a.k.a. Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki I & II
a.k.a. No Need for Tenchi!
Masaki Tenchi has no idea what he is about to get himself into the day he sneaks into the forbidden cave by his family’s shrine. Inside, he accidentally awakens a demon… and that’s just the beginning of his problems! Suddenly Tenchi finds himself host to alien royalty, a galaxy police detective and a genius, all of whom are very cute and very devoted to him. Tenchi is about to learn his true heritage, and his life will never be the same again.
summary by Madoka
Highs: Superb animation and sound; detailed character backgrounds
Lows: Repetitive at times; inconclusive ending
One of the first anime to introduce the guy-living-with-infatuated-girls formula, Tenchi Muyo! is one of the few series that gets it right. Without taking the romance too seriously and concentrating on the characters, this OVA strikes the right balance of romance, action and comedy to remain highly entertaining and fun to watch, even with an unresolved ending.
The animation quality for this series is high with colorful and crisp battle scenes and effects. This is one series where the sound effects are noticeably unique and perfectly match the sci-fi tone of the story. Unfortunately, the music is nothing special, but the voice work matches the lofty standards set by the animation and effects, especially the strong performance by Ryoko’s seiyuu, Orikasa Ai. Ryoko, like the other residents of the Masaki house, is a character with a full background that the series takes the time to explore. Although not all characters get a chance to develop, Ryoko evolves from a demonic powerhouse into a girl learning to explore her feelings.
Unlike some anime that waste time as characters struggle to confess their love, the girls here make their affections known and act on them for the perfect mix of comic relief and romance. While it makes for great comedy, the constant bickering over Tenchi’s attention and the perpetually blushing faces can wear on the nerves. At the end, a story arc with Washu barely has time to be explored, resulting in an open-ended resolution and many questions left unanswered. The addition of an epilogue to the last episode emphasizes that there is more story to come, but it won’t be found here.
Tenchi Muyo! might be an open-ended series by itself, but this OVA was one of the first to expose anime to a fledgling fan base in the West. The story has inspired a number of spinoffs, sequels and clones that try to capture the essence of the original. If you want to meet Tenchi, Ryoko and the others, this is the best series to get acquainted with them.