January 25, 2003

Pleasant Surprise

There are some good shows that run for 13-26 episodes and maybe a movie, and then they're done, no matter how successful or good they were (Evangelion, Escaflowne). There are other shows (like Gundam) that blossom into extended chronologies, launching spinoffs that, even if sometimes are rather subpar (coughWingcough), generally retain some quality. Then there are other shows that spawn successive generations, only like a genetic experiment gone terribly wrong each generation is weaker and suckier than the ones that came before, leading into a terrible downard spiral (witness two of Pioneer's cash-cows, Tenchi and El-Hazard).

So imagine my surprise when I found the new Tenchi show to be actually GOOD. And, as far as I can see, the oceans have yet to turn to blood. Freaky.

Well, I say "the" new Tenchi, although there's also a continuation of the original OVA I haven't seen (and don't think it's being fansubbed, or if it is, a casual search didn't turn up the right files). The one I've seen is Tenchi GXP, or Galaxy Police. No, I don't know what the X in the middle stands for, but I'm pretty sure it's not "X-treme," so that's some tension let out right there.

Now, the basic plot summary: the unluckiest boy in the world, Seina, gets... wait, first I should define "unluckiest" better. Trouble doesn't just go looking for him, it has his location marked with a big X (possibly the one from the title) and is sending bomber runs and is already planning the infantry invasion. If bad luck was money, he wouldn't just have enough to buy the whole galaxy, he'd have enough to start taking over the ones next door. People who know him well don't bother to plan for the worst, because they know he'll manage to top whatever they can possibly imagine. For Seina, Merely biking a mile or two to his best friend's house is long enough for several painful encounters, including trucks, a broken bicycle, a really painful ride down a forested hill, and a spaceship landing in the pond next to his sempai's house, Tenchi Masaki.

Which is about where his luck gets... if not better, at least different. Seina is given a way to enroll to become a Galaxy Police officer by a policewoman with an operative style reminicent of Mihoshi (although not quite THAT stupid, she just talks a lot and jumps to conclusions and has a hard time listening. She's not a complete moron, just halfway there). Suddenly, the whole universe opens up for our hero, as he gets the opportunity to break down supposedly failsafe systems across the galaxy merely by attempting to use them.

So, Seina gets to head into space to assemble his very own harem, although it seems like they're mostly hanging out with him out of pity at times. Despite that, the show manages to do a lot of things pretty well. First off, it ditches all the original Tenchi characters except for a brief cameo mention here or there (my favorite so far is "Washu's Tiny Hole"). It's about time, really, since as much as I love the crew, they're a bit stale at this point (65 episodes and three movies do that to you, especially when so many episodes are of rather questionable quality). Another good thing is that there's an actual plot progression, although it's not terribly fast, at least it isn't just a whole bunch of episodes with them trapped in a small house. Beyond that, probably the best part of the show is that, despite the physical-comedy nature of a lot of the jokes (revolving around Seina's eternal bad luck and various things hurting him), hillarity still somehow manages to ensue. I blame the director, Nabeshin of Excel Saga fame (for the 1% of you not onto the joke yet, his real name is WataNABE SHINichi. I think you can figure out the rest on your own).

So, in short: if you liked the hyper-crack stylings of Excel Saga (and that would probably be most of you), this is like a slightly less hyper version of that set in a surprisingly faithful interpretation of the Tenchi universe (actually, it has a firmer grasp than many previous Tenchi products have had). It's not going to make you ponder great questions of human morality, but it will probably make you laugh. At the very least, it can set up countless nerdy debates about which girl is the best. (My favorite so far is Mitoto. Not as a girlfriend (oh god no), I just think she's the coolest character.)

I've noticed that I tend to go for long periods of time with no posts, then come back with a several page essay. Quality over quantity, that's my motto! Anyway, next time maybe I'll talk about some of the news shows they're starting. Of course, to do that I'll need to download a few more of them, but hey, that's what an otaku's life is all about.

Posted by David at January 25, 2003 04:12 AM


Is all of GXP out subbed yet? I felt kinda iffy on it for the episodes I watched. It wasn't bad, but there were definitely very fun moments. As well as some great cameos by side characters from the Tenchi OVAs (that prince who fought Tenchi for instance).

As far as this one being more true to the series, it supposedly follows the OVA timeline (with the 3rd OVA due to start coming out soon. they've put out a few trailers for it).

I think of the ones I've seen I think my characters is Mihoshi's mom, because she's just a trip and seems to know EVERYBODY.

Posted by: gregory at January 25, 2003 04:43 AM

I love Tenchi GXP, but was expecting ... more tenchi. Ehh...I guess I'll get over it, because they tell a lot about the family past. I do like the characters. Plus it shows more of the universe, than even Tenchi Universe shows. :P

Posted by: Misora at April 21, 2003 05:37 PM

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