In April 1997, the second Tenchi TV series, Shin Tenchi Muyo! ("New Tenchi Muyo!"), began airing in Japan. Pioneer released it in North America starting in January under the title Tenchi in Tokyo (oro?). Currently, episodes 1-7 (out of 26) are available, and new episodes are being released at the rate of one three-episode disc per month. I've always been somewhat of a Tenchi fan. TM! Ryo-ohki was my first exposure to anime, and the second DVD I bought was Tenchi Muyo in Love. (The first was the Hitchcock film The 39 Steps, but only because Costco had it for $9.99.)
I bought both released DVDs the second they came out, and I wasn't disappointed. Although I don't think that STM is as good as the original TV series, it's good nonetheless. The story takes place in Yet Another Tenchi Continuity(tm), wherein Tenchi is going to Tokyo to train as a priest. This doesn't go over well with the ladies, but thanks to Washu's scientific genius, there's now a wormhole between the Masaki house in Okayama and Tenchi's apartment in Tokyo, so Ryoko and Ayeka can cause Tenchi endless grief without the expense of going back and forth on the bullet trains. Cue usual Ayeka/Ryoko/Tenchi mischief.
STM has a fairly standard Mysterious Villain(R), Yugi, who has some as-yet-unknown nefarious scheme in mind. Thanks to Yugi, Tenchi faces an amazing variety of ridiculous monsters; two of the more interesting ones are the guardian spirits of cellphones ("Long distance relationships are hereby banned!") and construction workers.
Of course, Tenchi manages to add a new girl, Sayuka, to his harem. For those of you without a scorecard, we're now up to four active suitors if you count Ryo-Ohki. So far, she hasn't quite realized what a bad idea being in the same city as Tenchi is, but I expect that to change faster than the CS department can adopt the latest computing fad.
Speaking of Ryo-Ohki, (s)he can now transform into Mecha-Ohki, a heavily armored cabbit roughly the size of Bradfield Hall. Could this be the M.O. of a certain gourd fan who made the front page of The New York Times last year?
If you're a Tenchi fan, STM is definitely worth the 75-minute drive to Media Play. If not, you'll still find it enjoyable, although it may be a bit too strange for those without prior Tenchi exposure. My advice: sit back, grab some carrots, and enjoy the show.