The DVD Collection Part 5: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki 1 & 2

Not tagged as harem apparently. Tags don't really work too well retroactively do they?
Not tagged as harem apparently. Tags don't really work too well retroactively do they?

Run From: OVA 1: September 25, 1992 to March 25, 1993

OVA 2: September 25, 1994 to September 25, 1995

What I would have been doing at the time: Gone through 4th, 6th and 7th grades including a move to a much colder climate. Such a hard time in a kid’s life in general.

First Watched: May 2000 on Cartoon Network. The various lengths of the episodes must have sucked for network scheduling.

DVDs Purchased: April 2002. With nothing else. The box set probably cost about $90 and could probably be had for $40 in today’s money.

Plot Synopsis: Our hero, Tenchi, frees the space pirate Ryoko. Gets involved in a conflict between Ryoko and Jurai princess Ayeka which sees them get stuck back in the mountains. Then saves Galaxy Police officer Mihoshi. Destroys Kagato while simultaneously rescuing the genius Washu. Helps Sasami deal with her identity crisis and tries to rescue Ryoko after she’s kidnapped, but ultimately serves as a lead-in plot device for a 3rd OVA I do not actually own. Plus, I’m well aware this is probably the most catastrophically bad paragraph I’ve ever written grammatically.

Thoughts: When I first saw this it just seemed so much different from anything else that I had ever seen up to that point. Unfortunately for my taste in fiction, it started a phase that even 9 years later I have not moved out of. At least this action/comedy oriented harem series has a bit of depth to it that would be unheard of today.

Perhaps characters would be the best place to analyze this. As a harem lead, Tenchi isn’t pathetic, rather he is someone the other characters look to in times of trouble. Ryoko is the aggressive woman who serves as more than just a plot device. Ayeka, who would be made completely useless and probably end up more as a tsundere if written today, actually shows depth. Sasami would just be little more than a loli character with few lines. Mihoshi would probably end up about the same and Washu would probably be toned down a little on the sexuality front.

While this would make it seem like some sort of pinnacle of harem anime, it just doesn’t feel like it. The fact it seems to get worse each time I watch doesn’t help at all either.

Next Time: Shoji Kawamori’s 2nd of 3 involved projects in my collection. A love triangle in the midst of prototype testing and giving virtual idols the key to the future of warfare.