Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness
It was just another hot summer day in the Masaki household ... Ayeka and Ryoko were bickering, as usual, Sasami and Mihoshi were helping out around the house, Washu was doing ... well, whatever Washu does ... and Tenchi was heading for a visit to the Masaki shrine.
On his way back, though, Tenchi meets up with a pretty girl named Mayuka who addresses Tenchi as "Daddy!" Jealousy flares as Ryoko and Ayeka vie for Tenchi's attentions with a renewed zeal, which isn't helped by the fact that Mayuka wants to spend as much time with her "Daddy" as possible. Meanwhile, in the background, Yuzuha, the Demoness of Darkness, is plotting a revenge scheme against Yosho for an offense he committed over 700 years ago (but isn't that always the way for Yosho?).
It turns out that Yuzuha is using Mayuka to bring Tenchi to her dimension of darkness! Tenchi must fight yet again to save himself, his friends, and Mayuka as well!
Over here in the Western world, film makers practice an interesting custom these days. It seems that whenever a movie is made that does well or is remotely good, it is customary to create a sequel. Traditionally, these sequels are made inferior to the original, at least in Western practices.
Apparently, this tradition has started making its way into Japanese circles, if Daughter of Darkness is any indication. Daughter of Darkness desperately tries to be both as exciting as the first movie and endearing as the OAV series, and just misses at each one. It _does_ come pretty close a couple of times, which makes this movie all the more frustrating.
The art and animation are all top notch (this _is_ a Tenchi Muyo! movie, after all), with some visual effects near the beginning and the end that will make you gape in astonishment. On a technical level, this movie is probably more outstanding that the first movie was, even though it's only half its length. The soundtrack is appropriate to each scene, using the same type of cinematic orchestral work in the vein of the first movie (even if it's not by Christopher Franke this time).
The main problem is that while the story has plenty of potential, the execution of the story isn't nearly as smooth as it could have been. Scenes seem cut short and choppy, and the typical antics and wackiness of the Tenchi cast feel as if they've been exaggerated even more than their larger-than-life personalities in the OAV and TV series. Ayeka and especially Ryoko become shallow, petty competitors after Tenchi, and Mihoshi's ditziness is even more annoying than usual. Tenchi's wishy-washiness is brought to an all-time high, and even Sasami's sympathy and kindness comes off hollow. The dubbed voices don't seem to have it as together as they did for the first movie, which doesn't help much, either.
But the story _is_ interesting, once the movie gets around to presenting it. It's just too bad that the producers didn't spend enough time actually developing the story and letting the Tenchi cast simply be who they normally are without having to soup them up. Parts of the end actually succeed in being poignant, and the ending is actually pretty satisfying (watch the end credits, too!)
If you decide to see this, don't expect another repeat performance of the first movie, or you'll be in for a disappointment. But if you're just looking for something to pass the time with and like the Tenchi cast to begin with, you'll probably be all right with Daughter of Darkness.
Recommended Audience: We've got typical Tenchi antics here, with the standard cartoon-style violence, light sexual innuendo, and mild profanity. The violence towards the end in the Dimension of Darkness is a little more intense than standard fare, but it's no worse than what you've got in the first movie. Teens and up, probably.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness © 1998 Pioneer LDC
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