Tenchi Universe is a 26 episode Japanese anime series produced by the AIC and Pioneer LDC. It is loosely based on the first six episodes of the Tenchi Muyo! series. The series premiered on April 2, 1995 in Japan and concluded its airing on September 24, 1995. Two featured films came from this canon, Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love and Tenchi Forever! The Movie. Funimation Entertainment announced distribution of the series, along with several other Tenchi properties, on July 2, 2010 at Anime Expo.
This series introduces three new characters: Mihoshi's partner Kiyone Makibi (who debuted in the "Mihoshi Special"), the bounty hunter (and Ryoko's rival) Nagi, and her cabbit companion, Ken-Ohki. The series also gave some characters different personalities, Washu is now portrayed as a mildly-insane egomaniac with two pop-up dolls that proclaim her greatness, and Mihoshi was portrayed as a comic relief character whose constant blunders and crying fits would often get the gang into trouble.
After the Tenchi Muyo! series finished it's run, Tenchi Unverse premiered on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on July 20, 2000. The Toonami version was edited for content, and featured custom opening and closing credits.
Everyone’s favorite luckless hero is back for more intergalactic hijinks in Tenchi Universe, an alternate universe retelling of the original Tenchi canon. Seventeen-year –old Tenchi Masaki is a regular guy whose life takes a turn for the outrageous when Ryoko the stunning space pirate crashes at his grandfather’s shrine. In the bat of an eye, Tenchi finds himself surrounded by a bevy of bodacious intergalactic beauties who’ll do everything they can to make him late for class!
In Tenchi Universe, Tenchi is similar in personality to the Tenchi Muyo! incarnation, but has no powers beyond the ability to use Tenchi-ken. The Tenchi sword is just a weapon and is not a Master Key; there are no intelligent Royal Trees in the series. Tenchi does attend school, but it is a long commute for him because he lives at his family's shrine in the mountains. After finding out about his grandfather's true identity and defeating Kagato, Tenchi chose to turn down the Jurai throne and head back to Earth, after realizing that like his grandfather before him he wants to live a simple life without much responsibility. Although Tenchi was bored with living on Earth again without the girls around, he is surprised when they return and Ryoko reminds Tenchi that although a carnival would eventually leave, it would always come back again.
In this series, Ryoko is once again a space pirate. She was introduced to Tenchi by crash-landing on Earth during a dogfight with Mihoshi. Tenchi found her and it was almost love at first sight (for her). We have no idea what her origins are and that is never revealed. Ryoko can still summon an energy sword and shoot ki blasts, she can also fly, teleport, and make copies of herself, but she can no longer summon demons. Gems can still be glimpsed on her wrists, however, there is no mention of them being her power source. Ryoko is generally less powerful than in Tenchi Muyo!, as the bounty hunter Nagi (who has no superhuman powers at all) is able to fight her on equal terms. Again, she's very emotional and brash, but not as much as in Tenchi Muyo!, and enjoys doing things to make Ayeka mad, which includes flirting with Tenchi. By the end of the series, however, her love for Tenchi has become very powerful, to the point that she nearly dies for him. In this series, Ryoko still has Ryo-Ohki, her pet cabbit (cat/rabbit animal), which can transform into a well-armed spaceship. She also has an arch-rival, Nagi, who has her own cabbit, a male named Ken-Ohki.
Ayeka Masaki Jurai
Ayeka is still a princess of Jurai in this series. As shy and demure as before, she seems to fall in love with Tenchi on the very first day she meets him. Ayeka was drawn to Earth by Mihoshi's distress signal, but once again, she finds Ryoko there as well and a massive fight eventually occurs. In this series, the rivalry with Ryoko started back during their childhood, which was shown through flashbacks, with both Ayeka and Ryoko blaming each other for their problems. Again, Ayeka has a ship, Ryu-Oh, which crashlands on Earth; however, it becomes incapable of flying when it begins to regenerate, taking root to the wreckage of her old ship. Ayeka is a relatively minor member of the Jurai family, not the daughter of the Emperor as in Tenchi Muyo!. Still, after being kidnapped by Kagato and released by Tenchi, she returns to Jurai because she must remain with the Imperial Family from then on; but as the series concludes, Ayeka chooses to run away from home and rejoin Tenchi on Earth.
Sasami Masaki Jurai
In this series Sasami is still Ayeka's sister and princess of Jurai, but there is no mention of her parents, and Yosho (along with his grandson Tenchi) appears to be only a distant relative. Tsunami does not appear in this series, so Sasami has no alter-ego (other than Pretty Sammy). Sasami is still an accomplished cook. She has a much happier, innocent outlook on life and does not use any special powers. She does - or did - own her own ship, but it was soon destroyed, stranding her on Earth. She is an expert games player, especially fighting video games, and takes the revived Azaka as her pupil. During the three part special episodes 'Time and Space Adventures', which seem to be homages to various genres or specific shows/films, Sasami is usually side-lined away from the main story, except of course in her own in which she once again plays the role of 'Pretty Sammy'. It is worth noting that even in her own story she starts off as a background character, only taking center stage once she has transformed.
In this series, Mihoshi is partnered with Kiyone Makibi, and together, they are known as "Miho-Kiyo", a mash-up of Mihoshi and Kiyone, it was coined by Washu in episode 6. She is in pursuit of Ryoko until they both crash-land on Earth. Unlike her Tenchi Muyo! counterpart, who is still dedicated and competent despite her ditziness, Mihoshi is the comic relief and a dumb blonde whose constant blunders would often cause trouble for the group (especially for Kiyone and Washu). One of her classic mistakes is when a single hair from her scalp was able to transfer her personality into Mecha Washu while washu's entire body was in the same pod.
In this series, Washu was banished from the Universal Science Academy, for producing Weapons of Mass Destruction, and was sent to Earth, imprisoned in the Masaki Shrine for 700 years, until she was freed during a squabble involving Ryoko and Ayeks. Washu was portrayed as an egotistical mad scientist, with two dolls (named Aand B) that pop up on her shoulders to proclaim her greatness and to cheer her on ("Washu, you are a genius!", "You can do it, Washu!", etc.). Washu, near the end of the series, talked with Tenchi, who was depressed as his grandfather was easily defeated by Kagato. Washu was able to convince him that he could wield a greater force of Jurai power than his grandfather, and then helped disable a portion of the Jurai fleet in the final battle with her supercomputer virus. At the end of the series, Washu was the elected honorary president of the Universal Science Academy, promising to only use her powers for peace. She was kicked out a month later for developing a weapon capable of destroying the entire universe (though as Tenchi narrates, no one was surprised). Washu eventually returned to Earth.
Kiyone is a first class Galaxy Police detective who graduated with the second highest marks her year, and because of her athletic and analytical skill, commitment to police work, and responsible nature was deemed the cream of the GP crop and among the best of the younger generation of Galaxy Police. Stuck with the bumbling Mihoshi Kuramitsu as a partner, Kiyone's career suffered; she has become somewhat bitter and depressed with her misfortune, hoping that she can earn a promotion and transfer away from Mihoshi, which would ensure much better prospects for the future. But despite the trouble Mihoshi has brought her, Kiyone holds some hidden fondness for her partner, to such a degree that, when she is finally promoted, she continues to stand by her.
Kiyone is an exceptional detective with great sharpshooting skills with a GP Blaster, and is capable of using any of the GP-issue equipment properly. Kiyone is not infatuated with Tenchi as the other girls are, but expresses concern and care for him nonetheless.
In this series, Kiyone was assigned to locate her missing partner Mihoshi. But to her disbelief, not only was she alive but she was living with the galaxy's most wanted space pirate Ryoko, the two missing Jurai princesses Ayeka and Sasami, and the galaxy's legendary mad scientist Washu. Kiyone tried to arrest Ryoko with some assistance from Ayeka but failed because of Mihoshi's clumsiness. After contacting headquarters, Kiyone found out that she and Mihoshi had been transferred to patrolling the Solar System, which was very depressing for her. Not wanting to be a burden on Tenchi Masaki, Kiyone decides that she and Mihoshi would move into a low-rent apartment. However, difficulties arise as the officers take part-time jobs due to Mihoshi's incompetence and their GP duties, which often require immediate response (even in the middle of work).
After Ayeka and Sasami are accused of treason on planet Jurai, Kiyone found out that the Galaxy Police were aiding the Jurai military with the task of locating them. Because of Mihoshi, both of them were accused of being accomplices. With little choice, Kiyone joins the others to journey to Jurai to clear their names, using her shuttle the Yagami to travel across space; Washu created an interdimensional invention that allowed the Masaki Home to be put into the Yagami. At the end of the series, after being promoted to the GP's high ranks, Kiyone returns to earth for reasons unknown.
- Main Article: Tenchi Universe/Episodes
The series premiered on April 2, 1995 in Japan on TV Tokyo and concluded its airing on September 24, 1995.
The English-dubbed version first appeared in the United States on KTEH public television in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997, and was later picked up by Cartoon Network, the series made it's premiere on the Toonami block from July 20, 2000 to August 24, 2000. The series began it's second run on the block on January 17, 2002 and ended on February 21, 2002. The Toonami version was edited for content, and featured custom opening and closing credits.
After Cartoon Network's rights to broadcast the show expired, International Channel picked up the rights to air the dubbed version in 2004.
The Latin American Spanish dub (co-produced in Chile by Cloverway Inc.) was broadcast on Univision.