Tenjō Tenge is a ★★★☆☆ and The Ultimate Fight (OVA) is a ★★★☆☆︱Martial Arts, Voluptuous Women, and the Protagonist with Wolverine’s Hair

“Tenjō Tenge” is something that I really enjoyed as teenager. The show’s vivid cast of characters were bright and nearly popped through the television screen, with their vivacity! It had cool fight scenes, pretty girls, unrequited love, dramatic backstories, etc. But, let’s be real, I think I was mostly into it because I thought Maya Natsume was a total babe! While Tenjō Tenge’s target demographic will most-likely be a teenage audience, who plays rounds of beat ’em up games with their siblings, “Tenjō Tenge” sets itself apart—with a cacophony of interesting narrative choices and entertaining character antics! 

⚠️ This review is spoiler-free ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: For some people, high school represents the opportunity for a fresh start. You can take new classes and make new friends. For Sōichiro Nagi and Bob Makihara, though, high school means something different: the chance to become the top fighters in the entire student body! Too bad Tōdō Academy is the hardest possible place to realize their dreams. Their new high school is no ordinary academic institution. Rather than concentrating on classic subjects like math and science, Tōdō Academy was created for the sole purpose of reviving the martial arts in Japan! As a result, Sōichiro’s aspirations to become top dog are cut short when he runs afoul of Masataka Takayanagi and Maya Natsume. The two upperclassmen easily stop the freshmen duo’s rampage across school, but rather than serving as a deterrent, it only stokes their competitive fire.

This series starts a basic high school, battle story—the first episode introduces a variety of very colorful characters, both figuratively and literally! It starts out with the protagonist, Sōichiro Nagi, and his friend, Bob Makihara, beating up several schools full of martial arts students—to forcefully climb their way to the top of the power-based hierarchy. But alas, they are met with two pretty sisters (Maya and Aya Natsume) and a demure brown-haired Japanese guy (Masataka Takayanagi); all of them are able to kick these tough guys’ butts, with ease! The younger sister, Aya, immediately falls in love with Sōichiro because he sees her naked, and proclaims that they’re engaged.

Obsessed with power because of being intensely bullied as a child, Sōichiro begs the older sister, Maya, to accept him as her disciple. She accepts, I guess because of the same reason that Aya dotes over him… main character privilege? The series picks up steam, with the increasingly intense opponents. And, indisputably, the most interesting part of the story is when Maya comes face-to-face with her ex-boyfriend, Mitsuomi Takayanagi—and their captivating origin story completely alters the tone of the show! I won’t reveal what happens during the climax, that makes it so great, but a) there are far more interesting characters, who take center stage b) a tale of love, jealousy, and tragedy (of Shakespearean proportions) occurs, c) characters that are objectively good, are corrupted by spiritual possession and split between two warring factions; these nemeses will stop at nothing to prevail in the race of dominance, corruption, and mobster murders!

Other than the captivating origin story, “Tenjō Tenge” can fall into some very generic tropes: girls wearing next-to-nothing and duking it out, motivated main character that wants to be the strongest, girls fawning over and giving special privileges to the main character for no reason, everything in the series (aside from the aforementioned side plot) can be seen in every other shōnen, action series! Characters that have an interesting aura like ※Bunshichi Tawara, Emi Isuzu, and Sōichiro’s mother, Makiko Nagi, are given a backseat—in lieu of a less interesting cast. Maya Natsume is a complex character, too, but her best moments are when she’s interacting with the people who knew Shin! Aya Natsume developing the accursed Dragon’s Eye ability kept me on the edge of my seat, but the anime concluded before there was a chance to explore the developments that happened, later in that arc! I enjoyed “Tenjō Tenge” anime more than the “Air Gear” adaptation, but I think the plot in the former story had stronger female characters… whereas, I never felt an attachment to Ringo or Simca.

※Best boy, along with Shin Natsune, who he has a bromance with!

