Friday, 17 May 2013

Tenjo Tenge - Complete

After 11 2-in-1 volumes released at a fairly merciless rate, Tenjo Tenge reaches its conclusion, and to be honest, I’m kind of glad it’s over.

I’ve spoken about this series before, enjoying its mindless indulgence of boobs and violence as it smacks its way through thousands of pages, and it really should have stayed its course.  Sadly the series starts to believe its own hype by upping the drama and becoming damn-near incomprehensible.  Suddenly the simple premise of a martial arts tournament becomes a po-faced battle fought both on the physical and spiritual planes where the world is at stake in between multi-generational conspiracies.  Flashbacks bounce around between multiple timelines and the core cast get lost in a steady stream of a dead-end side characters and plots that add little to the overall mix.
The artwork has improved immensely since the first volume and now provides some of the most clean and technically accomplished work in a mainstream manga.  Every page has impact, but telling the difference between someone getting mauled only metaphorically while other characters receive permanent damage only causes confusion.  Seeing a character ripped apart for example, only for them to get back up on the next page lessens the dramatic impact for when things actually do happen.  It continually undermines itself by psyching you out at every turn.

Oh Great! does great work and easily impresses on a visual level, and Tenjo Tenge produces one crazy ride overall, but in terms of concise storytelling there’s still room for improvement (I’ve read a chunk of Air Gear, and to be honest I have a similar opinion of it).  Go to be dazzled, but not fulfilled.

Random Whale Metaphor

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