17. No Need for Hunger!

Tenchi and the gang are still travelling through space aboard Yagami, and things aren’t looking good for them. Not only are the food supplies getting dangerously low, but the engines have just malfunctioned; going anywhere, let alone to a food store, will be impossible for a while.

With a little flattery, Washu is persuaded to fix the engines, but what in principle should be an easy job is made a lot more difficult by Mihoshi’s ‘assistance’. When Mihoshi hands Washu a tube of flamethrower and adhesive, all of her repair work is demolished, forcing the genius scientist to start over.

Meanwhile, the others discover that Ryoko has swiped the last of the food, and as punishment, they send her out in Ryo-Ohki to get some more. After taking most of Ayeka’s money (and attempting to take Tenchi as well!), Ryoko heads out in Ryo-Ohki, with the others fervently hoping that she will be back soon.

When Mihoshi manages to demolish Washu’s work once again, repairs are set back another few days. Everyone’s hopes for food are pinned on Ryoko returning quickly, but even though she has reached a planet where she could be buying food, Ryoko has already become sidetracked- by a sake stand. Ryo-Ohki tries to urge Ryoko to hurry up, but when Ryoko feeds her some sake, she too becomes too drunk to care.

Whilst the others begin feeling weak from lack of food, Ryoko continues to indulge herself with a lucky run on the slot machines. And even as the others longingly drool over a cooking program on TV, Ryoko is happily splashing out on meals at all the best local restaurants.

Mihoshi has been kept out of the control room, but repairs are still proceeding slowly, because now Washu is too hungry to concentrate on the work. Ryoko, however, continues to order a steady stream of large and sumptuous dishes. Despite being bound and gagged, Ryo-Ohki tries to remind her of her duty, but Ryoko is quick to shut her up- by buying an oversized bowl of carrots.

Back on Yagami, the lack of food is beginning to drive everyone crazy. Whilst a desperate Nobuyuki begins chewing on an orange peel he pulled out of the trash, Mihoshi actually starts hallucinating and eating imaginary food. Finally, when all seems lost, the smell of cooking attracts everyone’s notice, and even though it is only Katsuhito barbecuing a squid, they hungrily flock to get some sustenance. Unfortunately, having to share out this morsel between them means that everyone can only have one bite each.

Having forgotten about her promise to buy food, Ryoko spends a day off sunbathing by a pool, until finally she can no longer ignore Ryo-Ohki’s insistence that they buy some food for the others. Intending to go shopping, Ryoko checks out of the hotel she was staying in, only to discover that the bill is much larger than she anticipated- almost all her money is gone. Desperate to replace her funds, Ryoko heads to the track to bet on the races, only to lose everything when her animal is pipped at the post by an outsider.

On Yagami, everyone has almost passed out from lack of food, but Tenchi exhorts them to have faith, and trust that Ryoko will be back soon, although the others aren’t sure that having such high expectations of a space pirate is  a good idea. In fact, even as Tenchi is speaking, Ryoko is busy robbing the Bank of Jurai in order to replace all the money she spent. And with her skills and experience, it is no big deal to snatch the cash, evade the authorities, and take off in Ryo-Ohki.

Washu finally manages to finish the repairs, but whilst Ayeka is eager to leave straightaway, Tenchi tells her that they should wait for Ryoko. Ayeka is ready to give up on Ryoko, but to her surprise and Tenchi’s vindication, the space pirate finally shows up, hoisting a big sack that they are sure is filled with food.

Ayeka begins to berate Ryoko for taking so long, only to be mollified when Ryoko tosses her an apple- surely only the precursor for the feast she has brought for them. Unfortunately, Ryoko isn’t the only one to show up- thanks to her bank robbery, the police have followed her all the way back to Yagami. The police begin firing, and as Yagami is rocked by the hits, Ryoko’s bag rips open- revealing the money she stole from the Jurai Bank’s vault.

As they turn tail and run from the police, it seems clear that not only did Ryoko betray their trust- she has actually made the situation worse. Now, not only are they all implicated in a bank robbery, but everyone is even hungrier than ever! Will they ever manage to get something to eat?