Ai Tenchi Muyo! – Final Thoughts

愛・天地無用! Final Thoughts
Ai Tenchi Muyo! – Final Thoughts

***SPOILERS***

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 45-50When word first circulated that there was going to be a new Tenchi Muyo! anime series, I was excited and hoped that Kajishima-sensei, the creator of the franchise, would be allowed to do another canon anime series based off his -If- doujinshi stories.  When I learned that this would not be the case, but instead we’d get a series of 50 shorts (4 minute episodes, including 30 seconds for the end credits) to promote an area in Japan for tourism, I was somewhat disappointed, but at the same time, knowing that non-canon spinoffs can be enjoyable, I had no problems sitting down and giving this new Tenchi series a shot. Sadly, it wasn’t that good, even if it wasn’t the worst Tenchi title.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 45-50The story, such as it is, covers two Juraians — a young girl named Momo, who has been given a royal tree-ship, and her guardian, a teenage girl named Beni. Thanks to a failed experiment by the whacky scientist Washu, Momo and Beni crash on Earth 1300 in the past. Washu sends Tenchi to recover the girls, but a rip in the time-space continuum throws both girls into the future, where Momo is apparently adopted and eventually becomes president of her high school’s student council with no memories of her past. For Beni, she too has no memories and is somehow at the same high school as Momo. Washu sends Tenchi as an undercover teacher at the high school, assisted by the space pirate Ryoko, and the Juraian princesses Aeka and Sasami, to help fix Washu’s mess.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 03The first flaw in the series for me is the short format. Early on, we are tossed into the story with no context, primarily because of the short format. It makes no sense what Tenchi is doing as a high school teacher, and the overall confusion is added to by having episodes where suddenly Tenchi is 1300 years in the past in Japan. Even worse is the fact that in addition to young Momo and an unconscious Beni being in the past, for some reason, the new characters of Hana, Hachiko, and Touri are shown in the past (with different names) and in the present. Unfortunately, that little mystery was never solved, and the writers tried to be funny by making Hachiko of the past a male at the very last.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 33-36The story jumps around a bit before settling into a slice of high school life setting. Momo is very popular with her very protective gang of female student council officers around her, and they are challenged by the Science Club, all of whom are trying to find this buried treasure. It isn’t that hard to figure out that they are looking for the crashed Juraian ship, nor is it difficult to figure out that Washu is behind them. However, the writers try to be clever by structuring things in such a way to give away as little as possible in an attempt to generate discussion amongst fans. For me, this failed and had the series been done properly, this kind of faux drama would have been even less effective.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 18Most of the best moments of the series comes from bringing Aeka, Ryoko, and Sasami into the forefront of an episode. For old fans, it is a bit of nostalgic fun to have Aeka and Ryoko bicker about things (such as Ryoko attempting to cook Tenchi a meal using some weird, alien tentacle beast), or Sasami get into a bit of mischief because it is entertaining to her. Mihoshi is underused, and her seiyuu didn’t get back into character right away. Tenchi’s, Ryoko’s, and Sasami’s seiyuu all were in form from the top, making seeing them on screen even more fun. Aeka received a new seiyuu (NANAO Haruhi), who does an excellent job at portraying the character.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 33-36As for the new characters, the writers tried to get me to care, but mostly I couldn’t get into them. Momo goes from popular to “I was a lonely girl” because the story demands she get sent back in time, thus she needs to be spared from years of loneliness at the cost of her fun, not-lonely time with her friends in high school. The other characters are mostly stock characters who had their moments. For example, Hana was funny when she developed a girl-crush on Tenchi-sensei in drag and wanted to call him “oneesama.” However, the writers never really went anywhere with that other than to have Aeka beat Hana so that Hana called Aeka “oneesama” in a later episode.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 18The character designs for the existing cast is OK for the most part. Tenchi (out of glasses) and the others are recognizable in their new designs. Ryoko gets the worst of it though. She looks like a pale shadow of Ryoko, losing some of that wild element we’d come to love throughout the various canon and non-canon Tenchi series.  Making things worse is the fact that AIC Plus + clearly doesn’t have a budget like ufotable did for Fate/stay night.  Things can look quite ugly at times, both from a character standpoint, and from an animation standpoint.  For the most part, I just looked past this, but when you have a weak anime series, things like this can tend to stick out more (at least for me).

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 07Ultimately, I didn’t find anything compelling about the story. We don’t know why Momo and Beni were at Earth, though the final episode leaves one with the impression that their purpose was to have an important person in Juraian society (because Momo was given a tree-ship) sent to Earth to sweep the grounds of a Shinto shrine while she learns other things with Beni. There were too many convenient plot devices done in order to purposefully make things go on longer, such as the failed attempt to rescue Beni and Momo in the past, which resulted in them being thrown to the present so that Tenchi could be an undercover teacher and get into hijinks with high school jailbait.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! - 09In the end, this series wasn’t a total loss. There were certainly fun moments and funny moments, mostly dealing with the original Tenchi cast. However, the short format combined with the writers trying to generate faux drama and stock characters for cliched situations cause this series to fall short. For long time Tenchi fans who want to see Tenchi and company again, I’d recommend watching this. For everyone else, you can probably just skip it.  If this was your first Tenchi title, I would be VERY interested to read your thoughts on the series.

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27 Responses to “Ai Tenchi Muyo! – Final Thoughts”

  1. jeffers says:

    alot of this series came across as just pointless fluff to me and it was very confusing especially the 1st 20 eps or so it was all over the place. as a bog fan of tenchu i was rather dissapointed overall and the endingwas confusing too. still not 100% clear what exactly happened. for me the best bits were the main cast from previous series. the lack of ryo ohki was also dissapointing. i love that furball. i guess i just want someone to make a series where tenchi and the girls go around space having all sorts of wacky adventures (kinda like the manga i loved that) and maybe go to jurai or something. id also love to see techis wedding. that would be awesome. pls pretty pls well thats my tenchi wishlist

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      alot of this series came across as just pointless fluff to me and it was very confusing especially the 1st 20 eps or so it was all over the place.

      Very true.

      still not 100% clear what exactly happened.

      As best as I can tell.

      1. Washu has an experiment that opens a rift 1300 years in the past.
      2. At that same moment, a Juraian ship in Earth orbit crashes due to that rift.
      3. Washu sends Tenchi 1300 years into the past to rescue the two survivors, which causes one to be thrown into the present and the other to either get thrown into the present, or to live as an oni for 1300 years.
      4. Washu sends Tenchi, Aeka, Ryoko, and Sasami to the spot where the survivors are. At the same time, she enlists the help of the school’s Science Club.
      5. Galaxy Police try to take control of the situation. They fail.
      6. After time leaping, Momo is sent back to 1300 years ago, is reunited with Beni, the two take off, then resume their mission, which was apparently to study a Shinto shrine.

      That’s about as clear as I can get it, and that still leave plot holes.

      id also love to see techis wedding. that would be awesome. pls pretty pls well thats my tenchi wishlist

      Yeah, that would be nice.

  2. Lan says:

    Filler and crap. I watched it because of its ties to Tenchi Universe. It actually downgraded Tenchi Universe in my chart, even though the series has the equivalent of 7 episodes.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Yeah, it was disappointing for sure. I still say the short format was the biggest thing against it, combined with the way the production team attempted to generate drama by making things confusing for the first number of episodes.

  3. Rob C. says:

    Thank you for taking the time of reviewing the series. I’ve been watching it in the 4-episode blocks. I hope that city that partially paided for the series got their money’s worth out of it.

    Is there thoughts of updating your Tenchi Muyo! Continuities and the visual chart with Ai Tenchi Muyo! finally concluding it’s run?

    Masaki Kajishima been writing his GXP light novel series, I wonder if it will ever be made into anime. (not i trust today anime houses much these days from over doing fan-service and eccich stuff…)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Is there thoughts of updating your Tenchi Muyo! Continuities and the visual chart with Ai Tenchi Muyo! finally concluding it’s run?

      Thanks for reminding me. I just put that on my calendar so hopefully I can do that this weekend (well, the continuities part at least — the visual chart was donated years ago).

      Masaki Kajishima been writing his GXP light novel series, I wonder if it will ever be made into anime. (not i trust today anime houses much these days from over doing fan-service and eccich stuff…)

      Well, AIC has exclusive dibs on all things Tenchi, so if a GPX remake were made, it would have to go through them.

  4. Gamen says:

    Finally watched the last third of this. Ouch. Introduce a bunch of new characters, then in the end effectively kill the most important of them by wiping her memories… But wait, everyone else, including her guardian who goes back in time with here, gets to keep their memories. And having her Key enshrined really twists the knife, as it indicates she didn’t survive 1300 years to be introduced to her friends again (not that after a memory wipe and 1300 years she’d be the same person, but still…).
    Frankly, it gives the feeling they wanted to cut all the ties the new characters had with Tenchi and friends so that it returned to the status quo, for whatever reason… They could have let her keep her memories and take the slow path back to her friend’s time period to be reunited with them in some capacity, but they didn’t.
    Fundamentally, a waste of time, with a bonus of contributing nothing to the continuity.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Introduce a bunch of new characters, then in the end effectively kill the most important of them by wiping her memories… But wait, everyone else, including her guardian who goes back in time with here, gets to keep their memories.

      That’s how I saw it.

      And having her Key enshrined really twists the knife, as it indicates she didn’t survive 1300 years to be introduced to her friends again (not that after a memory wipe and 1300 years she’d be the same person, but still…).

      Nothing like the big, “up yours, Jobu!” *_*

      Fundamentally, a waste of time, with a bonus of contributing nothing to the continuity.

      Assuming it truly was part of Tenchi Universe.

  5. This anime actually got me to watch the whole series (currently on Universe and rewatching War on Geminar) and I was confused about Ryo-Ohki continuity until i read your posts and some of the doujins

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Yeah, that’s why I took over the Tenchi Muyo! FAQ many, many years ago; I wanted to put out additional information to help make things more clear when it came to the canon Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki.

  6. Jonathan says:

    I’m a big fan of Tenchi Muyo and I emailed you a few times about Jurai ships and space/time around 2007ish. I haven’t watched this series yet but I will just for the nostalgia.

    Tenchi Universe really is a great series and a favorite of mine. I really enjoy the home life and adventures in space of Tenchi and the girls and Universe was pretty much all of them on this big crazy space adventure lol!

    My only problem with the canon series is the fact that Tenchi, Washu, and Sasami are basically gods.. And Tokimi was still floating around in OVA 3. It takes the urgency out of situations because what can really go wrong when you are God? How can you have a great adventure if there is no conflict?

    I wish their minds would be wiped or something so the series could be more down to earth like in Universe and Tokyo.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      That reminds me, I’m behind on my e-mail. ^_^;;;

      I haven’t watched this series yet but I will just for the nostalgia.

      That’s pretty much the main reason to watch it.

      My only problem with the canon series is the fact that Tenchi, Washu, and Sasami are basically gods.. And Tokimi was still floating around in OVA 3. It takes the urgency out of situations because what can really go wrong when you are God? How can you have a great adventure if there is no conflict?

      Well, there was conflict though. Washu wiped her memories so she could start her search fresh. Washu, Tsunami, and Tokimi were all in competition to see who could find the superior deity. All had their methods for drawing this entity out (Washu with her gems and artificial humanoids, Tsunami with the Royal trees, Tokimi with her test to see if people could penetrate her realm).

      That being said, now that the three have found what they want, there can be no further conflict in a grand sense short of some other entity causing problems. That’s why Kasjishima-sensei’s “If” doujinshi aren’t about all that, but rather about the family life that came about after Tenchi (and Seina) settled down with their harems.

      Thanks for writing. ^_^

      • Hao Cinis says:

        By the way, and about Kenshi? Is there no doujin explaining how did the things go with his life in War in Geminar series?

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Kajishima-sensei has put out a few doujinshi featuring Kenshi and company. Unfortunately, I’m not versed on what’s in them. The curse of not knowing Japanese. 🙁

  7. dp says:

    I’m butthurt about that ryoko redesign

  8. brokensaint058 says:

    I’ve not seen anything Tenchi related prior so I decided to give it a go. Bad choice it seems as not only did the series fail to explain me anything, it also confused me at first when they started to jump around in time. The production value of this felt cheap and rushed, one would thing they would put more effort 2.5 minutes of animation. I also fail to see HOW this series is going to promote tourism as they hardly show any landmarks. Much of the story, including the light sabers didn’t make any sense and the whole thing felt like a waste of time in the end. After reading up on everything Tenchi this series still makes no sense to me…

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      You’ve got a lot of good points. I’d still recommend watching the canon Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki series, though the first series is from the 90s and won’t have the same look that the CGI animation stuff has today.

      Much of the story, including the light sabers didn’t make any sense and the whole thing felt like a waste of time in the end.

      The Juraian energy swords are a tribute to light sabers to be sure. The original one from TM!R was a “master key” and could be used to control other royal tree-ships. The extra stuff they did with them in this new series didn’t make sense though.

      But yeah, in the end, this was very disappointing. Thanks for writing.

  9. Jesse says:

    I was very excited to hear about this show. I grew up watching tenchi muyo and the earlier shows. This just made me sad… It was a shell of its former self. I loved the style of the original animation as well as the ORIGINAL cast and storyline. I wanted desperately to see them continue the storyline of Tenchi Muyo! and Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki! Ryoko is such an cool character and Tenchi sucks in this one so far… He was so badass in the original! They were all great characters. I don’t even feel like finishing this series though… I don’t want it to delude my memory of how awesome Yenchi Muyo was.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Well, we do think there is a good chance that a canon sequel to the OVAs will be coming out in the not too distant future.

  10. Pacario says:

    I’m just sad Mihoshi’s partner Kiyone wasn’t included. Seems like she should have been for a silly series like this. Poor girl never gets any love.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I was surprised not to see her, but they may not have had the rights since she’s a creation of Hasegawa-sensei, not Kajishima-sensei.

  11. Ironclad says:

    I finally went and finished this trainwreck, and I have a few things to get off my chest. First it was established at some point that the Jurian royal family, specifically the Masaki branch has a long history of interbreeding with earthlings so you can assume that Momo was a distant ancestor of Tenchi. This could have been interesting if we were given any hint of what Momo was suppose to be doing.

    Couple things they never explained. The encounter with Ryoko and Mihoshi in the past makes no sense. Did Tenchi travel through time or did he also travel to different dimensions? Ryoko should have been under Kagato’s control 1300 years ago and little more than a mindless beast, or she hadn’t even been created yet. Either way there’s no reason she’d be on Earth. Mihoshi is Mihoshi, so you can leave her presence alone I guess. Still the scene only existed as a nod to Universe, and could have been completely cut out.

    I could ignore this but everything else in that 1300 years ago arc was pointless as well. Why were the girl’s school students present? They never make any reference to reincarnation, so it made me think this was an alternate dimension. The problem is that they never mention other dimensions, just time travel so I have assume they are just the ancestors of the girls. Why? They didn’t do anything. It had no bearing on the rest of the show either. I have to wonder why the Science Club members didn’t also appear in the past as well. I could forgive it if they formed some kind of bond with Momo or Tenchi in the past but that never happens!

    Why did Washu’s program fail the first time anyway? They said something was missing, but everything was there. The 2 girls, the sword; the ship. Is it because the ship was in pieces and the Royal Tree needed to regrow?

    In Tenchi Muyo! Season 2 it was established that the GP wouldn’t dare interfere in Earth affairs; we saw what happens when they try in Ryo-ohki. They alluded to it being a personal grudge and a faction within the GP, but this could have been confirmed easily.

    Last point, this series was suppose to promote tourism but you hardly see any part of the town aside from the stupid high school. There have been a few series with promotion tie-ins these days and all of them showcased rural scenery, tourist hotspots, and local flare. All this had was a years worth of high school events crammed into 2 weeks and stale harem tropes. This series did a better job promoting student government than tourism. A 10 minute short of Sasami grocery shopping would have been better promotion. Nothing about this series makes sense.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks for writing! 😀

      Ai Tenchi Muyuo is not a canon series. As such, they weren’t worrying about continuity with the canon OVA series. I had wondered if it might be part of the Tenchi Universe continuity (where the first and third Tenchi movies fall), but that doesn’t seem to be the case either. I think the writers here just figured folks would know the general story of Tenchi and company and decided the story would be mostly focused on new characters.

      That being said, you are correct that the series is a mess. Considering how messy it was, it is surprising that AIC has given a green light to producing a canon OVA 4 series.

      Last point, this series was suppose to promote tourism but you hardly see any part of the town aside from the stupid high school.

      He!ha! Yes, good point. The original, canon OVA series (and even the non-canon spinoffs to a degree) did more to promote tourism than Ai Tenchi Muyo. Of course the tourism from the old titles was visiting the different locations in Japan that were used to create the Misaki Shrine, Ryoko’s cave, and then the places that were used as characters’ names.

      Hopefully, OVA 4 will be really enjoyable.

      • james says:

        I was hoping you would take a nod about the staff. At least, the surprise return of Negishi. I checked out reviews for him, other than tenchi, he has no real success throughout his works. In fact he has the lowest score ratings on most of them. Although Master of Mosquiton is quite good, he only had the concept. Certainly, he is more active than Hayashi.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time to anime/manga like I’d like. Even less to Tenchi. 🙁 My job keeps me very busy, but it pays the bills so I’m not complaining.

          I hadn’t realized he was part of the OVA ’cause I hadn’t looked very closely. I know he was part of Ai Tenchi Muyo, which is why I thought that series would be a continuation of the Tenchi Universe continuity. Even though he may be part of OVA 4, Kajishima-sensei will still be the story writer, as he was for the other three OVA series. So I don’t think Negishi will do anything to harm OVA 4. But then again, I could easily be wrong. 😛

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