Third Time's No Charm: The Problem Of Tenchi Muyo OVA 3

Third Time's No Charm: The Problem Of Tenchi Muyo OVA 3

(SPOILERS AHEAD, but don't worry, the third OVA is shit, so if its spoiled, it won't matter.)

Anime, you might say, is a passion of mine, and growing up, an OVA by the name of Tenchi Muyo! (or, "No Need For Tenchi!") aired on the little-known Turner cable television channel, Cartoon Network. It was on the now deceased Toonami block, airing in the afternoon/early evening hours. It had been advertized for a while. "Coming soon: Tenchi Muyo! Love stinks." All right, I thought. Looks good. Science fiction, comedy, maybe some romance. I'd seen a little of the first movie, dubbed, on the Sci-Fi Channel's Saturday morning anime block. I was wondering what it was really all about.

So, it premiered. It was pretty enthralling. Here you had a normal teenage boy (as normal as a boy who trains in sword fighting constantly can be) who accidently awakens a "demon" hidden away near his family shrine, and what results is a collection of women from space and the dangers of a hidden power the boy had no clue he had inherited from an extraordinary bloodline. So, besides the rigors of wacky harem comedy hijinks, you had some decent science fiction as well, with some laser sword action. It wasn't Asimov-quality, but it was entertaining enough and blended well with the other elements. The only problem was, Tenchi Muyo, the original OVA, was unfinished. That is, the story was.

Technically, there were two OVAs. And then there were spin-offs. Reworkings. Movies. Manga. Novels. Oh, the novels. What problems that they created. But nothing from the main OVA continuity after episode 13 (in the big picture). Most of the major works were based on the TV series, which was pretty good. The first and the third movies were based on this continuity. The second was based off of novels by Naoko Hasegawa, a script writer of the original OVA. It was seperate from creator Masaki Kajishima's main canon, which had been continued by his own novels. For a while after the Tenchi in Tokyo television series (itself in yet another continuity), no new Tenchi productions were created. Then, in 2002, the spin-off Tenchi Muyo! GXP, about Tenchi's friend Seina, was made. Three years later came the third portion of the original OVA.

This is where things get confusing. Yes, just now. The GXP program took part in Kajishima's main OVA canon and introduced several new characters into the continuity. However, many fans of the OVA weren't going to bother with another spin-off. It might as well not have existed. Those new characters, though, several from the Kajishima novels, were reintroduced into the canon in the third Tenchi OVA, which came out in 2005. The result was that the highly anticipated sequel to the first two Tenchi OVAs became a complete and utter clusterfuck.

Tenchi faithful had already been introduced to popular character Kiyone Makibi, Mihoshi's GXPD partner, in the Tenchi television series, Tenchi Universe. They'd also been introduced to Tenchi Masaki's deceased mother Achika in a movie taking place in the same continuity, Tenchi In Love from 1996. Now, seperate as these were from Kajishima's canon, they indirectly confused what would follow in the third OVA. Kajishima establishes the character of Noike as Tenchi's arranged fiance and Mihoshi's former partner. Tenchi's mother's name is Kiyone, and she died at the age of 200+, instead of early on in life as Achika did in the TV series. But why bother with these changes? Even if Kajishima had intended this previously, it only further confused things and irked the audience. Why bother making Tenchi's mother so old and die of old age? There were already so many characters who were older than they seemed. Hell, according to some thing I read about Tenchi's father, Nobuyuki, even he's a couple hundred years old. It's so unnecessary.

A character named Tennyo Masaki, an eighty year old woman who looks like a twenty year old, and is Tenchi's older sister, is introduced. The biggest surprise is that she looks identical to Tenchi's mother. Actually, the biggest surprise is that she's a completely pointless character who adds nothing to the already stuffed ballet box of Tenchi's live-in family. Not to mention she appears, disappears, and reappears at the director's whim, while not assisting in the advancement of the plot, characters, or even comedy. Another character, Rae, Nobuyuki's new fiance is introduced, as well. One of the few new characters who seem to make sense as an addition, it's nevertheless strange that the viewer is to believe that she'd been an integral part of the family's life for years, especially when she never appeared before this point. Does Tenchi's family really need to be any more complex than it already is? Of course not. I don't need Kajishima's character splooge all over my fine Tenchi OVA canon, thank you.

What's more, we get introduced to Yosho/Lord Katsuhito's wife, Airi, who was arranged as his bride by matchmaker Seto, Katsuhito's step-grandmother, who also appears. Wait a minute. Didn't Yosho use Ryoko's attack on Jurai as an excuse to flee from the responsibilities of court life and an arranged marriage to his sister Ayeka? And didn't he stay on Earth because he had found a woman, as according to the last episode in the second OVA? And didn't he refuse to come back to Jurai because of this? Then why should he accept an arranged marriage to a woman who wasn't from Earth when he had already married a woman from Earth and denied his responsibilites towards the court? This directly contradicts the already established characterization of Yosho. Not to mention that neither Airi nor Seto add anything, either. Airi sets off with Tennyo to Hawaii and doesn't return until the special that takes place after the final episode of the third OVA. Seto appears during the episodes with Mihoshi's brother and does nothing whatsoever, except make small talk with Washu, which we don't even hear. More character spooge. But since these characters were in Kajishima's novels, we're expected to just accept their complete lack of rationale or competent execution in the plot.
At this point you might ask, "Where's Funaho, Misaki, and Azusa?" You know, Yosho's mother, Ayeka and Sasami's mother, and Ayeka and Sasami's father? The two queens and the king of Jurai. Azusa swore that things weren't over between him and Tenchi, but he never returned to Earth. Funaho would have been more interesting to see than Seto. Misaki appears, in a way, but it's a way that doesn't make any sense and isn't explained. Again, you had to have read Kajishima's novels to understand it at all, but apparently she's some sort of power negator to the three goddesses. Oh yeah, we see Tokimi again, and I'll get to that eventually. But no Azusa, no Funaho, no Misaki in any real sense.

Let's move onto the premise of the third chapter of this saga. If you recall, the goddess Tokimi sent an observer to keep an eye on Tenchi, but not to engage him in combat. This observer was Z, a being who can control five Lighthawk Wings, as opposed to Tenchi's three. But Z decides to mix things up by sending an e-mail to Mihoshi's brother Misao that leads him to believe that Mihoshi is some sex slave that Tenchi is keeping. Misao decides to take his spaceship and go wreck Earth, and specifically, Tenchi, while reclaiming his sister. Z violates his instructions to... wait, send an e-mail? Set up a fight between Tenchi and Misao? Misao sends his lackies, led by Mashisu, a woman with a huge crush on Misao, to round up Tenchi's friends to prevent their intrusion on his scheme. What follows is the worst time-wasting section of the entire OVA. Bad enough that several of the previous episodes were pointless blabbing and preparing for meals, but two episodes that revolve around Misao's lame revenge mission and his hechwoman's secret crush is ridiculous. Especially considering that this is Z's big plan. What a huge letdown. But his next plan is a lot more extreme: blowing up a huge chunk of Earth.

Oh, yeah. The big climax of the series. This is priceless. After Z's big plot to get Tenchi in trouble with Mihoshi's adoring brother, he decides to follow it up with blowing up a huge chunk of the planet and confront Tenchi directly, in space. How did he know Tenchi would survive? And why was Tsunami unable to react in time the way she was when Kagato attacked? How did Tenchi get to Saturn so quickly? Nevermind these questions, because it's time for the big.... wait, a huge chunk of the planet is gone! Except that, for some reason, Tenchi's gang seems to be perfectly safe. What? All right, now it's time for the final battle! It's all been leading up to this!

Except there is no real battle. Tokimi comes out to stop Z, since he's disobeying her orders, but for some unexplained reason, he summons Misaki, Ayeka's mother, who for another unexplained reason, is the "counter-actor" who can negate Tokimi's powers. Tsunami appears, too. Then Tenchi is cut by one of Z's Lighthawk Wings and there's some weird imagery. Tenchi finds himself in the past, comforting some little girl who cries out something about being Kagato. Uh, all right. Then he's back to where he was for some reason, and calms Misaki. Washu, by the way, has suddenly, without any lead-in, regained her memory of being one of the goddesses, and now she's talking with the other two. Tokimi decides to revert Z back to a baby and send him back into the past to relive his life. Then time restarts.

I'm sorry, did I wander into Ideon: Be Invoked? Or is this a little of the climax of the second season of The Big O, with a little of the final episodes of Evangelion thrown in? Wasn't I just watching Tenchi Muyo, the sci-fi harem comedy? This makes absolutely no sense. And when they finally try explaining it all in the OVA 3 +1 special, it comes off as forced and lame. Not to mention they use a good portion of that special episode talking about Misao. Did Kajishima ever hear of a little thing called pacing? You can't have your characters prepare for dinner for several episodes and then cram every little plot detail you can into two.

It turns out, a long time ago, the three goddesses created the universe, but became aware that they had somehow created a power that was even greater than they were. In their attempts to recreate that power, they created many powers and cultures, such as Jurai and the Lighthawk Wings. Tenchi was an interesting subject to Tokimi and Dr. Clay because he was somebody who could create Lighthawk Wings on his own. Tokimi had a similar experiment, Z, but he was far too unstable. Of course, none of this explains why Tenchi can create Lighthawk Wings, what those things really are, or make up for the lack of decent battle scene between those two characters. Instead, this and other mysteries unravel while a chibified version of Tokimi makes silly faces at the Masaki residence. Oh yeah, that's right, time went by again, but this time Noike sent the e-mail and it was Misao's spaceship that caused the trouble, not Z. I know. I don't get it, either. It's annoying.

With that abomination over, it was time to completely trash Tenchi's mother.
It turns out that, unlike Achika Masaki from the Hiroshi Negishi canon (Tenchi Universe), Tenchi's mother Kiyone (not Kiyone Makibi, mind you, because the OVA has Miss Perfect, Noike) died not from losing her power, but from old age. She was in her 200s! Yet, somehow, Nobuyuki, also in his 200s, is fine. Not only that, but in her last years, she was a batty old prankster who used to draw on Tenchi's face and do insane things. In addition, she arranged several eleborate stories about her possible deaths just to pull one over on her own son from beyond the grave. Turns out, Tenchi's mother was sort of a douchebag. Also, most of Tenchi's warm memories of his mother were actually either of his sister Tennyo, who looks identical to his mother, or Rae, who helped take care of him as a child. Understandably, Tenchi is as enraged as I am as a fan. Unlike him, I didn't get over it.

Then, it's revealed that the little girl Tenchi saw was Kagato's female half. It turns out that he was born a hemaphrodite and he took his female half and got rid of it. Apparently Kagato is able to take a vagina and turn it into an entire little girl. Neat trick. Then, Dr. Clay found it somehow and put his little symbol on it, because I guess he likes little girls, and Z decided to use it by hiding it in Noike and using it to spy on Tenchi. Kagato-loli is seperated from Noike and all's fine with the world again.

I am not making any of this up.

A keen reader may find a lack of references to Ryoko or Ayeka in this whole essay. Well, that's because they're not even really in this. They don't do anything. You see, Noike is the new star. Noike is perfect in every way. Noike can cook, clean, and is amazingly intelligent and judicious. She knows how to do the right things and say the right things. All the time. Without fail. She completely and utterly surpasses Ryoko and Ayeka in every way and is engaged to Tenchi. And they say Mary Sue characters can't appear in canon. She is a Canon Sue. She is the fanfiction-iest character I have ever seen since Sakuya from Tenchi in Tokyo. So, upon watching, don't expect to see Ryoko or Ayeka do anything of note. Or Sasami, aside from that brief battle (yeah, that doesn't suit Sasami at all) scene in one episode. Mihoshi doesn't even play a big role in the episodes featuring her own brother. Tell why me they couldn't have just put Kiyone Makibi in this instead of Noike and made it better. Or at least not as frustrating.

So, what could possibly come after this? I mean, we didn't see Azusa. We didn't gain any real insight on Tenchi's power or why he in particular is capable of it. We didn't get any satisfying combat. Tenchi still hasn't chosen any of the women to be his. There are several new characters who confuse the established plot points. And it just sort of ends without any real punctuation. No big bang, but an exhausted whimper, a surrender. Fans waited a decade for an impressively unimpressive facade of a Tenchi Muyo OVA.

By the way, I've been told that the Japanese fans of the Tenchi franchise would have already been accostumed to the new characters, as they had already read the novels by Kajishima. So, perhaps my view is limited, given I'm an American. Still, I can't help find it insane that it would be neccessary to consult with books to enjoy a cartoon. Not to mention that no matter what his intent was, Kajishima's execution was abominable.

Where does a Tenchi Muyo fan go from here? I could say that perhaps nostalgia accounted for some of what I appreciated about the OVAs to begin with, but even with a serious, critical eye of the original OVAs, it was exponentially superior to the soulless garbage that was the third OVA. The hues were subdued. The art was less exaggerated and cutsie. The art more rich. The scenery more alive. The music more atmospheric. The comedy more funny. The action more exciting. The story more engaging. It may not measure up to some of the anime that have come into my life since. It's not as good as Fullmetal Alchemist, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, or even Death Note. It was, and continues to be satisfying. Or at least, up until the end of the second OVA. Then it loses its spirit. It becomes just another anime. It transforms something as inventive and intricate as Tenchi Muyo into something it was never before- generic. Because of that, I mourn for the franchise.

Fuck man

You must have really raged to have written something this long. I think I'll take your advice and keep my memories of the good ol' days when this all aired on Toonami.

Misao arc...

Another thing worth mentioning would be the flashbacks during the whole Misao arc of Mihoshi being strapped to some machine and Misao babbling something about never letting that happen again. Letting what happen? They never tell us. Having been a huge fan of the Tenchi Muyo franchise in the past, I found this OVA nothing short of embarrassing.

Right On!

Couldn't agree with you more. This was a horrendous bastardization of Tenchi, and a pox on those who'd claim THIS was what Tenchi was always about.

I also completely agree with what you said to AstroNerdBoy at the ANN forum. All that fool ever does is blatant pro-Kajishima pro-OVA3 propaganda, but he's never going to admit that to you. No, it's CLEARLY a balanced take because he throws in a few token criticisms on the way. His whole claim to fame is being this big un-erring Tenchi and Kajishima expert, so as far as I can reckon, he has a vested interest in promoting OVA3 and anything Kajishima so he can get more ad revenue from his Tenchi FAQ and blog sites. Thanks for taking him on, you clearly hit a nerve :) It's such a headache having him pop up in absolutely every place Tenchi is mentioned with his tiresome propaganda spiel.


How do you know he pops up on every place Tenchi is mentioned unless you are doing the same thing? ;-) If you guys don't like Tenchi any more, then why even bother going to forums and reading threads where Tenchi is mentioned? I stopped doing that ages ago.

Right, ANB

As if it wasn't obvious that was you.

Who said they didn't like Tenchi any more? I personally still like Tenchi, just not the utter garbage Kajishima has recently produced under that title. Many others feel similarly. It's ridiculous and arrogant of you to deny people who don't share your inflated opinion of Kajishima their right to read and participate in Tenchi threads. Surely you're not the only one who should get to repeat the same old pitch over and over like a broken record?

Does this make it clearer?

It's such a headache having him pop up in absolutely every place Tenchi is mentioned with his tiresome propaganda spiel.

Popping up is not the problem, it's the constant lecturing with the same stock arguments that gets old. I get it when the usual suspects do their brief "it sucks" or "it's great" takes whenever the topic comes up, but no one else constantly lectures in this manner except AstroNerdBoy.

Since AstroNerdBoy likes to instruct others on getting a life and treating Tenchi just as an anime, you can't but wonder if there isn't an ulterior motive to this lecturing, such as promoting the FAQ site and the blog to get more ad and affiliate revenue. If he's not obsessed, he can only be a mercenary.

To be fair to AstroNerdBoy,

To be fair to AstroNerdBoy, his Tenchi website is damn good.

And I feel similarly about Yoshiyuki Tomino as he does about Kajishima.

Except Tomino deserves it

Except Tomino deserves it ;-)

Fair Credit

To really be fair, while AstroNerdBoy hosts and maintains the FAQ and deserves credit for that, it wasn't started by him and most of the information and news in it has always come from other people. Calling it his site is convenient, but a misnomer.

what makes me so mad is

what makes me so mad is whenever someone starts discussing who they think Tenchi should be with he pops in and gives his usual lecture about how "tenchi will end up with everyone!" and "it was always this way! It was never about who Tenchi was going to pick!" sorry, but I just don't see it. When I watch the first episodes up to OVA 2, there's a clear "who will Tenchi be with" theme.

Okay fine great Tenchi will be with everyone, let people enjoy discussing the damn show in peace. as far as i can tell even though the series NOW seems to be going in that direction (now being the keyword, because OVA 3 was a lot different than the first 2) the series hasn't ended and it's not set in stone. Maybe it's a 99% chance that will be the outcome but i wont give up hope until i see the ending. Plus those stupid doujinshis arent really even canon, i remember reading somewhere that Kajishima wouldnt come out and say for sure if the doujinshis are meant to be taken as canon. They may be and they may not be.

Ahhh, don't bring this up

Ahhh, don't bring this up again when I've successfully blocked the third OVA out of my mind again.

Actually, I'm rewatching the first two again. Such a wonderful anime. It's sad that it degenerated so much.

Funny. I read this all the

Funny. I read this all the way through agreeing with you... then you list garbage like Full Metal Alchemist and Death Note, claiming it's better than Tenchi Muyo, one of the all time classics of anime. Completely invalidates any opinion you will ever have.

Look, I love Tenchi Muyo,

Look, I love Tenchi Muyo, but there's no way it's better than Fullmetal Alchemist.

Tenchi rulez!!!

why did Sasami know how to fight? That compltetely ruined her character for me.I mean I know she had to defend herself but couldn't they have made her semi-weak.

So wrong (about ova 3) (episode 1-5 :-) )

Hey the third ova was just as good as the rest, until Z blows up part of the earth admittedly but I haven't watched past this point yet so at least I can safely say the ending hasn't skewed my opinion of the rest of ova 3
Episode 5 was one of my favourite tenchi episodes when the threat to the gang turns out to be a massive joke against their abilities and ryoko/ryo-ohki end up tearing up the ship which can supposedly "match all jurias ships on its own" while the rest of the gang throw a party on tsunami including the defeated guys while playing match makers for a new love story. Just a really fun episode.

@ the comment above sasami=tsunami the strongest jurian ship/ultimate power in the universe so of course she is strong, do you even watch this show?

The third OVA is a total

The third OVA is a total waste of time for the first few episodes and a clusterfuck in the last episodes.

How was it "fun"? It wasn't as humorous or inventive as the first two OVAs in the least.


maybe not as inventive but it was humorous

I've just watched the whole lot in a row without watching any tenchi before and even if it wasn't as good it was still a good continuity

I think people forget about the flaws in the the rest of the series which was also full of plot holes and unanswered questions

The first half was amusing except the first episode which is recap. It has nice moment like Noike showing Tenchi the new jurian ship and being rather seductive alongside the cute attention seeking representation of the ship.
I dont see how the end was clustered either (4+5) as its just seta having tea with everyone, then miaso's/z's plan comes to the conclusion as the cronies attack the gang leading to the episode I liked and mentioned before

The clusterfuck came when Z

The clusterfuck came when Z attacked, and you get this jumbled mess of things that should have had breathing room, should have been developed throughout.

Not to mention that the third OVA pretty much goes out of its way to defame all the characters from the first two and introduce unappealing, personality-deprived, and time-wasting new characters.

It spits all over the first two OVAs in addition to being bad on its own.

OVA 3 is an abomination by any standard.

Well I haven't seen the last

Well I haven't seen the last episode yet so as I said so I'm commenting on it up to this point

People say it craps over the others but it doesn't really, like yosho having having another wife, he's been on earth for hundreds of years so its not surprising that his earth wife would have died and he might get re-married in this time. I can't remember if it was arranged or not but it wouldn't be surprising if he wanted to patch things up with his home planet after abandoning them by accepting an arranged marriage.
Also the fact that we find out tenchi's mother was a few hunder years old isn't surprising either as she is part jurian. This article complained about her death now being from old age but its never said that it isn't, only assumed by tenchi/viewers as she looked fairly young but jurians seem to keep their youthful appearances so its not surprising people assume wrongly she died un-naturally.

Other complaints are about tenchi's sister which I admit was a bit random but I found her pretty funny. And then the fact that things don't match up with GXP like mihoshi's partner, well that's just a random spin off and I think should be treated completely separately

1) There was no evidence at

1) There was no evidence at the end of the second OVA that Yosho made any effort to reconcile with the royal court. In fact, his mother and father were both quite annoyed with him. The man shirked his position to live on Earth, there's no way he would have agreed to an arranged marriage with somebody from the court.

2) Everybody's already a billion years old, there was no reason to make Tenchi's mother that way, too, or his father. It just feels excessive. And to make Tenchi's mother into this batty old prankster wasn't funny.

And pretty much all the new characters are horrifyingly boring and add nothing. Hell, most of them show up and then disappear without having contributed anything!

Though, that's probably for the best. Noike, who actually stays around, might be the worst character in anime history.

The third OVA is like if you drained all the magic out of the first two.

Give it a chance

Don't get me wrong I can see why people don't like it, I thought from the start that z could go **** himself and it looked like it was going downhill after chunk of the earth goes poof which is why I haven't watched past that point.

That said if you go into it thinking its going to be bad and not making sense then it probably will be. There were several times in the other ova I had to ignore what was happening and just enjoy it, like the ring tenchi randomly ends up with then goes into his 'combat state' when he tries to take it off, it's never mentioned before/after. And the combat state/looks like a cat with different clothes is really random/not explained. Then when ryoko gets copied by the android later washu mentions she instead splits her in two as she cant be controlled as a whole, but she can controlled by washu in the past so does that mean she was always two or did washu just split her in half at the point when she gets copied?

My point is that sometimes you just have to go with the flow with tenchi and if you don't give it that chance your not going to enjoy it. I liked the airi character like her sudden mood swings with ryoko going from embracing to throwing her into the wall in an instant. And mihoshi was actually funny in this one instead of annoying, like when she ruins the master plan by simply talking too long on the phone and then can't be bothered to go see her brother, and the way she gets completely shouted down by noike when she tries to do pretty much anything.

You just have to give the new characters a chance and you may/not not like it but I'm sure its not inherently bad.

I gave it a chance. I

I gave it a chance. I watched the whole damn thing. Years later I'm still trying to wash it out of my brain.

Old series mysteries could be figured out

The mysteries of the old series could be figured out with a little thought -- high-tech battle costumes that extra-dimensionally put themselves on needed no more explanation than sentient/computer trees.

"Then when ryoko gets copied by the android later washu mentions she instead splits her in two as she cant be controlled as a whole, but she can controlled by washu in the past so does that mean she was always two or did washu just split her in half at the point when she gets copied?"

This came across as Washu making up a story to give Zero hope that she really was Ryoko. Ryoko was reluctant to be merged because she knew Washu was lying to save Zero's feelings.

Unfortunately, the 3rd OVA mysteries appear out of the blue with no explanation and no clear flow of events and consequences. They then remain unexplained.

Sadly, I think the creator, great man as he is, has suffered a bit of a decline in his old age.

That's cool man I'm not

That's cool man I'm not trying to change your mind just giving the other half of the argument for people who might not have seen it yet.
My advice for people is to just watch it with and open mind, maybe you heard it was bad before watching or didn't like the change in writer or whatever who knows. Oh and probably don't watch the bit after the credits of episode 5 or further :D that seems to be where tenchi's mother goes batty as well coz i don't remember that. I'm still going to watch it but in my mind episode 5 made a nice conclusion to the series

Lol ok ignore what I've

Lol ok ignore what I've said, the last episode of tenchi was amazing. It pretty much answers all unanswered questions from the rest of the series and what's more it feels like it was intended this way from the start.
It also introduces something new to the tenchi series, philosophy, can god create something more powerful than himself?
Also very funny when they're all chatting at the end.
It is confusing though so I'd recommend being able to pause it so you can take time to carefully read what's being said.
The only things that didn't make sense to me were the fact that the counteractor was tsunami's mother, Misaki? Noike disappearing at the end. And the little girl but that's explained in the special apparently.

Sorry penguin but I re-read your comments and almost all the questions that you think are unanswered about these events are answerable after watching this episode once which leads me to believe part of your dislike comes from your inability to understand it.

I have no problem

I have no problem understanding this shit, it's the execution that's the problem.

And that last episode, oh boy. They do nothing for four or five episodes, then cram in as much plot as they can into the last two.

They strip away the dignity of Tokimi by making her chibi-fied and even waste more time on Mihoshi's brother. And don't get me started on the lol-Kagato.

Yeah, it was amazing. It was amazingly fucking terrible.

I have to question your sanity that you could even stomach this garbage. There's no structure whatsoever to this third OVA and all of the new characters are worthless. It's like Kajishima went out of his way to strike Tenchi Muyo down.


Admittedly, much of the point of the original series was preserved --sweet day-to-day 'nothings', the little things in life, sharing meals, doing chores, etc.

I agree the final climax has a big problem - too much, too quickly, too little explanation. The one thing that could save it is the fact that OVA4+ is supposedly planned, which may backfill the remaining mysteries (and this might have been the plan all along - these mysteries are points to be continued, perhaps).

A good OVA 4 isn't going to

A good OVA 4 isn't going to save OVA 3.

Unless it completely ignores it and starts from where OVA 2 left off.

I'm talking about episode 6

I'm talking about episode 6 not the special episode 7 which I haven't seen but it does sound shit from what I've heard.
Tomiki isn't "chibi-fied" before that
But yeah watch episode 6 again, the most interesting thing for me was that the goddesses knew/thought a greater power should exist which caused them to do everything, decent philosophy, but you seemed to think that they had already made one and were trying to recreate it which would be random.
PS: sorry for spamming your board, not sure if you can delete comments after all is over but I like a good argument ^^

It's silly to argue over

It's silly to argue over that element, anyway, as it was one of the few things I liked about the third OVA, that there was this great power even greater than the Chousin. But there's about a million bad ideas that bury that one good one.

The problem in the third OVA isn't so much that there aren't any good ideas in it, but rather, the execution is so piss-poor, it seems like it's actively trying to ruin what the first two OVAs built up over time. And any ideas that seem like good ones get carried out in a manner that ultimately make them into bad ones.

For instance, there's a great idea introduced in this installment, which is that Tenchi's father, Nobuyuki, is getting remarried. The man's wife died quite some time ago, when Tenchi was a small child, so why shouldn't he? He deserves some happiness, too. This situation should have been a huge part of the third OVA, with Tenchi finding it awkward that his father is getting remarried, and having to deal with life moving on, with things changing. This could have been compounded if they had executed the Tennyo character the right way, because she looks just like Kiyone, Tenchi's mother, so having her around constantly would be a reminder of his mother.

Instead, Nobuyuki is marrying some woman who, despite supposedly being an integral part of the family for years, has never since showed up, only shows up a couple of times, and doesn't contribute anything to the story. It would have been hilarious to instead see Nobuyuki courting a woman, introducing her to Tenchi and the other girls, and any amount of comedic misunderstandings from that. And Tennyo, despite introducing an interesting element of Tenchi having a long-lost sister, they don't even use her in the story. They bring her in, then dismiss her.

These are just a couple of examples, mind you. There are many others.

I'm not in the habit of deleting comments, because it feels like a cowardly thing to do. Unless things get out of hand, I'm fine with dissent. It's just me talking about Japanese cartoons, my word is hardly law (as much as I'd like it to be sometimes). Feel free to argue your points.

I do agree that it should

I do agree that it should have been done a lot better, the new characters were random but they ended up as comic relief rather than serious plot devices which people may or may not like(except noike but she was boring for the most part).
In the end for me it was good enough to feel like more tenchi which I appreciated as I loved the rest, plus episode 5 was really fun and episode 6 was epic/trippy/philosophical then really funny for the last third so awesome despite a few big flaws :D
I just feel sad that the cons outweighed the pros for most people, I guess I have an ability to good stuff past the bad when I want to (except episode 5 and 6 which I truly believe were good), plus I haven't seen the special crapfest episode, loli-kagato, batty tenchi's mother and chibi tokimi. no thanks lol

I agree with the entire

I agree with the entire article. I watched the original OVA 10 years ago, and had fond memories. It was still pretty awesome, in a classical way.
OVA 2 was a little disappointing in terms of art quality/character development, but at least watchable.

OVA 3 was painfull, and absolute garbage. The best part is the art on the cover of the DVD of Ryoko, and thats where it stops. I literally had to force myself to finish it. It not only didn't do anything for the series, it actually made it worse.

OVA 3 has ruined my memories of the characters, story, and the entire anime.

Anyone supporting OVA 3 has no taste what so ever.

Three causes for tanked OVA-3.

1) The budget was given for both, but but most of it was spent on GXP.
2) In the mean time AIC was sold to a third party company which even though still running the company reduced Miura's control over commissioning budgets so no extra money would be coming to OVA3 rescue.
3) Kajishima just lost interest. He had too many plates spinning on sticks already and basically couldn't put in the dedication he did with OVA 1 & 2.

All this is blatantly obvious in the final few episodes to a rather shortened third OVA. In his interview he hinted at a 4th. OVA to explain all the others. well to me +1 was it.
Kajishima-kun you could have been a contender. You could have been somebody. I still Hope you have survived the March 11th. Earthquake and Tsunami, the real one.

long rage

Tenchi Muyo OVA 3 is just NOT Tenchi Muyo. It's an attempt to cash in on a series that they know already had a reasonable following, but rather than target the now older demographic that watched the original OVAs, dumb everything down so they can 'bring it to a new audience'. It has FUNimation corporate cash-in all over it. You can see the meeting now, corporate suits sitting around a long table, none of whom have heard of or even watched Tenchi Muyo in the past, just know that back in the 90s it was popular among teen boys.

And they want to make it popular to teen boys again, but now also to teen girls, and the moms that buy their kids crappy OVAs for Christmas. That explains the almost complete lack of innuendo that literally characterised the original, and a completely out of character Sasami fighting scene that screams 'quick, go buy Pretty Sammy, your daughter will love it and it'll make us more money'.

The original Tenchi Muyo was a harem comedy. Laughs came first, plot second, but we were lucky enough to be treated with a plot that was entertaining enough for the comedy not to become empty or meaningless. It was supposed to make you laugh, but the action was surprisingly tense and the drama surprisingly dramatic, probably because the characters felt real and fully fleshed out enough for you to care what happened to them.

It seems no-one has seen fit to mention that the OVA 3 English dubs were also terrible. This seems completely irrelevant if you don't watch the English dubs but it's not uncommon to hear people (me included) rank the original dubs among the best of all time. Usually people will complain about Ryoko's new voice but comparatively she turns out to be one of the better replacements. The irony is that even if you think the dubbing is irrelevant, the voice 'performances' reflected the changes in direction entirely. The voice acting is just as generic as everything else, the best example, Tenchi's dad, who just sounds like 90% of NPCs you'll find wandering around in MMOs or free roaming RPGs. I literally think it's the same guy, and he's a terrible voice actor, basically devoid of any skill whatsoever. I hate to rip into the guy, he's only making a living, but it sounds like he's been given three acting lessons his whole life to give him his wooden inflection and robotic rhythm. To be fair to the actors, the script they have to read through must be so uninspiring. It hit breaking point for me in only the second episode when Tenchi sits down in front of the house and literally says 'wow, first a sister, now a fiancé, what will happen next?!' IN EXACTLY THOSE WORDS. I mean really how stupid do they think we are?! Did that really contribute anything to character development, the plot itself, or really anything besides enraging now mature watchers who have grown up in the 8 years it took for them to think they should probably milk Tenchi for all it was worth?? If I understood the nuances in the first two OVAs, I do NOT need a plot summary now. If I cared about Tenchi before this line, I became more and more apathetic as the OVA wore on. I mean the whole thing is called 'useless Tenchi/no need for Tenchi' and if that line doesn't strike you as most generic 'reluctant hero' archetypal phrase in existence, I don't know what does. I can think of plenty of occasions in the first 2 OVAs where Tenchi basically says 'first x now y what next?' but at least embellishes it with a few idiosyncrasies that mean you couldn't just copy and paste the line into any anime/piece of entertainment with a reluctant hero, ever.

All of the characters are just dumbed down to a ridiculous extent: every character feels like a generic parody of their old selves, none of them multidimensional as they were in the original two OVAs. Washu, whose weirdness was if anything overplayed in Tenchi Universe, becomes a wise, calm old genius and takes on a whole new air of seriousness and if anything, arrogance, that although makes as much sense with the plot as I suppose it can, is completely out of character. Yosho completely lacks any comedy relief and as mentioned his whole plot development makes no sense. There was a theme about the importance of accepting old age that was hinted at in the first two OVAs that is completely discarded when he shows Tenchi his real image (his voice is also terrible btw) and he falls into the old wise samurai stereotype.

Any comedy that is left feels tacked on, just using character stereotypes to create obvious set ups for formulaic jokes. In the same episode, Tenchi's sister and Yosho's wife go of on a little exchange about how cute Tenchi is, using the word 'cute' about 5 or 6 times in a row, as if women thinking Tenchi is cute wasn't part of a whole subtle underlying theme in THE WHOLE OF TENCHI MUYO BEFORE THIS and we need it spelled out for us.

I have too much to say on this topic to be honest, and I've realised this is a pointless rant. Penguin Truth is right, a good OVA 4 can't save OVA 3 unless they start from OVA 2 left off and forget OVA 3 even happened. Really though, the chances of that happening are between zero and none. At the end of the second OVA the bonus episode hints that they were about to really develop Ryoko a lot further and make her more vulnerable, but it never happened, and it probably never will. Shame really.

Yesterday, I somehow recalled

Yesterday, I somehow recalled my old fascination with Tenchi Muyo when it aired on CN. I was delighted to see that they continued the original storyline in animation, and I began to watch the entire series in a fervor.

I don't know who to talk to or what to say or how to feel about this production. It was all so haphazardly thrown together and it took a shit on basically all the characters I had grown to love from the first 2 installments.

What hurt the most was how demeaning these last few episodes were towards Ryoko and Aeka, Ryoko especially. Ryoko's unbelievable love for Tenchi is one of the most beautiful parts of all the Tenchi spinoffs; I was deeply saddened to see how marginalized and out of character she became in this third OVA.

I just really don't know what to do with myself I'm really upset. (I never saw the whole of Tenchi Universe or Tenchi in Tokyo, so I guess that's an obvious start lol)

seriously though, I'm so sad this is what my hopes and dreams as a youth watching the first 13 episodes amounted to.

What happened?

OVA 3 had so much promise but it totally fell flat on its face. We had a reasonable amount of characters at the end of OVA 2 so why add more to the point where you get into a "Challenge of the Superfriends" situation where you have characters being forgotten simple because you have too many of them?

Furthermore there were so many plot threads to be picked up that would have made for a more interesting story--like the fact that since Washu and Tsunami are sisters that means Ryoko is the niece of the Juraian goddess.

I have to wonder if part of the problem is akin to what happened when Asprin started continuing his Myth series after a long hiatus--it was as if he didn't didn't know his own characters anymore. It is also most as if we have slipped into another alternate universe where we are watching imperfect copies of the characters we know.

This is so true.

Thank you for writing this. Thank you so much. This is exactly how i feel. My twin sister and i started this series in 8th grade (about 1997 i believe..) when we saw Tenchi Muyo! In love on the Sci-Fi (when they still could spell it. LOL) channel. We were entranced. What was this beautiful animation and fun looking characters?! We quickly collected all of it we could find.. Media Play was VERY happy with us. So then we waited.

And waited.

....And waited.

They had promised more, and we had started to think it would never show up. Us, now being adults, still wanted to finish the ending because we loved the series so much. And what ends up coming out? The third OVA. Being disappointed is an understatement. Honestly, near the end it just felt like an extended commercial for GXP.. For which i have absolutely no interest of going out of my way for.. But i might have to anyway since my sister and i are trying to get a Tenchi panel together for a con... =/

Sorry! I'll stop rambling now. Thanks from another Tenchi fan. :) Personally i'll just think of the manga ending as the true OVA ending.. At least the manga felt like the series. =/

Hit the head on the nail

This article sums up my feelings toward the third OVA of Tenchi Muyo. I can't even sugarcoat it--the 3rd OVA was a piece of shit. It wasn't just disappointing; it ruined the entire series. Aside from the clusterfuck of superfluous characters, the contradicting plot points, the lack of action, the confusing revelations, the horrible new VAs, the stripped roles of previously established major characters, and the overall ruined potential it had, these episodes were just BORING. Something I enjoyed about the first two OVAs was that even the seemingly side episodes added new tidbits to the plot that foreshadowed major events (see episode where they take care of baby). They worked with the characters already present, and did not try to bombard the audience with a bunch of convoluted information. But above all, they were actually FUNNY and ENTERTAINING. OVA 3 revolves around the family preparing dinner, new characters nobody cares about speaking irrelevant crap, and chibi faces being thrown in here and there.

Instead of cramming everything relevant into one episode and fucking up every detail that made the first two OVAs so engaging, OVA 3 should have revolved entirely around Z. It should have been more action-orientated than previous OVAs (mind you, without sacrificing the charm and comedy of the originals) and acted as a climax or bridge, with a possible 4th OVA ending the series properly. People waited a decade because they were interested in all previously established loose ends being tied, not to see a bunch of pointless new characters take up the majority of the screen time.

That all said, the nostalgia behind and love for the first two OVAs is so strong that some people still have the balls to claim the original Tenchi series is better than Tenchi Universe, so I assume these individuals have either been lucky enough not to watch this garbage, or they're suffering from serious repression.

It had potential

The saddest thing about the third OVA is that evrything leading up to it indicated that it could be awesome. Z could have been an awesome final villain. They tried explaining that the beings that held the lighthawk wings were stonger than anything, then why do they need to nuliffy Tokimi's powers? Let it be an all out smackdown brawl between Tenchi and Z for the fate of the universe. I also thought they added too many characters to a cast of characters that had felt just right beforehand. What's worse is after such a long wait between OVA's they got back practically none of the original voice actors. The most depressing loss was Ryoko's voice actor (and the horrible person the chose to replace her). I swear I can't watch the third OVA without thinking, "Why does Ryoko suddenly sound like Izzy from Digimon?" I just want one final OVA, or even just a movie that brings back Tenchi and crew in their natural setting. Its been a long time waiting and, if the third OVA is any indication, what loyal fans will get out of anything that they do create could be downright horrible. If nothing new comics would be nice. At least then Ryoko can't have the wrong voice.

Just something to point out....

You said Airi was his arranged wife by Seto, but she was not. They met while he was in school and fell in love. She is Kiyone Masaki's mother and Tenchi's grandmother. Also, a lot of your hatred of the new characters seems unjustified. You're basically saying you hate Kiyone Masaki because she is not Achika, and that you hate Noike because she is not Kiyone Makibi. I mean, I like Kiyone Makibi, too, but Kajishima did not have the rights to her, so he couldn't just place her in there

Both characters are still

Both characters are still unnecessary elements and add nothing to the mix. In fact, they detract from the more colorful, established characters. All they do is overcomplicate things by adding more characters to the cast without jusifiying their reason to be there. For Airi, they could just as easily say that Yosho married some unknown woman on Earth and she passed on, being an Earthling. Yosho abandoned Jurai to avoid conflict with the court, why would he marry some woman who wouldn't even know where he is? How did she even find him? If she found him, why is it that nobody else who knew him bothered to come find him? And Noike is just a blander Kiyone Makibi.

Airi was actually introduced

Airi was actually introduced in one of the light novels produced by Kajishima between the 2nd and 3rd OVA. It's called Jurai and it explains several things about Azusa, Yosho and Airi's backgrounds. I think one of the main reasons western fans don't understand the 3rd OVA is because they didn't have access to the other materials which explain things, like the Japanese fans did. Andbefore you say, "why didn't he just include these things in the show?". Understand that production of an OVA is not like a standard anime, and he had limited time with the OVAs to explain things. Getting back to Airi, I believe Seto mentioned that she found Yosho, because of her intelligence network, and she helped him and Airi by keeping the secret from everyone, and so that's how Airi found him later on. I'm not going to try to ask you to look for more information before condemning the whole thing, because you seem to have your mind made up already, but if you are interested in figuring things out, the info is out there

Completely irrelevant

Completely irrelevant information. Kajishima failed incorporate the elements of the book into the fabric of the OVA in a seemless manner, and therefore the OVA can't stand on its own at all. If you need to read books to watch a cartoon, the creators have failed.

And the Airi info demands the viewer to overextend their suspension of disbelief, even for a story like this.

Hey, It's Penguin Truth!

I bought the first disc (first 3 episodes) of the new OVA way back when it first came out because I was a huge Tenchi OVA fan and was eager to see how it continued. I watched the first episode... stopped... and never came back to it. It was sitting in my mother's attic for years until I was visiting just last week and decided to pick up all of my Tenchi stuff. "Why didn't I ever finish watching this?" I asked myself. So I popped it in and watched all three episodes of the disc. Ah. Now I know why.

Exposition. Loads and loads of exposition. In fact, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in these first three episodes besides exposition. There are characters that come in and do nothing but deliver exposition and then leave. There is no story here. It's just setup after setup after setup that, so far, has yet to pay off at all. "Oh, yeah, there's this character who's like a second mother to you we've never mentioned before..." "Oh, and here's this sister character who was also a second mother to you..." "Oh, and here's this grandmother you've never seen or heard about before..." "Oh, and here's this new fiancee who's like a second mother to you except she's not a fiancee at all..." And it just goes on and on! And then there's exposition of the first two OVAs in an extended flashback sequence that goes on for far too long. But nothing has actually happened so far!

It made me realize that what I liked about the Tenchi series up to now was that it didn't go out of its way to bog you down with information. It left it up to your imagination. Washu built a lab out of a broom closet. How does that work? I dunno. It just does. They suddenly have a floating onsen with no explanation. How does that work? I dunno. It just does! But it somehow all makes sense and contributes to the world without getting in the way of it telling fun stories. If these had been introduced in this OVA, there would have been a whole episode dedicated to the backstory of floating onsens, how they'd been used for several generations, how they were a vital tool to defeating some terrible enemy, etc. etc. etc., rather than just having a story take place in the onsen!

It's interesting to know that all of these new characters supposedly make sense in novels, and it makes me somewhat interested to read them just for the sake of my own sanity, but it ultimately doesn't matter because they're not interesting in THIS story! They do nothing of any importance in THIS story! They do nothing but bog down this story. So whether they're interesting somewhere else is irrelevant because they're useless here. Hell, Ryoko and Aeka were interesting in the other OVAs but are pretty boring and ill-used here. Then again, I don't own anything past episode 3 so hopefully it gets better from here, but, based on what you've said (and I've tried to avoid the specifics of what you say about anything past episode 3), it doesn't seem to.

One more thing: why the frickity frick would Tenchi's sister pretend to be his mother? What purpose does that serve other than confusing and traumatizing the young child? And, really, you were surprised that he would break down and start crying upon seeing you? What the hell reaction would you expect him to have when your entire relationship up to this point has been impersonating his dead mother?! What kind of sadists are you?!

I just watched the third OVA

I just watched the third OVA - and saying short I am just speachless. Aside from previously mentioned (horrid) story issues (exposition, boredom and cluster**** of unnecessary additional characters that just dissapear scene later) the quality of art and animation in it is astonishingly BAD. In the first episode there are flashbacks to the first OVA - and it looks like night and day. Then characters had 4 shades, colouring was spot on, key animation solid and fluid - sometimes around 30 frames. Now characters seemed made out of silly putty with squashed rubber faces, rarely exceed 1 shade on a very limited colour palette, almost no detail and animation around TV budget of 12 frames. Characters usually just stand there and even in "action scenes" animators seemed to cheap it out as much as possible not to mention jarring cheap CGI in some scenes. I waited 8 years and paid for THIS?


Look mah me be butthurt, read the Shin tenchi novels before saying, " they just threw in some random characters"
Sure the third OVA wasn't THAT great, but it wasn't THAT bad either.

Personally I enjoyed it, so meh.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Bookmark and Share

Check out Falldog's Etsy photography shop,

Drupal 6 Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux