Japanese volume 1 cover for No Need For Tenchi! depicting Ryoko Hakubi
|Genre||Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Harem|
|Original video animations|
|No Need For Tenchi!|
|Written by||Hitoshi Okuda|
|Published by||Kadokawa Shoten|
|Magazine||Comic Dragon Jr.|
|Original run||December 16, 1994 – June 9, 2000|
|The All-New Tenchi Muyo!|
|Written by||Hitoshi Okuda|
|Published by||Kadokawa Shoten|
|Magazine||Comic Dragon Age|
|Original run||July 26, 2000 – December 9, 2005|
|Anime television series|
The generally accepted translation of the title is No Need for Tenchi or Useless Tenchi, though at the time of its appearance it was also translated variably as No Heaven and Earth and This Way Up due to the original title's pun nature and multiple meanings.
The original series began with a six episode OVA called Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki (天地無用! 魎皇鬼 Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki?) released in Japan on September 25, 1992. The series was released by Pioneer LDC in the United Kingdom on 1994. As its popularity grew, it spurred a seventh episode titled Tenchi Muyo! Special: The Night Before the Carnival (also known as the Tenchi Special) and a stand-alone Tenchi Muyo! Mihoshi Special. The second OVA series was directed by Kenichi Yatani and released in 1994, featuring episodes 8–13. The third OVA series was also directed by Kenichi Yatani and released in 2003, featuring episodes 14-19, followed by a special twentieth episode.
A twenty-six episode anime TV series called Tenchi Universe (天地無用! Tenchi Muyō!?) was released on 1995 retelling and expanding upon the original six-episode story, documenting in an alternate timeline the adventures of the cast as well as changing the back stories of some characters. Tenchi in Tokyo (新・天地無用! Shin Tenchi Muyō!?) is another alternate version, chronicling Tenchi Masaki's move to Tokyo.
Additionally, there are spin-off series (such as Magical Girl Pretty Sammy), as well as being adapted into a manga. The franchise has also spawned soundtrack CDs and other merchandise released both in Japan and in the United States.
The series as a whole, due to being rebooted several times and adapted into different media, is known for having several different continuities. The three main anime continuities are:
- Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki: The original OVA series which lasted for 20 episodes. Followed in-continuity by Tenchi Muyo! GXP and Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar.
- Tenchi Universe: A 26-episode remake for television of the first 6-episode story arc in Tenchi Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki. This timeline includes the movies Tenchi Muyo in Love and Tenchi Forever.
- Tenchi in Tokyo: A reboot of the franchise set in a different timeline to both Ryo-Ohki and Universe.
Aside from the three main timelines, there also exist several spin-offs and adaptations, both in anime and manga form.
Kajishima has written several books based on the franchise, including the ongoing Tenchi Muyo! GXP: Galaxy Police Transporter novel series, the novels Shin Tenchi Muyo! Jurai, Shin Tenchi Muyo! Yosho, and Shin Tenchi Muyo! Washu, and recently, the Paradise Wars spinoff. Naoko Hasegawa wrote a series of thirteen light novels based the first OVA series. There are also a number of dōjinshi by and interviews with Kajishima, as well as a companion book, 101 Questions and Answers of Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Oh-Ki.
With the demand for Tenchi material steeply continuing to grow, AIC began looking into TV adaptations beyond the Mihoshi Special. 1995 saw the introduction of Tenchi Universe (天地無用!宇宙篇 Tenchi Muyō! Uchū Hen?), a 26-episode anime TV series created by Hiroshi Negishi and produced by AIC and Pioneer Animation. It was loosely based on the first six episodes of the OVA series and the Mihoshi Special.
Two years later, another AIC production followed suit called Tenchi in Tokyo (新・天地無用! Shin Tenchi Muyō!?, New Tenchi Muyo!), which aired through 1997 and also ran 26 episodes. It borrowed characters and some plot devices from the previous incarnations, but with a noticeable art shift and very different concepts, such as centering on Tenchi's high school and being a priest in Tokyo.
An anime film titled Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love, created by Hiroshi Negishi, is a continuation of the Tenchi Universe TV series. A second film, Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness, was adapted from a novel written by Naoko Hasegawa. The third film, titled Tenchi Forever! The Movie, is the sequel to Tenchi Muyo in Love and was adapted into a manga titled Tenchi Muyo! In Love 2: Eternal Memory.
