Tenchi Vol. 5 provides enjoyable escapades
Tenchi, 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org