Otaku Corner: The All-New Tenchi Muyo Vol. 5

Tenchi Vol. 5 provides enjoyable escapades

Brandon-2012-cutoutTenchi, Tenchi, Tenchi. As a college-aged otaku, I remember when Tenchi and company graced Cartoon Network’s airwaves in 2000 when I had my first experience with harem anime, a kind of compromise that gave Toonami’s male and female viewers what they wanted without sacrificing the focus of that block. A young high school guy loved by an alien space pirate, two alien princesses, a mad-yet-chibi-sized genius and a tanned space detective that would give Inspector Gadget a serious run for his money, plus new daily chances for adventure? I was sold. Now an older and more mature otaku, I look back on my love for Tenchi and thought “Yeah, it’s that time for Otaku Corner to experience Tenchi Muyo once more.”
Written and drawn by Hitoshi Okuda and published by Viz Media, Point and Shoot has Tenchi, Ryoko, Ayaka, Sasami, Washu and Mihoshi doing their usual: having fun while at the same time getting themselves out of some crazy mishap. This starts with celebrating Mamemaki (traditional Japanese demon-fighting ceremony), during which whoever hits Tenchi dressed up as a demon is boss for a day. Ryoko goes all out to win (let’s say she has deep plans for Tenchi), and nearly destroys home and occupants alike. This ends with Sasami winning for the sake of world peace.

Next, the gang finds out that Sasami has a special guardian assigned to her by the King of Jurai and must help her remain in Sasami’s grade level. Also, the gang gets a little exercise in babysitting thanks to a mishap that

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

involves a variety of books, a photo album of Tenchi at age 3, bio-medical equipment from outer space, and Mihoshi’s clumsiness. Her clumsiness results in the running of pint-sized Tenchis that must be caught before permanent damage is done to Tenchi and the frail fabric of time and space. Ryoko gets some focus in the last two chapters as she is taught a lesson in moderate drinking by Tsunami (Sasami’s protective spirit), who also awards her with a year’s supply of sake for helping with expenses and dueling with a self-proclaimed “king of revolving sushi.” She wins by using slight-of-hand tactics but ultimately must undertake a fishing expedition outside of Japan for three months or until the next volume.

Point and Shoot continues the same Tenchi formula used in previous manga editions and the anime: great story and artwork with a mix of comedy and learning crucial life lessons. As always, Okuda-san never skips a beat or overuses his characters in scenes to gain attention. To me, that’s always a sign of great animators, comic artists and writers who know how to get the reader’s attention without being too focused on selling x number of volumes in a series. Viz Media gets credit as always since they stayed true to Tenchi Muyo, thanks to the excellent work of English adaptation and translation from Fred Burke and Lillian Olsen. Credit should also go to Shaenon Garrity for taking the helm of series editor.

She shows that Tenchi is a major staple in her anime experience and presents strong female lead characters who are not present during the early days of manga and anime.

The All-New Tenchi Muyo! Volume 5: Point and Shoot is another piece of manga goodness that hits all the right chords without being too serious. Any veteran otaku or budding novice SHOULD have this manga and its anime counterparts in their collection or at least watch and read a few volumes. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a dessert date with a fellow connoisseur during which carrot cake will be consumed. Don’t judge me.

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

Otaku Corner: Tenchi Muyo Vol. 3

Dark Washu is draw in third volume of Tenchi Muyo

Brandon-2012-cutoutWelcome back to The Strip’s little section specifically made for great anime and manga, “Otaku Corner.” I know everyone’s getting back into the swing of things (school, work, college), but this is also a great time to enjoy a great manga series that has it all: comedy, action, adventure, cute female leads. One of my favorite series has all of those things including a main character that is a lucky man to have four beautiful women living in the same house. Tenchi Masaki and his gang of lovely women star in more great adventures in Volume 3 of the “All New Tenchi Muyo: Dark Washu.”

Written and drawn by Hitoshi Okuda and published by Viz Media, Dark Washu is the continuation of the last story in “Tenchi Muyo: Doom Time,” in which Washu Hakubi’s most powerful invention, the “black crystal,” designed as the perfect security system, was taken over by the evil Dr. Clay. Tenchi and company fought the black crystal who copied the real Washu. Despite winning the decisive battle, the dark crystal returns to exact vengeance: It becomes Washu vs. Washu, which takes up the entire third volume.

Fellow otaku, despite this smackdown of genius against genius, this is truly great work Tenchi Muyo Vol 3worthy of any Tenchi fan with no punches pulled on every page, complementing the well-thought out plotline and artwork. It was also great to see Tenchi’s father and grandfather make brief cameos, as it is rare to see them in manga form.

The battles also have their moments of heart tugging. When Tenchi and company rally to assist Washu in the final moments of the battle, Dr. Clay is vanquished for good and Dark Washu is rebuilt as a new character and Washu’s new lab assistant, Tama. The bonus story with Ryo-oh-ki facing the battle of the bulge, which has its own mix of cuteness and comedy, is also enjoyable. Viz Media also deserves credit for keeping Tenchi Muyo fun to read, thanks to the team of adaptation writer Freed Burke and translator Lillian Olsen, who remained on task. Tenchi is fun and action-packed minus the regular clichés.

The All-New Tenchi Muyo: Dark Washu is a great manga to read to celebrate the end of summer with a good mix of action, adventure and comedy. Now I have to take care of a craving for carrot cake, which makes me wonder am I becoming like Ryo-oh-ki?

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

Otaku Corner #08: All-New Tenchi Muyo Vol. 2

Face alien doom with the second volume of Tenchi

Brandon Beatty, contributing editor

Welcome back to another segment of “Otaku Corner” where my job is to review anime and manga for your leisure. In a previous OC review, I covered the first issue of Viz Medias’ adaptation of the “All New Tenchi Muyo!” graphic novel series in which good times of watching Tenchi and Co. on Cartoon Network’s “Toonami” block were revived. “Long live the Absolution Revolution,” I say. Now, with my shoutout to a legendary show complete, let us board Ryo-oh-ki Airlines, Flight 803 to check out the second installment of the “All-New Tenchi Muyo: Doom Time.”

In this second volume, Tenchi and Co. are at it again doing what they do best: Flirting, bickering to no end, and keeping Earth and the rest of the universe safe from the most outlandish and roguish villains ever known though seven chapters. In “Doom Time,” hence the subtitle, Washu invents a very cool device to alter time; trouble is, everyone except Ryo-oh-ki and a cute little visitor named Taro are trapped in time where Team Masaki is literally fighting against the clock to stay alive and keeping young Taro safe. Next, our favorite goofball in uniform, Mihoshi, finds herself in the middle of a bank robbery that quickly goes beyond awry when the proposed robber grabs Mihoshi ‘s gun resulting in teaching would-be criminals why crime does not pay at all.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Poor Sasami has three chapters in which she is the star; only she is helping the others to fight against cute-yet-murderous building restoration robots and to somehow keep her father from annihilating her fellow classmates. Finally, Washu and the gang face off against an old enemy, Dr. Clay, and his newest weapon: an evil clone of Washu. Programmed at first to strike at Washu, it has the entire household facing off against not one but five clones known as “Dark Washu,” setting off a “to be continued” storyline for Vol. 3.

While reading this second installment of “Tenchi Muyo,” I found that everything that pulled me to this series is still here, keeping the sprit of the Tenchi anime and manga series intact and introducing a new generation of anime fans to harem manga that isn’t just girls domain. The action elements are superb in feeding adrenaline junkies their lust for action without overuse of “Gundam” or “Dragon Ball Z” elements. I must inform you that there is fan service abound in this issue. Ryoko’s cover shot, while alluring, passes the standards and practices rules.

Viz Media has earned the respect of Tenchi fans by having the English adaptation team of writer Fred Burke, translator Lillian Olsen and editor Eric Searleman dive into the Tenchi Muyo phenomenon, understanding that Tenchi Muyo is a cornerstone of Japanese animation and not the latest moneymaking franchise. Hitoshi Okuda’s talent in the storyline and art areas will make you feel as if you’re watching your own personal episode of TM without any commercial breaks.

My favorite scenes of the manga were in chapter five when King Jurai tries to teach one of Sasami’s classmates about manners in his own way, and in chapter seven when Washu and Dark Washu engage in intellectual and physical combat. I felt the action and the intense rivalry seeming from the pages. Anyone who is fortunate to pick a copy of a Tenchi Muyo manga will definitely get their money’s worth as great care in the English adaptation and the combination of excellent art and storyline ensures a great time for all without compromise.

As I close out this edition of Otaku Corner, I would like to take this time to say thanks to you, the readers, for reading this column; it was something that Lyndsey, Jamie and myself thought about for a while within GI and finally added to the video game realm in which anime and manga have a strong connection with Japan. Again, I say thank you, and now must fasten my seat belt per stewardesses Mihoshi, Ayaka and Ryoko as Ryo-oh-ki Airways Flight 803 has safely landed and awaits its treat of all things carrots. I wonder where was she when I needed a veggie wingman?

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

Otaku #04: The All-New Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo’s habit of chasing love comes back in new manga

Brandon Beatty, contributing editor

I’m dusting off a legendary anime throwback. Doing this brings back memories of Cartoon Network’s hit show Toonami, which brought its viewers the best action shows around. Of course, great anime helped complement Toonami, along with its host Tom the Robot and the baddest ride around, the starship Absolution. However, one of its anime shows had a guy who was not only the standard of what heroes should be, but he was also popular with women from outer space. Yes, otaku, I’m talking about Tenchi Masaki, and he and his friends are back in volume one of The All New Tenchi Muyo published by Viz Media.

The All New Tenchi Muyo is part of the original Tenchi Muyo storyline from which the series itself spans and contains movies, TV series and spin-offs. It is considered among the greatest anime series of all time. The entire main

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

cast is back in this series, starring in several adventures in the first volume, which is subtitled Alien Nation. Each of Tenchi’s lovely lady friends has their own story from Ryoko getting a job, Sasami baking a delicious cake that holds a special meaning to her and Ayeka (Sasami’s sister) to Tenchi and Ayeka going on a date. Also Mihoshi, the galactic police officer, crashes her spaceship in Masaki Lake, the super genius Washu stops a burglary attempt by two space thieves, and in the final chapter, Ryo-oh-ki transforms into a sexy and adult form of herself to go on a date with Tenchi as a reward for learning to walk in her adult form.

As a Tenchi Muyo fan, I was very pleased that Hitoshi Okuda kept the formula intact that made this series loved globally by anime fans from the beginning. Each page is guaranteed to bring back the great memories fans have of seeing Tenchi and company’s adventures on Toonami. All the characters and settings stayed true to the original storyline without any missing links. To be fair, I must also give Viz Media’s Fred Burke and Lillian Olsen credit for a flawless English adaptation and translation in this return of Tenchi and company to fans outside of Japan.

In short, The All New Tenchi Muyo: Alien Nation did not let me down as a Tenchi fan. Until Tenchi and crew return to U.S. airwaves for their second conquest via Ryo-oh-ki Airlines, this volume will please all Tenchi fans who believe that this series is not a fad but a true icon among anime. Tenchi now, Tenchi tomorrow, Tenchi forever!

Brandon Beatty contributes Otaku each quarter of Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by e-mail at brandongi@gaminginsurrection.com.