Hitoshi Okuda wrote two manga series based on the OVA series. The first manga is titled No Need for Tenchi (天地無用！魎皇鬼 Tenchi Muyō! Ryo-Ohki?) and was published by Kadokawa Shoten and serialized in Dragon Comic Jr. magazine from December 16, 1994 to June 9, 2000. The series was collected into 12 tankōbon volumes. The second series titled The All-New Tenchi Muyo! (新・天地無用! 魎皇鬼 Shin Tenchi Muyō! Ryo-Ohki?, New Tenchi Muyo! Ryu-Ohki) was also published by Kadokawa Shoten and serialized in Dragon Comic Age magazine from July 26, 2000 to December 9, 2005. The series was collected into 10 tankōbon volumes.
A radio drama called Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki Manatsu no Carnival was created by Maoko Hasegawa.
The first Tenchi spinoff is the Magical Girl Pretty Sammy series, a magical girl series where Sasami is the lead character. The first use of Pretty Sammy was in the Tenchi Muyo! Sound File, a Japanese-only music video release. The same animation was used in the ending of the Tenchi Muyo! Mihoshi Special. In 1995, a three episode Pretty Sammy OVA series began, where Sasami, who is known as Sasami Kawai, magically becomes Pretty Sammy. The second Pretty Sammy series is a TV series, which came out in 1996, also known as Magical Project S. This series is in a separate continuity from the OVA series. Pretty Sammy also appears in the Mihoshi Special toward the end of Mihoshi's story, and in an alternate reality sequence in the Tenchi Universe series.
The second is Tenchi Muyo! GXP, which was released in Japan in 2001. The series takes place during the Kajishima version of the OVA continuity, and is set a year after the events of the third OVA series (despite being released first chronologically). The main character is Seina Yamada, a friend of Tenchi Masaki who accidentally joined the Galaxy Police. Many characters from Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki make appearances in this series, including the use of Seiryo Tennan as a major character and a full-fledged Tenchi Muyo! crossover in episode 17.
Sasami: Magical Girls Club, shown in Japan in 2006, is the third spin-off with Sasami (known here as Sasami Iwakura), as the main character.
Battle Programmer Shirase is a spin-off of the Pretty Sammy OVA and TV series, keeping the character Misao Amano from Pretty Sammy, and with the main character Akira Shirase, Misao's great-uncle; however, it bears little in common with either Pretty Sammy series because it has neither magic, nor Sasami, nor Misao's alter ego Pixy Misa.
The series Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure is related to the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki universe, due to the blatant use of the "Lighthawk Wings" associated with the Jurai dynasty in Tenchi Muyo. Mecha Zinv from Dual! appears in Tenchi Muyo! GXP, Kiyone, Ramia, and Misao appear in a brief easter egg cameo in the series' OVA special ("Final Frontier", also known as episode 14), and there is much speculation concerning the ancient civilization that the character "D" is from.[original research?] The creator of both Dual! and Tenchi Muyo!, Masaki Kajishima, confirmed that Dual! does relate to Tenchi Muyo!, and is in fact an alternate version of the Tenchi Muyo! universe.
Also created by Masaki Kajishima, the OVA series Photon: The Idiot Adventures is related to the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki universe, or more specifically, its recent installment, Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar. Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar copies a number of elements from Photon: The Idiot Adventures, such as Koros, Aho energy, having a princess named Lashara, and a young hero with such strong superhuman abilities he's practically invincible.
The most recent Tenchi spin-off series is a Japanese anime called Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar(aka Tenchi Muyo! Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari) which follows the tale of Tenchi's half-brother Kenshi Masaki as he finds himself in a foreign world that uses humanoid machines to fight their wars.
In the series' main continuities, Tenchi Masaki is the main character who was living a peaceful life in the countryside with his father Nobuyuki and his grandfather Katsuhito, until he gets involved (by a series of circumstances) with a group of alien girls, including the space pirate Ryoko, the Juraian princesses Ayeka and her little sister Sasami, the legendary scientist Washu, and Mihoshi and Kiyone, officers of the Galaxy Police. All the girls start to live in Tenchi's house and are a constant source of trouble for him, especially when they compete for his affection. Despite this, he maintains a good relationship with each one. Also living with them is Ryo-Ohki, Ryoko's spaceship who can assume the form of a little creature who looks like a hybrid of cat and rabbit, later confirmed by Sasami to be exactly that. Later, Tenchi discovers that his grandfather's true identity is Yosho, a noble from the royal family of Jurai. Together, the cast usually gets themselves involved in a series of adventures throughout the galaxy.
The film ranked #6 on Wizard's Anime Magazine on their "Top 50 Anime released in North America".
- Divers, Allen (2 July 2003). "A New Beginning - TT". Anime News Network.
- FUNimation's Tenchi Muyo! GXP site
- Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia