14. Tokyo or Bust!

Whilst the other girls quietly enjoy a television program about a pair of comets currently passing by the Earth, Ayeka has other concerns on her mind- namely, the relationship between Tenchi and Sakuya. The Juraian princess is desperate to get to Tokyo, but to her surprise, no one seems willing to go with her. Washu has research to do, Kiyone and Mihoshi are due to go out on patrol, and Nobuyuki has gone off on his own somewhere. Even Ryoko does not want to go to Tokyo- after the connection she felt with Tenchi on their date, she no longer feels the need to check up on him every five minutes.

With Ryo-Ohki feeling ill, the dimensional tunnel out of order, and no money for a bus fare anywhere to be found, Ayeka has only one option remaining if she wants to get to Tokyo- she will have to hitchhike. With Sasami as her unwilling accomplice, Ayeka heads out to the roadside to try to catch a lift, only to discover that finding a suitable ride isn’t as easy as it first seemed.

Fortunately for Ayeka’s plans, she has an unexpected ally in her bid to get Tokyo- and that ally is none other than Yugi herself. Yugi knows that seeing Tenchi and Sakuya happy together will devastate Ayeka more than anything she could arrange- and she even orders Tsugaru to help the princess reach Tokyo.

After a string of failures, Ayeka and Sasami finally manage to get a ride in the sidecar of a mysterious biker girl- who is, naturally, one of Tsugaru’s creations. To Sasami’s terror and Ayeka’s delight, the girl’s motorcycle is by far the fastest thing on the road, outpacing other legendary bikers and even an express train.

Having made great progress on their journey, Ayeka, Sasami and the biker girl stop off at a roadside café. The girl introduces herself as Masayo Manuketa, and soon she and Ayeka are swapping stories. Ayeka is quick to give her own exaggerated version of why she needs to get to Tokyo, telling Masayo that her beloved fiancé Tenchi has fallen under the control of an evil witch-cum-dominatrix named Sakuya. In return, Masayo explains that she has taken to the road in search of her beloved Isao Ketauchi, the fastest man to travel the roads. Ayeka is very taken with this story, imagining a determined Masayo forever upgrading her bike and travelling on the open road in the hopes of catching up with the man she loves- a man who doesn’t even realise he is being followed.

Sasami is sure that Masayo will be annoyed at Ayeka’s flights of fancy, but to her surprise, Masayo readily agrees with Ayeka’s story, claiming that the princess has understood her perfectly. However, as the two kindred spirits enjoy their shared understanding, they are interrupted by a group of bikers who claim that Isao is in the area.

Desperate to finally catch up with her beloved, Masayo heads straight out to her bike, only to be stopped by Tsugaru. Tsugaru reminds Masayo that she was created solely to take Ayeka to Tokyo, and orders the biker to fulfil her duty. Masayo has no choice but to agree, and reluctantly waits for Ayeka and Sasami to join her. Telling that she will let Isao go for now, she offers to take the two princesses the rest of the way to Tokyo, but to her surprise, Ayeka is willing to delay the journey for a little while. In all honesty, the princess does not yet have the courage to bare her heart to Tenchi, and she hopes that helping Masayo meet her true love will give her the strength and inspiration she needs to do the same.

Revving up her bike, Masayo heads after Isao’s trail of smoke, with Sasami, Ayeka and Ryo-Ohki hanging on in the sidecar. Soon, they manage to close in on Isao, and to the princesses’ surprise, they see that he isn’t a biker at all, but rather a super-fast cross country runner! Masayo quickly explains that Isao has devoted himself to running- and he is so focussed on his task that he won’t even notice them unless they catch up with him.

Unfortunately, despite Masayo’s best efforts, she cannot quite catch up to Isao, and soon Ayeka realises that the only way for Masayo to go first is to lighten the load. As Isao vaults over a break in the mountain road, Masayo follows, and the two princesses leap out of the sidecar. Whilst Ryo-Ohki rapidly finds the strength to transform into her mecha form and catch the two princesses, Masayo catches up with Isao, who finally notices his pursuing lover.

It was clear from the start that Masayo and Isao were no ordinary humans, and now Ayeka finally learns their true identities- they are the spirits of the two Manuketa comets. To Ayeka’s delight (and Tsugaru’s annoyance), the two lovers return to the sky, having found each other despite failing to complete their mission of delivering Ayeka to Tokyo.

In fact, Ayeka and Sasami are now on the other side of Japan, even farther from Tokyo than when they started out- but Ayeka is not discouraged. She wants to see Tenchi, and a little hitchhike across the country isn’t going to stop her- it’s ‘Tokyo or bust’.

And indeed, some time later, Ayeka and Sasami make it to Tenchi’s apartment in Tokyo, but by the time they get there, they are too tired to even care why they started out in the first place. Without saying a word, the two girls head for the newly-repaired dimensional tunnel and take themselves straight back home. As they collapse on the floor under the tunnel, Ryoko covers them with a blanket, wondering just what they could have done that was so exhausting and time consuming. And even as Ryoko reminds herself to find out the whole story the next morning, far above the Earth, the two reunited comets continue on their amazing journey.