Tenchi Forever

When Yosho first came to Earth, he did not make the journey alone. A beautiful young woman named Haruna came with him, but by the time they reached the planet, she was already very ill. To Yosho’s despair, she died even as their ship entered Earth’s orbit.

Back in the present, and springtime at the Masaki house is proceeding in typical fashion. Everyone is busy sweeping up the fallen cherry blossom, but naturally, Ryoko and Ayeka manage to turn a simple chore into an argument. Tenchi, as always, moves to break them up, but the girls aren’t willing to back down. They are tired of Tenchi always taking the neutral ground and insist that he finally make a choice between them. Not wanting to be put on the spot like that, Tenchi quickly distracts the girls before running off into the woods.

Tenchi manages to find a measure of peace and quiet, where his wanderings take him to a secluded grove containing a beautiful camellia tree. The ghostly image of a woman seems to appear from within the tree, and as it calls to him, Tenchi approaches- only to vanish into thin air.

Once the girls realise that Tenchi has disappeared, they mount a full scale search spearheaded by Washu. As part of her search plans, she dispatches Mihoshi and Kiyone to infiltrate the Science Academy, whilst Sasami returns to Jurai to use the royal tree network. Meanwhile, Ayeka and Ryoko take on the role of searching for Tenchi directly on Earth.

After six months, there is still no sign of Tenchi, although Washu has narrowed his location to the Tokyo area, as well as providing Ryoko with a special orb watch set to detect whether Tenchi is in the near vicinity. To supplement their finances, Ayeka and Ryoko take waitressing jobs, and soon find themselves exhausted from spending all of their time either working or searching. Nonetheless, neither of them is ready to give up on the search.

Tenchi is indeed in Tokyo, but he is not quite the Tenchi the girls remember from six months ago. Somehow, in the time he has been gone, Tenchi has aged more than six months- he is now an art college student living with a beautiful girlfriend named Haruna.

Whilst Sasami uses the Jural royal network to search for temporal traces of Tenchi, Ryoko and Ayeka ride the bus to work. To their surprise, the locator orb starts beeping, and Ayeka spots Tenchi walking along the street outside. Ryoko quickly gets off the bus at the next stop to chase after him, but before she can catch up, Tenchi disappears.

As Washu analyses Ryoko and Ayeka’s report, back at his apartment Tenchi gets to work on his latest picture- a drawing of Haruna. Despite Haruna’s praise, however, his picture of Haruna just doesn’t feel quite right to him. In fact, his whole existence with Haruna feels like a dream to him- even the physical act of making love to her seems somehow unreal.

The next day, Ryoko and Ayeka continue their work, searching for Tenchi even as the weather turns bad and the rain begins to fall. Finally, the pair decides to take a break, and share a loaf of melon bread as they stand on the roof of a tall building. Fed up and frustrated, the two girls shout out to Tenchi to come back to them, and pretty soon, they are arguing again. For a moment, things feel just like the old days, and the girls are temporarily cheered up- even more so when the orb watch starts beeping again. Looking down at the street below, they catch sight of Tenchi walking home from art college, but he is not alone- Haruna is with him. Nonetheless, the two girls give chase, only to lose Tenchi again.

Ryoko and Ayeka soon become distracted as their thoughts dwell on seeing Tenchi not only with another woman, but seemingly so happy and content to be with her. At work, neither of them seems particularly focussed on their jobs, with Ryoko messing up her orders and Ayeka smashing a glass before breaking into tears in the bathroom. Back at their apartment, feelings are little better, and Ryoko tells Ayeka that the princess is welcome to give up and go home if she really feels there is no point continuing. Inspired by Ryoko’s strength, Ayeka decides to carry on.

The next day, the girls are rewarded with yet another glimpse of Tenchi, but, as before, he disappears before they can catch up with him. And yet, it seems as if his past life isn’t completely out of Tenchi’s thought, as Haruna discovers when she sees a picture of a woman with green spiky hair pinned up amongst Tenchi’s other paintings. Angered by the sight of it, Haruna tears down the picture, crumpling it in her hand.

When Tenchi discovers that his picture has been wrecked, he questions Haruna about it, but she immediately gets upset and bursts into tears. Tenchi tells her to forget about the sketch, and offers to take her shopping to cheer her up. Soon, the two are browsing a jewellery store together, and Haruna takes a shine to a silver ring. Despite the expense, Tenchi buys the ring for her- as well as a matching one for himself.

