Tenchi Muyo! GXP Vol. 1: Out of this World
You may hate me for it, but you can add Tenchi Muyo! to the list of anime series I've never really seen. I saw one of the movies on the Sci-Fi channel years ago, and I've probably caught a few minutes of the series on TV occasionally. I watched Magical Project S in its entirety, but I've only barely watched honest to goodness Tenchi Muyo!.
If I keep watching the spin-offs before I watch the original series, I probably won't have time for it, anyway.
So, here I am, watching yet another Tenchi derivative without knowing anything more than what I learned from the manga series. And here I am, enjoying it quite a bit.
Right off the bat, you can tell that this is going to be a really funny series. The main character, Seina Yamada, is plagued with horrible luck. His luck is so bad, it affects the luck of people around him. When he's around, things fall apart. Storms appear out of nowhere. Panties slide off of young girls (but not in any sort of good way). Phone calls get disconnected.
Worst of all, when traveling in space, his luck manages to attract hundreds of galactic pirates to his transport ship while randomly jumping to avoid them.
Now, you're probably wondering why the heck this unlucky kid would be traveling in space. Well, as you might guess, it has to do with his luck.
As Seina was taking a shortcut through the woods in his town past Tenchi's house (if you've seen any other show from the Tenchi universe, you know who he is. If you haven't, you can still enjoy the show, so don't worry), he fell into the lake in front of the building.
And then a spaceship landed on him.
The woman who almost killed him turns out to be a member of the Galaxy Police, or the GP for short, and she's so impressed by his survival, she invites him to become a member of the interstellar group. She leaves her name - Amane Kaunaq - and an application form, gets back in her ship and takes off, leaving Seina confused.
Seina's loving mother and sister eagerly fill out the form (hoping that it's some sort of a contest entry for a new theme park), and before he knows it, he's in space off to the GP Academy.
If the officers that picked him up knew about his luck, they most likely would have left him on Earth
Thus begins this wild show, and it's been extremely enjoyable so far.
The animation is very solid, and the use of CG for the space scenes is especially nice. Cel-shading is great when employed properly.
FUNimation handled the domestication of this show rather well, in that they essentially include two different versions of the series. The English dub diverges frequently from the Japanese language track, but the subtitles are a rather faithful translation of the Japanese. That is, one set of the subtitles is faithful. The other one is a word for word transcription of the English dub - a dubtitle. However, so long as you're careful in choosing the subtitle stream, you'll get a pretty accurate version of the original script.
Other aspects of the show, such as the episode title screens, are also different, depending on whether they're seen in English or Japanese. If things were merely changed and the original version wiped away, then heads would roll, but as it is, I was rather pleased with the version I wanted to see.
The English track was mixed in 5.1 surround sound, though fans who misread the back of the box may be tricked into thinking the Japanese track is in surround sound, as well. Stereo works for me, in any case.
Extras include character profiles and a clean opening and ending. The case insert is nice, as well, and the optional artbox available with the first episode is a good, sturdy cardboard box. I'm not sure if anyone likes those cheaper, flimsy, folded-paper boxes, but this is a nice one, and is worth getting if you're a collector.
It isn't as wild as Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, but this is a very entertaining show filled with plenty of slapstick humor, fanservice, bad puns, and it's all set in the Tenchi universe. What more do you need?