Otaku Corner: Tenjho Tenge Vol. 2

Ten­jho Tenge heats up in sec­ond vol­ume of action

Brandon-2012-cutoutWel­come back to another install­ment of Otaku Cor­ner. This time, we’re going back to school, which means we’re enrolling again at the renowned Todo Acad­emy where stu­dents learn the three basics: Read­ing, writ­ing and ass-kicking (yes, I said ass-kicking.) So, grab your back­packs, bento lunches and your grap­pling gear because it’s time to check in with the Juken Club in the lat­est install­ment of Ten­jho Tenge Vol­ume 02: The Bat­tle Bowl.

Based on the manga series by Oh! Great and released by Geneon Enter­tain­ment (USA), Ten­jho Tenge fol­lows the story of Soichiro Nagi and Bob Mak­i­hara (aka the Knuckle Bombs), who plan to add Todo Acad­emy to their list of con­quered ter­ri­tory. Their plan quickly falls apart when they meet Aya and Maya Nat­sume, mem­bers of the Juken Club, which stands against the stu­dent Exec­u­tive Coun­cil. After alter­ca­tions with the coun­cil, Soichiro and Bob join Aya and Maya along with Masa­taka Takayanagi to fight the coun­cil, unaware that they are now locked in a 400-year bat­tle that has yet to be resolved.

Tenjou Tenge Vol. 2

Photo cour­tesy of Amazon.com

Dur­ing golden week (Japan­ese May hol­i­day), the Juken Club begins their train­ing to pre­pare for future attacks from the Exec­u­tive Coun­cil. At this time, Maya has a great idea to go bowl­ing to give the club a break from train­ing. Unfor­tu­nately, the coun­cil makes imme­di­ate plans to send their forces led by its most ter­ri­fy­ing mem­bers to crush the Juken Cub for good. In three episodes, the Juken Club are sep­a­rated from each other fac­ing off the council’s most feared “exe­cu­tion­ers,” who con­sist of vice chair­man Emi “The Black Blade” Isuzu, who hates Maya with INTENSE pas­sion; Shirō “The Last Samu­rai” Tagami, who gives Aya a major bat­tle; and, Koji “Saga Mask” Sagara, who chal­lenges Soichiro for free pas­sage into the rest of the bowl­ing alley.

Mean­while, Bob and Masa­taka deal some seri­ous dam­age to the Council’s army while pro­tect­ing Bob’s girl­friend, Chi­aki Kounoike. After their sep­a­rate vic­to­ries, the Juken Club looked as if they were going to escape a vicious gaunt­let, until the Council’s pres­i­dent shows up ready to deal his own brand of justice.

After watch­ing this vol­ume of Ten­jho Tenge, I felt that although the bat­tles were drawn out, they still kept the action intact. I per­son­ally like the way episodes were writ­ten to give the Juken mem­bers a chance to test their new skills while allow­ing the back­story of the exe­cu­tion­ers to come full cir­cle, show­ing the rea­sons why they fight for the coun­cil so much. You’ll still get the usual fan ser­vice moments, but the stage is set for future episodes that will deepen the story line. Also, adding more punch for the dol­lar, three new series com­ing from Geneon and the non-title end­ing made me feel that I was not get­ting a case of buyer’s remorse. Geneon USA and Bang Zoom! Enter­tain­ment deserve credit as well with a smooth Eng­lish adap­ta­tion and trans­la­tion as well as hav­ing excel­lent voice act­ing from Steve Sta­ley (Soichro), Wendee Lee (Maya) Stephanie Sheh (Aya), Johnny Yong Bosch (Masa­taka) and Jami­son Price (Bob). Credit also goes to Kate Hig­gins, Paul St. Peter and Dave Mal­low for their respec­tive roles of Emi, Tagami and Sagara.

Ten­jho Tenge con­tin­ues to keep its suc­cess­ful blend of school drama with intense mar­tial arts action that puts the series in a class by itself. Will the Juken Club sur­vive the wrath of the Council’s pres­i­dent? Keep it here in Otaku Cor­ner to find out.

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

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