Tenchi Muyo and his sexy cops ’n’ robbers harem have had to go Back To The Future for a place on the silver screen in this cinematic spin off from the popular anime cartoon. When Tenchi’s mother disappears from an old 8mm film, the gang have to travel back in time to 1970 in order to save her from… what??? Well, galactic super-criminal Kain has become sick of porridge and escaped from the nick, causing a huge rift in conventional space and time, and… look, I’m doing the best I can here! If you want proper explanations, I advise you to watch the fucking film, right? I ain’t your friggin’ science teacher!!!
Anyroad, the gang go undercover, at school with Tenchi’s teenage mother whilst Tenchi hides in the bushes beside the volleyball pitch (ahem…), every so often disappearing and having to be dragged back to reality by a huge, laserfied fishing net thingy (what did I tell you before? Why don’t YOU tell ME what’s goin’ on!!!). The pals deduce that Kain will strike during a school trip to Tokyo Tower (like Blackpool tower but without the riff-raff), and sure enough he does show up, a huge disembodied, floating hands and head with an open gash right down the middle of it (and I use the word “gash” in the crudest possible sense), and a voice that makes Barry White sound like Aled Jones. And now things get really complicated when Tenchi’s parents are dragged with Kain via a strange teleportation device into sub-space, a cold desolate world of practically nothing, and Tenchi has to extend his weapon and go in after them.
So you can see that Tenchi Muyo! In Love is extremely similar to Back To The Future in that it has present day characters interacting with people in the past and their effect on the future – for some reason I think that this anime has a much more intelligent view on ideas about space and time than the aforementioned Spielberg vehicle. I guess watching too many Godzilla flicks has given me the impression that the Japanese have a much firmer grip on scientific theory, and indeed, reality, than the rest of the world! All your favourite Tenchi characters are here, from bumbling Galaxy Police blonde-bimbo Mihoshi) to my favourite, punk-rock space-pirate Ryoko. It’s these girls that provide most of the entertainment here, be it Ryoko and Ayeka’s highly-charged cat-fighting causing a train to explode to poor Ryoko being forced to borrow the sweaty, bollock-scratching gym-teacher’s sports kit. Tenchi himself is true to form – despite having such a wide range of hot-chicks at his disposal, he spends most of his time groaning to himself, when he should actually be grumbling with the girls. Animation here is of the more stylised, “cute” type favoured by kiddie ‘toons – I guess Tenchi Muyo! In Love would make an ideal kids’ movie if it wasn’t for one bloody, fleeting image of a Galaxy Police officer torn in half and then tossed aside. It is a little gratuitous in a movie like this!
I have to say, I enjoyed this much more than I did the original Tenchi Muyo OAV, although it must be said that I only saw the latter half of the series which made it a little hard to understand. And it is so obvious that this was made for the cinema – the opening scenes are quite spectacular giving Tenchi Muyo! In Love that little bit of extra class. And for me, it’s worth seeing alone for another glimpse of my intergalactic girlfriend, Ryoko. Yeah, I know, she looks like Cyndi Lauper serving time for GBH and talks like a New Yorker offering blow-jobs for fix-money, but Jesus! If she isn’t the biggest turn on I know!!!