A princess, new to a human being of magic and student the a good magician, should lead a team come find absent jewels scattered indigenous an enchanted box by a jealous rival.

You are watching: Tenko and the guardians of the magic

Stop me if did you do it heard this story before.

Crazy as it seems, this is not just the basic plot the Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, but additionally another miracle girl show that debuted in autumn 1995: Tenko and also the Guardians of the Magic.

Tenko adheres to the eponymous heroine – based (incredibly loosely) on real-life Japanese stage magician Princess Tenko – together she is trained through her grasp Hikita in the arts of magic. In the world of Tenko, collection presumably in the ‘90s, actual magic have the right to be done once one wields a magic Starfire Gem. These gems to be originally had in a big magic box, referred to as the Tenko Box.


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When Hikita name Tenko his successor, jealous fellow apprentices, twins Jana and Jason attempt to stealing the Starfire Gems because that themselves. Hikita gives Tenko the mystical Topaz Starfire Gem, which enables her come transform and also summon a spirit animal lion to help her against the combined power of Jana and Jason’s Amber and Ruby Starfire Gems. (Which, when combined, turns the twins right into a two-headed dragon. In the ensuing battle, the Starfire Gems room scattered to the 4 winds, and Hikita is injured. The master magician is inserted inside the Tenko Box wherein he i do not care a sort of spirit guide for Princess Tenko. (Notice any similarities to a certain Wizard native Jewel Riders?) Hikita guides Tenko and also the various other Guardians as they take trip the human being in a race with Jana and Jason because that the lost Starfire Gems.


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Along with the titular character, there room three male guardians: Bolt, Hawk, and Steel. They each wield Starfire jewel of their own in the quest to conference the rest of the lost stones. Along the way, they are also joined by Ali, a street girl who ultimately gets her own Starfire Gem, and also Shonti, trainer and also caretaker the the animals used in both Tenko’s stage magic shows and also as magical companions through gems of your own.



Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic premiered top top September 10th, 1995, the same day together Jewel Riders and also is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year together well. Ns think it’s together an exciting thing the these two mirrors with very similar premises premiered the very same day. Lock share some exciting similarities in the basic plots, however where Jewel Riders goes for the full medieval fantasy, Tenko is much an ext an city fantasy, wherein the characters live in the “real” world. This is similar to shows choose 1994’s Gargoyles or 1996’s sky Dancers. It enabled the creators to occasionally check out the friction of the magical and mundane worlds.

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The real-life Princess Tenko – Japanese idol singer and stage magician Mariko Itakura – would display up at the end of every episode to one of two people perform one of her signature cool illusions or teach a an easy magic trick. It’s interesting to me that kids were meant to believe this to be the exact same character who animated adventures they had actually just finished. While occasionally interesting, it was always the weakest part of the show to me together a child. I would have wanted an extra 5 minute of man adventure and magic.

One of the interesting things we right here at the Archive uncovered out native speaking with Greg Autore was the Tenko underwent emphasis group trial and error with children at the very same time together Jewel Riders.

Greg Autore: “Part that the Kenner procedure is to constantly look for new properties or inventions. As soon as they arrive, Design and also Marketing review them and some are picked to walk to the next step to make test models and get early customer feedback. Ns was given several scripts and loved “Enchanted Camelot” when I very first read it. So, I moved for gaining it right into the tests and was assigned to it is adapted it into a viable toy line. Ns was told the the production agency was ready to job-related with us (Kenner) to make it better. It was not until after the test results came earlier favorable and also we decided to push forward that ns met Robert Mandell and really dug right into the project.

Incidentally, “Princess Tenko” was in the same round of testing, and also I did make the models for that also, but it did not score as high. Later, Mattel picked up that line yet it did not execute well.”


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You can likewise hear an ext from Greg about Tenko in episode 3 that the Jewel Riders archive Podcast: http://www.jamesmerse.com/posts/the-jewel-riders-archive-podcast-episode-three-greg-autore-part-two/

Another genesis the the two properties re-superstructure is the unproduced 1993 toy, cartoon, and also comic line of Wonder Woman and the Star Riders. This to be a toy line from Mattel, and when Greg was prototyping the Jewel rider dolls, he offered these bodies prior to the idea left Mattel and also was choose up through Kenner! The doll bodies used to do Star Riders were at some point repurposed into the Tenko and Disney Musical/Bubble Princess bodies.


