The first television series based on Tenchi Muyo!
, Tenchi Universe
(also known as Tenchi Muyo! TV
) tells a similar story to Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
, but in a longer manner. The first half of the series, "Earth Adventure", introduces the main characters, and a short arc that explores various fantasy worlds ("Time and Space Adventures") follows. The show's second half, the "Space Adventure" arc, follows Tenchi and the gang as they travel to Jurai in attempt to stop a coup. This show is its own specific continuity; although it shares almost all of the chief characters from the OVA, many aspects of the story and characterization are changed from the OVA.
This series was followed by two movies
, Tenchi Muyo! in Love
(released after the series' conclusion) and Tenchi Forever!
(Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Haruka Naru Omoi
, released in 1999), which are both set in the same continuity.
Tropes used in Tenchi Universe that are not on the Tenchi Muyo page (or are averted/subverted) include:
- Always Someone Better: Nagi.
- Award Bait Song: "The Alchemy of Love" by Nina Hagen and Rick Jude, the theme song to Tenchi Muyo! in Love.
- Badass Beard: "Knight-Azaka" has one.
- Beach Episode: The "Space Adventures" arc features one.
- Beauty Contest: All the girls except Sasami enter one in episode 20 for the chance to win some much-needed cash. Nagi, who's finally caught up with Ryoko, enters to compete with her and wins, but Ryoko steals the prize money anyway and flies off with the others.
- Bindle Stick: Demon!Ryoko carries one when she shows up to run away with "Lord" Tenchi in the Feudal Japan alternate reality featured in the "Time and Space Adventures" three-parter.
- Big Bad: Kagato. For the whole series this time.
- Bound and Gagged: Tenchi in episode 10.
- Bounty Hunter: Nagi.
- Broke Episode: Episode 16
- But He Sounds Handsome: Ryoko and Aeka enter the swimsuit competition described above pretending to be lookalikes of themselves (since they're now notorious fugitives known by the public). Ryoko comments that the "real" Ryoko doesn't sound that bad, and that she was probably roped into conspiring with Aeka. Aeka, standing nearby, isn't pleased.
- Call Forward: In Tenchi Muyo! in Love, Washu makes an offhand statement that, with her technical prowess, she could even hack into the Science Academy's account books. Come Tenchi Forever!, hacking into the Science Academy's database is a major plot point.
- Canon Foreigner: Kiyone, Nagi, Ken-Ohki, Achika, Kain, the rogue GP officer, teenage Nobuyuki and "knight-Azaka" & "knight-Kamidake".
- Canon Immigrant: The "Time and Space Adventures" arc is based on a popular audio play that was set in the OVA universe.
- Cliffhanger Copout: Played for Laughs in episode 5, when Kiyone draws on her gun on Ryoko before the eyecatcher. When the show resumes, she's peacefully eating lunch with everyone else, until the Delayed Reaction kicks in and the conflict resumes.
- Disney Death: Ryoko.
- Evil Counterpart: Kagato, who is the ruler of Jurai and master of the Jurai power in this canon, wields his own dark counterpart to Sword Tenchi. While the original sword is a thin, katana-like sword with a light blue blade, Kagato's is a larger sword resembling a broadsword with a black-and-red blade.
- First Girl Wins: Ryoko.
- Flanderization: This is one of the most common complaints about this series. Most notable amongst the changes are Mihoshi being demoted from Genius Ditz to The Ditz, Ryoko and Ayeka's feud becoming less important to the story, Washu becoming an egomaniacal Mad Scientist with two pop-up dolls to proclaim her greatness ("Washu, you are a genius!", "Washu, you are the greatest!"), Ryoko becomes a much less likable Jerk Ass, Ayeka is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and Tenchi becoming more wishy-washy and easily flustered (compared to the OVAs). The Tenchi Muyo! in Love film, however, reverts the characters back more towards their OVA personalities, and in Tenchi Forever!, the character's personalities are subdued to work within the confines of the serious, dramatic story being told.
- Friendly Enemy: When Kiyone first arrives at the Misaki estate, she makes it her mission to arrest Ryoko. Ryoko, for her part, is completely nonplussed and seems content to just share a drink with her. By the end of the episode, the "enemy" part of the equation is completely erased.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: Ryo-ohki unintentionally does this to Sasami after being scared into hiding by Mirei.
- Fugitive Arc: After Kagato becomes the ruling power on Jurai, the harem goes on the run.
- Gangsterland: Ryoko's favorite of the alternate realities featured in the "Time and Space Adventures" three-parter. Seemingly set in The Roaring Twenties, it features Ryoko and Tenchi as a Bonnie and Clyde-esque pair, Aeka as Tenchi's forgotten fiancee, and Mihoshi and Kiyone as FBI agents.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the episode "No Need For Hunger", Ayeka reaches into a small bowl to grab a snack, complaining that they are almost out of food. What does she pull out? A condom.
- A God Am I: Kagato flat out says this almost word-for-word.
- High School AU: Featured as an alternate reality in the "Time and Space Adventures" three-parter. Aeka and Ryoko become Schoolgirl Lesbians and Sasami is a Magical Girl superheroine.
- How We Got Here: The entire series.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode (save those in the "Time and Space Adventures" arc) is titled "No Need for..."
