Section 1.2: Tenchi Muyo! Continuities
What are all the different Tenchi stories and when did they come out?
1992-3: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki (a.k.a. Tenchi Muyo!) – the original and thus canon OVA series; 6 episodes.
1993-?: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki –a series of non-canon novels by HASEGAWA Naoko. NOT available outside of Japan.
1993: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki Special: The Night before the Carnival – (aka: OAV 1 Special) – an OVA special that is episode #7 of the canon series.
1994: Galaxy Police Mihoshi’s Space Adventure (a.k.a. the Mihoshi Special) – a single, non-canon OVA episode that was spun-off from the canon OVA series.
1994: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki Kaitaishinsho 101 no Nazo (aka: 101 Secrets of Tenchi Muyo! Ryi-ohki/101 Mysteries of Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki) – a canon book written by KURODA Yousuke with Kajishima-sensei to answer fan questions as well as to provide other insights such as cut scenes and more.
1994-2001: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki (a.k.a No Need for Tenchi) – a 12-volume manga series by OKUDA Hitoshi.
1995: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OAV 2 – the second, canon OVA series; picks up from the end of “Night Before Carnival;” 6 episodes long plus an omake mini-episode tagged to the end of episode 13.
1995: Tenchi Muyo! TV (a.k.a. Tenchi Universe) –a non-canon, spin-off, 26-episode TV series developed for TV Tokyo. TU took elements from TM!R OAV 1 and from Hasegawa-sensei such as the character of MAKIBI Kiyone.
1995-7: Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy (a.k.a. Magic Girl Pretty Sammy OAV; Tenchi and Friends Special: Pretty Sammy) – a non-canon OAV series 3-episodes long, spun-off of the Mihoshi Special.
1996: Tenchi Muyo! in Love (a.k.a. Tenchi: The Movie) – a feature-length film based on the Tenchi Universe TV series.
1996-7: Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy TV (a.k.a. Magic Girl Pretty Sammy; Magical Project S) – a non-canon, 26-episode TV series about Pretty Sammy. It is a remake of the Pretty Sammy OVA with several changes to the story.
1997: Shin Tenchi Muyo! (a.k.a. Tenchi in Tokyo) – another non-canon, spin-off, 26-episode long TV series. The story contains all of the same main characters as Tenchi Universe, but their roles are different to varying degrees.
1997: Tenchi Muyo! Manatsu no Eve (a.k.a. Tenchi: The Movie 2: Daughter of Darkness) – a non-canon, feature-length film based on one of Hasegawa-sensei novels.
1997: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki’s Day – a non-canon, six issue comic series published by Pioneer USA (it was included in the Pioneer Tenchi Muyo! OVA DVD set; otherwise I think this series is pretty much ignored…). You can from time-to-time find the comics on eBay, however they are generally considered pretty bad reading.
1997: Shin Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki: Jurai – the first of the canon, prequel, True Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki novels by Kajishima sensei and OVA 2 script writer, Kuroda-sensei. This novel primarily covers Azusa’s life.
1998: Shin Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki: Yosho – the second of the canon, prequel, True Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki novels by Kajishima-sensei & Kuroda-sensei. This novel deals with Yosho’s life, including Ryoko’s attack on Jurai.
1999: Shin Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki: Washu – the third of the canon, prequel, True Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki novels by Kajishima-sensei & Kuroda-sensei. This novel deals with Washu’s life at the Royal Academy, prior to her capture by Kagato. Go here for more information about all three novels.
1999: Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Haruka naru omoi (a.k.a. Tenchi Forever)– a non-canon, feature-length film based on Tenchi Universe TV series.
2002: Shin Tenchi Muyo!– a non-canon manga by OKUDA Hitoshi. Viz’s English version began being published in May 2004.
2002: Tenchi Muyo! Galaxy Police Transporter (a.k.a Tenchi Muyo! GXP) – a canon, 26-episode TV series is a spinoff-sequel of the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki. It aired in Japan in April 2002. Go here for more info.
2003 – Present: Tenchi Muyo! GXP novels — this is set of canon novels written by Kajishima-sensei to tell the GXP story his way, thus removing certain elements by the anime director Watanabe (Nabeshin). As of this writing (27-SEP-2012), eight GXP novels have been written.
2003 – 2005: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OAV 3 – this is the third canon OAV series covering the first chapter of the TM!R story. It is six-episodes in length.
2005: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OAV 3 +1 – the 20th episode of the canon original series which provides many answers, some new questions, and still leaves us with some unresolved issues.
2006: Sasami ~Magical Girl Club~ – the newest, non-canon spinoff to the Tenchi franchise. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Pretty Sammy titles even though it is another mahou shoujo title. This series focuses on the characters making up the magic girl club.
2006-2007: Sasami Magical Girl Club 2– The sequel/2nd series to Sasami ~Magical Girl Club~. This series focuses on the plot.
2009: Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari (aka: Tenchi Muyo! The War on Geminar) – The canon, spinoff-sequel to Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OVA 3 +1. Stars Tenchi’s half-brother Kenshi, who is 15 (meaning Tenchi is about 31-32) and mostly takes place on the world of Geminar.
2014: Ai Tenchi Muyo! – Directed by Negishi, this series may or may not be part of the Tenchi Universe continuity. Consisting of 50 short episodes (4 minute, including ED credits) and 10 recap short episodes, the series has Tenchi and company rescue a young girl and her guardian from a time-space accident created by Washu.
2016 – 2017: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OVA 4 – This is the fourth installment of the canon original series. Deals with the events just prior to Nobuyuki and Rea getting married.
2019?: Pretty Sammy Sequel – Recently announced sequel to the Pretty Sammy TV series. AIC obtained crowdfunding for the series. Not sure what form it will be published in.
2019?: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OVA 5 – Currently in pre-production. Recently announced to have six episodes.
Note: Audio dramas have not yet been added to this list.
ARRRGH! What’s up with all these different Tenchi continuities?
In the beginning, there was only one Tenchi continuity: the canon TM!R OVA. However, the popularity of that OVA series led to a number of “spin-offs” and world re-designs, including novels, television series, radio dramas, and manga. Not all of these Tenchi products have the same plot, and many outright contradict each other. It is not a good idea to assume that if you saw one thing in one series somewhere that it holds true for other series (unless it’s something extremely basic, like the fact that Ryoko is a space pirate, and if you count Pretty Sammy as part of the continuities, you can’t even hold onto that as a universal Tenchi truth. Confusing, ain’t it?)
How many continuities are there?
Five. Maybe six? Well, the manga are sort of a sub-continuity of… erm… maybe I should start over… The Tenchi franchise is a very profitable one for AIC and as such, they’ve created numerous spinoffs in anime and manga.
What are the different continuities then, and how, are they related?
The Canon, or Ryo-ohki, Universe
The OVA continuity is the only continuity which Kajishima has directly contributed to its development and production (discounting character design work from any of the non-canon spinoffs). The OVA universe consists of characters and events from Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki episodes 1-20 (1-13.5 is what Pioneer/Geneon licensed as “Tenchi Muyo” and 14-20 are what FUNimation licesed as “Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki”). Because this is the original series from Kajishima-sensei, it is classified as “canon.” The True Tenchi novels are also be part of the canon material for the OAV continuity, as it covers the history of events in the OAV and it is written by the series’s original character concept designer, Masaki Kajishima. Tenchi Muyo! GXP takes place in the same universe; its chronology takes up where the OVA ends. As such, GXP is also canon material. Finally, Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar is canon, taking place some 15-years after GXP. To help understand what events (so far) are part of the OAV storyline, board member Strannik graciously created this timeline.
The Negishi, or Tenchi Universe
The Negishi Universe is comprised of characters and events in the first Tenchi TV series, also known as Tenchi Universe, two movies, Tenchi Muyo in Love and Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 (a.k.a. Tenchi Forever), and one manga Eternal Memory. It is called the “Negishi Universe” after the name of the director, who was one of the main creative forces behind the TV series and these two movies. I believe many Tenchi radio dramas are also based on this universe. This series was the first animated spin-off of the OVAs for television, but they re-started the plotline and re-wrote many character histories.
Since Negishi directed Ai Tenchi Muyo!, it is believed that this series also belongs in this continuity/universe.
The Tokyo (STM! or TinT) Universe
This is the universe comprising characters and events in the second Tenchi TV series, Shin Tenchi Muyo a.k.a. Tenchi in Tokyo. Once again, the character histories and plotline are somewhat different.
The Hasegawa Universe
Naoko Hasegawa, a scriptwriter for the first OVA series (episodes 1-6), wrote a series of Tenchi novels. These novels are based on and continue from events in OVA1, but NOT OVA2 or any other Kajishima materials, and so is essentially considered a separate continuity and NOT canon material. None of these novels are available in English, although the movie Manatsu no Eve, a.k.a. Daughter of Darkness, is based on these novels. (That’s why MnE seems sort-of OVA-like, but not really.) It should be noted that Hasegawa-sensei was the person who created the Galaxy Police Officer Kiyone, who later got introduced in the animated Tenchi world in the Mihoshi Special and later became a main cast member in the Negishi and Tokyo universes.
The Manga, or Okuda, Universe
Hitoshi Okuda drew and wrote 12 volumes of a Tenchi Muyo! manga, simply entitled No Need for Tenchi! in the US. He also is the penner of the sequel series All New Tenchi Muyo! The manga universe is based on OVAs 1 and 2, and somewhat on other Ryo-ohki universe materials, but it is not considered officially part of the OVA universe because events that happen in the manga will probably not effect events in the True Tenchi novels or third OVA.
The Pretty Sammy OAV Universe
The three-episode-long Pretty Sammy OAV includes characters based on the major Tenchi series but is very different in plot and style, it essentially using the characters in a parody of Magical Girl anime. The character of Pretty Sammy was introduced in the Mihoshi Special but the Mihoshi Special takes place in a different universe as well.
The Pretty Sammy TV Universe
Pretty Sammy got spun off into a TV series, Magical Project S. Of course, it doesn’t quite have the same plot as the OAV series it’s based on.
The Sasami ~Mahou Shoujo Club Universe~
TM!R got spun off into a 3rd mahou shoujo series. It is not related to the Pretty Sammy titles. All of the characters have new names, but Sasami-chan, Washu, and Mihoshi will have roles. The seiyuu for the characters are all new, with actual young girls doing the voices of Sasami-chan, Misao-chan, and the other girls.
There are also other manga, radio dramas, and video games that are not mentioned here, that probably comprise miscellaneous categories of their own. The ones mentioned above comprise the most important and well-known continuities, however.
What continuity is the Mihoshi Special in?
Galaxy Police Mihoshi’s Space Adventure came out on video around the same time as “Night before the Carnival” (episode 7 of the OVA). At the time, the only continuity in existence was the OVA universe, and so many believe the Mihoshi Special is part of the canon continuity. However, Kajishima-sensei did not work on the Mihoshi Special other than to provide character design work for all the characters (although HAYASHI Hiroki, the other OVA series creator, directed it), so some people think it should not be considered part of the OVA universe.
The existence of MAKIBI Kiyone, a character imported from the Hasegawa-sensei’s novels (but with a different background), in the Mihoshi Special is is another factor in why this isn’t part of the canon continuity. Most of the story of the Mihoshi Special takes place inside Mihoshi’s head, as she “casts” her friends into a story she is telling them, which adds to the confusion. In fact, this OVA episode was basically a prototype for Tenchi Universe (some of the people who worked on the Special worked on Tenchi Universe series) and/or for Magical Girl Pretty Sammy. Someone told the original FAQ creator, Death Quaker, that Kajishima-sensei said at his site that it was a TV prototype–although I was not provided with a direct quote.
Regardless of the continuity it stands in, this title is NOT canon material for the TM!R series.
Is Dual! part of the Tenchi-verse?
The anime series Parallel Trouble Adventure Dual! is created by Kajishima-sensei and according to him does tie in to the canon, OVA universe in some way. In GXP, there are tie-over references to Dual! with a mecha very much like Zinv from Dual! being found on a distant planet. In the Dual! series, however, none of the characters are directly related to the characters in Tenchi Muyo! (although the main character YOTSUGA Kazuki coincidentally has the same name as King Azusa Jurai’s father). Incidentally, and rather amusingly, the otherwise non-OVA continuity characters Kiyone, Rumiya, and Misao appear very briefly at the end of Dual! episode 14.
What about Kajishima-sensei’s other works. How are they related to the Tenchi-verse?
There’s an odd thing about all of Kajishima-sensei’s anime titles — they are supposedly related to one another in one way or other. You just saw the more blatant example in the Dual! series which was then paid back in the GXP series. Supposedly, Zero appears in Spaceship Agga Ruter, one of Kajishima-sensei’s hentai titles.
What about Saint Knights Tale (Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar)?
The short answer is, “Yes, it is part of the canon continuity. Conceived of by Kajishima-sensei in 2002, Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari , know officially known in English as Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar, finally came to life several years later, taking place some 15-years after the events in GXP and starring Tenchi’s half-brother, Kenshi. However, the series does not take place on Earth, but on another world named Geninar. You can read more about ISM here.
Is there a chart or something to break this all down?
Why yes there is, thanks to Michael Arroyo. ^_^
Why is Galaxy Police Officer MAKIBI Kiyone not in the original OVA series or the Okuda manga?
Because Kajishima-sensei didn’t make her up; she was invented by HASEGAWA Naoko-sensei for her spinoff novels and didn’t see the screen until after OAV 1 was completed (first showing up in anime for the Mihoshi Special). The Okuda manga is based on the OVA series, so it doesn’t include her either.
Why are people at the board calling Tenchi’s mother “Kiyone?” Isn’t that Mihoshi’s partner? Isn’t Tenchi’s mother named “Achika?”
In the first TV series and the movies that were based on it, Tenchi’s mother was named Achika. In GXP and OAV 3, however, his mother is called Kiyone, which is rumored to have been the name Kajishima-sensei had picked for the character before or during the time Hasegawa-sensei gave the name to the teal-haired girl with the orange headband.