Tenjho Tenge
Volume 5 - The Sword Breaks!

Starring (voice): Aya Hisakawa, Minori Chihara, Shinichiro Miki, Souichiro Hoshi and Tomokazu Seki
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 05 February 2007

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...

This is the fifth disc in the madhouse anime Tenjho Tenge series and carries on the tradition of the previous discs of being a bright, raucous teen fight show. This disc represents slightly less value as it only contains three episodes, where previous discs have contained four. It's a little odd really, unless it's a problem with the check disc provided by the PR Company that means that the last disc should have five episodes to bring us up to the end of the twenty-four episode first run.

There is little, in quality or value, to distinguish this disc from the others. The level of animation remains high, though the stereo track still does not do the show justice.

Fight Seventeen: True Motive, and following Maya's lengthy back story the narrative moves back to the present day, with our heroes more resolved to confront the Executive Council. However, your first thought is not always your best. Might be me, but this seemed a very unfocused episode. Tenjho Tenge always had a problem with packing too much into each show. After the two guys get the bejesus kicked out of them by the Executive Committee there are a number of scenes of Aya, distressed and hostile, clutching the stolen Choukuto Reiki Katana (sword to you and me) and some huge bull creature and a lot of talk about rain. Hopefully the next episode will make it all clear.

Fight Eighteen: Sympathy, and the Executive Committee are after Aya and the Katana. Ok, things are getting a little clearer. The Katana is bad news and Aya, having it, seems to have the whole school up in arms and afraid. Aya finds sanctuary with Takayangi, though from the smile on his face he seems to have misunderstood her request to go home with him. Through the episode we discover the genesis of the Reiki Katana, and thankfully the reason of all of the rain references in the previous story.

Fight Nineteen: Start Up, and time for a little more back-story as Bunshichi starts to put the pieces into place by revealing more about the beginnings of the Juuken club. The more I see of this show the more I'm impressed. I have to admit to not being a great fan of martial arts animes, as they tend to be a no brainer excuse for a collection of repetitive fight scenes. Tenjho has the saving grace of having a good story to tie the whole thing together.

For owners of the previous discs the extras do not contain any surprises. Like volumes one through four you get a bunch of screen shots, the DVD credits and a few trailers to bulk out the release. Audio hasn't changed either English or Japanese stereo, with subtitles, is the order of the day here.

Charles Packer

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