At work the next day, Ryoko and Ayeka seem to be back to normal, but even as they work hard, the café suddenly shifts and changes around them, turning from busy occupied daytime to deserted early evening. Now, there are only two customers in the café- Tenchi and Haruna. Ryoko and Ayeka rush over to their table, but whilst Haruna clearly sees them, Tenchi senses nothing, and when Ryoko tries to touch him, her hand goes right through him.

As Haruna finishes her meal, Tenchi begins complaining of a headache. Glaring at Ryoko and Ayeka, Haruna rushes over to him, suggesting that they go home. To Ryoko and Ayeka’s surprise and disappointment, the scene dissolves around them, and the café returns to normal.

Having done all she can on Jurai, Sasami prepares to return to Earth. Azaka and Kamidake try to raise her spirits by reassuring her that Tenchi will be found, before commenting that mysterious disappearances seem to run in the family- after all, years ago, Yosho gave up the crown and left planet Jurai, all so that he could be with the woman he loved- a woman named Haruna.

Whilst Ayeka and Ryoko try to figure out what is going on, Washu commandeers the TV to transmit a message detailing everything she has discovered. It seems that Haruna has drawn Tenchi into a parallel world, a reflection that is both near and distant from reality. For the time being, Tenchi’s thoughts keep pulling him back to the real world, but in time, even those vague echoes of memory will vanish, and he will be integrated into Haruna’s world instead. Their only hope is to reach Tenchi before that can happen, and Washu has already planned for this eventuality, having sent Mihoshi and Kiyone to the Science Academy to covertly gain access to their dimensional stabilising system.

Meanwhile, in Haruna’s world, Tenchi continues working on the painting of his girlfriend, but soon finds himself distractedly playing with the paint on his palette, spreading it into the shape of green spikes. Inspired by a flash of memory, Tenchi grabs a fresh canvas and begins drawing the green-haired woman once again. As he does so, the world outside begins to shift and collapse, and Haruna hurriedly goes to see what Tenchi is doing. By the time Haruna enters the room, Tenchi has returned to his painting of her, and the world outside is back to normal. As Haruna expresses her fear that Tenchi may soon be leaving her, he tells her not to worry- all he needs is a little rest.

That evening, Katsuhito camps by himself out by Haruna’s camellia tree, when a projection of Washu appears in the flames of his campfire. She wants to know about Haruna, so Katsuhito explains how the two of them left Jurai together and head for Earth, only for Haruna to fall ill during the journey. Haruna died before she could set foot on Earth, so Katsuhito buried her there, planting her camellia tree over her grave. As the tree flourished, Katsuhito decided that he too would settle on Earth, and throughout his travels, he planted a cutting from the tree at each destination, so that his beloved would always be with him.

In time, however, Katsuhito met a new love- Itsuki- who he married and started a family with. But Katsuhito’s joy at his new life may well have disturbed Haruna’s spirit, and she too decided she wanted to experience happiness with another. By then, Katsuhito was an old man, so she set her sights on another- Tenchi.

Back in the dream world, Haruna stumbles across Tenchi’s new portrait of the green haired woman, and in a fit anger, she tears the canvas. Tenchi is angry and confused when he sees what has happened- as far as he remembers, the green haired woman is a creation of his imagination, so why does Haruna dislike her so much?

Seeing Tenchi’s thoughts drifting away from her world, Haruna approaches him, cuddling up to him and asking if Tenchi will love her and stay with her forever. As Tenchi agrees, he is drawn firmly back into her world.

Having successfully infiltrated the Science Academy, Mihoshi and Kiyone return to Washu with the dimension stabilising data, only to discover that she has another task for them. Washu needs a substantial amount of Jurai energy to open a portal into Haruna’s world, and the best way to do that is draw it from an organic life form, such as the camellia trees Katsuhito planted when he first came to Japan. To that end, she sends Mihoshi and Kiyone out to place energy collectors on all the trees.

Meanwhile, to Tenchi, Haruna’s world is beginning to feel less and less real. Not only does he feel more tired and apathetic with each passing day, but the world itself seems to lack reality. Not only does the television never get any reception, but when Tenchi decides to look at his bank book to see if he has the money to fix it, he finds that it is filled with meaningless entries. Frustrated and confused, Tenchi asks Haruna to explain what is going on, but she explains nothing, only asking to be forgiven for just wanting a happy life with him. Tenchi admits his own feelings for Haruna, but wonders if he can keep on loving her when it brings him this much pain and anguish.

