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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