Tenjho Tenge is the 2000s martial arts anime that defied every single mundane thing about high school life and made it epic (and ecchi).
By: Nicole S. Castro on July 7, 2022 at 12:06 PHT
Time for some seinen (the demographic for adult men) anime throwback!
And speaking of mature, martial arts anime Tenjho Tenge sure did make an impression when it aired on TV in 2004!
Tenjho Tenge (Japanese: 天上天下) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Oh! great. It was serialized in the seinen manga magazine Ultra Jump from 1997 to 2010, and compiled into 22 volumes by publisher Shueisha.
The manga was adapted into a 24-episode anime series by Madhouse. It aired on TV Asahi from April to September 2004. A two-episode original video animation (OVA) was also released in March 2005.
Plot and Throwback (anime)
Before the throwback, here's the catchy opening theme song Bomb A Head! V by m.c.A.T.
The plot unfolds with protagonist Souichiro Nagi (CV: Sōichirō Hoshi) and his best friend Bob Makihara (CV: Shinichiro Miki) attempting to defeat every possible foe at the martial arts high school Toudou Academy. But they quickly realize how naïve they were when they are defeated by Maya Natsume (CV: Aya Hisakawa) and Masataka Takayanagi (CV: Tomokazu Seki).
With Maya defeating Souichiro (and accidentally kicking him into the girls' shower room), Souichiro stumbles into the naked Aya Natsume (CV: Minori Chihara), who proclaims Souichiro is now her fiancé because the Natsume clan has a rule that the women must marry the first man they reveal their bodies to.
Everyone's reaction (now that this meme exists in 2022):
But Aya x Souichiro fanservice aside, Souichiro and Bob decide to join the Juken Club (where Maya is captain) in order to hone their fighting skills. The plot progresses with Souichiro meeting and fighting against various characters who specialize in different martial arts techniques.
The plot approaches its main conflict when Aya realizes Souichiro has a deep admiration for Maya. With her dragon eyes, Aya also sees a vision of Souichiro and Maya kissing during the training camp.
Again, everyone's reaction (now that this meme exists in 2022):
While Maya and Aya struggle with their rift, a series of incidents also leads to Maya revealing her past two years prior to the main storyline. In the flashbacks, Maya explains her strained relationship with Executive Council President Mitsuomi Takayanagi (CV: Toshiyuki Morikawa), whose personality underwent a drastic change after the members of the Katana Group (now the Juken Club) fell apart because of the bloody past of Maya and Aya's older brother, Shin Natsume (CV: Shūichi Ikeda).
How did the anime end?
Unfortunately, the TV anime did not have a definitive conclusion as the original manga was still ongoing serialization at the time. In episode 24, Maya stops the fight against Mitsuomi and convinces him to wait for the upcoming preliminaries to settle the score.
The two-episode OVA released in 2005 attempts to give the series a semi-definitive conclusion, with Souichiro almost defeating Mitsuomi before collapsing from exhaustion, and Aya standing up against Maya by saying she is not willing to lose Souichiro to her older sister.
While it's a shame the 2004 TV anime did not have a satisfying ending, it did do a good job impressing us with the fight scenes and Oh! great's detailed art style. This show was straight up cool and badass.
Of course, the series does fall under the ecchi genre as well, so it is certainly not meant for younger viewers. We know you checked out the more graphic manga anyway. ;)
Digest by AniradioPlus
NICOLE S. CASTRO
Nicole is based in the Philippines and works as a freelance Japanese Translator/Interpreter and copywriter (English). She is a JLPT N2 passer who watches anime to "study" for N1. She has a long career history on LinkedIn (with primary focus on media and translation), but her anime watchlist is much, much longer.