I’ve watched the anime of Tenjou Tenge a couple years back, and am actually a bit surprised seeing it’s from 2004 and some comments, since I remember the art as being generally sub-par to what I consider the modern standard. Enough that I’m going to grab some episodes and re-watch them to see what’s up.
Anyway. I began watching the anime, saw cool cool fights, cool characters, and all was well and good. We then got to a flashback sequence, which lasts 6 episodes. I was all up for it in the beginning, but at some point I was going, “Hey, this is a limited run series, what’s up?”
We then get 3.5 more episodes in the present time, before we get another flashback sequence, from episodes 19 to 23, out of 24 episodes. At this point, I remember going, “What the fuck? When will I watch the series?” but after a couple of episodes I dawned of me, but it’s something that’s disturbing if you don’t realize it, and disturbing that (when?) you don’t know it going in:
The background story is the real story. What happens now is cool, but what happened before is cooler. You care more about that by the end, it’s amazing, it’s awesome, and it’s sort of like a bait-and-switch. After I realized that, I stopped waiting for the flashback sequence to end, because I’ve realized that was the main story.
Then the anime ends on a cliffhanger. Not surprising, considering it’s an adaptation of a still-running manga, and I now found out there’s been an OVA which I’ll have to track down. So the anime ends on a cliffhanger, after you finally know what happened in the past to set it all up, but not what’s going to happen. In a sense, the anime ends before the present day story can really start (ok, it did start, and made some progress, but now we were getting to the exciting stuff!), so it leaves you open-mouthed when that happens. You do get a full story though through the flashbacks, and a desire to know what happens next, perhaps it’ll be worth it to get the manga?
UPDATE: Viewing it again to check the art quality. Ok, I watched it before on extremely low quality, which made the drawings look ugly, both style and technique. I now compared it to high quality, and there I still hate the artistic style, how most characters/faces are drawn, but it’s very well-made on the technical level.
Hm, an 8 on a story within a story, but only 6.5 overall?