another edi­tion of Otaku Cor­ner. I know that most of you wanted to get back to the bat­tle between Ryuzaki and Light in “Death Note,” but in this edi­tion, I think we all need to take a men­tal nap from that EPIC bat­tle. For now, let’s take a break from an EPIC game of cat and mouse and enjoy a nice high school anime filled with romance, com­edy, and yes, my fel­low fight­ing otaku, plenty of beat downs. Grab some pop­corn, get your other favorite anime-viewing snacks and refresh­ments together and kick back for the first vol­ume of Ten­jho Tenge (Heaven and Earth).

Based on the world­wide smash manga series orig­i­nally appear­ing in Shuiesha’s V Jump”comics by Oh! Great, and pro­duced by Geneon Enter­tain­ment, Ten­jho Tenge focuses on 15-year olds Souichiro Nagi and “Bob” Mak­i­hara (aka the Knuckle Bombs) who are newly enrolled stu­dents at Todou Acad­emy with plans of con­quest as they did with their pre­vi­ous schools. How­ever they soon dis­cover that Todou is not some ordi­nary Japan­ese high school, but is really a school that was founded to teach and pre­serve var­i­ous mar­tial arts. After DESTROYING the senior class, Souichiro and Bob are single-handedly defeated by Maya Nat­sume, cap­tain of the Juken club and her second-in-command Masa­taka Takayanagi. Souichiro is then hunted down by Maya’s sis­ter, Aya, Tenjho Tenge dvd coverwho instantly falls in love with Souichiro because of a Nat­sume woman’s tra­di­tion. This sets off events in which the Juken Club is involved in a decades-old feud.

The first four episodes have a strong back­ground story, espe­cially with Souichiro after he was defeated by Masa­taka Takayanagi that reminds him that los­ing is never an option. In between the romance and chase of Souichiro by Aya, we learn more about the sis­ters Nat­sume who are strong willed but have their own unique abil­i­ties. Here’s a heads up: Ten­jho Tenge nearly goes beyond the stan­dards of fan ser­vice with the panty shots, views of the Nat­sume sis­ters’ breasts and the usual tough guy talk and bat­tles that will make its view­ers think it’s a cross of Fist of the North Star and Bat­tle Royale but in an accept­able view­ing format.

Besides the four episodes, the DVD includes, in addi­tion to upcom­ing Geneon titles, clean open­ings and clos­ings with the two main songs. I espe­cially enjoyed hav­ing Lyn­d­sey lis­ten to TT’s open­ing song EVERY episode (yes, my evil plan did work. Editor’s note: No, it didn’t. He thinks it did. That open­ing — Bomb-a-Head — is one of the worst songs I have ever heard). I want to com­mend Geneon Entertainment’s U.S. branch for pro­duc­ing and dub­bing along­side Bang­Zoom! Enter­tain­ment and for choos­ing the great cast that included Johnny Yong Bosch, Stephanie Sheh (Bleach) and Wendee Lee (Cow­boy Bebop) play­ing their respec­tive roles. In short, Ten­jho Tenge Vol­ume 1 gets a 4.

Ten­jho Tenge is, with­out doubt, a mix of all anime high school dra­mas , but with more kick. I’m very excited that this series will re-release its awe­some­ness soon thanks to the good folks of Dis­cotek Media since Geneon USA is no longer in busi­ness. But for good laughs, mar­tial arts action, high school romance (minus the overused clichés) and fan ser­vice, TT is good for you. Now to give the HBJ group their new offi­cial theme song, Bomb-a-Head.

Bran­don Beatty is editor-at-large for Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. He can be reached by email at brandonb@gaminginsurrection.com

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