The Tenchi Muyo Manifesto



Recently, I've been rewatching Tenchi Muyo!, which was a favorite for a while. Nowadays I don't consider it a favorite, but I do have a certain fondness for it, even besides nostalgia. The original two OVAs were both humorous and endearing and there's an immense world of possibilities in them. It really felt like it was going somewhere with it all, and for years waited with anticipation for a follow-up.  Sure, there were two TV series, three movies, and spinoffs, but it was the OVA that really inspired interest from me. 

Unfortunately, there was a follow-up, a third OVA, which not only threw the characters and story into a bubbling mire of shit, but all but vanquished my interest in the franchise. Character development stagnated. New characters did and added nothing to the mix. Previous plot points were contradicted. Story possibilities were ruined. And really, it was a total disaster of an OVA, and I would easily rank it below Tenchi in Tokyo. In fact, and I know it shouldn't, but it even affected my enjoyment of the first two OVAs, because everything in those would lead up to a huge disappointment. The third OVA is indefensible garbage. Frankly, no anime has made me angrier. 
But like I said, I've been rewatching the OVAs, and wondering to myself, "If Masaki Kajishima made a new OVA, would I be inclined to watch it?" After all the crap the third OVA put me through as a viewer, could I dare watch another chapter? What, exactly, would it take, outside of completely retconning the third OVA, for me to watch more of Tenchi and the gang's antics? 
Well, I've thought of some things, some demands I have, that I would need fulfilled before I'd be interested in watching more Tenchi Muyo!. Now, keep in mind, this is not me arrogantly expecting anyone at AIC, let alone Kajishima, to give a damn about what I want. It's his story, he can tell it like he wants to, whether I like it or not. I'm not really expecting these things to be in Tenchi Muyo!, but these are the things that would need to happen for me to give a shit about further entries in the franchise. 
Some of my demands/reccomendations for a fourth Tenchi OVA: 
1) Develop Ryoko and Ayeka - Despite the tiny little development Ryoko received at the very beginning of the third OVA, she and Ayeka were barely a factor in the goings-on in the story. When you stop to think about it, these two are the real main characters of Tenchi Muyo!, not Tenchi himself. You can't treat them as background flourishes. Fans want Ryoko and Ayeka to actually do something that affects the plot, not just sit around making faces at the developments. 
2) Noike Needs Personality Transplant - Noike is like a lamer version of Kiyone Makibi from the TV series canon, and a borderline Mary Sue. Honestly, I'd like to see her leave entirely, through disease or becoming a villain's victim. She added nothing to the mix and felt like a totally unnecessary addition to the cast. But fine, I get it, she's there, they're not going to take her away now. So the least Kajashima can do is give her some damn personality. Some kind of quirk, some foible, some basic characteristic we can start from. Then you take her and develop her from there. She doesn't need to be Kiyone Makibi, but it wouldn't hurt if she was slightly.  
3) Keep Tennyo Around - Tenchi has a sister that looks identical to his mother and she's not even really used as a character? Give me a fucking break. It was enough to try to convince us that Tenchi completely forgot about having a sister. It was even a lot to expect us to buy that she looked just like his mother and filled in for her at times. But okay, let's just accept those things, because it's pretty interesting. You know what's not interesting? Tennyo herself. She's a one note character: "Hey, Tenchi has a sister that looks like his mother!" That's it. That's the character in its entirety. It's barely even played with. Imagine the possibilities, though. Ryoko and Ayeka trying to get her to side with one of them over who's right for Tenchi. Weird misunderstandings. Tenchi having to interact with her while still unused to his father's new wife. Don't just stick her on a space bus and bring her back in later on! Use her!
4) Stop Degrading Established Characters - Kajishima needs to stop dragging his characters through the mud. In the third OVA, we find out Yosho remarried another alien despite rejecting the royal court and deciding to settle on Earth (making him a huge hypocrite). We find out Tenchi's mother was a batty old prankster. We see a chibified Lady Tokimi, a completely serious character reduced to cutesy mascot. We learn that badass Kagato was a hermaphrodite and his female half is a naked little girl! STOP DOING THIS SHIT. I don't want to find out later that Ryoko has a farting fetish and Ayeka makes homemade jerky from deer penises. Or that the child that was taken away from Washu was raised by Dr. Clay to hate her mother and plot to destroy her. 
5) A Worthwhile Villain/No Disappointing Climax - Sometimes when I complain about Tenchi's non-fight with Z in the third OVA (extremely disappointing me), I'm told by others that "Tenchi Muyo! isn't an action series, you shouldn't have expected a real battle" or "Tenchi and Z were too powerful to have a conventional battle". These are lousy excuses. If they have to scale up to them throwing planets at each other, so be it. Tenchi has three Lighthawk Wings, Z had five, and nothing came of their confrontation. I want to there to be a battle of at least decent proportions. Give us a villain who is somehow a physical threat to Tenchi. 
6) Goddesses - Why do the goddesses have to get along? I want a little tension between Washu and the other Chousin. Washu is the clever schemer, Tsunami a kind, caring nurturer, and Tokimi cold and clinical. I can see Tsunami wanting to curb Washu's most dangerous experimenting, Tokimi not understanding Washu's desire to be around Tenchi, and Washu's problem with her sisters not being much fun. 
7) Move Along the Damn Story - Tenchi and the gang are pretty much the same at the end of OVA 3 as they were at the end of OVA 2 as they were at the end of OVA 1. They're all still hanging around Tenchi's house in Japan, bickering over misunderstandings, and totally ignoring the plethora of space cultures they could be interacting with. Make Tenchi join the space academy or something, and Ryoko and Ayeka join as well. I don't know, do SOMETHING that isn't just preparing meals and stuffing more shitty characters in the cast. 
There are interesting aspects of the world of Tenchi Muyo!, some of which continue unexplored. There are some things I really want to see, like Yosho in another battle or Nobuyuki's courting of Rae (they get married at the end of OVA 3 when she was barely in the damn thing). Maybe another visit from Azusa, Misaki, and Funaho. I've constantly been told that the third OVA is simply a supplement of the novels, or something along those lines, which is supposedly why I didn't "get" the third OVA. If the novels were so damn important, why didn't they animate them? Animate those novels, then we'll talk. Until then, these are my demands for another TM OVA. 

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