Shin Tenchi Muyo! Novels Licensed (Now known as True Tenchi Muyo!)

Shin Tenchi Muyo! Novels Licensed (Now known as True Tenchi Muyo!)

Hey gang! If you didn’t know already, Seven Seas has licensed the three Shin Tenchi Muyo! novels and will be calling the novels the True Tenchi Muyo! series. And this is something I’ve been waiting for since 2005!

True Tenchi Muyo! Jurai

True Tenchi Muyo! Novels

For those who aren’t aware, after Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OVA 2 completed in 1995, Pionner, the Japanese distributor of the AIC produced series, decided that even though the canon OVAs were successful, they weren’t as profitable as a TV series. The success of the non-canon Galaxy Police Mihoshi’s Space Adventure OVA and the launch of Hasegawa-sensei’s non-canon Tenchi Muyo! light novels proved that Japanese Tenchi Muyo! fans weren’t hung up on continuity. They wanted lots more Tenchi, so Pioneer and AIC went about filling that need with series like Tenchi Universe, Tenchi in Tokyo, Magic Girl Pretty Sammy (a 3 episode OVA, then a 26 episode TV series), and three Tenchi Muyo! movies.

During this time, MASAKI Kajishima-sensei, the creator of the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki series, decided to write some canon novels so that hardcore fans could learn more about the universe he created. Fans had long pestered him with questions even after the publication of 101 Secrets of Tenchi Muyo! Ryi-ohki, so it made sense for him to write canon novels to whet the appetite of hardcore fans and casual fans alike.

The first novel is entitled Jurai and mostly centers on Azusa, Aeka’s father, before he came to the throne, including encountering Kagato and Ryoko. 😎  The second novel is Yosho, which as you might expect, covers Yosho’s life. This also includes details of Ryoko’s attack on Jurai. The final novel is Washu, which will explore Washu’s life from the time she was found 20,000 years before the events of OVA 1.

Rumor had it that Kajishima-sensei was going to write a fourth novel called Mihoshi, but scrapped it when AIC and new distributor VAP gave him the green light to create the OVA 3 anime series. How true that is, I can’t say.

A Long Time Coming

In 2005, I was first made aware of an official interest in publishing the True Tenchi Muyo! novels in English. OVA 3 had been successful in Japan and in America, so licensing the novels seemed like a good thing. Some light novels had been published in America then, such as the first few Slayers novels.  Unfortunately, light novels weren’t taking off then like manga had, which is why many light novel series were dropped. As such, it was decided to not take the risk and license the True Tenchi Muyo! novels.

When I learned the news, I was very bummed, but not surprised. To be honest, I thought there was no chance of getting the novels licensed and published in English. After all, with the passage of time, people would move on and the market for Tenchi Muyo! stuff would decrease.

Twelve years later, the light novel market has proved to be pretty successful. That means the risk factor is lower, which is a good thing for us hardcore Tenchi Muyo! fans. Plus, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki is still very popular in Japan with the recent conclusion of the OVA 4 series, to say nothing of the continued publication of the GXP novels and the bi-yearly doujinshi releases from Kajishima-sensei. Thus we now see the novels officially licensed for English publication. Awesome!

AstroNerdBoy Working the Project

Seven Seas reached out to me to ask me to assist them with the adaptation of the three light novels, and I have accepted. I don’t mind saying that this may be the scariest thing I have EVER done in my whole life. It is one thing to run a fan-based FAQ site, or to write some anime/manga blog. It is quite another matter to handle an official work such as the True Tenchi Muyo! novels. I have a great responsibility to make sure we get things right in the adaptation of these novels. I’ve always said that the adaptation aspect of Kajishima-sensei’s work is critical because he drops so many little clues here and there.

So hopefully, I don’t screw things up and all of us can enjoy what Kajishima-sensei wrote. Haha! No pressure there!

Other Tenchi Novels

If we want more than just these three True Tenchi Muyo! novels to get licensed and publish in English, we need to make sure that sales of the novels are very impressive. For example, to convince Seven Seas to license the GXP novels, which saw volume 15 published in June 2017, sales of the True Tenchi Muyo! novels would have to knock their socks off since 15+ light novel volumes is a major commitment.

And I think there is probably a market for Hasegawa-sensei’s Tenchi Muyo! non-canon spinoff novels. I know I’m curious to read them, having seen the second Tenchi Muyo! movie which was based off of one of her novels. Though the commitment for Seven Seas would be less for her novels as there are fewer of them, True Tenchi Muyo! sales would still have to rock to get them officially in English.


