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Those days were like one big carnival we thought would never end.
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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. It was directed by Hiroshi Negishi and produced by AIC.

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.

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Tenchi Universe provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: This series incarnation of Kagato has a much more different character design, looking much younger, sporting dark hair, and eschewing the spectacles and yellow eyes.
  • Adaptational Badass: Azaka and Kamidake get humanoid forms with vast power, and are actually relevant in a fight, unlike the originals.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While not really a villain, and portrayed as a Loveable Rogue at worst, Ryoko in this series was willfully a Space Pirate, unlike the OVA where she at least had the excuse of being Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Yosho is still a famed warrior, but much less of a badass than he was in the OVA. Whereas the OVA version doesn't even take Kagato seriously in their duel yet still comes out completely unscathed, this version gets soundly thrashed by Kagato.
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  • Adaptation Distillation: This series features a very similar setting to the original OVA, but a lot of the more confusing and complicated parts are altered or outright removed. While this does remove some of the Worldbuilding of the original, it gives the plot more focus, at least past the halfway point.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The three-part "Time and Space Adventures" arc, which was based on the drama CD, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki Special: Creation of the Universe Journey across Space-Time, added two new chapters for Ayeka and Kiyone.
  • Always Someone Better: Nagi.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 20, "No Need for Swimsuits!", where the girls enter a swimsuit competition so they can win money needed to repair their ship. Fanservice abounds.
  • Beauty Contest: All the girls except Sasami and Washu 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.
  • Big Bad: Kagato. For the whole series this time.
  • 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.
  • Bland-Name Product: The girls are watching a Samy-branded TV, a reference to Sony, as well as to Pretty Sammy (which is called "Pretty Samy" in Japan).
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: In Episode 19, "No Need for Runaways!", Ryoko starts "Operation: Speed Up Ryo-Ohki", which involves feeding Ryo-Ohki (in her ship form) some hot peppers she got from the diner in order to catch up with the Yagami, which was hijacked by two runaways. Ryoko said that Ryo-Ohki will be angry at her for a couple days.
  • Blessed with Suck: Kiyone considers her being partnered with Mihoshi as this. Of all the Galaxy Police officers to partner up with, she winds up with The Millstone.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: The dynamic between Mihoshi and Kiyone plays out like this, with the former as the airheaded Boke and the latter as the exasperated Tsukkomi. Episode 6, "No Need for Resident Officers!", outright lampshades it.
    Washu: So, this is MihoKiyo's place, is it?
    Kiyone: MihoKiyo?
    Ryoko: That's short for "Mihoshi and Kiyone."
    Kiyone: Well I don't like the sound of it.
    Mihoshi: Yeah, it sounds like the name of a goofy comedy team or something like that.
    Kiyone: (smacks her) Hey, goofball, shut up already!
    Sasami: You sure are like clowns.
  • Bookends: The season begins and ends with Tenchi walking down the path leading to the Masaki Shrine.
  • Bound and Gagged: Tenchi in Episode 10, "No Need for an Arch Rival!".
  • Bounty Hunter: Nagi.
  • Broke Episode: Episode 16, "No Need for Hiding!"
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Ryoko and Ayeka 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 Ayeka. Ayeka, standing nearby, isn't pleased.
  • Call-Back:
    • In Episode 1, when Ryoko is chasing down Tenchi and Mihoshi, Tenchi grabs a garden hoe in order to defend himself. This is similar to Episode 1 of the OVA, where Tenchi grabs a piece of reinforced concrete in order to defend himself in his battle with Ryoko.
    • The conclusion to episode 2, "No Need for a Princess!", is a role reversal of what happened at the end of episode 2 of the OVA; in the OVA, Ryoko rams Ryo-Ohki (her ship) into Ayeka's Ryu-Oh, with Ryoko laughing maniacally, but in Universe, the roles were reversed.
    • In Episode 4, it's revealed that Washu has been imprisoned for centuries in a Crystal Prison, just like her counterpart in the OVA.
