3. Long Distance Lunacy

Tenchi has spent ages trying to find a way to close his end of the dimensional tunnel, and one morning, he finally figures it out- all he needs to do is wrap his blanket around it. It may be a simple idea, but it also turns out to be very effective- as Ryoko discovers when she tries to sneak through.

As Ryoko bangs against the closed tunnel, Tenchi’s room shakes with the impact. Thinking it is an earthquake, Tenchi quickly hides under blanket, inadvertently opening the tunnel and letting Ryoko through. A delighted Ryoko tries to cuddle up for some intimate time with her ‘lover’, but the exasperated Tenchi throws her back through. Sticking his head through the portal, Tenchi tells Ryoko that he doesn’t want her and the others coming to Tokyo uninvited anymore.

Ryoko and Ayeka are devastated at the thought of Tenchi being beyond their reach, but Washu insists that nothing can be done until Tenchi unfolds his blanket again. However, as Ryoko gets increasingly angry, the scientific genius suggests that there might be something she can do to keep them in touch with Tenchi.

Meanwhile, thanks to Ryoko’s visit, Tenchi is already running late. After rushing to the shrine to complete his morning duties, he realises that it is almost time for school. Fortunately, Tenchi manages to make it in just as the bell rings, but little does he realise that he is now being watched by a small yellow device- part of the new video relay network that Washu has set up. All of Tenchi’s activities are relayed via these small yellow devices to a screen in Okayama, enabling Ryoko and Ayeka to sit and watch him all day.

But they aren’t the only ones watching- the blonde girl is still keeping an eye on Tenchi and the girls, and amused as she is by their antics, she decides to change the rules of the game to suit her. Using a mobile phone discarded by a dumped boyfriend, she summons Yoshiaki Zumino, the spirit of mobile phones and cordless devices. And Zumino has only one purpose in his mind- to destroy all long distance relationships.

To that end, Zumino reprograms Washu’s relays, giving them new and eccentric personalities. After a brief period of interference, Washu gets the system back on line, but now everything that the girls see is corrupted by a long distance version of Chinese whispers. Whilst in reality Tenchi is moving furniture and then playing soccer in school, according to the relay network he is first being pushed off a cliff by a cow and hippo, before transforming into the egg-hating demon of Hell.

The girls are disbelieving at first, but their paranoia soon sets in when Washu reloads the picture to display Tenchi and his ‘true love’ Sakuya on a deserted island. In fact, Tenchi is eating an ice cream with Amagasake, but when the two boys walk home, the video display shows him walking home with Sakuya, on stilts.

Whilst ever more implausible situations are relayed to the screen, the devastated girls remain riveted, certain that Tenchi must have forsaken them for Sakuya. Determined to find out what is really going on, Washu heads for her lab, and soon discovers the problem- halfway between Okayama and Tokyo, a powerful supernatural force is interfering with the transmissions. Ryoko decides to put a stop to the interference- after all, just because Tenchi told her not to go to Tokyo doesn’t mean she can’t go to other places. All she needs is for Ryo-Ohki to transform into a spaceship and take her there.

Whilst Sasami pilots Ryo-Ohki, Ryoko travels out her outer hull, and soon they reach the source of the interference- the demon Yoshiaki Zumino. Zumino immediately goes on the attack, firing dark energy bolts at Ryo-Ohki, who desperately evades. Despite the danger, Ryoko insists that Sasami take them in closer, and she reluctantly obeys.

As Zumino fires again, Ryoko dodges, leaving the blast to hit Ryo-Ohki dead on. As she falls from the sky, Zumino laughs in triumph, only to realise that Ryoko is still unharmed. Diving down from above him, Ryoko proves impervious to Zumino’s blasts. Getting in close, Ryoko beats up the evil demon, finally landing a punch that sends him crashing to the earth. Landing with a crunch, Zumino reverts to the form he was summoned from- a broken mobile phone.

After the girls return home, Washu begins calculations for a new relay system, but as it turns out, it may not be necessary after all. Tenchi has re-opened the tunnel, and he pokes his head through to ask the girls if they want to share a box of cookies Priest Tsuchida gave him. Delighted, the girls pull him through to the house. Tenchi cannot understand why the girls seem so worked up over seeing him, but Ryoko merely tells him that it was a long day. It was a long day for Tenchi too, but, now that everyone is together, hopefully the evening will be a little more pleasant.