This is an anime about high-schoolers with super powers. Wow, that's the most amazing thing I've ever heard twenty times. Seriously, this type of anime has been done almost as often as the giant-robot type of anime, only without as much success. In fact, should you ask me, I'd say that Tenjho Tenge is the best in this genre of anime. But that's isn't saying in anyway its a perfect anime (Evangelion is a perfect anime, and the absolute best in the genre).
The worst part of this anime is the characters. They, all of them, have been done before. There's the main protagonist with hidden powers, his sidekick, a mentor/love interest, a girl with a crush on the protagonist, and many all-powerful bad guys that the characters seem to overcome despite being vastly weaker than them, plus an over-lord type antagonist that makes an appearance later. It seems that, when the creators sat down, they took a formula plot, added names to all the cliches, and went with the idea until they ran out of cool ideas for bad guys.
Another bad part about this anime is the animation. Not only are all the women drawn with ridiculously large breasts, but the animation is generic and not as varied as I like. There must be differences between the characters, and as of this moment the only character that is actually different is the black character Bob.
Now, with most of the negatives out of the way, there are a few standout features in this anime. First, the opening credits are incredibly attractive, with all those characters dancing to a great soundtrack. Second, the action here is awesome and brutal, though sometimes interspersed with redundant bad guy talk (who isn't tired of the long expository moments where the bad guy reveals his powers with words and not with actions). Thirdly, there is quite a bit of fan-service, meaning bouncing breasts, almost naked women, men in tight fighting outfits, and even a romance in progress, making Tenjho Tenge appealing to all sexes.
The story itself is also decent (though still not original). Two students transfer from their old school, where they were the best fighters, to their new school, where they promptly catch quite the butt-whooping at the hands of one of the smaller "fighting clubs." Thus, they begin their training with the Juken Club (the one responsible for the butt-whooping) to overcome their weaknesses, but in the process they make enemies with the Student Executive Council, the most powerful fighters in the school, and find themselves in numerous life and death battles. And all of the enemies, despite their numbers, seem to have a history, making them only slightly more realistic. Also involved are two voluptuous sisters, one making up for her past, the other attempting to make a future, and a boy whose brother runs the Student Executive Council.
Pros and Cons Key:
+ Good opening credits
+ Great actions when it's actually happening
+ Plenty of fan-service for all kinds of people
+ Decent story
- Too much chat in action scenes
- Generic animation meant solely for fan-service
- As used a plot as there ever was
If you're a fan of high school beat-em ups, this is probably one of the best. If you're into the most basic of story and enjoy solid action, Tenjho Tenge is one of the best. If you like great anime with that is excellent all around, then I wouldn't recommend this.