    • In Episode 9, Ryoko asks Tenchi to turn off the snow outside, thinking he has the technology to change the weather. This recalls a scene in the OVA continuity (Episode 3), when Sasami asks Ryoko about turning off the rain outside, and Ryoko answers that the Earth doesn't possess that technology.
    • In Episode 10, Nagi comments about how Kiyone's impressive record suddenly takes a downward fall. In the OVA, Kagato says the same thing about Mihoshi.
    • Several times, Ayeka mentions "700 years" to Ryoko, either remarking on her future prison life or insulting her as being an old mummy; an inside joke to the OVA continuity about Ryoko being imprisoned for 700 years, resembling a mummy when Tenchi finds her.
    • In Episode 23, Katsuhito, in his recollections of Kagato, notes that the latter was skilled in academics. This recalls Kagato's background as a Mad Scientist in the OVA.
  • Canon Foreigner: Kiyone Makibi, Nagi, Ken-Ohki, Mitsuki, Mirei, Amarube & Yura, Sagami, the Juraian Outpost Chief, "dark knights" Tessei & Tetta, Achika, Kain, GP Operative A (Sabato), teenage Nobuyuki, Haruna, Itsuki Masaki, and "knights" Azaka & Kamidake.
  • Canon Immigrant: The "Time and Space Adventures" arc is based on a popular audio play that was set in the OVA universe.
  • Characterization Marches On: In her first episode, Washu acts a bit closer to her characterization from the OVA, expressing an interest in Tenchi and flirting with him. This gets quickly dropped and her relationship with him becomes more casual and platonic afterwards.
  • Clear My Name: The last arc involved Ayeka and Sasami labeled as "traitors to Jurai" by the newly crowned Yosho, (who is actually an impostor, Kagato). Ryoko is also targeted for "assisting" in a possible takeover. Tenchi, Washu, Mihoshi, Kiyone, Nobuyuki, and Katsuhito also get branded as criminals by association. They all spend the rest of the season traveling through space, dodging attempted capture, to get to Planet Jurai and uncover the truth.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Played for Laughs in Episode 5, "No Need for Partners!", 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.
  • Company Cross References: In episode 8, "No Need for a Genius!", Kiyone managed to distract Mecha-Washu (who was accidentally programmed with Mihoshi's personality and hairstyle) by getting her, along with Mihoshi, to watch her favorite show, Moldiver.
  • Cool Starship: Ryo-Ohki, and the Yagami, Mihoshi and Kiyone's Galaxy Police ship.
  • Cowboy Episode: In Episode 10, "No Need for an Arch Rival!", after Nagi kidnaps Tenchi, she and Ryoko agree to meet at a location to fight. The location, set up by Washu on Venus, is suspiciously similar to a small western town, complete with tumbleweed, saloons, and an eerie sunset.
  • Darker and Edgier: Both movies set in this continuity certainly qualify. Tenchi Muyo! in Love has a noticeably more tragic, violent, and overall somber tone with little emphasis on comedy compared to the TV series. Additionally, Tenchi Forerver! depicts a more downbeat, melancholic story, focusing more on the relationship between Ayeka, Tenchi and Ryoko, as well as shedding some light on Katsuhito's tragic past.
  • A Day in the Limelight: While most of the characters have at least one episode devoted to them, "No Need for Resident Officers!" and "No Need for an Escape!" are notable in that they play entirely from Kiyone and Mihoshi's perspectives while the rest of the cast make only small appearances at most.
  • Disney Death: Ryoko appears to die near the end of the series, but pops again alive and well in the finale.
  • Empty Bedroom Grieving: Subverted in the last episode. After the group went their separate ways, Tenchi looks in on the now-empty rooms of his house, taking it in about how much he truly missed the women in spite of how crazy they usually drove him.
  • 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 (as shown at the ending of Tenchi Forever!).
