Nagi and Bob are onto their way to new challenges. They've caused chaos at many different schools and today is their first day at Toudou Gakuen High School. It doesn't take long until both of them have managed to cause quite a bit of trouble and have managed to beat the tar out of many of those unfortunate enough to be attending school that day. But this was exactly as both Nagi and Bob were expecting. They were just hoping for a bit of a challenge this time.
Then something interesting happens at the school: Nagi gets his ass handed to him in an absolutely spectacular ass kicking. Nagi and Bob then come to the realization that they were the big fish in the little pond, and that their power was minute compared to some of the attendees at this school. And so they embark on a journey to become even better at fighting. However all is not well at this school either. There are those known as enforcers, and they are not happy with the group Nagi and Bob have taken up with. They also appear to be far more powerful than anyone else at the school.
So what will happen next? The biggest peace loving hippie picnic ever. No really, there is no more fighting. They all just get along after 3 episodes and love each other... And they go to school and actually LEARN. Seriously, who in the hell has time for all of this fighting and drooling over these hot girls? Back to work! You think you can get into college with test scores like THIS?!?
Tenjou Tenge is an interesting title for what it is: a simple all out martial arts anime. So you must understand that this title does not hold back in any aspect there, and thus faces the usual martial arts anime pros and cons you would expect. Tenjou Tenge does however manage to come up with enough interesting points that make this title worth watching.
The story is a bit complicated to describe. You have this typical fighting stuff, with the usual weird Japanese mysticism thrown in. But later on you find that in fact many of the characters who seem to be at the fringes have a much larger story. Then you go into a huge flashback and find out what happened. Some people thought that sucked, but I actually thought it was a stroke of genius. The manga swapped back and forth continuously, but the anime grouped it together in one big flashback. While not as interesting, it turns out to be a good move because otherwise this anime would be extremely schizophrenic.
So were there things that could have been improved. Yeah I guess. I mean there are always things you think to yourself in your head that 'this book would have been awesome if..' and such, but obviously the creators had something else in mind. Aya is a bit of a ditz but for some reason has declared herself to be the future wife of Nagi. I really wish that wouldn't have happened, but that could have been pure gold if it would have evolved into a love triangle with Takayanagi. Actually there are some characters that I think should have played more of a role in this anime. Takayanagi makes a nice contrast in that he's the proper school guy who can get riled up (as seen with Nagi's ass kicking). Likewise Nagi's partner Bob had some potential for a more prominent role but his part fizzles out as things go along.
So overall this anime was pretty average on all accounts. Animation was pretty good. The story while not too thought provoking wasn't all out mind numbing either. And as far as that goes, the whole "fighting technique philosophy" that comes across as very stupid in most titles actually works fairly well for Tenjou Tenge. Character designs were quite good if not a bit out of proportion on the female side... The main drawbacks are the fact that the music is... drab, and that after 24 episodes there is no conclusion. The manga isn't concluded either, however it remains to be seen if the anime series itself will continue to be produced. So time will tell in that respect. For those looking for a martial arts anime, Tenjou Tenge will give you what you want.
If there is a reason to watch Tenjou Tenge, it's for the fight scene in episode 2. Nagi gets his ass kicked in a way that is totally epic. Possibly worth watching this episode even if you have no other interest in watching the rest of the series.
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