[A Need for Tenchi] Tenchi Muyo OVA, episode 4: “Mihoshi Falls to the Land of Stars”

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The massive ship of feared uber villain Kagato passes through space. It’s surrounded by Galaxy Police cruisers, but casually blasts them all away. The Marshall of the GP contacts the Commander of a station in the solar system in which Kagato is heading (ours), informing him of the incident and ordering a search for the villain. The Commander’s Lieutenant informs him the nearest officer is Mihoshi, which isn’t taken well as the Commander’s desk is littered with expensive damage reports from Mihoshi’s previous cases. Nonetheless, the Lieutenant suggests sending Mihoshi after Kagato might be an opportune way to get rid of her.
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[One Man’s Worth] – Factor X #2

We start off with a glimpse inside the pens in which Apocalypse keeps both humans and mutants who have been deemed unworthy.  We learn that the brains (and literally only the brains) of six telepaths are what keep the prisoners too dazed to dream of uprising or escape.  Magneto appears among them to take two of the prisoners to escape, but unfortunately for her, Polaris is not included among them.

Meanwhile, Cyclops and Havok go before Apocalypse, who apparently thinks he’s auditioning for a play, because seriously he could not be any more dramatic in his speeches if he tried.  They once again remind us that Sinister has defected, but Apocalypse is certain that it will not be a problem for him.  Havok is a kiss up but Cyclops dares to speak up in front of Apocalypse, so he gains his respect.  This of course makes Havok insanely jealous.

The brothers leave and have a discussion about power.  Havok wants it, but Cyclops is only concerned with being the good soldier and following orders.  Because you know, that’s kind of his thing (recent developments in the comics not withstanding). The brothers part ways and Havok heads to speak to the Guthries about the prison breakout.  While their security systems can’t identify Magneto, they know Polaris saw him, so they go to speak with her.

The irony here is that in the main continuity, Havok and Polars are lovers. But here he slaps her when she tells him the truth, because I guess he can’t believe Magneto made it through their defenses.  She reacts by using what little powers she has left to move the iron in his blood, before the Guthries taze her.  They bring her to Beast so he can dig through her mind and see exactly what she saw of the breakout.  He explains to them and us that Lorna thinks Magneto is her father because her real parents died in the cullings and the trauma had her hold on to the belief that Magneto was her real father.  She and Rogue formed an alliance for a while, but something apparently soured between them because Rogue ended up stealing half her powers away from her.  But none of that explains why Lorna calls Havok Alex and asks him why he’s doing this to her, as if her madness somehow allowed her to know of their connection in the main reality.

Meanwhile Cyclops meets up with the Bedlam Brothers, who tell him they can’t find any evidence of where Sinister is now.  Angel literally drops in on them because he’s heard the news and he can’t help but think that a war with Europe would be bad for his business.

Alex has retreated to Angel’s club to see Scarlett once again, and he assures her that he’s going to get Cyclops out of the way so he can be in line to replace Sinister as Horseman.  He leaves and Scarlett gets a phone call.  We don’t know who’s on the other end, but it’s clear she’s actually there as an agent for the Human High Council.

Beast is torturing Lorna to get her memories out but her powers interfere with his equipment.  He threatens to perform brain surgery on her, but Cyclops interrupts.    He reminds Beast about the treaty with the humans that forbids genetic experimentation.  Beast scoffs, saying that the treaty is nothing more than a charade and he shouldn’t have to follow it.  Cyclops responds by destroying Beast’s equipment with his laser beams.  As he goes to leave the room, Lorna looks at him, but she sees him as Magneto, in the same cloaked fashion that she saw him earlier.  Is Cyclops the one helping the prisoners escape?

Yes, yes he is.  He comes back for her later and guides her out the pens, even attacking Northstar and Aurora when they show up to stop him.  He guides Lorna into the hands of the Underground movement while Havok watches  from far away, confident that he now has the way to overthrow his brother once and for all.

The misdirect of Magnet builds to a good reveal that, yes, even in this reality, Cyclops is still a good guy, but there’s still a lot of rehashing here that feels completely unnecessary for a second issue.  It feels like padding because that’s exactly what it is.  More than anything I’m really confused by Polaris seeming to know Havok here.  I honestly can’t remember if it comes up again or not, but since she’s free of the pens now I would think not.  Overall it’s not a terrible issue, and if I didn’t hate Summers brother drama so much I might have enjoyed it a bit more.

[A Need for Tenchi] Tenchi Muyo OVA, episode 3: “Hello, Ryo-Ohki!”

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In an old memory, Ayeka as a little girl picks a Royal Teardrop flower and gives it to her brother/fiance, Yosho, but he tells her it’s not a flower meant for happy occasions. Sudden chaos as we see the flaming devastation unleashed by a demonic Ryoko, who takes off in her ship, Yosho in pursuit. Ayeka, now grown, runs after Yosho, but when she reaches him, he becomes Tenchi. Tenchi tells her again that Yosho is dead and gives her the sword hilt as a memento. Ayeka wakes up with a yell, the sword hilt in her hand. She’s in a room at Tenchi’s house, Sasami still asleep on the futon next to her. Ayeka goes to the window, longing for Jurai, then sees Ryoko walk across the pond below. Ayeka turns away in disgust, while Ryoko submerges, pulling a black egg from the wreckage of her ship.
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[A Need for Tenchi] Tenchi Muyo OVA, episode 2: “Here Comes Ayeka”

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A massive ship approaches Earth orbit. At its heart is a garden- and forest-filled capsule where beams of light are projected into a specific tree. A pair of robotic guards, Azaka and Kamidake, activate, and the base of the tree opens, releasing Ayeka, princess of the planet Jurai, from stasis. She’s come to Earth in search of her brother, Yosho, but neither he nor his ship are being picked up by scans. Instead, they find Ryoko. Due to the statute of limitations, Ryoko’s file is cleared five seconds later, meaning she’s no longer a wanted criminal. Ayeka is furious and damns the laws, ordering her ship to move in and capture Ryoko anyways.
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[A Need for Tenchi] Tenchi Muyo OVA, episode 1: “The Resurrection of Ryoko”

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Since he was a child, Tenchi Masaki has wanted to sneak into the Masaki family shrine – the centerpiece of the temple/home he shares with his father and grandfather – but his grandfather keeps warning the boy away with legends of the demon who rests within. 700 years ago, the demon unleashed a wave of massive destruction, until a dragon-like ship came from the sky, bringing a warrior, Yosho, who sealed the demon in this cave with the power of a spiritual sword. Tenchi and his family are descended from Yosho and are tasked with guarding the shrine from intruders.
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Introducing… A Need for Tenchi


The comedies were what first pulled me into anime. I’d of course seen Robotech and Voltron and a number of the other bowdlerized anime series airing in US Saturday morning cartoon blocks back in the day, but it wasn’t until I randomly came across an issue of Ninja High School on the magazine rack at the local mini market (remember when they used to carry comics? Good times) that I started to learn what these terms “anime” and “manga”, both still young to our nation’s ears, actually meant. Tracking down other issues of Ninja High School, I was hit with a crash course on the foreign elements it was parodying alongside the American action movies and teen comedies of the 80s, and I’d soon pass videos at the local blockbuster that were suddenly familiar. This is how I discovered Captain Harlock, Fist of the North Star, and re-evaluated my love of the above-mentioned Robotech. It even introduced me to sentai teams shortly before Power Rangers hit US airwaves. Most importantly, it introduced me to the most magnificent anime screwball comedy ever made: Project A-Ko. It was through my love of such adorable destruction that I started hording everything I could in the genre, diving into Rumiko Takahashi, and renting the first OVA of a series called Tenchi Muyo.

While I loved Ranma 1/2, there was always a repetitive sameness to it resembling American sitcoms. Tenchi, on the other hand, would go from Earth to the deep cosmos in the span of an episode. Anchored on a likeable “average Joe” lead, it took space pirates and rulers of planets-sprawling kingdoms, and brought them down to earth for domestic shenanigans as two women constantly fought over the affections of the hero. Tenchi was definitely an early player in the now unrestrainable harem anime subgenre, but it doesn’t quite fit those tropes as well as other concurrent works like Video Girl Ai or Ah! My Goddess. Tenchi quickly found himself surrounded by women, but they were rarely hyper-sexualized, and only two were actually treated as potential and mutually interested suitors. Asuka and Ryoko were the Betty and Veronica to Tenchi’s perfect gentleman Archie, with him lacking the hapless pervert tendencies one so often found in subsequent moe derivations, and the rest of the largely female cast had their own dynamics as they loudly crashed the story from scenario to scenario.

This, at least, is how I remember the show. It’s been over a decade since I’ve last immersed myself in the world of Tenchi, and I never even finished the whole thing the first time around. I caught the first two waves of OVAs, a few volumes of the manga, the whole first tv series, and all three movies, but I never explored beyond that. I never took a glance at Sasami’s magical girl spinoffs, nor followed Tenchi to Tokyo, nor even knew about the new cast of GXP, so this project is setting out to not only revisit one of my favorite anime of the 90s, but also fill in the gaps where I can. Was it as fun and catchy as I remember? Will I regret having not stuck with it for the long haul? Will it have aged poorly and drive me insane? We’ll see, and I invite all you other old Tenchi fans to join along, sharing your memories and opinions of the franchise as I work my way through.

This project will cover, in roughly chronological order:

Tenchi Muyo OVA, 20 episodes (this was later retitled in some releases as Tenchi Muyo: Ryo-Ohki)

Additional OVAs: Mihoshi Special (1 episode), Magical Girl Pretty Sammy (3 episodes)

No Need for Tenchi manga, 12 volumes [pending availability]

Tenchi Universe tv series, 26 episodes

Tenchi 1: Tenchi Muyo in Love movie

Magical Project S tv series, 26 episodes

Tenchi in Tokyo tv series, 26 episodes

Tenchi 2: The Daughter of Darkness movie

Tenchi 3: Forever movie

The All-New Tenchi Muyo manga, 10 volumes [pending availability]

Tenchi Muyo: Sasami Stories manga

Tenchi Muyo GXP tv series, 26 episodes

[There was a single volume of Tenchi Muyo GXP manga, but it was never released in English]

Sasami: Magical Girls Club tv series, 26 episodes

Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar tv series, 13 episodes

First Impressions – An Expansion

Happy New Year, everyone!

2013 seems to already be a year for change. There are new opportunities all around us, just waiting to be grabbed. And like the changing of the seasons, with the old being joined with the new, so too will Second Time Around change.

We’re still a collection of old experiences seen with new eyes. That part will never change. Looking back on a television series or book or comic or movie that we love, and digging deep to find out why we enjoy it and share it with new readers, that’s always going to be fun.

But with new opportunities come new shows, new books, new games and movies that we’ve never experienced before. Something we’ve had in the “To-Do” pile for a while, or that was recommended to us the same way that all our favorites are recommended to all of you.

Thus we introduce First Impressions, and Noel will kick us off in the coming weeks. And with it, all new opportunities for reviews and exploration and deconstruction of what will surely be something special, that we just haven’t seen yet.

But we will.

And we hope you will join us.

2013 is going to be a lot of fun.