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Toshifumi Kawase (director, storyboard), notable works:

  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade ✅
  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade G Revolution
  • Chōja Raideen
  • Dead Heat
  • Dragon Drive
  • Eat-Man ’98
  • Genki Bakuhatsu Ganbaruger
  • Giant Killing
  • Ginga Hyōryū Vifam 13
  • Haō Taikei Ryū Knight
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak ✅
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei ✅
  • Nekketsu Saikyō Go-Saurer
  • Next Senki Ehrgeiz
  • Pita Ten
  • Shion no Ō
  • Ueki no Hōsoku
  • Zettai Muteki Raijin-Ō
  • Zettai Muteki Raijin-Ō (1992)

Commentary: Mr. Kawase’s aesthetic and style is filled with an abundance of cartoonish shots and wildly colorful colors; while I did enjoy his takes on the “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” franchise, his approach was more campy, than actually creepy!

Oh! Great/Ito Ōgure (orginal creator), notable works:

Story/Art

  • 5: Five
  • Air Gear ✅
  • Cigarette Anthology
  • Devil
  • Engine Room: Ketsureishiki Nainen Kikanshitsu
  • Himiko-den: Renge — Gaun no Shō
  • Junk Story — Tetsukuzu Monogatari
  • Naked Star

Only Art

  • Bakemonogatari ✅
  • Burn Up: Excess & W ✅
  • Digimon Cyber Sleuth
  • Soulcalibur IV ✅
  • Disney’s Star Smash 
  • Tekken 5 ✅
  • Tekken 6
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Commentary: Mr. Ōgure (“Oh! Great”) is an easily recognizable designer. He is really unique, with his more mature, “ecchi” style; though, most recently he did the designs for Disney’s new mobile “gacha” game! It’s insane that this guy is known for raunchy art  (Ōgure has even wrote and illustrated hentai comics), is now he’s doing Disney Princess designs. His highly-stylized characters stand apart from every other fighting or competition-based manga series, and thus, Mr. Ōgure is truly a very talented artist!

I have watched Tenjō Tenge to completion twice. The first time was when I was a sophomore in high school and the second instance was a couple of years ago. The first time I watched it all with the English dub and the most recent time was with the Japanese dub. Truth be told, I don’t remember the quality of the English dub very clearly, so I will only commentate on the Japanese cast this time around.

Sōichirō Hoshi as Sōichiro Nagi, notable roles: 

  • Kaoru Hanabishi, Ai Yori Aoshi ✅
  • Takuto Kaneshiro, Argento Soma 
  • Masaru Kodaka, Bokura no
  • Rygart Arrow, Break Blade
  • Masaru Daimon, Digimon Savers
  • Shu, DT Eightron
  • Son Gokū, Gensōmaden Saiyūki ✅
  • Kazuki Fūchōin, GetBackers
  • Camus Pfalzgraf von Silvaner Lüneburg, Ginyū Mokushiroku Meine Liebe
  • Taira no Atsumori, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (“In a Distant Time”)
  • Keiichi Maebara, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Momose Sunohara, IDOLiSH7 ✅
  • Narutaki, Kaiketsu Jōki Tanteidan (“Steam Detectives”)
  • Lio Shirazumi, Kara no Kyōkai ✅
  • Seiji Hiwatari, Kirarin☆Revolution
  • Yukio Kasamatsu, Kuroko’s Basketball ✅
  • Kane Blueriver, Lost Universe
  • Brera Sterne, Macross Frontier ✅
  • Claude, Masamune Datenicle
  • Alviss, MÄR
  • Kōsuke Seto, Mekakucity Actors ✅
  • Kira Yamato, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED
  • Yūki Aiba, Mugen no RYVIUS (“Infinite RYVIUS”)
  • Samon Gokū, Nanbaka ✅
  • Kei Kusanagi, Onegai☆Teacher
  • Gorō Akechi, Persona 5
  • Kazuma, s.CRY.ed ✅
  • Cheshire Cait Sith, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas ✅
  • Akira, Samurai Deeper Kyō
  • Shiro Shibakusa, Scan2Go
  • Yukimura Sanada, Sengoku Basara
  • Shinji Ogawa, Senki Zesshō Symphogear ✅
  • Zero and Sōma Akizuki, Shining Tears X Wind
  • Makoto Ōgami, Shinreigari (“Ghost Hound”)
  • Sasuke Sarutobi, Shinshaku Sengoku Eiyū Densetsu: Sanada Jū Yūshi the Animation
  • Tomoki Sakurai, Sora no Otoshimono ✅
  • Homare Kanakubo, Starry☆Sky
  • Sunao Fujimori, Suki na Mono wa Suki Dakara Shō ga Nai!! (“Sukisyo, I like what I like, so there!”) ✅
  • Keele Zeibel, Tales of Eternia the Animation
  • Gakuto Mukahi, Tennis no Ōji-sama (“The Prince of Tennis”)
  • Ginosuke Isuzu, Tsurezure Children
  • Seiichirō Sano, Ueki No Hōsoku
  • Kaoru Matsutake, Wagamama☆Fairy Mirumo de Pon!
  • Chaos, Xenosaga the Animation
  • Keith, Yume Ōkoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ōji-sama: Short Stories