With her dimensional jump preparations finally complete, Washu is finally able to send Ryoko and Ayeka into Tenchi and Haruna’s world. Landing by his apartment (Ryoko makes it onto the balcony, whilst Ayeka drops unceremoniously to the first floor), they quickly locate Tenchi and ask him to come back with them, but he doesn’t even seem to remember who they are. Clinging possessively to Tenchi, Haruna sends the two girls back to their own world, telling them that Tenchi is hers now.  As they float in the void between realities, Haruna delivers one last message. They may all desire Tenchi, but as the one who wants him the most, it is Haruna who will be the one who gets him. And if Ryoko and Ayeka know what is good for them, they won’t return.

Meanwhile, Washu has returned to her studies of the two worlds, and has come to realise that Haruna’s reality is not simply a parallel dimension- it is also a world where time runs faster, giving Haruna more time to convert Tenchi to her needs. Not only that, but the world itself is tied to Tenchi’s Jurai energy, and the more exhausted he gets, the less stable it will become.

The next day, Haruna tries to restart her world with another quiet, sunny morning, but once again, the apartment plays host to two uninvited guests in the form of Ayeka and Ryoko. As before, they try to convince Tenchi to come back with them, but even though his memories of them finally reawaken, he refuses to go with them. He has come to understand just how Haruna feels, and he does not want to leave her. Even as they protest, the girls are forced back to their own world, and a dejected Ryoko wonders if it is too late to ever bring Tenchi back.

Haruna’s world returns to the familiar sunny morning, but this time, Tenchi is no longer willing to go along with the fantasy. Haruna realises that he has regained his memories, but asks that he still give her world a chance- if he can just accept this reality, then they will enjoy a peaceful life together. Tenchi protests that he doesn’t even know he met Haruna- how can he live happily in a reality that isn’t even complete?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Katsuhito stands in front of Haruna’s camellia tree, having finally reached a decision. Drawing the Tenchi sword, he activates it and slices through the trunk. As Haruna screams in pain, Katsuhito releases his Jurai power, letting it mingle with that of the camellia tree. Finally, Haruna remembers all the details of her last few moments with Yosho, and at long last, her pain slips away.

As Haruna begins to weep, a projection of Katsuhito as the youthful Yosho appears in the apartment. With Yosho’s prompting, Haruna finally remembers the truth about her past, and she turns to Tenchi to apologise for using him to realise the dream she had become so fixated on. As Tenchi forgives her, Yosho thanks him for helping Haruna to rediscover her true self. Moving to Yosho, Haruna bids Tenchi goodbye, telling him that she will always treasure the picture he painted of her. Tenchi replies that he will never forget her, but Haruna and Yosho know that he must- he has his own life and friends waiting for him back in the real world. That is where he belongs, and when he returns, things will be just as they were before.

However, first Tenchi must get back- and with Haruna’s world on the verge of collapse, if he doesn’t find a way home soon, he could be lost forever. Fortunately, Washu has just enough energy to send one person in to get him, and much as Ayeka would like that person to be her, she knows that there is only one person who can reach out to Tenchi and bring him home- Ryoko. Hearing Ayeka’s words, Ryoko’s flagging enthusiasm is renewed, and she finally agrees to go.

By the time Ryoko materialises in the alternate reality, much of it has already begun to fade. She quickly locates Tenchi, who apologises for all the trouble he put her through. Happy to have him back, Ryoko takes his hand, and the two fly into the sky, ready to return to their own world.

Back in the real world, Katsuhito is still standing by the camellia tree, and to his satisfaction, he sees one last glimpse of Haruna, smiling as her once-troubled spirit finally finds its rest. And, as if to remind him that Haruna wasn’t the only love of his life, Itsuki’s spirit puts in a brief appearance as well.

With Tenchi and all the girls back at home, life soon returns to normal at the Masaki home. Whilst the other girls toast sweet potatoes outside, Tenchi continues his sketching up on the hill, where Ryoko joins him. Tenchi explains that he has come to love drawing, and the way it helps him to get in touch with thoughts and feelings that dwell deep within his heart, forgotten by conscious memory. Even though he doesn’t remember everything that happened, it seems that Tenchi has matured from this experience, as has Ryoko. And, not only have they grown up a little, it seems that they have finally grown closer.

2 thoughts on “Tenchi Forever

  1. You may or may not know about this, but the director and co-writer of
    the Tenchi Universe continuity (which includes the first and the third
    movies), Hiroshi Negishi, wrote a companion manga for the third movie
    called “Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Eternal Memory”. It follows and adds to
    the movie storyline from Sasami’s perspective and it also suggests the
    possibility that Tenchi would not end up with Ryoko. If you are
    interested, here is a link to a scanlation of the manga:

    http://www.geocities.com/punistation1/Eternal-01.html

    Also, here is the ISBN number in case you want to get a hard copy:

    ISBN4-04-712207-6

Comments are closed.