By jove he’s done it! He’s actually done it! Japan’s most perpetual virgin, Tenchi Muyo, has finally POPPED HIS CHERRY! I know, I know, I couldn’t believe it either, but I saw it with my own eyes... there was even hooters too! So who’s the lucky girl? Well, it wasn’t my Ryoko – if he’d have touched my favourite green-haired space-pirate, he’d be in traction by now! No, no, he’s chucked his muck with someone else. He’s chucked his muck with… his granddad’s ex-bird? Ow!
But no, it’s not as simple, nor as sleazy as that. One would think that Tenchi would be used to it by now, but evidently not – yet another rift in the space/time continuum leads him into trouble, this time when he’s swallowed by a tree whilst trying to escape the affections of his rabid concubines and transported to a parallel dimension created by grandpop’s long-lost – well, long-dead actually – lover who’s trying to rekindle a little of that fire she warmed her toes on all those years ago. Because it’s essentially their fault, Ryoko and Ayeka find themselves looking for an older and wiser Tenchi (sporting a fantastic looking mullet) in the big city.
Well, if you adrenaline-junkies think you’re in for an action-packed sci-fi adventure ala Tenchi in Love, then forget it! The only fighting you’ll see here is between Ryoko and Ayeka as they battle it out for Tenchi’s affections. “Get back to the “dog” star!” yells Ayeka (nice!). “C’mere you bitch!” growls the ever-tempestuous Ryoko, baring those seductively evil-looking fangs. In fact, these two hog pretty much the whole show, with all the other characters, including Tenchi himself, being fairly superfluous. Because there’s such a marked lack of action here, Tenchi Forever looks nowhere near as spectacular as its predecessor and bears all the hallmarks of being a made-for-video production. Having said that, there are a few fairly breathtaking moments on offer whilst the girls jump between dimensions – it’s just a pity there aren’t more of them. The real magic of Tenchi Forever, though, is in its animation, the best in a Tenchi film yet. One would have thought that making those cute, stylised characters actually look alive would be an impossible task but this team have managed it – Tenchi Forever looks absolutely fantastic. The story, on the other hand, may bag a few critics; some may feel that another Tenchi adventure caused by space/time rifts is less than inspired. Luckily, this serves only as a springboard, if you will, and Tenchi Forever manages to hold its own (like Tenchi himself, presumably, has been doing for years) and not slip too far into repetition.
Tenchi Forever has a limited appeal, certainly. High-octane sex and violence freaks can forget it. So can all the kids looking for another marketing scam to fill in the arid gap between Pokemon and Beyblades – this would probably bore the pants off them. But romantics and sci-fi sentimentalists should enjoy this. The story is intelligent and unpredictable enough to hold one’s interest, and the characters are simply adorable too. Like Ryoko… y’know, you actually get to see her dressed as a sexy waitress in this, mini-skirt and all. Fabulous! Hey Ryoko honey… if you’re reading this, why not give me a call?
Aka: Tenchi Muyo In Love 2: Haruka Naru Omoi, Tenchi Muyo: Tenchi In Love 2: Distant Memories