Weekend Review – Tenchi Muyo In Love II: Tenchi Forever

This week we’ve got the last of the Tenchi Muyo movies. Does the series come to an end on a good note, or does it leave us with a bad taste in our mouths?

Cast, Crew & Other Info

Ai Orikasa as Ryoko
Kikuko Inoue as Haruna
Masami Kikuchi as Tenchi
Yumi Takada as Aeka
Chisa Yokoyama as Sasami
Etsuko Kozakura as Ryo-Ohki
Takehito Koyasu as Yosho
Takeshi Aono as Katsuhito Masaki
Yuko Kobayashi as Washu
Yuko Mizutani as Mihoshi
Yuri Amano as Kiyone Makibi
Kenichi Ogata as Azaka
Takeshi Aono as Nobuyuki Masaki
Wataru Takagi as Kamidake

Directed by Hiroshi Negishi
Screenplay by Masaharu Ayano
Music by Tsuneyoshi Saito
Animated by AIC

The Premise

After Tenchi disappears  from the Masaki shrine, the girls set out to find him, and discover he’s been pulled into a parallel universe by a new woman, Haruna, who has a history with Yosho.

Continuity Notes: This series is in the Tenchi Universe continuity – and contains highlights of the Tenchi/Ryoko relationship from the TV series in a small video package that is played during the credits.

The High Points

At first listen I could have sworn that the score by Tsuneyoshi Saito was actually by long time Hayao Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi, and the score really compliments the film’s tone, which is much more sedate and somber than the TV series. I haven’t seen Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (the Urusei Yatsura film that was directed by Mamoru Oshii), but from the sounds of things, that film and this film are probably comparable. The film doesn’t spend as much time trying to hit the iconic Tenchi comedy beats as the other two films. Heck, it’s not that much of a comedy at all, though it’s still an excellent film.

The Low Points

If you’re expecting the slapstick comedy of the previous Tenchi films, you’ll be disappointed. For that matter, it doesn’t even have a fight scene. It’s definitely different.

Content Notes

No violence at all in this film. However, there are two non-explicit sex scenes between Tenchi and Haruna (non-explicit in that Haruna is the only character we see naked, and only from the waist up). Still, that’s a pretty significant leap for a harem romantic comedy, particularly one not adapted from an eroge.

The Scores

Originality: Another sequel, but one that covers ground that hasn’t been particularly trod before with this franchise and, one which may possibly pick a “winner” from among the Girls, depending on how you look at it. 4 out of 6.

Animation: The animation quality isn’t as good as the first Tenchi movie, but it’s better than Daughter of Darkness. 5 out of 6.

Story: This has one of the best stories of the Tenchi franchise thus far, and one with the most character development for, not only the supporting cast, but the core cast as well. 5 out of 6.

Voice Acting: We get some of the best performances from most of the cast here in the series, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to go back to the OVAs and TV series after this. We’ll see. 5 out of 6.

Emotional Response: This film gets some of the best character development for Ryoko and Ayeka we get for most of the series – particularly since the characters spend a lot of the film together, and without Tenchi, and they actually get along! 5 out of 6.

Production: The sound effects are good, but not fantastic, though the score is stellar, and I want to give props as well to Geneon for giving this a 16:9 release (though the menu still is pretty bland). 5 out of 6.

Overall: While Daughter of Darkness has my favorite continuity of the Tenchi series (clarifying my remarks on the previous review), this has the best story of the Tenchi franchise. 6 out of 6.

In total, Tenchi Muyo In Love II gets a 35 out of 42.

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