  • 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 less likable Jerkass, Ayeka is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and Tenchi is 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 characters' personalities are subdued to work within the confines of the serious, dramatic story being told. Therefore, it can be argued that this is ultimately a case of Characterization Marches On.
  • Foreshadowing: Several times:
    • In Episode 1, "No Need For Discussions!" Lord Katsuhito makes a comment about how cold Space is.
    • In Episode 2, "No Need For Princesses!", Lord Katsuhito makes a comment comparing Earth and Jurai.
    • In Episode 9, "No Need For Memories!", Ayeka watches Tenchi sword-sparring with Katsuhito. She notes Tenchi's stances resemble Juraian sword-play. In the same episode, Sasami cures a feverish Tenchi using the sap of a Juraian Tree. Azaka and Kamidake note this success, having thought the sap's healing qualities only work for Juraians...
    • In Episode 15, "No Need For An Escape!", when the family learns about the new Emperor Yosho, Katsuhito gives a look.
    • In Episode 22, "No Need for Knights!", Katsuhito mentions that when he first arrived on Earth, he was "alone and grief-striken". The reason for this is finally revealed in the second film, Tenchi Forever!
  • Friendly Enemy: When Kiyone first arrives at the Masaki 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-part arc. Set in the early years of The Great Depression (specifically 1932, as shown on a mugshot), it features Ryoko and Tenchi as a Bonnie and Clyde-esque pair, Ayeka as Tenchi's forgotten fiancée, and Mihoshi and Kiyone as FBI agents.
  • A God Am I: Kagato flat out says this almost word-for-word.
  • Godiva Hair: Unlike the Ryo-Ohki OVAs, the side drapes in Ryoko's hair always cover up her breasts whenever she is naked.
  • High School A.U.: Featured as an alternate reality in the "Time and Space Adventures" arc. Ayeka and Ryoko become lesbians and Sasami is a Magical Girl superheroine.
  • Hot Pursuit: In episode 19, after they hijacked the Yagami, Amarabe and Yuma were suddenly chased by a fleet of Galaxy Police ships when a GP camera identified the ship; they were unaware that the ship belongs to Ayeka's crew, who were at this point the most wanted fugitives.
  • How We Got Here: As it turns out, the entire series is this. The very first scene happens very close to the chronological end.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode (save those in the "Time and Space Adventures" arc) is titled "No Need for _____!" (or "_____ Muyo!" in Japan).
  • If I Can't Have You…: Attempted by Ayeka in episode 2 after Ryoko falsely claims that Tenchi is hers; in a role reversal of what happened in episode 2 of the OVA, Ayeka charges at Ryoko's ship with her Ryu-Oh.
  • Jerkass: Ayeka and Ryoko in some episodes. Ryoko especially in Episode 17, "No Need For Hunger!", where she had been tasked with getting food when the ship ran out. Instead, she splurges the cash for her own enjoyment, never mind everyone else left behind are starving. Was it mentioned they were all on the run at the time?
  • Karaoke Bonding Scene: In episode 6, "No Need for Resident Officers!", Mihoshi and Kiyone bond over karaoke.
  • Karaoke Box: Episode 16, "No Need for Hiding!"
  • Laser Blade: The Tenchi Sword makes its appearance late in the series.
  • Love Triangle: The harem anime aspect that the franchise is known for is actually downplayed in this series, with only Ryoko and Ayeka having any romantic interest in Tenchi. The last episode strongly hints that Tenchi ultimately chooses Ryoko, and the movie Tenchi Forever! outright confirms it.
  • 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 continuity.
  • The Millstone: Mihoshi, especially towards Kiyone and Washu.
  • The Movie: Tenchi Muyo! in Love (1996) and Tenchi Forever! (1999) are set in the Universe continuity.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Episode 3, "No Need for Worries!", 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! OVA. Here, it's extended with, among other things, Ryoko claiming to be craving "pickles and ice cream", 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.
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: In the Feudal Japan alternate reality featured in the "Time and Space Adventures" arc, "Lady" Ayeka wields a naginata in her fight with "Demon" Ryoko.
