Tenjho Tenge: Round 03 Review

The bowling ally battle continues between the Executive Council and the Juken Club. Fists fly, bodies fall and exposition pours out as Masataka, Bob, Souichiro, Aya and Maya do some stuff with Chi!


The previous volume of Tenjho Tenge proved that no matter how much action you throw at the screen it doesn’t always make for riveting viewing. The problem was that the series initially dealt with a vast majority of character background and subsequently felt it OK to continue on with three episodes of solid fighting. Volume three comes somewhere in-between, continuing the frenzied bloodening whilst picking up a few pieces along the way. So although this volume isn’t a huge step up from the last, it does manage to actually tell a little back-story for its closing episode. Opening up then it carries on in the same fashion as volume two finished, finally amounting to an astonishing five-part, bone grinding spectacle, which funnily enough in “real time” only took thirty minutes. That’s where I have some problems with Tenjho Tenge’s sense of time and continuity. As before we somehow flit between confrontations and listen in on various philosophies and revelations, as if the fight that we were previously viewing suddenly stopped still and then reconvened after we were handed enough exposition from the next one. It probably shouldn’t matter so much because the viewer is undoubtedly drawn to this epic battle, but it can’t help but be felt that it’s little niggles like this that draw out the series far more than it needs to be. While the fights themselves continue in the same high standard there’s an air of frustration that permeates events.

During episodes eight and nine a couple of characters are given a certain amount of precedence. Souichiro and Aya share some of the spotlight as Aya’s Dragon Eye becomes too overwhelming for her, and Souichiro’s history seems to relate to a sacred clan. But it’s Executive Council boss Mitsuomi who is as much a star of this piece, and his relationship with his brother Masataka is highlighted with a solid amount tension. Likewise his past with Maya is hinted at and some of his followers are bought into the forefront, least of whom is fighter Kagurazaku and Mitsuomi’s friend Bunshichi Tawara – who happens to have a weakness for Maya’s tits. But it’s not until episode ten, when most of the action is taken care of, that the story begins to unravel in the form of a lengthy flashback. It’s here that we learn just how Maya came into contact with Mitsuomi and Tawara, and also how the death of her older brother Shin fits in with these characters. However, just when things are starting to get interesting the story is cut off, much like this review.


Episodes:

Fight 08: Dragon’s Eye
Mitsuomi makes his presence known when he squares up to his younger brother Masataka and Bob. Meanwhile Souichiro is finishing up his fight with Saga, while Aya’s confrontation with Tagami is about to become devastating.

Fight 09: Enforcement
The end of the bowling ally showdown is nigh. As Maya confronts some old faces Souichiro faces Mitsuomi and proves to be more than a match for him.

Fight 10: Memory
The time has come for Maya to reveal her past.


The DVD

A big breasted Maya graces volume three, accompanied by Mitsuomi. As with previous volumes this is also reversible

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.

Extras

Nothing here, save for some Geneon previews.


Overall

It’s hard to know for sure if Tenjho Tenge is starting to show promise again. I put my lack of faith down to Geneon’s handling of the series somewhat, because had we been given four episodes then we might have received a decent amount of closure for Maya’s back-story. As it stands we have to wait until the next volume, and even then I’m not certain if we can expect some solid storytelling or more drawn out fisty-cuffs.

Film
6 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
8 out of 10
Extras
0 out of 10
Overall

6

out of 10

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