I started this series and was very impressed by the first few episodes. The art was pretty good and the characters seemed pretty solid. But as the series went on I begain to realize that it wasn't at all what I thought it would be. The main story is never really concluded, and in fact it doesn't even matter since half of the series is this epic flashback. Mind you, during this you learn some neat information that explains the present story, but it makes you wonder if the present is even the real story at all. Sound was average. The choice of vocice actors was very good, and the music was nothing spectacular. It didn't stand out but it didn't detract from the series either. As for the characters, I found they were either love or hate. But for me they all just seemed to have to total ineptitude in their problem solving skills, causing very much hate of them on my part. Over all, it's kind of a pretty anime, but I don't think it makes for a good series. It would have made a better OVA series if anything.
NOTICE: This review covers both the series, the extra OVAs, as well as the manga version, which I needed to include as means to prove what A FAKIN PIECE OF SHIT this show is.
- Animated by studio Madhouse, the king of animated series. This is definitely one of their lesser works though.
- Directed by some nobody who never did something good, so moving along…
- Based on the manga by Oogure Ito, the guy who also made Air Gear. Well, he is not someone big but he has a big fanbased of shonentards to consider himself successful up to a point.
SCRIPT & CAST
Tenjho Tenge was one of the first fighting series I watched after I became a hardcore viewer and I must say I was thrilled with it at first. The story looked very promising, there was a lot of brutal fighting as well as fan service, and the characters had a crazy side to them, turning the whole show to a very dark and erotic psychological thriller at times. Being still fresh out of my teens and not that fond of fighting shonens with their over-idealistic characters and lack of brutal action, I was quickly attracted to its raw nature. “Hey this is a hardcore fighting series for a change” is what I was saying.
Why wouldn’t the initial episodes be amazing? You have these two delinquents busting into their new school and threatening to be the top badasses, beating the crap out of everyone who disagrees. One of them is a black guy simply called Bob, with Rasta hair and a super hot babe to score with every night (if you happen to read the manga). The other guy is… Oh who cares about him; he is the typical shonen blockhead; let’s just focus on Bob and his super hot chick. So, on the first episode alone they create havoc in their school and they get to meet some chick who transforms to a loli as means to save power. And a nice ecchi bath scene. And sculls busting, teeth falling, noses needing a surgeon. And some shady super powerful man who can kill an ox with a punch standing in their way to the top. Yeah baby; this is the stuff of brilliance!
And then… well… something went wrong. After a few episodes the story moves to a long flashback arc as means to explain the backdrop stories of everybody BESIDES Bob and that other guy I don’t care about. Hey, what kind of a switch of focus is this? Anyways, I was willing to accept it since it offered a nice immersion to the adversaries and the hot super chick turning loli. It was nice to see them getting fleshed out and offering the setting some nice background. The amount of comedy and violence though was lowered significantly and turned to a mostly social drama with overblown dramatization, which is far from the initial feeling of the show. And no Bob scoring with his chick either, so no fun.
And then the final episodes arrive and the flashback is over. Back to the present where the duo gets ready to take on the big badass ox-killer. And since he is now fleshed out more THAN THE LEAD DUO he is even more interesting to see how he deals with Bob and that other guy I don’t care about. So here I am getting ready to see an amazing non-stop battle for two episodes in a row… I get nothing… and it ends… WTF!!!
Seriously, it was just another case of an incomplete manga adaptation and it even stopped in the most inconvenient point. I was so hyped, I rushed to read the manga from the start (in case they changed something). Well, apart from censoring a lot of sex and brutal violence the story was identical up to the point the series ended. After that, the story continues with that blunt blondy I don’t care about training with a bunch of weird martial arts masters as means to learn some super technique to beat the GAR villain. WTH, Bob turned to a stunt and the story now turned to a Naruto training arc??? Hardly any fun with the action and the violence and the fan service all being dull. To hell with this crap…
So the animators decided to continue with the story after the training arc is over and the two of them enter a fighting tournament where the main bad guy takes part in too. FACEPALM they used to play dirty and there was yakuza organizations doing all sorts of illegal activities and now THEY PLAY BY THE RULES??? This is going against the very thing I loved in the show; no tournaments, no laws, no fair play, lots of ecchi and brutal beating. And now they have a referee telling them how to play??? FU!
The second season was also a complete waste of time as it was not a series but just two OVAs that skip most of the training and make no sense as they feel completely rushed and vague. And again end as the match begins! WTH, this is totally infuriating!
So I keep following the manga afterwards as means to see the final battle there. AND I AGAIN GET SHIT! The story is again going into another flashback arc, this time going centuries back to the feudal era and showing the creation of the illegal organization and the roots of the weird superpowers everybody is using. Although that again offered even more immersion and fleshing out to the setting, it completely left aside its main attractions; Bob and the ox-killer; and went ahead at introducing lots of people doing lots of overblown drama things, that by the time of the shows’ present are either dead or old grampas nobody cares about.
And that was the last straw; I dropped the series entirely. You stupid mangaka, you don’t flesh out the setting by completely forgetting its main characters for a hundred chapters. You offer it piece by piece and not all at once. I was in for Bob and the GAR villain and not for the stupid explanations of how Japan was isolated from the rest of the world 400 years ago. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT; I WANT TO SEE BRAWLING!!! And so does everybody else who begins this series. If we wanted a history lesson, we would be watching History Channel. And if we wanted good samurai drama, we would definitely not look it in a show which begins with school delinquents smacking people in modern Japan. SO WHY ARE YOU BETRAYING YOUR OWN FANS LIKE THIS???