Commentary: Mr. Hoshi has a very vigorous and cute-sounding voice! As Sōichiro, he employs to voice of some of his more fiery characters, like Kazuma in s.CRY.ed! He is properly able to convey a large amount of energy into said character, so much so, that it distracts from the ever-occuring ennui in some scenes!

Minori Chihara as Aya Natsume, notable roles: 

  • Strarf Mk.2
  • Konoha Muramasa, C³
  • Nayu Hayama, Chu-Bra!!
  • Miku Izayoi, Date A Live ✅
  • Toa, Dragonaut: The Resonance
  • Cōpa, Druaga no Tō: The Aegis of Uruk
  • Kagura Tsuchimiya, Ga-Rei: Zero
  • Orchis, Granblue Fantasy the Animation ✅
  • Shino Inuzuka, Hakkenden: Tōhō Hakken Ibun
  • Aoi Kurita, Hametsu no Mars (“Mars of Destruction”)
  • Ekitoku Chōhi, Ikkitōsen
  • Mitsuki Nase, Kyōkai no Kanata ✅
  • Horizon Ariadust, Kyōkaisenjou no Horizon (“Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere”)
  • Erika Campbell, Lemon Angel Project
  • Minami Iwasaki, Lucky☆Star ✅
  • Chiaki Minami, Minami-ke
  • Anastasia Nasuhara, Onii-chan dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne! (“As Long as There’s Love, It Doesn’t Matter If He Is My Brother, Right?”)
  • Rätsel, Phi Brain
  • Yuit, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion ✅
  • Tōka Ryūmonbuchi, Saki ✅
  • Ohana, Samurai Gun ✅
  • Teresa Beria, Seikon no Qwaser
  • Sayuri Satō, Sparrow’s Hotel
  • Yuki Nagato, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūtsu ✅
  • Sakutaro, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ✅

Commentary: Ms. Chihara has a very sweet and endearing presence, that is transposed throughout her many characters. Even characters like Miku Izayoi from “Date A Live,” someone that every fanboy seems to hate, has a certain charm to her perky demeanor! Wonderful seiyu!

Aya Hisakawa as Maya Natsume, notable roles: 

  • Skuld, Ah! My Goddess ✅
  • Mune-Mune, Abenobashi Mahō☆Shōtengai ✅
  • Shana T, Al Caral no Isan
  • Megumi Hisakawa, Alien 9 ✅
  • Miyuki Haneda, Aozora Shōjo-tai (“801 T.T.S. Airbats”)
  • Minamo Kurosawa, Azumanga Daiō
  • Rei Kon, Bakuten Shoot Beyblade ✅
  • Ichino Yanagida, Battle Athletess Daiundōkai ✅
  • Ami Mizuno, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon ✅
  • Kissu, Bōken Ō Beet (“Beet the Vandel Buster”)
  • Hassan, Byston Well Monogatari: Garzey no Tsubasa (“Garzey’s Wing”)
  • Keroberos, Cardcaptor Sakura ✅
  • Carol Mudagolas, Carol
  • Marina Oki, Cosmo Warrior Zero
  • Aimi Koenji, Dark Cat
  • Bulma, Dragon Ball Super
  • Yuki Sōma, Fruits Basket (2001) ✅
  • Yae, Ganbare Goemon (“Legend of the Mystical Ninja”)
  • Maki Umezaki, Geobreeders
  • Serena, Gin’iro no Olynssis: Tokito
  • Becky Farrah, Gunsmith Cats ✅
  • Yuri Tsukikage (“Cure Moonlight”), HeartCatch PreCure ✅
  • Palutena, Hikari no Megami ✅
  • Layla B. Simmons, Idol Project
  • Yōko Nakajima, Jūni Kokuki (“The Twelve Kingdoms”)
  • Chris, Kōryū Densetsu Villgust (“Armed Dragon Fantasy Villgust”)
  • Kanako Shijo, Kōryū no Mimi: Mina no Shō
  • Lindy Harlaown, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ✅
  • Sumire Kasugano, Mahōtsukai Sally 2
  • Yōko Mano, Mamono Hunter Yōko
  • Shizuka Nakamoto, Marriage: Kekkon
  • Vinca, Mushrambo
  • Chloe, Noir
  • Kappii, Ontama!
  • Claudia McCunnen, Phantom: Requiem for a Phantom ✅
  • Hardy Newland, Power Dolls
  • Takius, Ragnarök the Animation
  • Haruka Shitō, RahXephon ✅
  • Shizuka Nakamoto, Sailor Victory
  • Mira Ackerman, Shinkon Gattai Godanner!!
  • Miki Kaoru, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Ryōko Balta, Tenchi Muyō! GXP
  • Midori Saejima, Tenshi Nanka ja Nai
  • Tomoko Hoshina, To Heart ✅
  • Kaoru Niimi, Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199 ✅
  • Hinoto, X ✅
  • Ororo Munroe, X-Men

