Monday, August 7, 2017

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo has probably one of the most diverse legacies in all of anime. Originally a 6-episode OVA series, followed by a special(which became Episode #7), then continued in another 6.25-episode series, it left a trail for several TV and movie remakes, along with a spinoff set further in the future, until finally being officially continued in a third installment of the original OVA about 12 years later. This is was also the foundation of what would become the "harem anime" genre. Picking up the concept that Urusei Yatsura, Tenchi Muyo takes the boy-meets-alien-girl concept and ramps it up with even more hot extra-terrestrial babes!

Tenchi Misaki is an average teenager spending the summer working at his grandfather's temple where he unintentionally releases an ancient demon, who turns out to be the sexy space pirate Ryoko sealed away in a tomb by Tenchi's ancestor. Fortunately, Tenchi has a handy lightsaber which is really the key to an alien empire known as Jurai, whose princesses Ayeka and Sasami come to Earth looking for their half-brother Yosho. Later, the bubbleheaded space police girl Mihoshi drops in, just before the intergalactic criminal Kagato invades looking for the secret to Jurai's power. Kagato was keeping his old teacher Washu(and Ryoko's mom!)prisoner, that escapes and helps Tenchi defeat their shared enemy. All five girls eventually move into Tenchi's home with his father near their grandpa's temple. This portion of the OVA was continued in the 2nd series with more background on Washu, and the Jurai royal family. The 3rd OVA takes place sometime afterwards, which gave Tenchi even more love interests, and leading into how the universe was created, despite the fact that there's some added plotlines that pointlessly tags more loopholes to the series, making most of the last two episodes as exposition fests. This and the tacked on time travel factors make it so that most of the first parts of the 3rd OVA are completely re-enacted, plus an odd take on the Evangelion finale.

The OVA is being continued in a 4th series, hopefully having Tenchi finally picking one of the multiple girls from his harem as his one true love. Tenchi Muyo was most heralded in America as part of Toonami's lineup, even though it was profoundly edited, and was broadcast with the Tenchi Universe and Tenchi In Tokyo TV remakes. It's spinoff, Tenchi Muyo GXP(the title character of which only shows up in one episode!), also played on Toonami. The multiple magical girl parody remake starring Sasami called Pretty Sammy has also had it's own OVA series, and two TV remakes. Another mini-TV series titled Ai Tenchi Muyo shows an older Tenchi as a teacher, although its considered to be a sequel to Tenchi Universe. Aside from the Mihoshi Special, the only other anime directly tied to the first Tenchi timeline is War On Geminar dealing with Tenchi's younger brother on another planet, as well as a slight tie-in to the Dual: Parallel Adventure TV series which has some connection to GXP. The original OVA series also spawned a manga series released in America as No Need For Tenchi, as well as an American-created 6-issue Tenchi Muyo comic book series which was really a sequel to Tenchi Universe. If you have trouble shifting through all these various spinoffs, sequels, reboots, and remakes, it might be best just to stick to the primary OVA series, and any of its various official continuations.

Introducing the new White House Communications Director...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

ANI-MOVIES, *The Lego Batman Movie

Having no direct connection to Lego Batman: The Movie, this theatrically-released film was a semi-spinoff of The Lego Movie, apparently dealing with the Batman that exists in that "reality". Lego established that the Batman from their video games and made-for-TV/video animated movies is in a completely different universe from The Lego Movie, as in the Lego Dimensions game had both Batmans meeting up with the video game Batman beating out The Lego Movie Batman as the one you play as who meets up with characters like Gandalf and Doctor Who. Chris McCay directed The Lego Movie, and takes up the reigns again with a satirical look at the Batman universe, who also exists in the same Lego universe as various other Warner Bros. licensed titles.

Joker gets all of Gotham's villains(including some really obscure ones)to take over the city, but as usual, Batman shows up and takes them all down by himself. Joker gets miffed when Batman tells him he's not his main enemy. Bruce Wayne later attends James Gordon's retirement from police commissioner, whose position is replaced by his daughter Barbara that in this reality was never a librarian or part of the House of Representatives, but a top cop from Bludhaven, and plans on having the police work closer with Batman as he's never actually caught any of Gotham's villains(except for the opening scene!). Batman plans on sending Joker to the Phantom Zone to permanently get rid of him, so he takes his newly adopted ward Dick to sneak into the Fortress of Solitude and snatch the zone's generator it right under Superman's super-senses, all while him and the rest of the Superfriends(not the JLA!)are partying down. Batman then busts into Arkham and sends him off to the zone which also has several other Warner Bros. villains like the Eye of Sauron(the actual tower), Voldemort, King Kong, Jaws, flying monkeys, and gremlins, although oddly enough we don't see General Zod there as Batman gets the idea for the Phantom Zone from a news report on Superman having previously sent the mad Kryptonian to. Joker along with the WB lot baddies take over Gotham, so Batman teams up with the newly named Robin, Alfred(now dressed like Kato), Barbara Gordon as 60's Batgirl, along with the other Arkham inmates to form their own "Suicide Squad", a concept that Batman: The Return Of The Caped Crusaders handled a little better. All this destruction causes the entire city breaking apart, and all the heroes and villains have to unite to pull Gotham back together, but for some reason with no help from the Superfriends who are supposedly still having their hero orgy at the North Pole.

The Lego Batman Movie is a visually intriguing production, and a real payoff for longtime Batfans. However, this version of Batman is a gross exaggeration of the Dark Knight, even by parody standards. For a better Lego adaptation of Bats, albeit of a lower production value, it's better to stick with the "official" Lego Batman/Justice League animated projects and video games.