The show lacks direction and consistency. It begins as something and abruptly changes to something else, then returns to the first idea and then switches back to the other. This is not only confusing, it is also like going out of character, off topic, and into the recycle bin. BAD! BAD DIRECTING!
Bottom line, the show is very exciting for a few episodes with the brutal fighting and the ecchi but then the mangaka doesn’t know how to develop his original idea and trashes the premise with long and boring flashbacks, instead of offering them bit by bit as the story moves on and the characters are not neglected in favor of infodump. The production values are ok for such a show BTW, I have nothing against them other than censoring all the juicy parts of the manga and not being SUPER AWESOME in terms of detail and animation. And Bob is such a cool dude to look at. Too bad the mangaka is a racist and dumped him so he can focus on that other blockhead blondy, who is a Naruto look-alike. SCREW YOU!
So no, I do not recommend this anime. It will give you a candy and then it will punch you in the guts and pull it out of your mouth before giving you a boring history book and demanding from you to read it. TO HELL WITH IT!
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 2/2 (very good for its time)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (typical modern Japan stuff)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 2/10
Premise 1/2 (simple)
Pacing 0/2 (random time skips and flashbacks)
Complexity 1/2 (many stuff happen but most are eventually useless)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t have one)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 2/2 (cool/sexy)
Personality 1/2 (basic macho stuff)
Backdrop 2/2 (everybody has a story to tell)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 0/2 (incomplete story, so it doesn’t exist)
VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too many random plot switches)
Memorability 2/4 (Bob and the ox-killer are great, the rest are meh)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 1/2 (cool song)
Story 0/3 (bad directing of a simple story gone haywire)
Characters 2/4 (Bob and the ox-killer are great, the rest are meh)
Everything about this title just reminds of one other show which has something to do with it being a shounen title and most of the time, I can get easily bored with shounen anime with dragged out storylines, flashbacks and stilted frames of fights instead of actual fights being animated onto there but what I heard from the manga adaptation, it has plenty of intense fight scenes, completely uncensored and outstanding artwork. But how can I compare the manga to the anime considering I haven’t read the manga and from what I know, the manga was still running at the time after the anime was finished and the manga was finished printing in August 2010……6 years after the anime adaptation. Let’s just get into the plot summary.
Souchirou Nagi and Bob Makihara (also named the Knuckle Bomb) are two delinquents who arrive at Toudou Academy with the objective of ruling over the school with their strength. But on their first day, they encountered the Jyuken Club, a martial arts group of the school. Members of the group, Maya Natsume, her sister Aya, and Masataka Takayanagi easily overpowered Souchirou and Bob. And what's more, due to what was assumed to be their "connections" with the Jyuken Club, the two were attacked by members of the Enforcement Group, which oversees the martial arts groups of the school. Drawn into the personal conflicts between Jyuken Club and the Enforcement Group, Souchirou and Bob have no choice but to join up with Maya Natsume's group and to hone their skills to become even stronger.
Before I began to watch this series, I did not know that it had some fan service and ecchi moments on there and believe me, if you drink any time you see panty shots when the ladies are fighting, you will get fucked up. Most of the fights in the anime are not exactly animated well. It is mostly stilted fight stills and throws and sure the animation background looks pretty but still for a fighting anime, the fights are not that exciting. Plus, you notice that every female character on this show has…….(well, guess)
Not that I’m complaining but two things: 1) this is a much exaggerated design on the female characters. Sure, this is to appease the fan service crowd but I think they have a bit of more variety. 2) No love for the booty lovers. We like them, too. Also, I think the plotline about the past of Shin Natsume, Maya & Aya’s brother, should have had more focus in the beginning rather than in the middle where everything would’ve been more organized and not as confusing.
For characters, I think the show Bleach has been somewhat of an influence despite Tenjho Tenge (manga - 1999-2010) being released earlier before Bleach (manga – 2001-2012) so that means Tenjho Tenge was the predecessor of everything that the first season of Bleach was before it got too annoying. Also, I think most of the English voice actors in Bleach were in this show or at least two that I recognize.
Music wise, the series’ opening theme is m.c.A.T's "Bomb A Head!" and while it can corny at first, it’s an enjoyable and quotable song, and by quotable I meant the “Bomb A Head” part of the song. The rest of the music is pretty average for a shounen anime and the ending sequence is pretty awkward and weird to watch, especially the background art of the sequence.
FINAL VERDICT: While this show has mostly the same flaws as Ikki Tousen, I find this more enjoyable than that. Most of the characters in the show are likable (and some are pretty damn stupid), especially Bob & Chiaki – my favorite characters, and they don’t irritate me too much. This is also what I consider a guilty pleasure for me like how much I enjoy the movie Shoot ‘Em Up. But I think if you wanted more fights and uncensored content, then read the manga and this is coming from a guy who went in completely unknown of the manga.
But yet, I’m rating Tenjho Tenge
Planet Tyro rating: Solid Watchable.
To be honest this series had huge potential but the flashback was dragged on for far to long, i think it about 10 episodes long. I loved the first couple of episodes but it just went downhill.
SECRET SANTA 2014 REVIEW
Was looking to this show as the synopsis made it sound very good however it failed to deliver. The was going great with the over the top fights and its fast pace until it hit the back story. There was a lot of back story (seriously, so much back story). They could've had turned it into a two season anime show with the amount of back story. It would've helped the flow of the show, as they spent so much time on the back story, I preferred those characters rather than the ones on the present story and I ended up forgetting what was happening with that story. As there wasn't much time spent of the current story, it feels under develop with little character development for the characters that weren't in the back story. It really is a shame as it could've been a really good show and just disappointed that it wasn't.