"But the most important discovery he'll make is that six crazy women, living under the same roof, all have the hots... for him. Now he'll have to deal with bounty hunters, ancient demons, mad scientists... and shared bathroom time.
The universe needs a new champion — Tenchi needs some peace and quiet.
series Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
(simply Tenchi Muyo!
in the United States) follows the life of Tenchi Masaki, the teenage grandson of a Shinto priest (who has taken it upon himself to teach Tenchi an ancient form of swordplay). When Tenchi steals the keys to — and intrudes upon — a sealed cave on the shrine grounds that legends say holds a sleeping demon, he accidentally releases Ryoko, a Space Pirate
who had lain in suspended animation for seven centuries. This lone act begins a cascade of events that results in Tenchi moving from Kurashiki to the Okayama countryside, acquiring a half-dozen alien girls in an Unwanted Harem
, discovering his own secret heritage, and becoming involved in events of literally cosmic proportions.Tenchi Muyo!
, a classic "harem" anime of the '90s, rose to popularity during the second major Anime wave. The action/comedy science-fiction franchise started in 1992 as a six-episode OVA
series; an additional seven episodes quickly followed after the first six's success, although the second set of episodes ended the OVA's story on something of a Cliffhanger
Viewers did not lack for Tenchi
material in the decade-plus between OVAs, however. In addition to the OVA, Tenchi Muyo!
- At least two lines of manga by Hitoshi Okuda
- Several spin-off series:
- Several light novels that revealed otherwise-undisclosed background information on the original OVA timeline
- Three motion pictures (Tenchi The Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love, Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness, and Tenchi Forever: The Movie)
- Two TV series (Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo), both of which contain independent alternate continuities that share many of the same characters.
- Ai Tenchi Muyo, the newest show, where Tenchi must go undercover as a student teacher at an all-girls school in order to save the world (which is in danger thanks to Washu). Unlike the two previous television series, this one is composed of 50 five-minute episodes.
A third OVA series, which continued the original OVA's plot — and unveiled a lot
of new surprises in the process — was produced in 2004.
Throughout the majority of the franchise, the story revolves around the same basic core cast:
- Tenchi Masaki, the Ordinary High-School Student and unintentional Chick Magnet
- Ryoko, an uninhibited space pirate, madly in love with Tenchi
- Ayeka, Royal Princess of Jurai, also in love with Tenchi
- Aeka's little sister, Sasami, with a crush on Tenchi
- Ryo-Ohki, a hybrid rabbit-cat creature that turns into Ryoko's starship
- Washu Hakubi, The Greatest Scientific Genius in the Universe
- Genius Ditz Mihoshi Kuramitsu of the Galaxy Police
- ...and her partner, Kiyone Makibi, in the Universe and Tokyo continuities
- Tenchi's grandfather Katsuhito
- Tenchi's somewhat perverted widower father Nobuyuki
The characters and the exact relationships between them may vary from show to show (in the OVAs, Washu is Ryoko's mother; in the TV shows, she's a simply a partner in crime; in Pretty Sammy
, she's her high school teacher
), but one thing never changes — Tenchi is always getting chased by far more girls than he can handle.
The series was one of the first anime titles to achieve major popularity in the United States, and one of the first to receive a straight English dub free of a bowdlerized script or any edits. It, along with Ranma ½
, Sailor Moon
, and other series in the mid-90s
helped contribute to the early internet-age "Anime Boom" in the United States. It found an even larger mainstream audience when it premiered on Toonami
in 1999 (in a package that included the original OVAs, Tenchi Universe, and Tenchi in Tokyo). The show was also what put Pioneer (later Geneon) on the map as a major anime distributor, and Tenchi remained their signature title for much of their existence. FUNimation
now has the American rights to the vast majority of the mainline Tenchi
franchise. The group released Tenchi Muyo GXP
, the third OVA series (as Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Oh-Ki
), Sasami: Magical Girls Club (spinoff) and Isekai No Seikishi Monogatari
(renamed Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar
for North America) on DVD (and Blu-ray for Geminar
); it also secured the licenses for and re-released the original OVA series (a Blu-ray and DVD combo set), Universe
(DVD), and the three films (a Blu-ray and DVD combo set containing all the films) after the original American licenses fell into limbo. With the series first arriving in the US in late 1993 on VHS
, Tenchi Muyo has remained in-print longer than few other anime series, surviving through many different home video formats (VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-ray
, legal streaming). However the Mihoshi Special (a part of the original OVA series), the Pretty Sammy
OVAs, and the Magical Project S
spinoff remain in limbo, and can only be found through Pioneer's original now-out-of-print DVDs.
