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Anime / Tenchi Universe

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Those days were like one big carnival we thought would never end.

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:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: This series incarnation of Kagato has a much more different character design, looking much younger, sporting dark hair, and eschewing the spectacles.
  • Adaptational Badass: Azaka and Kamadake get humanoid forms with vast power, and are actually relevant in a fight, unlike the original.
  • 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: Unlike the third series, this one 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 World Building 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.
  • 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: "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 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.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: In episode 19, "No Need for Runaways", Ryoko feeds 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.
  • Book-Ends: The season began and ended with Tenchi walking down the path leading to the Masaki Shrine.
  • 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-Back:
    • At one point (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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clear My Name: The last arc involved Aeka 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, Nobiyuki, 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, 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Tenchi Muyo! in Love has a noticeably more tragic, violent, and overall somber tone with little emphasis on comedy compared to the TV series.
  • 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 (for now).
  • 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 Jerkass, 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 '20s, 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.
  • A God Am I: Kagato flat out says this almost word-for-word.
  • High School A.U.: 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..." (or "_____ Muyo!" in Japan).
  • Jerkass: Ayeka and Ryoko in some episodes. Ryoko especially in "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 Box: Episode 16
  • Laser Blade: The Tenchi Sword makes its appearance late in the series.
  • 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 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.
  • 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*
  • Nerf: Almost all of the characters are downgraded in power here compared to the OVA. It arguably hits Ryoko and Tenchi himself the hardest.
  • 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.
  • Old Master: Katsuhito, as per usual. First thing he did was defeat a mech suit using only a bokuto.
  • 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.
  • 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, causing the whole cast to get sucked into a multitude of alternate realities until Washu reverts everything back to normal.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Inverted 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 and isn't the mother of Ryoko who 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, Nobuyuki is still the father of Tenchi but isn't a descendent of Katsuhito, and there's no word on whether or not Mihoshi is related to Washu (though that is doubtful).
  • 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.
  • She Knows Too Much: In episode 15, 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: 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.
  • Something We Forgot: In all of episode 19, Tenchi and company spent the time trying to recover the stolen Yagami from a pair of wannabe gangsters, which gets complicated since they also had to deal with the Jurai Forces. Once they get the ship back, they continue their journey, until Tenchi realizes that they accidentally left Aeka 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 original series. These include:
    • Tenchi and Katsuhito are no longer related to Ayeka or Sasami. Same goes to Nobuyuki who isn't a descendant of Jurians 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.
  • "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, Aeka pretends to be an Aeka impersonator. The announcer is somewhat critical of her impression. Ayeka is not amused.


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