Tenjho Tenge a Nostalgic Review

Tenjou Tenge is a true classic for any old school Animax fan. I can remember watching it way past my bedtime and blushing at a few scenes but always loved the action and antics.

Years later, I finally managed to binge-watch all of the episodes but was left devastated at the discovery that there was no season two.

  • Genre: Action, Ecchi, Martial Arts, Comedy, Super Power, Shounen
  • Type: Series
  • Episodes: 24
  • Duration to watch: +/- 8 Hours
  • Age restriction: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)
  • Release date: 2004 
  • Animation Studio: Madhouse
  • Does it have a manga: Yes
  • Kanji: 天上天下

About Tenjho Tenge:

01. Sanctuary (Tenjou Tenge).mkv_snapshot_06.38_[2020.09.21_21.27.25]

Souichiro Nagi and Bob Makihara join a new high school with the desire and goal of becoming the top fighters. They instantly start taking on students around them. However, their high school is somewhat unique. It is a school devoted to martial arts of any and all kinds. Their goal is cut short when two of their seniors, Masataka Takayanagi and Maya Natsume step in and easily put an end to their tirade. Excited at the possibilities the duo are determined to get stronger and take on the whole school, especially when the student council steps in and things become personal.

My Thoughts:

Rewatching the entirety of Tenjho Tenge for the second time was an interesting experience. It had been so long since I had last watched it that I could not recall every moment. Thus there were a few points where I was once again taken by surprise and got to re-experience the anime.

The past that is revealed between Maya and Mitsuomi, while at first glance a tragic romance. Yet, the complications are riddled with teenage angst and drama. Every event that happened was due to the individual decisions made by the characters that had chosen.

The battles throughout the anime always took unexpected turns that resulted in many great and notable moments. The action sequence was fun to watch and while the animation for the anime is true to the time it was made, the battles are still an experience to watch.

While a main core of the anime is the martial art battles and getting stronger, the undercurrent running theme is the complexity of relationships and bonds between people. The anime touches upon betrayal, love, desire, lust, jealousy and the feelings of being inadequate and pressured. Tenjou Tenge explores bonds between people and shows how they can diverge. Showing one cheating due to love and jealousy while another torn over the fact the one they love loves another. You have characters expressing a wide range of emotions that are easily lost to the battles and sense of justice.

At first, it seems that Souichiro Nagi will be the main character but after a few episodes, it is clear that while his role is important, the main character is Maya Natsume and her tangled past. While Souichiro remains a focal character, the only character to feature as a focal in every episode is Maya.

With the inclusion of special abilities, I had hoped for a whole lot more. There were plenty of scenes to enjoy and even more of the psycho siblings but it was not enough. Other than Shin, the anime hints at the potential the other characters like Aya and Souichiro have, yet don’t delve more into it.

The entire season pretty much is a character introduction and set up the world and scene for future episodes that we, unfortunately, did not get. The preliminaries were a focal point and an unfulfilled promise. We only get to see what they are and how it works in the ‘past’, which was a let down with the way the anime ends. By the end of the anime, I am annoyed with the way it all ended. The final episode was a true tease and did a brilliant job of getting me to read the Tenjho Tenge manga.

Favourite Character: Shin Natsume

Shin is the only character that I felt had gotten the short end of the stick. An unfortunate moment in childhood derailed his entire life in an instant. Unable to cope he descended into madness and later lost the battle and gave into his violent side.

Least Favourite Character: Maya Natsume

I don’t dislike like Maya for her decisions when she was younger, yet, I grew to dislike her selfish side. Yes, she was suffering, but so was her sister. Instead of talking it out and explaining things to Aya, she gets desperate. To the point where she teams up with her ex-fling, who had killed her younger brother. She will gladly battle her sister, to the point where she could have taken her life, instead of taking responsibility for her actions. Maya would rather push her battles on to others, who are not involved in the slightest because she finds it hard to fight them herself. Then when given many chances to finally confront her past, she still holds back and getting others involved. I know she must love her sister but there are times where she is repeating the mistakes of the past.

What do you think of Anime, Tenjho Tenge?


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