Although it features tropes from many genres (Sci-Fi
, Action Adventure
, Slice of Life
, Romantic Comedy
) Tenchi Muyo
is generally recognized as an influential title in the Harem Genre
, and paved way for other major shows such as Love Hina
This series provides examples of:
- A-Cup Angst: Ayeka gets a little of this when she realizes that Sasami will look like Tsunami when she grows up.
- In one issue of the manga, after some freakiness from Mihoshi breaking one of Washu's inventions causes Tenchi to revert to a baby and characters from one of Mihoshi's 50s sci-fi books to come to life, Ayeka complains that one of the sci-fi characters is suffocating baby Tenchi with her breasts and snatches him away. The character responds that there's "no danger of suffocation if he's with you" and Ayeka does not take it well.
- Alien Blood: Subverted in episode 3 of the first OVA. When Ayeka injures her leg, Tenchi is genuinely surprised to see that her blood is red.
- All There in the Manual: Masaki Kajishima, one of the creators, publishes tie-in novels and doujinshi introducing new concepts to the OVA continuity.
- One of the most notorious manuals was the Tenchi 101 Secrets book, which received a partial Fan Translation and had parts included as an extra on the OAV DVDs.
- Alternate Continuity: When the show was airing on Toonami, you can bet that children were deeply confused over the frequently changing backstories of characters. Especially Washu and Ryoko.
- Anime Hair: This might be a sit-down read.
- Ryoko really looks like she's in a hair metal band, or Sonic the Hedgehog. It helps that her hair's colored the ever-popular for Anime silver.
- Washu's hair (Which is really out of proportion with her usual body) combines an extreme version of Ryoko's style with apparent inspiration from the crablegs-design for a kabuki mask, and a dash of You Gotta Have Pink Hair.
- Washu's highly-appropriate nickname for Dr. Clay? "Octopus-head!" Clay's hair is unqiue, because he combines his admittedly epic curls with some kind of Badass Beard. (Ironic, because he's about as far from Bad Ass as Tenchi Muyo ever gets.)
- Kagato gets some form of...Poofy mullet in the back when absorbing Ryoko's power.
- Somehow, he still manages to remain intimidating; despite looking less like he's cruelly draining Ryoko's energy and more like he stuck his finger in an electrical socket.
- Seiryo Tennan, the man who was chosen as Ayeka's second fiance gets a mention because his hair is the exact same color as the sakura petals that he makes his entrance with.
- And is shaped exactly like Mihoshi's: like someone tied together the ropes of two identical loofas and stuck them on their head.
- Yugi from Tenchi in Tokyo combines her Anime Hair with some form of headdress. The result looks startlingly like a palm tree.
- And Tenchi himself still manages to be somewhat of a badass despite having a rat-tail.
- Art Shift: the third OVA, being produced some time after the rest uses a simplified art style that seems to split the difference between the normal style of the OVA's (and Tenchi Universe) and that of Tenchi in Tokyo.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Ryoko becomes a massive stone version of herself while fighting Kagato, yet he's still able to defeat her.
- Balanced Harem: Even ending with the Tenchi Solution.note
- Berserk Button: The wise know to not insult Ayeka or Sasami in front of Misaki if they value their lives. No matter how strong, as Misaki seems to have the ability to negate other people's super-strength and invulnerability.
- Threatening Tenchi in front of Ryoko or Ayeka can also be hazardous to one's health.
- Also, if you threaten anyone Tenchi cares about he will cut you in half Kagato learned this the hard way.
- Do not, at any time, refer to Airi as a grandmother, or you will suffer, as Ryoko learned the hard way
- Bigger on the Inside: Any space that Washu has had a chance to manipulate. And in the OVAs, all Juraian tree-ships, which are about 170 meters long on the outside, while the interior is a subspace pocket containing several planets.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Juraian royal family, in all its size and glory.
- And to a lesser extent, the Kuramitsu family.
- There's also Ryoko attempting to rape Tenchi in the Mihoshi special and in the Universe series.
- Blade Run: Used by Yosho in his fight with Kagato. To stand on a Laser Blade!
- Boobs of Steel: Surprisingly appropriate, by appearances — Misaki is not only older than the actual harem in general (Save for Washu), but due to some circumstance, Misaki seems unbeatable by any of the other girls as far as protecting her daughters is concerned.
- Bowdlerization: In order to air on Toonami, lots of material had to be censored or excised from the OVAs (not so much with Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo, though they didn't get away scot-free); this notably included the hot tub scenes in the OVA, a problem which was solved by rotoscoping bikinis onto the requisite areas.
- When [adult swim] first started, they ran several Toonami shows that Cartoon Network still had the rights to; sadly, while they did air Tenchi Muyo!, they aired the Bowdlerized versions.
- Part of the problem was that the OVAs are 30-ish minutes long each (except for the 7th and 13th episodes). To make most of the series fit onto TV, enough had to be chopped to make room for commercials, resulting in about 3-5 minutes worth of material being lost per episode (the 7th and 13th episodes, when aired, had sort of the opposite problem, in that they left a GAP at the end that Cartoon Network had to fill with short subjects).
- Brawler Lock: Ayeka and Ryoko during the 7th OVA, The Night Before the Carnival. And other times as well.
- Broke Episode: Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo have episodes related to this. The first manga series has this across a few volumes, too.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Ayeka and Yosho's betrothal.
- Ayeka and Yosho's engagement can be explained for political reasons. The way the Royal Family works, Ayeka could have been used by family members who disapproved of Yosho to place her as a rival for the throne. Namely, Yosho belongs to the currently ruling Masaki branch of the royal house, while Aeka is a heir to the other branch, Kamiki, which historically wasn't on the best terms with Masaki house. The only way to prevent that was a marriage between them, just like in the previous generation, where the ruling Emperor, Azusa Masaki Jurai, married the Kamiki princess, Misaki Kamiki Jurai. Which ironically made him the father of both his and his wife's clans' heirs.
- Somehow, the one-word answer of "Jurai" feels like enough to describe this trope. The fact that this family is ultimately stronger whereas inbreeding humans would actually more susceptible to disease proves that Juraian customs are indeed in line with Juraian genetics.
- Canon Foreigner: Kiyone Makibi; she appears in most Tenchi Muyo! canons (with the notable exception of the OVA).
- Character Exaggeration: Some bits in Universe from Ryoko and Ayeka. For the latter, we have a case where Tenchi is kidnapped and Ayeka is more angered by Nagi referring to Tenchi as "Ryoko's man" than her kidnapping him, and the former has a case where she's given money to got and buy food for everyone and she uses all of it on herself, forgetting how hungry everyone else was.
- Character Development: Both Ryoko and Ayeka received a significant amount during the OVA continuity - beginning as bitter enemies, then becoming romantic rivals for Tenchi's affections. Their fights progressively lose much of their earlier hostility and eventually settles into snark and bickering.
- Their development was further expanded in The Daughter of Darkness and Tenchi Forever (movies 2 and 3), by which time, they'd become friends. Ayeka even confides in Ryoko at one point, during the second film, by expressing her jealousy of Mayuka's closeness to Tenchi. Ryoko responds by telling Ayeka she was worrying for nothing and wagered Tenchi was probably out looking for her as they spoke. Ayeka thanks Ryoko for cheering her up, mere moments before Tenchi arrives, as Ryoko had suspected. By the third and final film, they'd become such close friends, that when Ryoko instigates a play fight, they laugh about it. Ayeka notes how long it's been since their last real argument and thanks Ryoko for it with a genuine smile.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: A very subtle example. In episode 4 of the OAV, Mihoshi's computer lists a few of Kagato's past crimes. If you pay attention to it as it fades into background noise, one of the crimes is the kidnapping of a "female student" from the Science Academy. Two episodes later, this turns out to be Washu (though she was actually a professor)
- Mihoshi asks Washu if she is the students, and Washu face-faults. Her students are pranksters...
- Chekhov's Gun: During the first part of the original series, Ryoko's earring flew completely under the radar. As it would be revealed in the final episode of the first season, it's actually a 'false gem' to balance her powers if she doesn't have all of the three gems that fuel her abilities.
- The 3rd series has Chekhov's Death Star. Mihoshi's brother Misao brought a planetoid-sized battle station as part of his plan to "rescue" his sister. It goes unfired - in the first timeline. After the Z incident ends with the timeline reset, everyone just plays around once Misao's team shows up again - until Noike gets Mind-Control Eyes and sets the station's main gun to fire straight at Earth. Ultimately, the point was to make sure Tenchi got knocked out of space-time "again" by tanking the blast, so he could meet little-girl-Kagato on schedule.
- Cherry Blossoms: Episode 8 of the OVA series, Tenchi Muyo! in Love, and episode 25 of Tenchi in Tokyo.
- Chick Magnet: Tenchi, and later Seina in GXP. Also, Kenshi in Isekai Seikishi Monogatari and, generally, most of the protagonists in various Multiverse titles.
- Commedia Dell Arte Troupe as exemplified by the Spin-Off of Magical Project S.
- Continuity Nod: Episode 7 of the OVA is filled with this: Mihoshi's spaceship being retrieved by Washu also brings back the demon Ryoko summoned in episode 4 - which is easily destroyed by Washu. Mentions of the Kagato incident, Tenchi shifting into his Juraian battle gear (accidentally), and Ayeka attempts to grow her Royal Tree, Ryu-Oh again.
- Cool House: once Washu shows up, the Masaki residence is never the same.
- Cool Starship: The Juraian Royal treeships/starships. Dear GOD the Juraian Royal ships.
- The Galaxy Police shipyards are no slouches either. Though their products don't get to be powered by one of the Universe's creators.
- Cowboy Episode: Tenchi in Space. After Tenchi's been kidnapped by the bounty hunter bent on defeating Ryoko, the two agree to meet at a location suspiciously similar to a small western town, complete with tumbleweed, saloons, and an eerie sunset.
- Cute Little Fangs: Ryoko and Mihoshi.
- Subverted by Dr. Clay, whose occasional fangs-flashing makes him look like an especially ugly vampire.
- Then played straight again by Washu. (Periodically, at least.)
- Depending on the Writer: Ryoko and Ayeka's rivalry can vary between simply being a pair of bickering siblings to an all-out war.
- Defeat Means Respect: Kagato expresses admiration and respect for both the hero, Tenchi, and the goddess Tsunami, who granted him his power. See the page quote for Graceful Loser.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: This could take a while...
- Kagato was well on his way and able to smack around Ryoko and Ayeka while obviously not taking it seriously. Tenchi got smacked around, too. But throw in Tenchi's Lighthawk Wings, and we've got whipped Kagato.
- Considering how dangerous they both are, Ryoko and Ayeka's war for Tenchi's love really amounts to some kind of Are Cthulhus Having A Catfight?
- The results of anyone of unnatural strength that Misaki catches insulting/endangering Ayeka and Sasami. (Anyone of normal ability, it's just a regular smackdown.)
- And again Misaki, once revealed that she would become the "counter-actor" in the future; she viciously (And almost lethally) attacked both Tokimi-kami-sama and Tsunami-kami-sama; Are You Choking Out Cthulhu? and Did You Just Bitchslap Cthulhu?, respectively.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Arguably the entire basis of the series. Up to and including, the concept that lesser Cthulhus are romancing a greater Cthulhu - Tenchi
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Sasami has dreams of both Kagato and Tokimi before they are introduced in the OVA.
- Drum Bathing: In Tenchi Muyo! In Love, Kiyone is seen in one just before being teleported out of it by Washu.
- Easily Forgiven: The Royal Family of Jurai (including Yosho, excluding Ayeka) don't seem too upset with Ryoko for basically laying waste to their planet 700 years ago. When they see her again, they simply hand her an bill listing the cost of the extensive damages she caused during that incident - which they were willing to ignore the whole thing provided Tenchi wins against the Emperor's chosen fiancee for Ayeka.
- Epunymous Title: The title "Tenchi Muyo" [天地無用] is a Japanese phrase that is equivalent to saying "This Side Up." When [天地] and [無用] are interpreted as separate words (the former means "heaven and earth", the latter means "useless" ["no use"]), it can mean "No Need for Tenchi"/"Tenchi is Useless" or "No Need for Heaven and Earth"/"Heaven and Earth are Useless".
- Excalibur in the Rust: When Tenchi first sees the Master Key, a physical blade had been affixed to the hilt. This blade was in a state of extreme disrepair, prompting Tenchi to exclaim, "What a rusty old piece of junk!"
- Gainaxing: Ryoko on several occasions, chiefly in the OVA.
- Genius Ditz: Mihoshi.
- In the OVA continuity, at least — In other series, she kinda drifts more in the 'ditz' direction.
- One episode of Universe had her become a liability in three different ways, one of which could've ended quite badly if they hadn't had some inside help. In Universe at least, she's graduated to a full-blown case of The Millstone.
- Generation Xerox: Doujin images from Kaishima show images of life with Tenchi's kids is much the same as their dad's. Expecially with the Childhood Friend Romance between Ryoko and Ayeka's daughters and Seina's oldest son.
- Genre Shift: The series is a romantic comedy with plenty of action. The third and final movie is a romantic drama with zero action.
- Gratuitous English: Here's an example from episode 14 of Tenchi in Tokyo:
Ayeka (in English): Yes, but I have no money! Okay? Thank you! Yay!
Sasami (in Japanese): What's with the English all of a sudden?
- Hot Springs Episode: Two in the original. The first causes massive property damage. The second? Hammers are passed around...
- Hotter and Sexier: Masaki Kajishima's series of self-published Light Novels and Doujinshis, not only it is made all too clear than Tenchi does Marry Them All, but also doesn't hold back in showing/narrating him consumating with his harem.
- Since Kajishima doesn't actually own the series (his employer does), this puts him in the somewhat unusual situation of essentially writing fanfics of a series that he created. A situation that, presuming the continuation of the series, allows him to definitively canonize more and more of his self-published stories by linking events in the anime.
- How Dare You Die on Me!: Manga-only antagonist Yume's response to one of her genetically engineered villains sacrificing himself to save her? Angrily declaring that she hadn't given him permission to die, then breaking down in tears.
- Human Aliens: Most of the cast even Tenchi as it turns out, except in Tenchi In Tokyo.
- Humongous Mecha: Ryo-Ohki in Tenchi in Tokyo and the Galaxy Police powered armour in Tenchi Universe.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In Tenchi Universe, the episode title is referred to as "No Need For (today's episode theme)!".
- The original Japanese titles in Tenchi in Tokyo take on the form of haiku.
- Image Song: Most of the major characters have at least one.
- Implied Love Interest: Ryoko in the Tenchi Universe continuity. The series ends with Ryoko showing up at Tenchi's house after supposedly dying, and vowing to him that she's going to win his heart fair and square. In the second movie in that continuity, Ayeka basically concedes defeat to Ryoko and allows her to be the one to rescue Tenchi from Haruna's alternate dimension. The film then ends with a shot of Tenchi and Ryoko enjoying a quiet moment together as a wind shakes the trees, mirroring a scene involving Tenchi's parents from the film Tenchi Muyo in Love. Although it's ambiguous in other continuities which girl Tenchi likes the most, the Tenchi Universe continuity drops some pretty big hints that he will end up with Ryoko.
- Incest Is Relative: Oh boy...where to begin? The original OVA series alone has Ayeka, who is engaged to marry her elder half-brother Yosho. She later tracked him to Earth, found out that he had aged physically to a point where she no longer considered him attractive, then fell in love with Tenchi...who happens to be the grandson of Yosho (or Katsuhito, as he knew him), making Ayeka (and her little sister Sasami, who is also interested) his great-aunts. Ryoko is technically Washu's daughter, as she was created by fusing an egg-cell from Washu with an amorphous entity called "Mass"; Washu herself is actually a goddess and a sister of Tsunami, which technically makes her Sasami's sister and thus makes both Ayeka and Sasami Ryoko's aunts. Word of God is that Tenchi's father is Katsuhito's descendant by an earlier marriage, and this earlier marriage was with his cousin and both her mother and his mother are from Earth descendants of Masaki Jurai, and also that Mihoshi is Washu's descendant by her grandfather, the result of a marriage that Washu was in before she created Ryoko. The third OAV series and Tenchi Muyo! GXP only complicate the web of relationships even further.
- Insistent Terminology: "No! I'm not gonna help you unless you call me Little Washu!" (Replace "Little Washu" with "Washu-chan" in the Japanese version.)
- Misaki practically demands that her daughters Ayeka and Sasami call her Oka-san ("Mommy") in a high-pitched voice with Tender Tears, though this applies more to Ayeka. Failure to do so invokes a Death Glare.
- Kabuki Sounds: Tenchi Universe would use them for the title card, and for the eyecatches.
- Karaoke Box: Happens in Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo
- Large Ham: Kagato. And he plays a pipe organ like only a super villain can, too.
- Laser Blade: Many, most notably the Tenchi sword in the OVA continuity.
- Lethal Chef: Ryoko. Her first attempt at cooking in the OVA ends up foaming up an odd pink froth that dissolves the stove. Judging by the ingredients, she was trying to make vegetable soup. It gets toned down considerably in the manga (though she still does things like fry fish by hurling energy bolts at them), which also created the character of Asahi, who meets this criteria with her belief that each helping of dinner should be seasoned with four or five tubes of wasabi, something that makes her cooking inedible to anyone other than her and her boyfriend.
- Also, Tsunami and her offspring: The Ouke-no-ki (Sentient trees) that more or less run the Juraian ships just as much as the actual Juraians.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Mixed marriages are looked down upon by Jurai in the OVA continuity. Its the main reason why Yosho left Jurai because he couldn't stand the prejudice. When Ryoko attacked Jurai, he saw it as an opportunity to leave and never return despite his promise to Ayeka that he'd return and marry her.
- Mood Dissonance: During her introduction, Mihoshi's scanner discovers "the infamous criminal" Ryo-Ohki in the immediate vicinity, and she seriously lists the atrocities committed by the ship (and Ryoko), including blowing up a few hundred planets. She then realizes that Ryo-Ohki is the cabbit sitting on Sasami's head. An incomprehending Ryo-Ohki happily eats her gun.
- More Than Three Dimensions: In-Universe, there exist 22 dimensions, each with a 'supervisor' that oversees it. The Choushin Goddesses exist in the 'hyper-dimension' beyond dimensional space, and created the 22 dimensions as an experiment. This is a major plot point of the third OAV.
- The Movie: 1996's Tenchi Muyo! in Love and 1999's Tenchi Forever!, both of which were set in the Tenchi Universe canon, and 1997's Tenchi Muyo! The Daughter of Darkness, set in its own continuity but based mostly on the OVAs.
- Daughter of Darkness is actually set in the continuity of a series of novels that spun off from the first OVA series. Though those novels (unlike the prequel novels by Kajishima) are fairly obscure even in Japan.
- Multigenerational Household: Tenchi, his father and his grandfather living together before all the girls arrive.
- The Multiverse: By Word of God, all Alternate Continuities and many other works of Kajishima, including Dual! and all incarnations of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, are alternate realities in one big Multiverse.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Ayeka and Ryoko are involved constantly in this with each other, while their power levels makes it closer to Wile E. Coyote vs. Wile E. Coyote.
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Although all of the girls want Tenchi (even Sasami likes him), Washu makes the most blunt advances on him in the second OVA when she assumes a more adult form at the end of an episode and states she wants him to get her pregnant.
- And eventually succeeds, being the first of his wives to bear a child, if Kajishima's LNs and doujinshis are to be trusted.
- Naginatas Are Feminine: When Tenchi or his grandfather uses the weapon Tenchi, it's used as a sword with a Laser Blade. When his mother Achika uses it in the first movie, its handle extends to naginata-like lengths.
- Nice Guy: Tenchi and all his Expies and variations.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Ayeka, in the Japanese version.
- Non Chalant Dodge: Yosho's first move in the fight against Kagato. Kagato fires an energy beam at Yosho's face, and he dodges it by simply tilting his head a little to the side.
- He demonstrates the skill again in Episode 9 under less life threatening circumstances...
- Nonhuman Sidekick: Ryo-Ohki and, in GXP, Fuku.
- Noodle Incident: In OVA Episode 3, Tenchi and Ayeka talk in a remote work shed during a rainstorm. Nothing terribly affectionate is seen happening, but in Episode 4, Ryoko (who read Ryo-Ohki's memory) claims Ayeka was "rather aggressive" with him. While it could be a joke, Ayeka's flustered reaction suggests it might have credence...
- No Periods, Period: Subtle hints are dropped with this for Sasami in OVA Episodes 8 and 9.
- The Nose Bleed: Tenchi, especially when looking at a nude Ryoko.
- No Sense of Direction: Mihoshi, as well as her mother Mitoto in GXP. In Mitoto's case her lack of any sense of direction seems to extend to accidental teleportation.
- Off Model: While the franchise as a whole tends to have consistently good animation, animators tend to forget whether or not Sasami has freckles. They can be there one episode, gone the next, and it can even change from scene to scene. This is most glaring in the Pretty Sammy OV As, where Sasami's freckles appear fairly consistently in episodes one and two, but disappear completely in episode 3, even though they appear in the opening sequence!
- Older Than They Look: In the OVA, EVERYONE except Tenchi. This includes his father. There, Tenchi's older sister is over 80 years old...
- Tenchi too, considering that he is the being that created the Choushin. Sort of.
- Mihoshi seems relatively normal, agewise. (One manga scene has her claiming to be 24, take that how you will.)
- The fact that Mihoshi's grandfather is several thousand years old (and the immortal Washu is her great-great grandmother) indicates that she'll get to be older than she looks eventually, even if she's not currently.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Nagi in Tenchi Universe; she wanted to be the only person to defeat Ryoko, and she would even help Tenchi's crew just to protect Ryoko from her other enemies.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Tenchi used to think that he was one. He was so very, very wrong.
- Sasami tries to become one in the manga.
- Organic Technology Ships: The Juraian spacecraft are powered by living, semi-sapient trees. The parent of them all is not only fully sentient, but a goddess - and the alter ego of a main character. Also, Ryo-Ohki, who is the cute mascot character that transforms into a Living Ship.
- The Original Series: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki (the OAV episodes continued / finished).
- Overprotective Dad: Played comically in the manga, when Azusa threatens to kill a boy who flipped up Sasami's skirt. Washu later implants Azusa's angry face in the boy's mind, which triggers whenever he tries to do it again. It's an effective deterrent.
- Pirate Girl: In the various continuities, there are more named female space pirate characters than male ones.
- Power Dyes Your Hair: When Kagato starts draining Ryoko's energy, his hair floofs with power.
- Pretty in Mink: The furry puffballs on the Galaxy Police uniforms and the Jurai Super Modes.
- Product Placement: Pioneer camcorders are prominently featured. And are generally very detailed pieces of electronic hardware while onscreen.
- Ramming Always Works: In the early episodes of the original OVA and Universe... between Ayeka and Ryoko both times, naturally.
- In the OVA, Ryoko uses Ryo-Ohki to ram Ayeka's Ryu-Oh, sending both of them plummeting to Earth in order to either kill her or remove her as a serious threat. In Universe, Ayeka snaps (with maniacal laughter) during a ship duel and rams Ryo-Ohki out of the sky. Both ships in both situations end up out of commission for a long while.
- This also serves to strand the both of them on Earth.
- Really 700 Years Old: Or
Really Twenty Thousand Years Old Really Older Than the Universe in Washu's case. Sasami also serves as the Trope Namer.
- Red String of Fate: This happens in episode 2 of Tenchi in Tokyo.
- Relationship Sue: In-universe, subverted in a most awesome way in Tenchi in Tokyo. Sakuya Kumashiro initially comes across as the poster girl for the trope, snatching Tenchi's interest away from Ryoko and Ayeka... but it was revealed later that she was created to do so by the Big Bad Yugi. And as icing on the cake, Sakuya actually does NOT make it to the end of the series.
- Removing the Rival: Being a harem anime, this happens quite frequently in both the original and its various spin-offs. Ryoko and Ayeka in particular often try to use all manner of underhanded tricks to dispose of one another and get Tenchi to themselves.
- Restricted Expanded Universe: A major problem with the manga series, since this was Anime First.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Ryo-Ohki... who knew that a hybrid of a cat and bunny would end up mixing pretty well?
- Royally Screwed Up: Again, Juraian royalty. Other royal families also qualify.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Jurainote and Kuramitsu clans. Seto, for example, is actually much more effective in a fight than the whole fleet of Federation warships. And let's not start on Tenchi...
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Ryoko, who (In the original series) was sealed in the Masaki family shrine; she turned into a 'good guy' pretty quickly, although isn't always 'good'. Also in the original series, Washu was trapped within a crystal in the Soja's reverse-dimension; that could be a subversion of the evil part, depending on how far Washu is willing to take the Mad Scientist thing.
- In Universe Washu was the one sealed in the shrine. In this continuity she is also far less responsible and far more destructive than in the original OVA - she apparently got sealed for inventing world-destroying superweapons just because she could.
- She does that kind of stuff in the OVA too. See 'Washu's Pore'. She's just nice enough not to USE it.
- Yugi in Tenchi in Tokyo is eventually to have been this before Tenchi moved away from the other girls. Also, she ends the series sealed again, in the shrine, of her own volition as part of a finale Heel-Face Turn.
- She's All Grown Up: Sort of; Tsunami has said that Sasami will grow up to look like her. And, needless to say, this bit of information completely demoralizes Ayeka and Ryoko.
- Shout-Out: To Star Trek and Star Wars, at the very least.
- Show Within a Show: The unnamed alien Soap Opera.
- Sigil Spam: In the OVAs, Doctor Clay imprints his personal mark on virtually everything he owns. Washu knows this, and is able to first identify his clone of Ryoko thanks to his symbol on her ass, then locate the bridge of his spaceship because it is right behind said mark on the hull.
- Skinship Grope: The baby does it to Mihoshi in episode 8 of the OVA.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The character Aeka, whose name is spelled as "Ayeka" in the English version; this has the unfortunate side effect of altering the pronunciation of the character's name.
- In a similar vein, Washu; her name is often spelled "Washuu".
- Theme Naming: A lot of characters' names come from locations in Japan.
