Tenjho Tenge: Round 02 Review
A little R&R is in order for the Juken Club. Martial Arts isn’t the only way for our heroes to grow stronger, and so Maya decides to take them to the local bowling alley, during the middle of the “Golden Week“ vacation period. However, their moment of relaxation is soon disturbed when several members of the Executive Council drop by and mount an epic attack.
The above synopsis basically describes the entire volume to a tee. After the impressive opening volume I wish that I could say things continue to improve greatly, but this isn’t to be the case. Volume 2 of Tenjho Tenge is nothing but wall to wall violence from beginning to end. While the prospect of endless fighting might sound good on paper the reality of it is that it serves little purpose other than to create fillers for the series. Making matters worse is that only three episodes are presented this time around; each one being an extension of the last.
So for 75-minutes we watch Maya face off with Vice President, Isuzu in the ladies‘ toilets. Isuzu threatens Maya, asking her to disband the Juken Club and swear loyalty to the Executive Council, or else face her wrath. Masataka and Bob help protect Chiaki in the bowling alley, as eighty or so men fill the place, while Souichiro is told to leave and fight elsewhere. He ends up running into Saga Mask, which will test his strength throughout the duration of this volume. Finally, new boy Tagami - a samurai hippy - squares off with Aya. Since the day he saw her he has been in fear of her Dragon’s Eye and has waited for the opportunity to unleash his fury upon her.
Naturally with all this confrontation there is little else to focus on. Character development is almost non-existent, which makes things a little less than interesting. The most that is squeezed out of our characters is that we learn Isuzu hides her obesity by channelling it through her Chi, as well as Souichiro being given a little more insight into his past and several others questioning their abilities once more. Going back to Isuzu then, this new addition to the series is entirely played for laughs. The writers don’t attempt to humanise her by giving her a serious moment to channel her true feelings, where she would no doubt feel shamed by her large appearance. Instead much of this entails a long fight, with knife throwing and torn panties, which sadly fails to capitalise on a good opportunity. With Souichiro there is very little to elaborate on, past a moment of reflection where he remembers his mother on her death bed as she gives him advice on his life. His main goal here is to learn why he wants to be strong, who is he fighting for? Likewise, Bob begins to question his place in all of this. Will he be as strong as Masataka and how does he compare in strength to Souichiro? These questions go unanswered for now. Finally we get Maya’s take on leadership duties and we begin to see Aya change, when she forces herself to use her Dragon’s Eye. As far as the bad guys go, we even get a little background on some of them, with Saga Mask faring best of all. Still, these are fleeting moments and don’t make up for things by any great margin.
And that is really it. Aside from some more repetitive philosophies about Chi and President Mitsuomi arriving at the bowling alley in preparation for a future showdown there is nothing else to talk about. Volume 2 finishes on an unsatisfactory note, with the rest of this bowling alley situation left to play out for the next volume. It’s disappointing that Geneon have skimped on episodes here, because at the very least we should have been able to see how this part of the story concludes.
Volume 2 contains the following three episodes:
Fight 05: Punishment
Maya takes Souichiro, Bob, Chiaki, Masataka and Aya to the local bowling alley for a different kind of training. Souichiro just wants to train as usual and fails to see how bowling will help him become any stronger. After a little convincing from Maya he decides to go along with things, but soon everyone’s enjoyment is spoiled when the Executive Council attacks.
Fight 06: Illusion
As the battle wages on, Masataka finds himself taking on hoards of Executive Council members, while Souichiro goes up against the behemoth wrestler, Saga Mask. Isuzu and Maya continue to exchange blows and Tagami relentlessly pursues Aya further up the building. President Mitsuomi, of the Executive Council stops by and awaits his perfect opportunity.
Fight 07: Breakthrough
The fighting has begun to take its toll on several characters. Now victories are being decided and philosophies are being learned. Mitsuomi still waits patiently as his council members begin to falter. Now Souichiro must use his greatest strength and Aya must rely on her perception. As the pair shares some spiritual ties it seems that there just might be hope for them yet. First they must get out of a nasty situation, which doesn’t appear to be drawing to a close any time soon.
Volume 2 of Tenjho Tenge is even more attractive than the first. This time we have Aya grace the sleeve in all her splendour, while Souichiro grins violently in the background. The reverse of the sleeve contains the full painting that spreads across the entire width.
Note: Due to this volume being no different than the last I shall provide my exact same comments for this transfer
The series is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and I can say it is one of the finest transfers I’ve ever seen for an anime series, if not for one major flaw and that is aliasing. This pops up all too often and is very noticeable on panning shots. It’s no major distraction and only when you pause will you see it clearly. Also there are the usual banding troubles and small amounts of Edge Enhancement but aside from that it’s gorgeous. Detail is superb, with pin-sharp visuals and the colours are beautiful. This is a very active show that takes place outdoors as much as it does indoors and so just about every colour of the spectrum needs to be catered for adequately. Day time scenes are often pleasant, with wonderful blue skies, pink blossoms and lush greens, while interiors are equally as vibrant and detailed. Contrast levels are good, along with strong blacks and fine shadow detail. A solid effort.
For sound we get the standard Japanese and English 2.0 tracks. Both tracks are inseparable in terms of speaker usage, offering fine clarity for dialogue and brilliant support of the various special effects and musical cues.
Though the closing theme is no where near as brilliant as the opening “Bomb A Head! V” it is still pleasant enough, and welcome to see sans credits.
Here you’ll find trailers for Fafner, Girl’s Bravo and Gun Grave.
Volume 2 of Tenjho Tenge does deliver some more impressive animation and strong fight sequences, but even so it's just not enough to generate enough excitement or raise interest levels. Unfortunately the series has taken quite a step back and needs to cover a lot of ground if it is to improve beyond what we’ve witnessed here. Geneon’s release for Tenjho Tenge is also sounding like a bit of a joke, with the entire series being spread over eight volumes. As such I shall expect to see more three episode volumes, but I only hope they aren’t all as shallow as this one.