Commentary: It’s nearly impossible for Maya Natsume escape the ascension to best girl, with the veteran voice actress (Aya Hisakawa) performing the role! Ms. Hisakawa has a sultry, older woman voice and can create an air of mystique around any character that she’s assigned to, see Yuki Sōma in “Fruits Basket” as an example of this! She is an S-tier seiyū talent, incredible work on the character of Maya!

Other notable seiyū talents: Shin’ichirō Miki (Kaiki Deishū in the “Monogatari” series and Kojirō, or “James” from “Pokémon”), Tomokazu Seki (Gilgamesh in “Fate/stay night” and Tōya Kinomoto, or “Tory” from “Cardcaptor Sakura”), and Yuri Amano (Kiyone Makiba in “Tenchi Muyō!”).

Conclusively, “Tenjō Tenge” isn’t the best series ever, but I would give it a try, if you enjoyed the dueling dynamics in Ranma ½, and you want that slice of pie with a side of “ecchi” and a subplot that is largely more seinen than the shōnen battle antics, at the beginning! If you’re a fan of great sakuga scenes, there’s a segment, at the end of Episode 12: Darkness, that is both hilarious and a treat for the eyes! I give Tenjō Tenge and the “Ultimate Fight” OVA a 5/10!

Rankings:

Tenjō Tenge (TV) ★★☆☆☆

Tenjō Tenge: The Ultimate Fight (OVA) ★★★☆☆

Published by eggheadluna

H.E. Rodgers is the author of the Juniper's Tree series, also known as the 真柏Project. MyAnimeList: https://myanimelist.net/profile/Egghe... Twitter: https://twitter.com/EggheadLuna #真柏Project #JunipersTree

3 thoughts on “Tenjō Tenge is a ★★★☆☆ and The Ultimate Fight (OVA) is a ★★★☆☆︱Martial Arts, Voluptuous Women, and the Protagonist with Wolverine’s Hair

  1. I’ve seen parts of Tenjho Tenge. It wasn’t necessarily my thing though. Oh Great does have a really good art style which I won’t deny.

    Hold up! This guy actually did Disney-related artwork despite his hentai background much less making mature work like this or Air Gear? WOW…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! It’s crazy, I was randomly browsing Japanese posts on Twitter before I wrote this review and so many people were complimenting Ito Ōgure’s art on the new Disney mobile game. And I had to pause for a second, do a double take, it was like, “Ito Ōgure? Like, Oh Great?”

      Japanese artists/animators don’t seem to care enough about having “lewd” industry professionals working on children’s cartoons. In Detective Conan, the seiyū who plays Ayumi Yoshida (an elementary school student in the main cast of characters) is mostly known for her erotic roles. It’s strange how their cultural acceptability of those things is so different from ours!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So he was using his real name then. That makes sense. I wonder if those same people got the connection.

        I’ve definitely noticed that. I wasn’t aware of that with Detective Conan. Wow, that’s so ironic. I had a similar surprised reaction when I found out a similar story with the voice actress of Sho from Whistle doing the same thing even though she wasn’t great in that role in that soccer anime.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: