Tenchi the Movie 3: Tenchi Forever!
Six months later, Ryoko and Aeka are still searching in vain for their beloved Tenchi. One day, they come across what they think is Tenchi...though each time they come near, he disappears without a trace. Until he comes into the restaurant they now work at, with a new girlfriend, seemingly completely oblivious to their presence. And the girl is nowhere near as innocent as she seems...
And so the conclusion to the Tenchi Muyo saga begins at last. (If only just for the movie universe.)
For the last decade, Tenchi Muyo has been one of the most popular anime series on both shores of the Pacific, giving rise to many a spinoff and alternate universe, and leaving its marked influence on many other series since its inception. And now the time has come to end it all.
For the conclusion of the series, Tenchi Forever returns to its roots, back to the original OAV timeline and reality, which is by far the best one. Another plus was the creators' decision to end what has been largely a comedic series with serious drama, much like Kimagure Orange Road did with I Want to Return to that Day. The triangle between Tenchi, Ryoko, and Aeka, is finally to be resolved, and it is, in a way many fans probably didn't see coming.
Tenchi, both the series, and the person, has finally grown up. The Tenchi in this movie is nowhere near as wishy-washy or milquetoast as he used to be. In fact, when he senses something amiss in the dreamworld he has been absorbed into, he *demands* to know the truth...and we also see a side of Tenchi we've never seen before, the artist he's always wanted to be, just like his father. Tenchi has been the most underdeveloped character in the series, because it was never really about him. There was literally "no need for Tenchi", but without him, the hijinks could never happen with the rest of the zany cast. But everyone was truly lost without him, and it took losing him for everyone to realize what they had been doing all along.
And the finest example of that self-analysis can be found within Aeka. To be honest, as TM fans, we *hated* Aeka. That laugh. That self-righteousness and hypocrisy. She was there to be the imperious princess who no one really cared about. But after this movie...not only does she completely redeem herself, but she too comes into her own as a very real person. And for a change, she commits the most selfless deed in the Tenchiverse...but we can't spoil it for you.
This movie, however, has a flaw that is just big enough to keep it from being the best of the best, even in the Tenchiverse. The plot comes across as a bit contrived...why Haruna, and why now? Apparently, she was very important in Yosho's life, so why wasn't she ever mentioned *before* this movie? And why does she take Tenchi, if Yosho was her true target? Sure, you could explain it away by saying Yosho's too old and wily for Haruna to get at him, but, still...it doesn't seem right. And the solution was just too simple. It almost seems as if she existed as an excuse for Tenchi to leave for a while. (At least Tenchi gets l...ahhh, never mind. That's another spoiler for another day. ^_~)
Technically, it's nowhere near as glossy as the first two movies. Instead, it goes for more of an arthouse feel with slightly older character designs. They actually look more like real people than the ultra-stylized characters they were in the OAV and TV series. But this was needed, as this heightened their believability as characters. The music was understated, but very appropriate. And, having seen the dub job, we were both impressed and disappointed. Impressed that the actors did such a wonderful job in this movie, but disappointed that this was going to be the last time they would ever voice these characters, just as they were finally hitting their stride. The American cast of Tenchi have always done a wonderful job, but are completely underappreciated (as most good American VAs are) by the American fandom, though on this project, they really put on a good show.
Sadly, most American fans will probably be completely turned off by this movie. Not only is it *far* more adult than even the original movie, Tenchi Muyo in Love, but it is purposely ambiguous in its ending. It only says what it has to say. But it does resolve everything, by way of allusion and implication, rather than spelling everything out for the audience. Those fans looking for the series to go out with a comedic bang will be sorely disappointed. But to those fans who grew up with the original series, who remember when it came out in the early '90s and continued watching over the years as they grew older will truly appreciate this movie for what it really is - a fine ending to a wonderful series.
(But they kept going with it anyway ... )
Not *quite* as good as the original OAV or movie. However, the characterization excels where it hasn't before. — Carlos Ross and Christi
Recommended Audience: Almost no violence to speak of. Heck, the girls don't even get in a *real* catfight! But there are *heavy* implications and sexual overtones throughout the movie. Not for the Pretty Sammy crowd, and this would appeal more to teens and older anyway.
Version(s) Viewed: Convention showing, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Tenchi the Movie 3: Tenchi Forever! © 1999 AIC / Tenchi Muyo In Love 2 Committee
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