Much better than the last 2 DVDs
MildCritter | Rome, GA United States | 08/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The quality of the art and the story had dropped badly in the previous 2 DVDs in this series, but #5 is nearer to the quality of the first volume. This one contains episodes 15-17 (for detailed summaries, see the superb "Tenchi Muyo: Another Universe" web site). The artwork and animation are much more carefully done. There's plenty of slapstick, but it's a bit more restrained and sensible. Seina's return to earth to visit his family and Tenchi's clan is a welcome diversion from all of the outer space derring-do. Amane's and Ryoko Baluta's antics while trying to impress Seina's family are hilarious. The character art is faithful to the Tenchi's OVAs original designs (although Ayeka and Ryoko begin to take on a dueling-Rottweiler look during their mandatory catfight). All of the original OVA's main characters put in a welcome appearance. Unfortunately, so does Seina's earthly streak of bad luck.
The only really jarring part is the recasting of the voice actors, since most of them were not available when this project was done. Tenchi is a more mature and self-confident baritone, but most of the rest suffer. Washu sounds exactly like Rosanne Barr; Noike and Ryoko sound like kids, not the beautiful, lush voices that we've come to expect from the Japanese and American actors. There is also a gratutous nude bathhouse scene near the end that seems to linger a bit too long.
As with the other volumes, you need to listen in English while watching subtitle track two. Subtitle two is a decently literal translation of the Japanese dialog, whereas the English vocal dub is often radically rewritten. Sometimes the differences between the two is astounding; sometimes it's disturbing; sometimes it's hilarious.
The fun is back again, and the two-episode visit to earth helps to bring things back to familiar ground. I hope this improvement in production quality will continue through the final three volumes."