10. No Need for an Archrival!

In a seedy bar somewhere in the depths of space, a group of wanted criminals idly pass the time by talking about the famous space pirate Ryoko, who has recently been rumoured to have actually settled down with a man on the backwater planet known as Earth. To the criminals, it is just gossip, but there is someone else at the bar who is very interested in any information about Ryoko’s whereabouts. That person is none other than Nagi, the deadliest and most dangerous bounty hunter in the entire universe.

On planet Earth, Tenchi is busy harvesting carrots when he disturbed by a rustling in the grass. Assuming it is Ryo-Ohki, Tenchi goes to have a look, but whilst what he discovers looks like Ryo-Ohki, it is definitely not her. And from the look on his face as something approaches from behind, that is only the least of his troubles.

Back at the house, Ayeka is searching for Ryoko- not because she particularly wants to see her, but because Tenchi has been gone for a while, and she is sure that Ryoko has taken him somewhere. Whilst Ayeka continues her search, the others wonder at her increasing paranoia. Soon enough, however, everyone is distracted when they notice that something has disturbed Ryo-Ohki- she has starting hissing up at the light fixture.

Sasami notices a strange creature up on the light shade, and, as the others try to figure out what it is, the animal is quick to jump down, revealing itself to be a cabbit, just like Ryo-Ohki. Soon, the two cabbits are hissing at each other, at least until Mihoshi and Sasami intervene and try to get the two creatures to make friends with each over a bowl of carrots.

Ryo-Ohki quickly tucks in to the carrots, but the newcomer is a little wary of this strange food- at least until he takes a bite and discovers just how delicious they are. Sasami and the others are pleased to see the two cabbits getting along so well, but when Ryoko comes out of the bath, she is far from happy to see the new cabbit. As Ryoko well knows, this new cabbit is named Ken-Ohki, and where he goes, his owner is never far behind.

On seeing Ryoko, Ken-Ohki quickly runs away, and Ryoko and the others are quick to chase after him. They are soon led to the woods, where Ken-Ohki’s owner awaits- and that owner is none other than Nagi the bounty hunter. Believing him to be Ryoko’s boyfriend, Nagi has taken Tenchi hostage, and if Ryoko wants him back, she’ll have to come to Venus and face off against Nagi herself.

With Nagi heading off to Venus in Ken-Ohki, Ryoko and the others have little choice but to follow in Ryo-Ohki and Yagame. Kiyone is already familiar with Nagi, and she fills the others in on what she knows. A legendary bounty hunter, Nagi has gained a reputation as the best in the universe. Ryoko adds in her part of the story- of all the people that Nagi has gone after, the only one that has survived to date is Ryoko herself. Over the years, the two have faced off many times, in battles so intense and closely fought that they have come to consider themselves archrivals. This could very well be the decisive confrontation between them, and Ryoko asks Kiyone to stay out of it. She doesn’t want the Galaxy Police interfering, and after a little persuasion Kiyone reluctantly agrees to her request.

The two ships eventually catch up with Nagi and Ken-Ohki in orbit of Venus. On Nagi’s command, Ken-Ohki begins firing on them, but Ryo-Ohki refuses to return fire- she doesn’t want to hurt her new cabbit-friend. And when Ken-Ohki disregards Nagi’s order to finish Ryoko and the others off for fear of killing Ryo-Ohki, the two archrivals realises that the only way for them to settle this is with a one-on-one duel.

On the planet’s surface, Washu obligingly sets up an atmospheric dome for the confrontation. The dome is modelled after a Wild West frontier town- a perfect setting for the coming showdown. In true dramatic tradition, Nagi appears at the town entrance just as the sun is setting, dragging a suspiciously coffin-like box with her. Entering the town, Nagi opens the box to reveal a bound and gagged Tenchi- Nagi will release him if and only if Ryoko can defeat her.

As the others stand back to watch, Nagi and Ryoko begin their duel. After trading a few energy blasts, Ryoko switches to her energy sword, whilst Nagi activates a purple energy whip. As the two exchange blows, it becomes clear that Nagi has the edge, with Ryoko struggling to dodge and defend.

But Ryoko cannot dodge forever, and soon Nagi manages to make contact, wrapping her energy whip around Ryoko’s neck. Despite her protests to the contrary, it looks as if it is all over for Ryoko- until, by a strange twist of fate, Nagi is distracted by none other than Ayeka.

Seeing her rival otherwise occupied and hopefully soon to be out of the picture, Ayeka took the opportunity to sneak up to Tenchi, and is even now in the process of rescuing him. Realising that her hostage is about to be released, Nagi turns her attention to Ayeka, giving Ryoko the chance to free herself. Ryoko quickly counterattacks, firing an energy blast that hits Nagi full in the chest and knocks her back into a building.

Nagi manages to push herself up out of the wreckage of the building, only to collapse to the ground, the last of her strength used up. Ryoko has won, and Nagi invites the space pirate to claim victory by taking her life. Ryoko is about to fulfil Nagi’s request, but when Ryo-Ohki sees Ken-Ohki protecting his owner, she puts herself in Ryoko’s way- if Ken-Ohki wants Nagi saved, then Ryo-Ohki wants that as well.

Turning away, Ryoko tells Nagi to leave, and the bounty hunter does so, promising Ryoko that she will regret this moment of mercy. With a soulful meow, Ken-Ohki bids Ryo-Ohki farewell, before transforming into a spaceship so that he and Nagi can be on their way.

Watching them fly away, Ryoko and the others discuss Nagi, Ken-Ohki, and Ryo-Ohki’s crush on the new cabbit, temporarily forgetting all about the very person they came to rescue- Tenchi himself. Suddenly remembering, Ryoko and Ayeka turn to look for him, only to discover that Sasami has already untied him and is even now receiving Tenchi’s undivided attention! Will there ever be a time when Sasami doesn’t get to Tenchi first?