12. Stupid Cupid

With Sasami ill, the responsibility for cooking and cleaning must fall to someone else in the Masaki household, and, unfortunately for him, that someone is Nobuyuki. But despite his good intentions and hard work on the domestic front, the girls are unappreciative of his work- especially his attempts at cooking.

Nonetheless, none of the girls are willing to give him a hand, and finally, Nobuyuki has had enough. Deciding to take a break from it all, Nobuyuki heads to Tokyo to see Tenchi- unwittingly providing Yugi and her servant Matori the perfect idea for their next plan.

As Nobuyuki wanders around town in search of Tenchi’s apartment, Matori decides to give him a hand- by tripping him up so that he lands right in front of Sakuya. Sakuya immediately recognises Tenchi’s father, and after a few moments, he remembers her as well- even if he does get her name wrong. Sakuya offers to show Nobuyuki the way to the apartment, and the two of them head off together to see Tenchi.

Tenchi is more than a little surprised to have both Nobuyuki and Sakuya show up at his apartment, but nonetheless he is quick to invite them both in. Thanks to their last meeting after Tenchi’s date with Ryoko, things are still awkward between Tenchi and Sakuya, and Nobuyuki quickly picks up on it. Concluding that the silence between them is just shyness because the two are in love, Nobuyuki decides to help them relax by adopting a casual manner himself. Unfortunately, his attempts at conversation come across as semi-coherent babbling, and soon the embarrassed Nobuyuki decides to leave the young couple along whilst he goes out to get some cold drinks.

With no one to cook for the girls, starvation soon sets in at the Masaki house- so much so that even Nobuyuki’s inedible dishes wouldn’t sound too bad. Finally, Mihoshi comes up with an excellent idea- they could always go out to eat a restaurant. The only obstacle to this plan is their lack of funds, so the girls head to Sasami’s room to ‘borrow’ the contents of her Azaka piggy bank. Unfortunately for them, Ryo-Ohki is steadfastly guarding the money, and the little cabbit even knocks Ryoko down when she tries to take it by force.

Back in Tokyo, a dejected Nobuyuki smokes a cigarette outside the convenience store, reflecting that his attempts to help Tenchi and Sakuya are no better than his housework. Tossing his cigarette butt into the trash, Nobuyuki walks away, unaware that he just provided the perfect target for Matori. Retrieving, Nobuyuki’s cigarette, she uses it to create Pseudo Dad, a Nobuyuki doppelganger whose mission is to get Tenchi and Sakuya together. Unfortunately, Pseudo Dad isn’t the brightest of creations, and flies off on his ‘mission of love’ before Matori can finish giving him his orders.

Back at Tenchi’s apartment, Tenchi and Sakuya sit in awkward silence for a while, before finally getting comfortable enough to open up a bit. Nobuyuki has been gone for a while, and Tenchi decides to fill the time by making some coffee for Sakuya and himself. Unfortunately, when he gets up, Sakuya spots the photo booth pictures from Tenchi and Ryoko’s date. As the painful feelings come rushing back, she hastily leaves the apartment- only to run into Pseudo Dad right outside.

Thanks to his incomplete orders and limited intellect, Pseudo Dad believes that he is the one who is supposed to fall in love with Sakuya. He quickly bundles her up under his arm, and begins running around shouting that he is in love. As it turns out, Pseudo Dad is also rather fickle, for when he spots another beautiful woman, he drops Sakuya and picks her up instead. Pretty soon, Pseudo Dad does the same to the new girl, and in short order he manages to work through four new girls.

Meanwhile the real Nobuyuki has returned to the apartment, only to discover that Tenchi has gone out to look for Sakuya. Whilst he sits down to take a rest, Matori finally manages to catch up with Pseudo Dad. After scolding him, she shows him an image of Tenchi and Sakuya, and explicitly orders him to see it to that he gets the young couple together. Agreeing, Pseudo Dad head off and soon picks up Sakuya under his arm again.

As he searches through town, Tenchi soon spots Pseudo Dad, and calls out to him. Stopping, Pseudo Dad informs Tenchi that he is in love with Sakuya, who seems to have passed out from being carried around under his arm. Realising that this person cannot be his real father, Tenchi tries to get Pseudo Dad to release Sakuya, but the doppelganger dodges him and runs away. Watching from above, Matori decides to just let the useless Pseudo Dad rampage around and annoy everyone- chances are that the real Nobuyuki will have better luck with getting Tenchi and Sakuya together anyway.

Whilst Tenchi chases after Pseudo Dad, back at the apartment, Nobuyuki is having a quiet drink, when suddenly everything begins falling down around him (including his trousers). Deciding that this must be a supernatural warning that Tenchi is in trouble, Nobuyuki heads out to find his son.

Having chased Pseudo Dad to a local shrine, Tenchi once again tries to get him to release Sakuya. Refusing, Pseudo Dad stretches out his arm, and begins to strangle poor Tenchi. Fortunately for Tenchi, Nobuyuki has tracked him down to the shrine, and thanks to his years at the Masaki Shrine, he knows just how to deal with demons. Heading over to the shrine shop, he attempts to purchase a hamaya (demon-exorcising arrow), but the best he can get is a ‘traffic safety’ arrow with a sucker cup on the end. Nonetheless, Nobuyuki tosses his ‘weapon’ at Pseudo Dad, and manages to strike him squarely on the forehead. Screaming that the love has been sucked out of him, Pseudo Dad finally vanishes.

Whilst Sakuya washes her hands at the shrine’s well, Nobuyuki prompts his son to go over and talk to her, but Tenchi confesses that he doesn’t know what to say. Nobuyuki tells Tenchi that he must start acting like a man- even if he doesn’t have a speech ready and rehearsed, he should at least try to say what is in his heart. Following his father’s advice, Tenchi approaches Sakuya, and tells her that while he isn’t quite sure of his feelings for her yet, he would appreciate it if she would just wait for him a little longer. It may sound a little vague and indefinite, but Sakuya is pleased to see that Tenchi is finally being honest with her. Their relationship seems to be back on track just as Yugi and Matori wanted- and in the end, it was the real Nobuyuki that accomplished it.

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