- Those Two Guys: One of the first anime series to introduce the trope.
- Threesome Subtext: Ryoko x Tenchi x Ayeka, and Ayeka and Ryoko hate each other, but plenty Foe Yay occurs in universe.
- Time Travel: The plot of Tenchi Muyo! in Love.
- Token Yuri Girls: Parodied in one episode. After being cast into a High School A.U., Magical Girl Sasami shoots the bickering Ayeka and Ryoko with a "beam of friendship". The sequence just gets more suggestive as two begin gazing into each other's eyes, proclaiming their mutual love and admiration, and almost kissing before being cut off by the end of the episode.
- Subverted almost immediately after that scene in episode 2; Tenchi (the sword, not the boy) makes a good point on how it doesn't allow anyone unworthy to so much as touch it.
- Also subverted in episode 13. Washu got some good film of it as well.
- The Unfair Sex: Notably averted for all the universes. In fact, more often than not, the protagonist is put off by any of the girls' overt advances. Additionally, (most) of the other girls realize this and tend blame each other more than him, and Tenchi is usually portrayed as being in the right.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: All over the place.
- Tenchi to most of the girls.
- Ayeka and Ryoko in the OAV
- Unwanted Harem: The definitive example, and arguably the first — Ataru did want his harem, he just always failed relating with all the girls in it, due to his Jerk Ass personality, while Tenchi always was pretty ambivalent about the whole deal.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Ryoko and Ayeka seemingly make a favorite sport out of arguing and with each other about Tenchi and everything else, and in all continuities their hatred for each other started out as legitimate for some reason or another. Kiyone thinks of Mihoshi as nothing more than the incompetent idiot holding her career back, and no matter how many times she says this or how much she criticizes or chastises Mihoshi over some blunder, Mihoshi just agrees or apologizes and goes right back to merrily assuming their friendship. Despite all this, in both cases we see occasional moments of genuine friendship and whenever things get sticks and the time calls for it, they and everyone else in the Unwanted Harem usually tend to put themselves on the line for each other and fight together without question.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Zero (later merged with Ryoko); Washuu (sort of; it's more like Volunatary Ageshifting)
- We Are as Mayflies: All of the alien characters live much longer than humans. The ultimate example is Washu, who looks like she's 12 and actually has been around since before the dawn of time, making her older than dirt.
- But for the most part it's more about artificial life-extension than natural biology. One of Emperor Azusa's wives is a native Earthling who was born in the Feudal Japan. Also, the Juraians are biologically human; Earth is apparently a semi-forgotten colony of the Jurai Empire, kept mostly isolated for reasons unexplained.
- Juraian royalty also have the Royal Trees, which further extend a person's life when bonded to them.
- Wendee Lee: Kiyone Makibi (Tenchi in Tokyo, Tenchi Muyo! Daughter of Darkness, Tenchi Forever!), Little Girl Kagato (OVA 3), Kiyone Masaki (OVA 3), Kiriko Masaki, Vega.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Katsuhito's cat appears only in the first episode of the OVA. It was never seen again through the rest of that series. It is implied that Ryoko, upon her release, killed it. Also, Sasami's pet weasel-thing wasn't seen again after Sasami and Ayeki's introduction, it may have died in the crash.
- Chibi, the cat, was a stray that Tenchi had found and Ryoko was using her powers to keep it alive. She later reabsorbed the power she gave it and used it as the base for the reborn Ryo-ohki. It made a cameo in Tenchi Universe.
- The weasel can't be dead...the main part of the ship where it was, was in a pocket dimension. It's probably fine, and goofing off in Washu's lab. Offscreen at least.
- White Mask of Doom: Kain from Tenchi Muyo in Love! has one of these; it's also an empathic mask. It becomes more creepy as he becomes more desperate in the final battle.
- Wondrous Ladies Room:
- Washu sticks a spa in a pocket dimension for the women to use.
- In the OAV continuity Ryoko used her molecular manipulation, and Washuu's designs from her and Ryo-Ohki's mental database, to create a giant luxury onsen, including waterfalls, hovering in the open above the house. While it's not explicitly women-only (as Tenchi himself has used it on occasion), most of the time only the girls are there. Somehow, the outside world never notices.
- They live out in the countryside. Also, it's anime; Japan is such a Weirdness Magnet (possibly because Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe) that the spa probably doesn't even register as being unusual.
- Going by Tenchi Muyo! GXP it's probably simply a typical Galaxy Police-fare visual distortion field, and the onsen definitely isn't visible to Seina when he first visits.