In the meantime, all of us Tenchi Muyo! fans have reason to celebrate today. The unthinkable has happened with the licensing of the True Tenchi Muyo! novels. Its party time!

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27 Responses to “Shin Tenchi Muyo! Novels Licensed (Now known as True Tenchi Muyo!)”

  1. […] written most of what I wanted to say on my main anime/manga blog, but I did want to mention here that Seven Seas has licensed the three Shin Tenchi Muyo! novels and […]

  2. X_M_X says:

    Do you know if the translation will use honorifics? Or are we going to be stuck with Washu being called Little Washu again?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Haha! That was my first thing I requested of Seven Seas — full usage of Japanese honorifics, including brother/sister ones. They agreed to it and hopefully those will remain in the finished product.

    • A being says:

      For posterity and those of any interest, Washu is Washu-chan, Tenchi-sama might be nii-chan, et cetera. Misaki Tenchi is common instead of Techi Masaki. The honorifics were preserved.

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        Yeah, that was something I made sure Seven Seas was OK with. So naming conventions were preserved as well as all honorifics.

  3. NullApostle says:

    Is Tenchi still popular? I don’t know how well these’ll sell. Tenchi doesn’t really fit into the current LN market (trends, kinds of stories told) anymore, does it?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Not really sure how popular it is, but Seven Seas thinks the time may be right for classic titles. The did license the “Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch” novel. (Wish they’d get the manga too, but that’s another thing.)

      • NullApostle says:

        I guess well see.
        Lodoss Senki makes sense, seeing how Grancrest Senki is getting an anime next year.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Record of Grancrest War was not even something I was aware even existed. ^_^;;;; Thanks for that tip.

          • NullApostle says:

            The Grancrest manga adaptation has scanlated chapters available (you know where) if you’re interested. I believe neither the novel nor said manga adaptation have been licensed. Odds of licensing will massively increase the nearer we get to the anime airing, IMO.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            I’ll have to check that out. I did like the Lodoss OVA (though it had some problems) and I liked some stuff in the TV series (mostly when Parn and Deedlit were in it). I did like the manga adaptation and wish that could be license-rescued and released properly.

  4. Alan Morton says:

    I have been wanting to know these stories for years already. The Hasegawa novels excite me more, so hopefully if these sell well, we will get those out too at some point. I hope. Well done for getting to work on its release, Astro!

  5. SageofLodoss says:

    Between this and Record of Lodoss War coming out in English next month…crazy times. Now someone needs to license Seikai no Senki.

  6. WMC says:

    Wow. Terrific. Adaptation seems like a very difficult job, especially from Japanese to American English. Idioms, usage and importantly, cultural differences must be incorporated. Tough job. Good luck and I hope it blooms in the US.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks. Yeah, the translator has the roughest part ’cause Kajishima-sensei’s writing style is difficult at best.

      • WMC says:

        I hope you provide the English past perfect and past imperfect usage, unlike most translators. They can’t seem to get beyond the simple present tense, which always makes the reader scratch his head wondering when the action actually took place. There’s no direct tense usage in Japanese, right?

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          There is some tense usage, I believe. It isn’t quite like English though. The tricky part will be the double entendre or where Kajishima-sensei uses kanji in an unusual way. He’s notorious for this, which makes translating his work much more difficult.

          • WMC says:

            I don’t know Japanese, but I have deduced its very complex allusion system by reading translators’ notes, like those of the Nibley twins, and by watching anime, with English dubbing or in the original Japanese with English subtitles. You can see the sometimes radical difference. Probably necessarily, translations become only loose approximations, Fairly painless way to absorb Japanese culture. I particularly like their “way of the spirit,” in which everything has a spirit.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Well, when it comes to English adaptations, sometimes “localization” trumps an accurate yet readable adaptation. I like the Twins because they lean toward readable but accurate over localization, whereby things are changed for a local audience. Tenchi is a series that is harmed by localization because of Kajishima-sensei’s writing style and how he throws in clues and such in what he writes.

  7. Orion says:

    I was wondering since Seven Seas has it’s rating at teen & not older teen what happened to the more graphical parts of novel were they toned down or cut? I mean seven seas has monster girl encyclopedia rated M so just wanting clarification.

  8. WMC says:

    An excellent example of translator commentary appears at the end of the new shonen manga, “Waiting for Spring Vol 1.” The Nibleys always give us great info.

  9. Dreamr says:

    I cannot imagine anyone more versed or dedicated to helping get the translation of these novels done right than astronerdboy. I will definitely be preordering these, to sit right next to my Japanese copies.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks. It has been a great learning experience for me. Should I ever get back to trying to write a novel again, my editing experiences with TTN will help greatly.

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