  • Nerf: Pretty much all the characters are downgraded in power here compared to the OVA. People who were originally outright gods or close enough to it are instead more akin to superhumans; they're powerful, but they don't have the far-reaching cosmic influence they were capable of before, and a sufficiently-sized force of Mooks from Jurai or the Galaxy Police can be a threat to them.
  • Never My Fault: Ayeka blames the whole "Time and Space Adventures" arc on Ryoko, conveniently forgetting that she and all the other girls present also tampered with Washu's machine.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mihoshi being the prime instigator as The Millstone. One of the worst examples was when she accidentally blew everyone's cover when they were trying to get past an intergalactic checkpoint under heavy security during the time nearly the whole damn galaxy was hunting for them. How did she do this? She was carrying her Galaxy Police blaster which alerted the X-ray scan, AND she drops her ID card in full view in front of a security officer.
  • Oh, Crap!: Amarabe and Yuma's reaction upon learning by a news report that the Yagami they stole belongs to Ayeka and the crew, who were at this point, the most wanted fugitives in the galaxy.
  • Old Master: Katsuhito, as per usual. First thing he did was defeat a mech suit using only a bokutō.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Despite not having any romantic feelings for Tenchi in this continuity, both Sasami and Mihoshi's ideal worlds in "The Time and Space Adventures" arc cast them in ways that show otherwise. Sasami falls for him after meeting him just once at his school where her Pretty Sammy adventure takes place, and Mihoshi serves as his housewife for her section. Making this stand out even more is how at the beginning of the arc, Mihoshi says she wants a world where she and Kiyone will always be partners, but Kiyone herself has a very minor role in it. This is in large part due to the arc being an adaptation of a drama CD that was more aligned with the OVA series.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Nagi to Ryoko; she wants to be the only person to defeat Ryoko, and she even helps Tenchi's crew just to protect Ryoko from her other enemies.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Ryoko and Ayeka tell wildly opposing stories three separate times over the course of the series.
  • Reality Warper: Washu invents a machine that can create an ideal world. Unfortunately, the other girls mess with it and each tried input their own ideal worlds at once before it's even finished, causing the whole cast to get sucked into a multitude of alternate realities until Washu reverts everything back to normal.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Seemingly averted in this continuity. For instance, in contrast to the OVA continuity, Juraians appear to age more-or-less the same as humans do; the prime example here would be Yosho/Katsuhito, who is fully Juraian in Universe (as opposed to being only half-Juraian in the OVA). This is most apparent in the final film Tenchi Forever!, where Haruna states that she’s waited “half a century” since her death, meaning that Yosho has been on Earth for only 50+ years as opposed to 700 in the OVA.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Although the show has some new music by Seikou Nagaoka, the majority of the soundtrack were taken from Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Averted in this series, as compared to the OVA. Washu is simply a mad scientist who was imprisoned on Earth for making doomsday devices and other bizarre inventions and isn't the mother of Ryoko (who is "just" a space pirate), Ayeka and Sasami are only distantly related to Katsuhito, Tenchi is related to Katsuhito only through his mother's side of the family, Nobuyuki is still the father of Tenchi but isn't a descendent of Katsuhito, and Mihoshi is not related to Washu.
  • 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.
  • Robot Me: In episode 8, Washu built a robotic duplicate of herself, dubbed "Mecha-Washu". Unfortunately, thanks to Mihoshi's blunders, Mecha Washu was accidentally programmed with Mihoshi's personality and hairstyle. Washu tried again at the end with Mecha Washu II, but thanks to Ryo-Ohki tampering with it, Mecha Washu II had the cabbit's personality and appearance instead.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The "space pirate" in the first episode is actually Mihoshi decked out in Power Armor.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: Subverted; in Episode 14, "No Need for a Rebellion!", 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.
  • She Knows Too Much: In Episode 15, "No Need for an Escape!", a Juraian agent orders the Galaxy Police to capture Mihoshi and Kiyone after Mihoshi was listening to a conversation between the agent and the Galaxy Police chief, revealing that the GP had conspired with Jurai in order to capture Ayeka.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: Ayeka 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:
    • 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, "No Need for a Carnival!", during the Masaki Shrine's annual fair. Tenchi puts a stop to it.
  • Snow Means Death: Tenchi's mother, Achika, died during a period of snowfall. When snow falls again on the Masaki household in "No Need for Memories!", it evokes solemn memories of her in him, Nobuyuki, and Katsuhito.
  • Sock Puppet: Washu's puppets A and B, which are Super-Deformed versions of herself.
  • Something We Forgot: In Episode 19, "No Need for Runaways!", Tenchi and company spend the entire episode trying to recover the stolen Yagami from a pair of wannabe gangsters, which gets complicated since they also had to deal with the Galaxy Police. Once they get the ship back, they continue their journey, until Tenchi realizes that they accidentally left Ayeka and Sasami back at the restaurant during their rush to reclaim the Yagami.
  • 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.
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: This was done by Kiyone, with assistance from Washu, to successfully escape the Galaxy Police fleet; the Yagami flew towards a supernova, and on Washu's cue, Kiyone pulls it off.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Ryoko; the opening title begins and ends with a shot of Ryoko, and there are some episodes which are focused around her. Then in Tenchi Forever!, both Ryoko and Ayeka become the Spot Light Stealing Squad.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Ryo-Ohki and Ken-Ohki, Nagi's cabbit companion.
  • 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!
  • To Hell and Back: Strongly implied to be how Kagato acquired his dark Jurai powers; he's literally been through hell and back!
  • Unexplained Recovery: It's never touched on how Ryoko survived her apparently mortal injuries at the end of the series. She just appears in the last episode fully healed.
  • Unperson: Kagato's name was erased from Jurai's history following his first defeat at the hands of Yosho, which was why Ayeka and Sasami had never heard of him.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Ryoko explains to the others at times that her rivalry with Ayeka dates back to when they were both children, and her flashbacks paint Ayeka as a cruel, spoiled brat while Ryoko is poor and innocent. Ayeka retorts with her own version of the events which paints Ryoko as mean and mischievous while she's the innocent one.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: The entire main cast are this since they were all related to each other in some kind in the OVA. These include:
    • Tenchi and Katsuhito are no longer closely related to Ayeka or Sasami. Same goes to Nobuyuki, who isn't a descendant of Juraians and is just a normal human.
    • While Ryoko and Ryo-ohki are still partners, they aren't sisters. In turn, Washu isn't their mother.
    • Since Tsunami doesn't exist, she never assimilated with Sasami and thus isn't related to Washu.
    • Mihoshi isn't the great-great-granddaughter of Washu and great-grandniece of Ryoko and Ryo-ohki.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 23, "No Need for Karma!". This is when the situation turns really dire. Kagato reveals himself as the Big Bad, captures Ayeka, wounds Ryoko, and nearly kills Yosho, leaving the inexperienced Tenchi as the only one who can even face the usurper now. The series loses most of its comedic elements at this point.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Most of the last episode consists of Tenchi narrating the aftermath of his victory and showing what the supporting cast has been getting up to.
  • 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, Ayeka pretends to be an Ayeka impersonator. The announcer is somewhat critical of her impression. Ayeka is not amused.

Tenchi Muyo! In Love provides examples of:

  • Award-Bait Song: "The Alchemy of Love" by Nina Hagen and Rick Jude, the theme song to Tenchi Muyo! in Love.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tenchi, Ryoko, and Ayeka when they rescue Nobuyuki and Achika from getting absorbed by Kain.
  • Call-Back:
    • Mihoshi's class lesson on the story of the "Demon of Rashomon" is based on Ayeka's fantasy from the "Time and Space Adventures" arc of the TV series.
    • Washu's Dimensional Cannon may be the Universe-destroying weapon that Washu created after becoming Head of the Science Academy (and which subsequently got her kicked out) in "No Need For A Conclusion!"
    • Tenchi's memory of his mother's death (weeping at the Masaki Shrine in the snow) is based on the flashback of "No Need For Memories!"
  • Call-Forward: 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 Immigrant: The GP Headquarters commander who first appeared in Episode 4 of the first OVA makes an appearance early on in the film. Unfortunately, he, along with many other Galaxy Police, are killed when Kain destroys the GP Headquarters.
  • Chain of People: Kain (as he is sucked into sub-space), Achika, Nobuyuki, and Tenchi. Unfortunately the link between Tenchi and Nobuyuki breaks and the former three are sucked into sub-space.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A manga adaptation by Hitoshi Okuda. Despite its author/artist work with the OVA-based manga series, this adaptation is based on the Universe continuity, including Kiyone to the story. There are several differences:
    • Operative A is absent.
    • None of the participants in the final battle change clothing.
    • Tenchi is the one to give the death blow to Kain, with Achika giving the energy to empower his sword. Although Kiyone powers up the Dimensional Cannon, it ends up unused in the final blow.
  • Covers Always Lie: Both the VHS and DVD comment that Kain attacked the Jurai Emperor. That does not happen in the film (although in the past, the Emperor died imprisoning Kain).
    • The first US DVD Cover presents the present-day Nobuyuki, although he actually makes two very brief appearances in the actual film.
  • Demoted to Extra: Lord Katsuhito, who has only two talking scenes and one other appearance, and the present-day Nobuyuki, who has one image and one scene.
  • Distant Prologue: Post-title, the film begins with a look of a school in Okayama, Japan, in the autumn of 1970.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Sabato/Operative A rips off his Latex Perfection mask, revealing his alien face to Ryoko.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Washu has a timer counting the days, hours, minutes, and seconds before her time-protection shield on Tenchi ends and the changed timeline supplants everything. It hits its end just when Kain is killed.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In order to finally get rid of Kain, Washu resorts to using a Doomsday Device designed to wipe out a galaxy. Fortunately, they're able to chuck Kain into a sub-space pocket before it goes off.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Several times Tenchi falls down in pain, as the changed timeline of which he no longer exists threatens to erase him completely. Fortunately, Washu's shield device keeps him stable.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Kiyone disguises herself as a janitor at the school in 1970.
  • Medium Blending: Tenchi Muyo! In Love blends animation with photo-realistic backgrounds.
  • Mind Wipe: With the timeline restored, Washu has Ryoko and Ayeka implant a device to alter Achika and Nobuyuki's memories of their appearance in 1970.
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: When Achika uses Sword Tenchi in the film's climax, its handle and blade extend to naginata-like lengths.
  • Naked People Are Funny: 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*
  • Not Quite Dead: Seemingly destroyed by Achika, Kain turns out to be mortally wounded. The Dimensional Cannon finishes him off.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Achika and Nobuyuki catch a glimpse at Operative A's Half the Man He Used to Be remains. They freak out.
  • Place of Power: To get energy to empower the generator to trap Kain into sub-space, Washu uses the Five Fudo Temples in Tokyo as power sources, with Tokyo Tower as the focal point.
  • The Promise: Achika asks Nobuyuki to show her his dream house when it is built. It becomes a vow of love.
  • Psychic Link: Through a device of Washu's, Tenchi is able to make a connection with his mother, locating her in sub-space. He learns she is in peril; Achika sees Tenchi's memories, and learns his identity and her fate.
  • Retgone: Tenchi is threatened with this trope, as Kain kills his mother nine years before his birth, causing him to be erased from existence. Fortunately, this is temporarily thwarted and then completely averted.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Operative A - after the impressive efforts it took to imprison Kain, did you really think your laser cannon would do the job?
  • Shout-Out:
  • Statues, Monuments and Memorials: The film portrays the sights of 1970 Tokyo, particularly Tokyo Tower.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Sabato/Operative A, although his sympathy is limited to giving Ryoko information about Kain. He has no idea why Ryoko and the others are in 1970, nor joins forces with them, intending to destroy the criminal himself.
  • Tempting Fate: Kiyone, who assures to Mihoshi that Galaxy Police officers don't get lost, then vanishes.
  • Time Machine: Washu uses an experimental "Protomatic Regulator" to send Tenchi and his harem back to 1970. The manga adaptation has Sasami refer to it simply as a Time Machine.
  • Time Travel: The entire plot of film centers on this.
  • Transformation Sequence:
    • Angered at Kain injuring Nobuyuki, Achika triggers her Juraian powers. Her black hair turns blue, war paint appears on her cheeks, and her clothes disintegrate and are replaced by Juraian robes.
    • Getting ready to face Kain, Tenchi, Ryoko, and Ayeka have their clothes change into battle-suits, with the Juraian-blooded members getting Facial Markings (this marks the only time Tenchi and Ayeka wear such apparel in this continuity).
  • White Mask of Doom: Kain has one of these. While it is able to emote and react, what gives it a eerily creepy factor is that when he speaks his lips don't move, giving the impression of a disembodied voice. It becomes even creepier as he becomes more desperate in the final battle.

Tenchi Forever! provides examples of:

  • Act of True Love: Yosho, the direct royal heir to the Juraian Empire and the immense power it holds, forsakes both Jurai and his claim to the throne because he could not marry Haruna, a commoner. They later marry and leave for the remote planet of Earth to live out the rest of their lives.
  • All Just a Dream: This is what Tenchi believes to be case after experiencing scenes of Ryoko and Ayeka’s squabbling. It turns out that it wasn’t just a dream, but repressed memories masking themselves as dreams.
  • Anti-Villain: Overall, Haruna is not motivated by spite or malice, but by a crippling loneliness and an inability to accept that Tenchi and Yosho aren’t the same person.
  • Art Shift: Compared to the other properties of Tenchi Universe – the eponymous TV-show and Tenchi Muyo! In LoveTenchi Forever! features a different animation style that gives the characters a slightly more realistic appearance.
  • Astral Projection: Katsuhito, in his attempt to reach out to Haruna in her dimension, appears as a projection of his younger self as Yosho.
  • Bookends: The final scene of the film in the mirrors the one from the first film’s ending, by having Tenchi and Ryoko in the exact spot as his parents were and plays out in similar fashion: Ryoko finds him sketching on the hill, overlooking their home and, after a brief bit of dialog, it ends with a still frame of them together.
  • Broken Bird: Yosho took care of Haruna until she died.
  • Call-Back: Near the end of the film, all of the girls minus Ryoko are enjoying roasted sweet potatoes. This is reminiscent of a couple of scenes from Episode 3 of Tenchi Universe, "No Need for Worries!"
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The Juraian royal tree room that appeared as a flashback in the ninth episode of the second OVA makes an appearance here, when Sasami attempts to use the Juraian neural network to locate Tenchi.
    • The Science Academy, which first makes an appearance in a flashback in Episode 8 of the OVA, makes an appearance in the film when Kiyone and Mihoshi infiltrate it to help Washu.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A manga adaptation of the film, Tenchi Muyo! In Love 2: Eternal Memory, written by the film’s director Hiroshi Negishi.
  • Credits Montage: The end credits display a clip show of scenes from The Tenchi Universe:
    • "No Need For Discussions!" Tenchi walking along the countryside, meeting Ryoko for the first time.
    • "No Need For Knights!" Yosho coming to Earth and meeting his future wife.
    • "No Need For Ryoko!" Ryoko falling unconscious, blood trickling from her hand.
    • "No Need For A Showdown!" Tenchi empowered by Earth and Jurai.
    • "No Need For A Conclusion!" Ayeka's goodbye to Tenchi in Jurai. Tenchi's reunion with Ryoko.
  • Death Glare: Haruna gives Ryoko and Ayeka several chilling glares after they encounter her and Tenchi at the restaurant they work at in Tokyo.
  • Demoted to Extra: Nobuyuki, who has only one scene and some dialogue early on in the film.
    • Also, while not exactly demoted to extras, the roles of Sasami, Kiyone, and Mihoshi are downplayed in order to focus on the Love Triangle between Tenchi, Ryoko, and Ayeka.
  • Distant Prologue: Pre-title, the film begins six months before the timeframe the majority of the film is set in.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Tenchi is brainwashed by Haruna and made to live with her as her lover. Despite telling Ryoko and Ayeka they're no different from her, the fact that this is rape is ignored by the story.
  • First Girl Wins: At the end of the film, Ayeka concedes that Tenchi had chosen Ryoko in his heart, and makes peace with it, which resolves the Love Triangle between the two.
  • Flat Character: Averted with Tenchi in this film, as compared to all other versions of him (even within Universe). Here, Tenchi’s personality, interests, and desires are more thoroughly explored.
  • Grand Finale: Tenchi Forever! serves as the conclusion to the Tenchi Universe saga. Hiroshi Negishi would return to the Tenchi Muyo! franchise in 2016 with Ai Tenchi Muyo!, which isn't set in the Tenchi Universe continuity.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Haruna gives one to Ryoko and Ayeka once they enter her world to try to get Tenchi back.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Near the end of the film, Ayeka finally realizes Tenchi had chosen Ryoko in his heart. She then urges Ryoko to go to him while there was still time, before Haruna’s dimension collapses. Just before the final scene, when she asks if anyone’s seen Tenchi, Sasami replies he was at the top of the hill and that she’d seen Ryoko heading after him. Ayeka simply smiles.
  • Ill Girl: Haruna became very sick after she and Yosho flee Jurai. She dies before she got to arrive on Earth.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Whenever Tenchi begins to recollect his old life, he starts to get painful headaches.
  • Lost Lenore: Haruna is this for Yosho/Katsuhito, since they were briefly married before she fell ill and died en route to Earth.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: This is what Haruna was, in the form of a Camellia tree, when she transported Tenchi into her dimension.
  • My Art, My Memory: Although his memory has been altered, Tenchi draws several pictures resembling Ryoko.
  • Mythology Gag: Tenchi decides to take up drawing at the end of the film, much like how he did in Episode 14 of Tenchi in Tokyo, "Tokyo or Bust!"
  • Oh, Crap!: Katsuhito's reaction to discovering Haruna's Camellia Tree blooming out of season, leading him to realize her role in Tenchi's disappearance.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Tenchi Forever! trades Universe’s and Tenchi Muyo! in Love’s action and humor in favor of a more downbeat, melancholic story. While it still contains heavy science fiction elements (one that deals with parallel worlds and time-dilation), they are downplayed in order to focus more on the relationship between Tenchi, Ryoko, and Ayeka, as well as to shed some light on Katsuhito’s tragic past as Yosho, shortly before he came to Earth.
  • Place of Power: The trees Katsuhito planted during his years on Earth are used by Washu to empower the portal to enter Haruna's pocket dimension.
  • Retcon: Yosho's Earth wife Itsuki. "No Need For Knights!" portrays that Yosho first met her when she was a young woman. Tenchi Forever! changes this encounter by de-aging Itsuki to a child.
  • Soul Jar: Haruna's life-force stems from the Camellia Tree that Yosho first planted since his arrival to Earth. When Katsuhito stabs the tree with the Tenchi-Ken, Haruna is wracked with intense pain.
  • Time Dilation: In Haruna’s dimension, Tenchi is in his early twenties and is an art-student attending college. While only six months’ duration of time has elapsed in the real-world, it has been a few years in Haruna’s dimension.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: This describes Ryoko and Ayeka’s relationship with one another for most of the film. They’ve largely put aside their differences and mutual animosity following Tenchi’s disappearance in order to look for him.
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