TBT: Tenchi Muyo! (Tenchi Universe) – Tenchi Muyo!

Tenchi Muyo! has many things including space adventures, a harem, comedy, fights, different universes and continuities, plus a great opening.


Man, anime series from the ’90s are getting even more nostalgic as we move further away from that era. The character designs and art styles are so recognizable.

Were you able to guess what anime I was hinting at on the previous #ThrowbackThursday post? The answer is: Tenchi Muyo! No, the exclamation mark is part of the title, not me shouting at the screen.

Tenchi Muyo! rose to fame in the midst of the ’90s. The series is famous for its harem involving alien girls with super powers and a proper gentleman as the main character. Oh, did I forget to mention that Tenchi Masaki, the main character, is also one of the universe’s most powerful beings?

The Tenchi Muyo series can be a little hard to follow due to the different formats and continuities. In a sense, there are many ways to enjoy the stories. As a whole, the franchise developed from a six-episode OVA that is also named Tenchi Muyo! Then came the 26 episodes TV series, another TV series with a different continuity, and several movies. Oh, right, there are also several other spin-off stories that seem to share universes and continuities, in addition to manga and light novel adaptations. The spin-offs have also been confirmed by the series creators. Confused yet?

In case you are curious about the spin-offs here are some of them: Magical Girl Pretty SammyDual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, and Tenchi Muyo! GXP: Galaxy Police TransporterThere are still plenty more beyond these three series, too.

The song above is simply titled “Tenchi Muyo!” and it is the opening song for the Tenchi Muyo! TV series (26 episodes). It originally aired in the middle of 1995 in Japan. When it was brought to the United States in 2000, Cartoon Network’s programming block, Toonami, renamed the series to Tenchi Universe.

As a harem anime, there are arguably two main female characters that stand out more than the rest: Ayeka Jurai and Ryoko HakubiAgain, due to the different story continuities, their characters and background stories may differ slightly. However, they both retain their affections for Tenchi.

Ayeka, Tenchi, and Ryoko
From left to right: Ayeka, Tenchi, and Ryoko

Ayeka is the princess of the Jurai empire. In most depictions of the story, she is the prim and proper lady. Sometimes, her upbringing as a noble causes her to come across as an arrogant individual.

Ryoko is a reformed space-pirate and the complete opposite of Ayeka. She is brash, aggressive, and very forward in displaying her affection towards Tenchi.

Tenchi is the archery target for cupid’s arrows from girls in the series. His name in kanji, 天地, literally means “heaven and earth”. It is a hint at his immense power within. He is a nice guy who genuinely cares about the ladies as a family, though throughout the series it is hinted that he has romantic feelings towards certain characters.

The singers of the opening theme are credited as SONIA. My research indicates that SONIA consisted of two female lead singers: Jun Oyaki and Boogie Burns. The group sang both the Japanese and English openings (when Tenchi Muyo! was brought over to the US and was given an English dub).

SONIA also released a twelve-track album with songs from the Tenchi Muyo! series, including the full version of the song above. The album is called SONIA Wonderland and it looks like this:

SONIA Wonderland

I remember watching Tenchi Muyo! a long time ago but was not able to follow the story, mostly because I always had to leave in the middle of the episodes and was not able to watch them back-to-back. However, the opening song above has stayed with me.

Anybody out there a Tenchi fan? Which story in the franchise is your favorite? Tell us about it in the comment section!

Sources: tvtropes.org, Tenchi Muyo Wikia, Anime News Network, and Last.fm.

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About the Author

Astra W

I am a Chocobo mug who loves puns and is driven by the thirst for nostalgia. You will usually find me writing about days past like an old person. Other than that, I usually gawk at different visual arts or exercising my fingers on games. Or napping in the kitchen cabinet.

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