Back in 1995 I fell in love with one of the most fun stories containing some of the most enjoyable characters that I'd ever seen — animated or not. At the time, the first Tenchi Muyo! (aka "No Need for Tenchi!", aka "No Need for Heaven and Earth!") OVA series was fully released in the States, with the follow-up OVA series about halfway out. I was in my junior year at college — my college anime club (UGAnime) had yet to be created — and the only way I could watch new stuff and fansubs (looooong before the internet made it viable to download digi-subs, and before Netflix was a twinkle in its creator's eye) was to drive a long 60 miles to Atlanta and rent 10 or so tapes a week every weekend from my
crack anime supplier — a small little store in a mini-mall called House of Anime.
Anywaaaaaaaay, when I found Tenchi Muyo!, I lost my shit. The story was engrossing and incredibly deep, it contained nothing but a fantastic cast of strange people with some very interesting powers and abilities, a brilliant backstory, and a villain that I loved to fucking loathe. The 6-episode original video animated (OVA) series was over too quickly, but the bonus episode ("The Night Before the Carnival") and the 2nd series kept me coming back for more.
Then they made a 26 episode TV show featuring the Tenchi cast in an alternate universe, and then they made a movie featuring the alternate cast and their adventures traveling 26 years into the past. Then they threw a couple of strange outside-of-continuity OVAs at us (one featuring incompetent space cop Mihoshi, and one about a preteen character which turned her into a magical girl).... And then there was a second TV series that turned Ryo-Ohki (a rabbit/cat-like creature) into a giant, pink mech, and took the action to Tokyo. Then a couple of stand alone movies, a few Pretty Sammy magical girl TV shows, and some pretty bad manga series pretty much drove the franchise into the ground, and the Tenchi love train found itself burned out for a while...
But then, at the 10 year anniversary of the original OVA series, AIC (the Japanese company who created Tenchi) released an official extension to the original (and most loved) Tenchi timeline (the OVA series), in the form of a new TV show and a third OVA story in the same continuity! I, along with all Tenchi Muyo! lovers around the world, rejoiced!... But then I saw the shit-out final outcome... And I cried.
And then, about 7 years after that, a 13 episode OVA series was released that took place in the same original OVA universe, but contained absolutely NONE of the characters that we loved.
Oh, and then in 2014, a new 50 episode (at 4 minutes-a-pop per episode) TV series came out that took place in none of the previously released continuities, and pretty much vomited out the last partially digested cherry to top a once great franchise.
This is the story of Tenchi Muyo!...
Let me now back up and explain to you the good, the bad, and the retarded of each of the Tenchi universes.
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA Series 1 and 2
This is the original OVA Tenchi series. It is the storyline that introduced us to all the characters, showed us a very unique and interesting universe run by an influential royal family (known as Jurai) and the powerful Galaxy Police (the GXP), and it pretty much introduced the world to the idea of "harem anime." Please don't hold this last bit against it though. Tenchi's Harem is the rarest of the rare: all the girls that "fall for" the main character do so in a very reasonable and plot-centric way, and the boy that they fall for is kind of a badass when all is said and done (and not a total pussy with no redeeming qualities at all). But I digress.
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki is all about teenager Tenchi Masaki, a regular high school kid who helps out at his grandfather's Shinto shrine during his breaks from high school. During one such visit to the family's mountain shrine, Tenchi steals his grandfather's keys and sneaks into a holy area where an "evil demon" is supposedly contained, deep in a cave. Tenchi accidentally wakes up the demon (that looks like a withered-up old mummy with an oni mask on), and then flees for his life, doing his best to lock the area off again so as to not get caught breaking his grandfather's rules.... And to hopefully avoid "death by demon."
Well, the demon actually is totally freed from its confines, thanks to Tenchi, and it follows him back to his school where it attacks him one evening. It's then that Tenchi discovers that the demon (once revitalized) looks like a young woman with a wild mane of blue-spiky hair, and all she wants is the wooden sword hilt that the boy stole from her prison cell in the cave. It seems that the three jewels in the hilt contain her otherworldly powers, and all she wants in life is to get them back. Oh, and she's not really a demon, but is instead an intergalactic space pirate named Ryoko.
About this time, two princesses from the Jurai Royal Family detect Ryoko's energy signature while aboard their space ship and attack. It seems that Ayeka Jurai is looking for her half-brother/fiancé (think the Targaryen family), Yosho, who was last seen taking off to battle the pirate Ryoko and her transforming cabbit spaceship (Ryo-Ohki), who, on the orders of master criminal Kagato, had attacked the Juraian capital and damaged many of their defenses a long time ago. Ayeka's younger sister, Sasami, is just along for the ride. Hilariousness ensues.
Oh, and soon after, Galaxy Police detective Mihoshi (a loyal officer, with a serious case of klutziness) crashlands on Earth when she misinterprets her superiors' orders, because she's a bit too eager to please and act.
And then soon after Mihoshi's arrival, the most wanted evil genius in all of space/time (the one and only Kagato) appears, captures Ryoko again, and threatens the cosmos with his dastardly brilliant scheme to collect all knowledge and power that the universe has to offer... Or something like that.
It's at this time that we learn of everybody's connection to everything else, how Kagato took control of all of super scientist Washu Hakubi's creations (including Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki) through deception, and what his plans are for Tenchi and the goddess who gives the Juraian Royal Family their power: the Goddess Tsunami.
Anyway, like I previously said, the story and history of this universe is really deep, and the characters and action are top notch! The co-creators each brought their own strengths to the table, and they evened out the other's weaknesses — Hiroki Hayashi brought the plot and action, and Masaki Kajishima brought the detailed backstory, and apparently a love of lots of cute girls throwing their panties at the protagonist. In the end, it was an almost perfect mixture of characters, story, and substance... But when AIC wanted further Tenchi adventures from the pair (since the first series was such a huge hit!), Hiroki Hayashi chose to leave for new projects to conquer, but Masaki Kajishima was totally up for more, as long as it was totally on his terms.
See, Hiroki Hayashi wanted to do something different and original, and not just rehash a story that he felt had already been told. So he went on to make El Hazard next (which was AWESOME!), and Masaki went back to the Tenchi well and gave us the second OVA series.
The second series was alright, and it was still fun, but Masaki Kajishima ignored all aspects of pushing forward with the story (and kept out pretty much all action) in order to focus on the history of the Tenchi-verse, and who each of the characters are. There was no real plot to the second series' 6 new episodes, and although I still enjoy these tales, it is an obvious step down in quality from the first OVA series.
But this didn't slow AIC down at all! Since Tenchi Muyo! was still insanely well-loved and trendy, they decided to "reboot" the tale with a full TV series called...
The Tenchi Universe TV series of 1995 featured the entire cast of characters from the OVA world, but gave everyone different backgrounds, and slightly different personalities. Oh, and it made the gathering of all the girls in Tenchi Masaki's life seem a lot more incidental than the OVA series did.
Anyway, things start off with several episodes detailing how 6 girls (one more than the OVA!) pretty much randomly end up living in the Masaki house, before turning into a road trip series as everybody runs through space to get away from the Galaxy Police. It seems that the supposed long lost crown prince of Jurai has returned from hiding, and he tells the galactic fuzz that Ayeka and Sasami Jurai are traitors to the throne, along with all those who are caught working with and helping them.
Some pretty funny incidents then ensue, with everybody trying to figure out who this pretender "Yosho Jurai" is, and what his end-game plans are, while avoiding the space patrolmen and trying to stay alive. Throw in a butch bounty hunter with a grudge against Ryoko — and her own cabbit/spaceship (a twin to Ryo-Ohki) — some trippy universe-bending episodes, and the REAL long lost crown prince of Jurai (who we find out is *SURPRISE* Tenchi's grandpa), and you have a decently entertaining waste of 13 hours of your life.
Tenchi Universe was veeery lightweight compared to the OVA series, but it could have been a whole lot worse (we'll see HOW much worse when I get to later Tenchi series below). It has a full and complete plot, and ends decently enough, but one thing still bothers me about it. I still wonder why the good prince Yosho — after defeating (but not outright killing) his rival in their battle long ago — then immediately ran away to Earth, leaving a huge power vacuum and an easy way for his evil competitor to snap up the monarchy once he was mended and stronger? That just seems like a dick move to drop on the galaxy.
Tenchi Universe did nothing to really advance the main characters, and it really didn't bring anything new to the table that the original OVA didn't do better the first time, but it wasn't bad. It did, however, leave us with one really good thing though: Tenchi - the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love.
Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love.
I actually first watched this movie before seeing the TV series (Tenchi Universe) — since Universe wasn't out in the States yet — and I originally thought that the film was a sequel to my beloved OVA timeline (it is in fact a direct sequel to the TU story). There are only a few small character inaccuracies and (what I thought were) plot holes that let me know that something was wrong with this way of thinking, but I just brushed that aside as inconsequential continuity errors, since the movie was so much fun.
The movie begins with a Super A Class criminal with monstrous powers (named Kain) busting out of a GXP subspace prison, and heading to Earth for some reason, and then into the past (which he apparently can do because he's KAIN).
In the present, Tenchi and his harem are just sitting around, watching old home movies that Tenchi's horny old father made of his wife while they were both in high school (and his dad was just a regular, non-pervy teen). Out of nowhere, Achika (Tenchi's mom) gets erased from the 8MM flick they're viewing, reality gets ripped to shreds, and Tenchi and his womens are only saved from being deleted from existence themselves because Washu noticed a temporal displacement and was able to set up a "time shield" around everybody before they vanished, just like Achika and the Masaki house they were in did. Oh noes!
With Washu's super awesome science know-how, the cast is thrown back in time to 1970 in order to see what killed Achika in the past (before she could have given birth to Tenchi) and caused the divergent timeline they found themselves in (think The Terminator mixed with Back to the Future Part II).
In 1970, the girls take up covert roles at the school in order to spy on Tenchi's mother, since Washu doesn't know specifically when what-turns-out-to-be-Kain struck. They all have to be on their guards and watch for threats, but of course the girls all argue and get distracted from their main mission a bunch of times because that's what comedy harems do. Then there's a huge battle where the good guys use Fudo power and Tokyo Tower to battle the time trippin' baddie, and a really emotional and interesting ending occurs. Good times all around.
Tenchi Muyo in Love was a great finale to the Universe storyline (there was a Tenchi Forever! Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 movie, but it was boring and truly lame [having to do with some bitch who loved Tenchi's grandpa, and who haunted a tree in order to suck Tenchi in as revenge for Grandad ignoring her], and that is all I'll even say about it). The Tenchi movie made you really connect with the good guys (much more so than the TV series it was based on ever did), and it had a great evil dickish villain in Kain. God, Kain was a total fuckface...
Probably my favorite thing about this movie is the fact that Tenchi and his womens spend half the flick touring Tokyo and seeing all the shit that Mehve and I saw when we traveled there in 2011. That was really fun!
Just don't ask why Kain felt the need to travel back in time 26 years to kill off the Juraian blood line (instead of just murdering everyone left alive today, or instead of going back to BEFORE he was captured and killing the Juraian Emperor who originally helped to trap Kain 100 years ago) and you'll really like this movie too. I SAID DON'T ASK WHY!
Let's see... Next came...
Magical Girl Pretty Sammy
This is one of those "What the Fuck" moments in anime history. Here, they built an entire anime universe based around the idea of Sasami Jurai being a magical girl with a sidekick in the form of Ryo-Ohki, the talking the cabbit.
I watched all of them back when they first came out (mostly 'cause I watched EVERYTHING I could get my hands on back in the mid to late 1990s), but I don't recall much of the plot, other than Queen Tsunami enlists typical Japanese schoolgirl Sasami into her service as a magical girl in order to defend her kingdom from the evils, and that Sasami's best friend is (quite obviously) her magical girl rival, who's set up by Tsunami's foe to stop Sasami.... It's just.... Odd.
Magical Girl Pretty Sammy is basically just a satire of shit like Sailor Moon and Creamy Mami. It made me laugh a few times, but the joke was just dragged on for too long. Meaning they took what was really just a 30 minute episode-worth of punchlines and eventually turned it into a 3-episode OVA series, and two separate TV shows, lasting a total of 52 goddamn episodes.
Next up is the second Tenchi-based TV series...
Tenchi in Tokyo
This is another winner. And by "winner" I mean "complete waste of time, bordering on masochism."
Tenchi in Tokyo goes a little like this: Tenchi Masaki moves to Tokyo. The girls follow. Chaos ensues.
Tenchi in Tokyo (or TiT) has yet another background set up for each of the characters: Tenchi and his grandpa are (for some reason) no longer Juraians, and the cabbit Ryo-Ohki doesn't just turn into a spaceship here, but also into a pink cabbit mecha for Sasami to pilot. Oh, and Tenchi starts dating some short-haired chick (a NEW character?!?! Wha-wha-WHAT?!) with temper issues that put Ayeka's bipolarism to shame. And there's also some annoying twat who antagonizes the cast while she watches from a crystal palace in the sky...
TiT has absolutely NOTHING going for it. In fact it had a lot going against it, including most of the characters being noticeably stupider than their previous incarnations, and a plot that would have been satire had it not taken itself as seriously as it had. TiT can be skipped entirely, and your life will be much more fulfilling by doing ANYTHING else in the time that you would have spent on it.
NEXT UP: The Tenchi OVA revival!
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA Series 3
Back in 2002, at the 10th anniversary of the original Tenchi Muyo! OVA, a third OVA series was released, once again with only co-creator Masaki Kajishima involved in the project. At first, everybody was ecstatic over this news... but then we got the first episode, and we lowered our expectations dramatically.
The third Tenchi OVA series is all about Tokimi, the third Goddess of the Choushin Goddess Triumverate (beings who control 22 dimensions of reality — of which, the other two being Tsunami and Washu.... Spoilers!), spying on Tenchi and his posse in order to see why he's so gosh-darned powerful.
So this Goddess, Tokimi, sends a super powerful warrior (who hates her, by the way) to observe Tenchi and his interstellar melting pot of a family. But this asshole spy — some weird-looking guy known only as Z — immediately starts trying to kill everybody (because he's a douche). Then he's stopped by Tenchi, because it appears that Tenchi is somehow a super powerful god whose power dwarfs even Tokimi and her sisters). Then something like 50,000 more female characters come into Tenchi's life in order to apparently self-parody the whole storyline up to this point. Ugh....
Oh, and did I mention that Ayeka and Sasami's mother is the "Counter-Actor," or pretty much the grim reaper of the Third Dimension, and the only way that she was stopped from destroying everything is that Tenchi kissed her (quite passionately)? And that Tenchi traveled to the distant past for 2 minutes and rescued a young Kagato from a planet being rained down on by debris from a space battle above? No? Good. Because these two ideas are some of the stupidest and most ridiculous ever put to film.
If I recall, this third OVA series is really just about the three Choushin Goddesses trying to figure out where they themselves come from, and what created them. It COULD have been interesting, but they made the plot so convoluted and they told the story so poorly that I just didn't care. All I kept thinking about was how incredibly dumb everybody was acting in it, and how stale the tale was. All I wanted was something as fun as the first OVA, not something that was only 6 episodes long (and a special), but felt like a 52 episode mega-series... I have since come to the understanding that we will never get anything as enjoyable as the first Tenchi OVA again. At least not out of Masaki Kajishima.
There is absolutely NOTHING that makes the third OVA worth watching. Nothing. Thanks to there being no more Hiroki Hayashi involved, there was no solid plot and no good action in this thing. On top of that, they threw in a ton of unnecessary and hideous CGI into the animation (including making spaceship Ryo-Ohki a terrible and cheap-looking CGI'd creation), and the character designs are noticeably much worse than the first two OVA series, to the point where they're fugly in this one. And many of the old characters actually have different personalities than they did in the earlier OVAs (like Mihoshi is now just an outright idiotic moron who has no place in the GXP, as opposed to her being a loyal officer who just so happened to be a bit clumsy).
So many more unappealing and stupid characters are also introduced for the sole purpose of shoehorning in more of Masaki Kajishima's patented "I love back story that doesn't matter at all in the narrative currently being told, so now you're getting all this incredibly dull and retarded history because nobody will stop me now!" into the timeline.
Oh, and the actual retconning of Tenchi history in this third OVA series is a crime against anime fans everywhere. This retconning doesn't even make any fucking sense what-so-ever, and it does nothing to advance any of the plot! Example: In OVA 3, we learn that Tenchi's grandfather, Yosho, already had a wife before running away to Earth, and she's still alive, and Yosho has kept in touch with her during his entire time on our planet (over 700 years). Yosho HAS ALSO kept up contact with the Juraian Royal Family (and the Galaxy Police) over the many centuries that he's been in self-exile on Earth. This makes no goddamn sense at all with everything else we've seen before, nor does it comply with the way everybody else has acted in the previous OVA series.
And to add insult to injury, OVA 3 inserts yet another girl into Tenchi's main harem. This one's a subservient maid (who was once Mihoshi's partner in the GXP) who is also part female Kagato... Don't think about it too much.
Oh, and to add lemon juice to the insult and injury we've already established, the tragedy of Tenchi losing his mom so early in life is turned into a horrible joke in this series. Oh sweet Jesus... I wish we could retcon this abortion of a series and just be content with the first two OVAs.
But wait! Things soon got worse for Tenchi Muyo!, and all us viewers...
Tenchi Muyo! GXP
Tenchi Muyo! GXP came out at about the same time as the third OVA series, and it essentially took a giant, watery, Taco Bell-flavored, diarrhea dump all over the franchise so completely disgusting me that it almost caused me to lose my fucking mind.
I've already reviewed GXP, back when it first came out, but I must reiterate just how atrocious this TV series is. Once again, it supposedly takes place in the original OVA continuity, but it does nothing but ruin everything that made Tenchi Masaki, and the whole Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki series special in the first place.
I don't have the heart to go over all its shittiness again. That would entail me either watching some of it anew, or reading its synopsis on a wiki in order to remind myself of its crimes against humanity, and nooooo thank you. Just believe me that it turns the whole franchise into a walking punchline, and most assuredly not in a good way. GXP destroys any part of Tenchi Muyo! that was dramatic, significant, and memorable, and turns every remaining bit into a bad joke that it thinks is the funniest thing since the first time you saw a video of somebody getting hit in the crotch with the pointy end of a football.
No choices that they make in this production make any sense, and the lead character (who is not even Tenchi Masaki, but some annoying, turdy, bad-luck-induced distant relative of his) just has hawt older women throwing themselves on his utterly wimpy and frail body FOR NO GODDAMN REASON AT ALL. That's the killer thing for me here: Masaki Kajishima helped to invent the harem show, and his first attempt got it so much more right than anything he's done since! Every girl had a damn good reason for falling into Tenchi's harem in the original story, but in GXP its like Kajishima is just seeing how many hotties he can get to fall head over heals in love with the main character because "NO REASON CITED." Seriously. NO. FUCKING. REASON.
Goddammit... And this brings us to...
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar OVA
Skip it. Skip this abomination. It's just as bad as GXP, only with less forced-down-your-throat bad humor.
In Geminar, some Earth kid (who is Tenchi Masaki's half brother from his father and a fake humanoid woman that was made to believe she was human......... NOT making this shit up) gets transported to some wacky new dimension where women pilot magical mecha, and he gets turned into an assassin (a shitty assassin). But then, when confronted with killing a cute princess, he wimps out, joins the cute princess' side, and then goes to that world's magical mecha school for girls where all the girls love him and want to have his bay-bee. Then I shot myself in the head, and so I don't recall much more beyond that.
Once again, there's no Tenchi Masaki in this show, and there's giant mechs out of nowhere, but at least the protagonist is a bit more manly than the main kid in GXP (only by a slight margin though). But then creator Masaki Kajishima went and did the worst thing he could have done: he made it into a SUPAH HAREM show. Our lead character is pretty much the ONLY male in the entire series, with over a dozen named females in the cast (who automatically fall in love with him, again for no reason at all), and it's set in a MAGICAL MECHA SCHOOL FOR GIRLS.
I honestly can't believe I got through this piece of shit. It was one of the worst things I've ever seen... Right behind GXP.
Ai Tenchi Muyo!
Then in late 2014, Tenchi Muyo! came back to TV in the form of 50 4-minute episodes called Ai Tenchi Muyo! (which essentially translates to "No Need for Tenchi Love!"). In it, Tenchi has to help Washu contain a rogue experiment of hers, and so he finds that he has to go undercover as a teacher in an all-girls school where the students wear slutty uniforms and tease him and taunt him endlessly. That is not a joke. That is what the Tenchi brand has been reduced to: a bad hentai anime plot.
Once again, there is nothing redeemable about this show at all. The character designs are cute all around, but the main Tenchi cast looks NOTHING like the actual Tenchi cast. Faces, hair, costumes... Really, if the actual names of characters weren't used, I would have just guessed that somebody was mocking (and poorly) the roles of the Tenchi peeps as we know them. Sad.
Other than that, the story of Ai Tenchi Muyo! takes a while to get going, it's told in a broken, mixed-up manner (jumping back and forth through time, making me wonder until the very end if there were two separate tales being told, or a single stupid storyline, with no sense of priorities), and it gets ultra ridiculous to the point of distraction before you can say "Washu, save us!" (Example: we find that half the high school girls at this private academy are working as diggers in a giant mine underneath the campus, looking for "treasure").
Most people don't even know that this thing exists, and that's just as well; it never should have existed, and people not knowing about it is the second best thing.
After that, I think all that's left are the random OVAs known as...
The Mihoshi Special & Daughter of Darkness
Or was Daughter of Darkness a movie? I don't remember anymore. I only saw each of these things once, and then promptly chose to forget them... Ugh... I'm remembering them now.
The Mihoshi Special is a ridiculous little story about Galaxy Police officer Mihoshi that doesn't take place in any of the previously talked about timelines. It's basically just a short straight-to-video flick where Mihoshi is being lazy, and then she's called out by Ayeka for being a lethargic, inattentive, and careless dolt. Ayeka then goes onto mock her probably shitty GXP work as well.
Then Mihoshi claims that she's really a grrrrrrreat cop, and she then proceeds to tell everybody a dumb tale of how she and her old partner, Kiyone, busted some criminal organization by casting the rest of her housemates as characters in her tale. It's utterly forgettable.
Then there's the Daughter of Darkness movie, which also takes place in its own Tenchi universe. This one is so ridiculous that it's kind of entertaining for its WTF factor, but in the end it's totally not worth the hour it took to watch it.
Okay... here' me going by memory.
So Tenchi's grandpa, Yosho Jurai, once made friends with a literal demon girl when he was a kid, back on his home planet. They promised to be BFFs till they died, but then the palace guards kicked her ass out of the royal grounds, and this demon got all pissy and blamed her humiliation on Yosho.
Hundreds of years later, this demon girl wakes up from a long sleep, or some shit, and finds that Yosho is now on Earth. She spies on him and sees that his grandson is surrounded by girls, and decides she wants to fuck with Tenchi because, you know, why not?
So the demon girl clips some of Tenchi's hair, and then makes a demon/human/Juraian hybrid out of their combined DNA. Then she accelerates the growth process for the cloned girl in order to make her Tenchi's age, and then she has her meet her "father" near his house.
Tenchi seems to be fine with a teenage girl claiming to be his daughter, and so he introduces this girl (named Mayuka) to the gang, and Washu confirms through SCIENCE that she is indeed Tenchi's li'l girl.
Ryoko and Ayeka get super jelly of Mayuka (because that's what all psycho hose beasts do), but it turns out that this child is really just a puppet of the demon chick, and Mayuka is used to put the moves on Tenchi (Eeeewwwwwww) and then kidnap him. Mayuka fails, and so the demon girl kidnaps Sasami instead (Wat?), and takes Tenchi's daughter and Sasami back into the "Underworld" where Tenchi's super Juraian powers won't work because I HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE.
The gang rescues Sasami, and then the demon girl goes all kinds of crazy and kills Tenchi's and her love child. Then I think she gets whacked by Tenchi (who can somehow use his awesome Juraian powers again because TREES), and then the gang all heads home, where Washu clones Mayuka back to life, but only as a fetus.
This all happened. For real.
I actually bought this on VHS when it first came out... Then I promptly returned it to the store and told them that it was defective. The physical tape itself may not have been broken, but ohmygod, yes, it was defective.
And I think that's it. That's all the Tenchi anime shit ever made (so far). True, there were some manga adaptions, and some light novels, but you're on your own for those. And they probably suck too.
Oh! Wait! There is possibly one more related Tenchi Muyo! anime series..
Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure
Wait.... What the fuck? Really? Dual is in the Tenchi Muyo! universe?
Apparently yes, according to creator Masaki Kajishima, it is a parallel world set in the Tenchi universe. Jesus fuck... Really, Kajishima? Are you going to tell us that Battle Athletes is in the same macrocosm as well? What about Masquerade? Huh? Fuck you. Fuck you to hell with a razor dildo!
The kicker to this whole thing is that next year, 2016, they're releasing ANOTHER Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA series... God save us all... Have we not learned from the past? How do we continue to allow this to happen?
It's like we got a great, amazing, fucking phenomenal pizza from the local Ma & Pa pizzeria around the corner from our house, but then when we went back a month later, we found that Pa got sick of Ma's shit and left to start his own kickass restaurant. And although Ma (who was really just the "meet and greet" person in the place) picked up a few things from Pa before he left (Pa was the pizza chef who did all the cooking), her pizza was only so-so.
But we then decided to try the place again a few months later, since, you know, you want to support the local businesses. But this third time we go, Ma actually SHIT ON THE PIZZA before serving it to us... We don't want to make a scene, so we just politely ask for some cheezy bread and a lava cake for dessert. Then we find out that the cheezy bread is still frozen, and Ma used it as a female sexual toy just prior to bringing it out to us, and the lava cake is just a bowl full of diarrhea.
This upcoming 4th OVA series is like GOING BACK TO THAT GODFORSAKEN RESTAURANT AFTER THAT BOWL FULL OF DIARRHEA.
Goddammit... I still love the first Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki series. It's amazing. And I always watch the enjoyable second OVA series as well, whenever I sit down for the first... But the third series... Nope. I threw those DVDs away. And the rest of the spin-offs and TV shows?... Nope. I never watch any of them anymore. Well, except for the first movie, Tenchi in Love. That's a fun one. The rest of the shit with the "Tenchi" name tattooed on it? Nope. I will do my best to forget about it after this review is done. They do not exist anymore.
Hmmm... What else?
Back in the old days, we had to buy series like Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki one episode per VHS tape at a time. And if I remember correctly, they were originally only dubbed at first. Now, the Tenchi Muyo! dub is the stuff of legends: It's not really "good" per se, but you can tell the cast had a lot of fun making it. Sasami, Mihoshi, Kagato, and Washu's voices are perfect for their characters, but Tenchi (who sounds strained), Ryoko (who sounds way too old), and Ayeka (who I simply never really liked) just sound.... off.
Like the English version of El Hazard, the delivery of certain lines in the Tenchi dub more than make up for some of the strange performances. Like Ryoko telling Tenchi "Now, I want your balls, please," when demanding her gems stuck in the sword-hilt that he has, or whoever does Ryo-Ohki's singing when she does her "Meow, meow, meow, meow" performance to Emperor Azusa of Jurai in the 13th OVA episode... Comedy gold. But overall, I'd recommend you listen to the Japanese performances if you can.
As for the animation quality, the original 2 OVA series have great visuals and some really wonderful hand-drawn and painted cel-work going on. Everything after (excluding the movies, maybe) is subpar to shitty. ESPECIALLY the 3rd OVA series. Having poorly animated, cheap, TV productions is one thing, but after fans waited 10 years for a new Ryo-Ohki storyline, and then letting the terrible B-studios in China and Korea handle all the animation on a supposedly higher-production budgeted OVA is a crime. Characters are often drawn off-model, to the point where they seriously look mentally retarded 3/4ths of the time, and the awful use of computer graphics on space ships and other such things in the later Tenchi series is unforgivable. The love and detail that went into the first OVA is legendary. Everything since then is AIC just trying to save a Yen, or them giving work to artists and designers who just didn't give two fucks.
Hell, even the music of the first two OVAs was something fresh and new (though some of the songs dubbed into English kind of make my skin crawl when I hear them now). The songs and music of every Tenchi production since then (with the exception of the Tenchi Muyo in Love movie, which got an American composer [Christopher Franke, of Babylon 5 fame] to give the film an original sound which really worked for it) have suuuuuuuuuuucked. They're all just bad takes on the first series' pieces, or they're unoriginal drivel that's been reused in countless lame shows since the dawn of time.
What pisses me off the most about the downfall of Tenchi Muyo!'s quality — but overabundance of its quantity — is how great it COULD HAVE been. With the number of rebrandings, and especially how Masaki Kajishima was given the ability to revive the original story and finish it up 10 years after he started it (and then add to the original OVA storyline with several new TV series), there is NO EXCUSE for the shit that he eventually forced long-time Tenchi fans to swallow. There were bits of corn in there, I swear...
It pisses me off that the creator of a series as loved as Tenchi Muyo! could get the longshot chance to finish up his story (that was left on a giant cliffhanger almost a decade previous), and instead of wrapping things up and giving us something amazing for our patience, he laughed at us, hired a shitty character designer, pissed all over his beautiful universe-spanning plot, and then just focused on giving the protagonists of all his new Tenchi shows the biggest and most ludicrous harems that he could.
I know it was you, Masaki Kajishima. You broke my heart. You broke my heart...
Years ago, the Rossman made me watch some 6-episode anime called Tenchi. I enjoyed it well enough, as far as these things go... Then when he found out I didn't dislike it, he dropped off a couple dozen DVDs, and a boatload of old VHS tapes and said, "Here! Watch these! There's TONS more Tenchi where that came from!... They'll never stop making it.... Tenchi will never die..."
This series is like 23 or 24 years old now? Ugh. Let it go, Japan. Just stahp. It was okay the first time, but you have to know when to quit. Here's a secret: You should do it while you're ahead.
I don't understand... Why did they make so many shows with the same characters, where basically all the female characters fall hopelessly in love with the wimpy male character for no reason what-so-ever? Is this just the average wimpy Japanese man's dream come true? If so, how do you explain that 12 year-old girl with the blue pony tails being involved?.... Oh no... Oh, Japan, say it ain't so...