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

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