- Incest Is Relative: Averted in this series, which was a major surprise compared to the originals. Washu is simply a mad scientist who was imprisoned on Earth for making doomsday devices and other bizarre inventions, Ryoko is "just" a space pirate, Ayeka and Sasami are no relation to Katsuhito, Tenchi is related to Katsuhito only through his mother's side of the family, and there's no word on whether or not Mihoshi is related to Washu (though that is doubtful).
- Jerk Ass: Ayeka and Ryoko in some episodes.
- Karaoke Box: Episode 16
- Like a Badass out of Hell: Strongly implied to be how Kagato acquired his dark Jurai powers; he's literally been through hell and back!
- Market-Based Title: Tenchi Universe was simply known as Tenchi Muyo! in Japan, and Tenchi Forever! was released as Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Haruka no Omoi in Japan.
- Marry Them All: Averted in this canon.
- The Millstone: Mihoshi, especially towards Kiyone and Washu.
- The Movie: 1996's Tenchi Muyo! in Love and 1999's Tenchi Forever! are set in the Universe continuity.
- Mythology Gag: The third episode features a sequence based on the short gag of Ryoko joking that Ryo-Ohki's clone-egg was actually her and Tenchi's love-child from the original Tenchi Muyo! OAV. Here, it's extended with, among other things, Ryoko claiming to be craving "pickles and icecream", then feigning morning sickness and/or labor pains, and Nobuyuki gleefully reporting to his deceased wife via the family shrine that their son has given them a granddaughter.
- Naked People Are Funny: In Tenchi Muyo! in Love, Washu transports Kiyone from 1970 back to the present day to give her some information regarding Kain, as well as a new communication device to replace the goggles-with-screens device that was being used beforehand. Unfortunately, Kiyone was bathing at the time, so she ended up coming to Washu's laboratory completely naked. Washu then produces a towel for Kiyone to cover herself up with. What makes this scene truly funny is how clearly embarrassed Kiyone is at the time.
Kiyone: ''Washu... if you're going to bring me back... *curls up into a little ball in complete embarrassment* please tell me first... *blush*
- Out-of-Genre Experience: The film Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Haruka Naru Omoi (known as Tenchi Forever in the US) trades Universe and Tenchi Muyo! in Love's action and humor in favor of a more downbeat, melancholic story. While it is, of course, contains heavy science fiction elements (one that deals with parallel worlds and time-dilation), they are severely downplayed in order to focus more on the relationship between Ayeka, Tenchi and Ryoko, as well as to shed some light on Katsuhito's tragic past as Yosho, shortly before he came to Earth.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Nagi to Ryoko, occasionally bordering on Foe Yay.
- "Rashomon"-Style: Ryoko and Ayeka tell wildly opposing stories of the same event at least twice in the series.
- Refrain from Assuming: In the English version, the theme song is called "Tenchi Muyo!" (same as the Japanese version), not "Love Will Leave You Crying".
- Retired Monster: Pretty much what Ryoko and Washu become after settling down on Earth (though they're far more light-hearted and comedic than most examples), since Ryoko was quite the space marauder and Washu was originally exiled for creating very dangerous WMDs.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Subverted; in episode 14, Tenchi and company attempt to use a door invented by Washu to secretly board another ship, only to discover that the door has a very limited range of use.
Tenchi: And why didn't we use this earlier, Washu? Tell me, please.
Washu: Its radius is only 800 meters. It doesn't work like it would in a cartoon!
- Sequel Hook: After the final episode was aired in Japan, a teaser for the then-upcoming movie Tenchi Muyo! in Love was aired.
- Shockingly Expensive Bill: Aeka intentionally gives Nagi one in Episode 16 so as to dissuade her from revisiting the bar where the group is hiding out, although Nagi ends up finding out who they are anyway after the bar blows up and they have to go on the run again.
- Shout-Out: Episode 8 features a cameo by Moldiver
- Mihoshi's mech in episode 1 moves its eye back and forth exactly like a Zaku.
- Show Within a Show: Type 3 — Mihoshi is so distracted by one program that Washu's Mecha Washu-Mihoshi runs off mid-fight to watch it.
- Space Toad Oil Saleswoman: Ryoko, briefly, in episode 7. Tenchi puts a stop to it.
- Sock Puppet: Washu's puppets A and B.
- So What Do We Do Now?: Tenchi finds himself facing this at the end, only for Ryoko to show up — with the rest of the cast trailing her — to remind him that carnivals come back.
- Space Opera: The "Space Adventures" arc, which is pretty much the entire second half of the show.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Ryoko; the opening title begins and ends with a shot of Ryoko, and there are some episodes which are focused towards her. Then in Tenchi Forever, Both Ryoko and Ayeka become the Spot Light Stealing Squad.
- Surprisingly Good English: The English version of the opening theme song is sung by the same singer (SONIA) as the Japanese version—in virtually flawless English!
- Sword Beam: Kagato uses one. And it even comes with instant facepaint!
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
- Whole Episode Flashback: Rather, this is a Whole Series Flashback.
- Wondrous Ladies Room: Washu turns the Tenchi household bathroom into one of these. When the door is opened by a woman, anyway.
- Work Off the Debt: In episode 19, Ayeka and Sasami wash dishes to pay the group's bill at a diner.
- Your Costume Needs Work: Unable to enter as herself in a swimsuit competition, Aeka pretends to be an Aeka impersonator. The announcer is somewhat critical of her impression.