TENJYOU TENGE (ANIME)
alternate titles: Tenjho Tenge, Tenjou Tenge, Tenjo Tenge
Distributed by: Avex
Genre: martial arts. action.adventure
STORY: Not too divergent from the manga, the main story tells of Nagi Souichiro and his best friend Bob Makihara’s adventures at Toudou Gakuen when what they had expected to be a usual ‘takeover’ of a school becomes much much more. A full introduction is available in the Tenjyou Tenge manga review .
Naturally, since the an anime adaptation cannot ever follow or keep every single little detail from the manga due to restrictions, there’s a feeling of emptiness and people rushing around from one thing to another with events happening in a not too dissimilar fashion. Not only that but in anime form, it feels a lot more like a sterotypical marital arts anime. The feeling I get from it is not too different from how I felt when I’m watching Tokyo Underground. Yet, when reading the Tokyo Underground manga as compared to the Tenjyou Tenge manga, the feeling of reading two totally different mangas is extremely noticeable. It’s probably the music. However, major events are kept and stay mostly faithful to the manga, which is most definitely a plus.
CHARACTERS: Also the same cast as the manga with no one cut so far. Yet again, there are major differences in the feel of the characters. Not only have a large majority of their hairstyles changed/got dyed, but some of their personalities are just THAT much different onscreen. The transition is jerky at best with little of their original personalities completely retained. Take Aya for example. In the manga, she’s annoying. But in the anime, it’s that much worse because you see her in action of annoyance. Like her devotion to Souichiro. Hearing her say the words as opposed to just reading them makes her obssession with him that much more revolting. Maya sounds snooty and Bob even more like the lunkhead he really isn’t. Sad, yes, but it’s not the first time this has occurred in a manga to anime transition.
For anyone that’s never read the manga, however, and started straight from the anime, then the characters would probably seem more colourful and alive. But otherwise the term most appropriate would have to be dull.
ANIMATION: The animation was the most noticeable change in the transition from manga to anime. Oh! Great certainly sets a high bar so far as artwork goes and the anime tries feebly to match up to it. However, the colours, while well applied, are far too colourful – everything from Aya’s hair which has morphed from dark brown to accasional tan to just a plain brown to Masataka’s hair which has changed completely (and might I mention looks far worse. Oh, but Masataka’s my love so I’m bound to be more critical of how they re-form him…) to the scenery. Even Toudou Gakuen the building itself glows. The sakura look pretty, though, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of well known manga scenes that have been “anime”-fied too, a common characteristic of most mangas to animes recently. Oh, and they kept the overly large chests and large amount of panty shots too. I suppose to many viewers that’s all that really matters…
Yet, vivid as the fanservice is or not, there’s no getting past that the movements are stiffer than the ones on paper. If there’s anything to be complimented in the animation it’s the lighting. Some of the lighting is just gorgeous except that it always seems to exist only in Aya’s scenes such as when she first declares her love for Souichiro and when she’s standing in front of a glowing billboard during a pause in a fight. Those are indeed gorgeously done and detailed, but it’s not enough to make up for the other faults within the animation. Yes, Avex tries. They try very hard, but sadly, they’re still miles from the original artwork.
OP/ED: The opening song – Bomb a Head Returns (m.c.a.T) – is a fun, upbeat, and really well done song. While Japanese rap is frivolous at best most of the time, m.c.a.T twists his lyrics and beats all over the place, thus keeping the listeners on their toes. Given the seriousness of the majority of Tenjyou Tenge, though, one would hardly think such a happy song to be appropriate. However, after a little time passes, it seems to fit more and more, emphasising the humourous aspect of the series, though it is small, rather than all that depressing fighting. It’s one of the most listenable songs I’ve heard from an anime in a long time and just makes you want to get up and dance (like the characters in the OP sequence do, actually…).
The ending song – Aishtene Motto (Kayou Aiko)(translated: Love me more) does not seem to fit the series either with its lyrics and upbeatness. The song is so bloody cute though. Aiko’s voice and style suits the somewhat jazzy song perfectly and thought it’s not as danceable as the OP, it certainly makes you want to go and hug someone after you hear it.
BG MUSIC: Nothing noticeable. Very standard anime with the usual ranging between guitars rocking out and orchestras in minor modes as well as piano usage for “gentler” scenes and such. And the required “dun dun dunnnnn” for those shocking suprises. Fits the scenes and anime, yes, but isn’t anything worth getting the OST over.
MANGA V ANIME: Though the story and characters are basically the same major differences are in the characters and especially the art. I recommend the manga before the anime (as usual), though hardcore TenTen fans will certainly want to watch the anime as well. However, TenTen the anime was always in danger of becoming a martial arts series that started off with excellent intentions but got watered down to the point that it became “just another martial arts” series like Dragonball Z. It might have been different had Maya not sounded like an instructional video every time she spoke her philosophies and if Aya and Souichiro weren’t forty times more annoying in the anime than they were in the manga. And cutting out all the talk about “such power!!!!!” probably would have helped too. The series hasn’t gotten to any of the majorly vivid sex scenes (though milder and simply implicative scenes have either been cut out completely or avoided by a swerve) and such yet, though, so no idea how they’re going to handle that.
Though there are plenty of things that are saving TenTen from becoming “just another martial arts” anime, there’s not much that isn’t driving them towards that either.
FINAL VERDICT: Watch if you’re a diehard TenTen fan. Otherwise, read the manga first and then watch it. It might be watchable if you have no idea what TenTen is and no idea what goes on in it whatsoever, so if you fall under that, go ahead. It’s better than no TenTen at all. However, that’s not as highly recommended as reading the manga first and then watching it.