As we mentioned earlier, it’s exciting that both Tenko and also Jewel Riders came about at the same time. Probably there was simply something in the air around then, yet it wouldn’t have been the first time the Mattel make the efforts to sweep Hasbro’s legs out from under lock by using their own concept and also rushing a product to market. This famously taken place with Jem and also the Holograms and the Mattel-produced Barbie and the Rockers. Tenko was additionally billed together “Saban’s Tenko and also the Guardians that the Magic.” remember in 1994/1995, Saban was a household name ~ it created the hit power Rangers. Go they meet Princess Tenko if in contact with Japanese manufacturing studios and also decide to base a cartoon collection around her? This was likewise around the exact same time that the notorious “Saban Moon” adaptation of seafarer Moon to be being worked on, so clearly Saban to be interested in doing a female-focused fashion/action cartoon. It was even a live-action/animation hybrid!

Regardless, Tenko’s thirteen episode run sadly end on a cliffhanger episode that ideas at a higher villain (same together Jewel Riders through Morgana), yet with no hope of fixing the storyline. It’s as well bad, due to the fact that Tenko could have been great with a second season. There were plenty much more Starfire gems to find and also storylines come explore. One wonders what can have been! I’m sure the civil liberties – especially since this connected a real-life person and multiple enterprise – room a terrible tangle to this day.

Believe it or not, over there was actually a time that I chosen this show an ext than Jewel Riders (I know, heresy, right?). I choose the urban fantasy setting, the sustaining cast, the hint of romance between Tenko and also Jason. I do discover it interesting that Tenko’s main supporting actors is mostly male, through Bolt, Hawk, and also Steel ~ above the good side, and Jason top top the negative side. It’s together a strange selection for a show that to be going to have actually a tie-in doll line! What you left with are three Tenko dolls (one because that each that her transformations with the Topaz, rose Quartz, and Sapphire Starfire Gems), Ali, Shonti (who never had a Gem in the show), and also Jana. Not also one the the male characters was produced. Though us did get Tenko’s horse Pearl Rider and also her eye leopard Ninjara.


The dolls featured the Star Riders bodies with published jumpsuits overtop. Each doll climate had document and fabric pieces children could add to make them look favor they were powered up through magic. One of the points that go come with the phases from Greg’s early ideas were the magnetic features. Each doll had actually a magnetic breastplate and also magnetic jewel that could affix to it. The animals had magnetic jewel play features as well.


While i think the dolls are really pretty, and fun, they absence the display screen accuracy of the Jewel Riders dolls. Through their high hairpieces, they look more akin to vegas showgirls than the magical fight outfits of the show.

Neither dolls or show caught with audiences well, however. Perhaps this was since of the odd 7 am Sunday morning time slot. Probably the dolls just didn’t market well enough to warrant a more season the animation. Or maybe the moonlit zero of sailor Moon was already being cast.

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Whatever the reason, the a bit sad to watch a series with together promise not find an audience or one ending. The real-life Princess Tenko went ago to performing magic, Saban go on come produce an ext seasons of power Rangers, and Greg Autore continued his work on Jewel Riders. And also just prefer that, Tenko was swallowed by the airwaves.


The series has never had an main release in the West. No VHS to be made in the ‘90s, and also only a couple of episodes to be released top top a smattering that DVDs in Europe. The collection later aired ~ above Jetix in the US, where most of the recordings floating around on the internet are from. Only 11 that the 13 illustration were easily accessible for years until Chris and Ronnie uncovered a childhood VHS tape-recorded from TV with one of the absent episodes! and also just recently, a fan gave us a connect to the last episode! for the very first time, all of Tenko is accessible once again!

Did girlfriend love Tenko? were you one of the faithful viewers that couldn’t wait because that the expose of a new Starfire gem or to view if the intrepid Princess can recover them? permit us understand in the comment below!

And remember…

“The Magic’s in You!”

Chris

P.S. Miscellaneous magic is in the air, due to the fact that we just discovered another an excellent article all around Tenko!