Tuesday, December 27

Fighting Fan Service

So what's Tenjou Tenge about? Read the title post.

With the lovely and languid pace of the holiday break, I was finally able to watch the Tenjou Tenge anime in it's entirety. There are 24 episodes along with a 2-episode OAV follow-up, though the manga on which the title is based is still ongoing or far longer, I think.

Anyway, Tenjou Tenge is a martial arts title, similar to Volcano High and Ikki Tousen. Two brawling high school students, Nagi Souchirou and Bob Makuhara transfer to Todou High and find themselves joining a battle between the Jyuken Club, headed by sisters Maya and Aya Natsume, and the School Enforcement Group/Student Council. There is some romantic complication given that in the course of an early fight Nagi falls into the girls' shower room, seeing Aya naked and thus marking him as her husband-to-be. Along with the breaking bones and bloody splatters, there's some humor and jokes (even fart and armpit humor) sprinkled to lighten the generally serious tone of competing fighters seeking greater power, guilt and satisfaction with their strength.

I really wanted to like Tenjou Tenge a lot, but darn... this series has some of the weirdest pacing ever. For one thing, it has perhaps the LONGEST flashback I've ever seen... as in, HALF the series is a darn flashback. It really throws you off and was part of the reason why I quit watching this a long time ago. Also, the story is pretty complicated- lots of stuff about fighting and martial arts philosophy and the complicated relationships between the various characters prior to Nagi and Bob's arrival in Todou.

Tenjou Tenge isn't that hard to watch- if you tune out from all the plot and soap opera dramatics, you can always wait for the fights- and there are quite a few pretty cool action sequences- throughout the series. PLUS the gratuitous shots of the Natsume sisters and the other babes in the series should keep male viewers awake. Unfortunately, the ending of the series (and the OAV) is pretty open-ended (which is a nice way of saying 'bitin' and unconclusive) with a status quo situation. Animation-wise, Tenjou Tenge has some bursts of pretty cool fighting animations, but for the most part has average quality... never horrible but not that great. The character designs are cool and sexy, based as they are from the art by manga ka Oh! Great.
If you love stuff like Ikki Tousen, Street Fighter, Naruto and other fighting anime, Tenjou Tenge may be a title to see. If you can get past the first six episodes, you'll probably be fine. Check it out at good anime shops in the Metro.

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