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The Unofficial History of Pioneer Anime:
Part 3: April 1995 - February 1996

by Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

On the heels of Armiage III's release in March, came the highly anticipated continuation of the Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki OVA series. And the US premiere of the ghost-busting comedy, Phantom Quest Corp. on April 25, 1995 on Laserdisc VHS Dubbed, and VHS subbed.

Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki OVA #8 & 9 sported a new artistic direction (which some consider to be not-up-to-par in comparison to the original) and a more 'adventure-of-the-day' type of story storyline that has a main focus on Sasami, Washu, and Ryo-Ohki. Throughout this series new gate-ways were opened for the Tenchi experience. From the baby cousin of Tenchi, Taro, on Episode 8, the explanation of Tsunami in episode 9, the creation of Ryo-Ohki and Ryoko in 10, the 2 part Doctor Clay and Zero incident in 11 and 12, and the Jurai family on earth in episode 13. The series game a background information filled trip to the Tenchi-verse that spawns the most controversial characters in the series, D3 and Lady Tokimi. Will the rumored 3rd OVA series ever answer the unanswered questions of Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki? Only time will tell.

Phantom Quest Corp., released simultaneously with Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki OVA2 in the US, is the story of "Ayaka Kisaragi, a shapely woman with taste in designer clothing" and her contracted spirit-busting staff. Each of the 4 episodes of this OVA series as separate, self-contained episodes full of comedy and bizarre cases. 'Tea Room Transylvanis' anyone? How about a lipstick lightsaber? In either case Phantom Quest Corp. the series is more of Pioneer's great comedy. "We will take away the source of your misfortune!"

May 1995 sported the release of the fourth (and final) volume of Kishin Corps. June 27, had 3 titles Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki #10/11, Armitage III #2, and Phantom Quest Corp. #2 (the final volume). July 25, 1995 brought, yet, two more new series to the hands of Pioneer's anxious customers.

The First is El-Hazard: The Magical World OVA. From the creators of Tenchi comes a story about 3 high school students and their teacher who unwillingly find themselves transported to the mysterious worlds of El-Hazard, where getting back to earth may just be an impossibility. The concept is similar to Tenchi in that, Makoto is surrounded by 'Beautiful Girls', but where they differ is the storyline and pacing. El-Hazard has a continues storyline that never stops to look back, and it sports the most human villain in all of anime, Katsuhiko Jinnai. Volume 1 is 50 minutes long and contains episode 1, Volumes 2 and 3 are 60 minutes sporting 2 episodes each, and Volume 4 is 75 minutes and has the shocking conclusion of Episodes 6 and 7.

The second new of July 1995 was The Hakkenden, a mind trip of symbolism, sword fights, and betrayal set in Feudal Japan. The 13 ova episodes (7 volumes) of The Hakkenden tell the tale of 7 dog warriors cursed with having to band together to break the age-old curse. Truth, historical facts and places, violence, and betrayal make for excellent viewing. Though the actual animation ranges from "OVA quality to early 80s TV" and dead ends abound after the first 6 episodes are over, for anyone brave enough to make it through all 13 episodes will not be disappointed by the ending.

On October 24, 1995 the first of the Tenchi-Muyo! spin-offs hit America, with the release of Tenchi & Friends Special: The Magical Girl Pretty Sammy. Set in a new reality from the OVA and Mihoshi Special ending movie, the Pretty Sammy OVA series (with it's tooth-rotting sweetness and hilarious slapstick comedy) is either embraced as a welcomed diversion or horribly bashed as a trivial time animation cell waster. Either way Pretty Sammy is a great watch for anyone wanting to see more of the Tenchi crew.

In the winter of 1995 came Software Sculptor's Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki Screen Saver, a item plagued with missing files and movies that can easily be remedied by downloading a patch file from an internet site that has the file. January 1996 brought El-Hazard volume 3 and The Hakkenden Volume 4 whish sports the episode 7, which starts the second OVA series and a 'Hakkenden Digest' which gives a recap of the series up to this point. February 22, 1996 saw the conclusion of 2 series; Armitage III with volume 4, and Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki with the 11th volume of the OVA series which sports episodes 12 and 13 along with the special still cell animation 13.5 episode, a message from both the English & Japanese cast of Tenchi and Production sketches.

End of Part III

Phantom Quest Corps. CD Back

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  • Note 10: Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki OVA 8-13 have been re-released under the title TENCHI COLLECTION. Subbed for $24.95 and Dubbed for $19.95. Episodes 8-13.5 are on Volume #5,6, and 7.
  • Note 11: Phantom Quest Corp. Volume 1 & 2 are currently only available Dubbed for $24.95 a volume. However, you are most likely ONLY to see Volume 1 in a store. But, you can special order Volume 2.
  • Note 12: El-Hazard OVA 1 Volumes 1-4 are currently being re-released with NEW packaging and a new price. Subbed for $24.95 and Dubbed for $19.95.
  • Note 13: The Hakkenden Volumes 1-7 is currently only available dubbed for $24.95 a volume. However, chances of you finding all 7 volumes at one store aren't good.
  • Note 14: Tenchi & Friends Special: The Magical Girl Pretty Sammy OVA 1 is currently unavailable.
  • Note 15: Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki Screen Saver by Software Sculptors is currently unavailable.
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  • DISCLAIMER: All pictures on this and other pages are trademarked by Pioneer/AIC and are used on these pages without permission for informational use only.
    The Unofficial History Pioneer Anime © 1998-2000, Adam Arnold
    Last Addition --- January 1, 1999