Tenjho Tenge
Volume 2 - The Battle Bowl

Starring (voice): Aya Hisakawa, Minori Chihara, Shinichiro Miki, Souichiro Hoshi and Tomokazu Seki
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 10 July 2006

It's another academic year at the Toudou academy and Souchirou Nagi and Bob Makihara, two juvenile delinquents who have spend their time taking over school, start their new campaign of violence in order to be the top dogs. But things do not go to plan when they come up against the members of the Juuken martial arts club...

So we're into round 2 of Tenjho Tenge, a teen fight show which continues to impress with its level of animation. With no pretensions to be anything other than it is, even the episodes are called "Fights" in the DVD menu.

Fight five, Punishment, and the Juuken martial arts club are off for a spot of bowling during their week off training. However, their problems with the Execution Committee have not gone away as they decide to make a concerted attack on the group. Aya is becoming more desperate to learn the truth about what happened between Souichiro and Maya, but some things are better not known. The group are forced to fight the minions of the Executive Council, fights which test them to the limits of their skill. It would be a bit redundant to say that mayhem ensues, as mayhem is the reason for the shows existence - loads of high kicking and punching punctuated with pulse pounding music. That said, the show does have a slight psychological underpinning. In this episode Souichiro has to confront his reasons for wanting to become a strong fighter, as he decides that the trauma which he had suffered as a child may not be enough reason. Does he have something to fight for and not just against?

Fight Six, Illusion, and the fight is on. The first half of the episode is a direct follow on from Fight Five, with the group getting to grips with their individual opponents. The second half is a little more interesting as Aya gets a vision of Souichiro's past life and his life with his mother, who tells him that he has a dragon spirit within him. Although the fight scenes can get a bit tedious in their repetition, there is enough depth of plot to keep interest in the show.

Fight Seven, Breakthrough, and so the fight continues. The main reason for this protracted fight seems to be to show each character's special moves and the girls panties. Maya, having won her fight, heads off to see how Souichiro is doing with the wrestler, Sagara, and to give him a bit of Zen wisdom. Not really much to say about this episode as it continues the fights started in Fight Five; nothing really advances the plot as such, though we do get a glimpse into the beginnings of the Executive and Sagara's part in it.

Fight Eight, Dragon's Eye, would have been better titled Aftermath or Titties as these are the two prominent themes here, and things are stating to resolve themselves, through more fights and confrontation and talk about titties. Not that I'm loosing the will to live or anything, but I guess it works as a bookend to the previous episodes.

The extras are limited, the textless opening sequence, a few trailers and the DVD credits. Audio is Japanese or English stereo.

So if watching teens kick the bejesus out of each other, with the odd panties showing, wrapped up in an almost non existent level of plot then you're going to be in pig heaven.

Ok, if it sounds like I'm on a downer with this one. I'll admit its not my kind of thing, but it you're a teenager you're bound to get a blast from this show, loads of action, loads of pumping music, and the odd edited panty shot. What more could your average fourteen year old boy want?

Charles Packer

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