Section 3.1.1: The Mystery of Akara Naja
Subsection 1: Articles
The Mystery of Akara Naja (revised 2008)
To help people learn a little more about this character, I’ve compiled what few facts we know about her past. I’ve also changed the title of this piece to reflect that this really is a mystery. The more I’ve learned, the more mysterious the aftermath of her disappearance becomes! Enjoy!
(Note: All names are written in Japanese fashion, family name first, given name second. Also, I’ve skipped over explanations of things related to Naja’s story, such as “What is Seniwa?”. Answers to these questions are best found on the FAQ page. )
Part 1: The Facts
Akara Naja was born at the Jurai Imperial Academy (1). At the age of 21, she met Hakubi Washu, whom she welcomed by chasing across the campus grounds! The two quickly became good friends, being almost equals in their intellect and academic standing and both being in Class 6 of the Department of Philosophy (the elite department of the Academy). From her description, Naja seems to have had an impulsive, mercurial temperament. Teasing one moment, quick to cry the next. She enjoyed trying to surprise Washu with large events, which “Washu-chan” disliked and endeavored to avoid, eliciting a pout from Naja. Naja was privy to information on the political situation between Jurai and Seniwa, helping to keep watch on Washu after her marriage to Kuramitsu Mikamo. She lived with the couple on their farm after the marriage and it was Naja who broke the news to Washu of Mikamo’s departure with their baby (Mikumo). Afterwards, Naja assisted in locating and devising methods to retrieve the child for 4-plus years. In the end, Washu refused to remove the child from the only home he had known, thus setting the stage for her descendents in the Kuramitsu family. The two (Washu and Naja) apparently returned to the Academy and remained there for some time, eventually helping to separate the institution from the control of Jurai and forming it into the Galaxy Academy.
For somewhere around 15,000 years (give or take a few hundred), the two taught, researched Washu’s gems, blew a large hole in the Academy’s landscape (“Washu’s Pore”), and pondered ancient artifacts from a prehistoric-civilization (“The Ancients” as denoted by AstroNerdBoy) that had once spanned the galaxy. During this time, Naja and Washu were attempting to create a being that could use the potential power of Washu’s three gems.
Two precursor children were created (who died, cause unknown)(2) in their attempts to create a being who could control the power of the gems. Then, approximately 5000+ years ago, while researching ancient artifacts on planet K1190, Naja herself was presumed killed in a pirate attack (though importantly, her body was never found). It is unknown if Washu was there or not. This is where Akara Naja disappears from history.
A Jurain noble, Kamiki Ushio, destroyed the pirates and discovered an unidentified 6-year old girl suffering from amnesia. Ushio took her to Jurai and adopted her into the Kamiki Clan where she became Kamiki Seto, Ayeka and Sasami’s grandmother.
Meanwhile, a saddened Washu cloned her friend (probably from some left-over DNA). The Naja clone (Kagato now) appropriated or was assimilated with one of the failed “Ryokos” (because of the body’s great strength) (3). Afterwards, Kagato separated himself from his female “part”. Washu and “Kagato” continued their attempts to create a being to use the gems. Eventually, “The Ryoko” was generated about -5000 years ago.
Something went wrong, or Kagato was more arrogant and ambitious than his predecessor, and managed to lock Washu up in the Souja, afterwards using Ryoko to further his own ends. Washu was released by her great-great-granddaughter Mihoshi, and Kagato finally destroyed by Masaki Tenchi in OAV 1, episode 6.
In OAV 3, episode 6 (“Z”) Tenchi rescues a young girl who declares “I am also Kagato”. As they bounce through time, Tenchi loses her in the void. In OAV3, episode “+1”, it is revealed that the young girl is inside Kamiki Noike as an astral body. She is the left-over female part of Kagato that he removed after his “assimilation” (4). Somehow, she had been found by Dr. Clay (5) and placed in a baby (Noike) for a purpose unknown. After relating this information, Noike and the astral “Kagato-chan” once again reunite.
This information comes from several sources:
- The Shin Tenchi Novels “Jurai”, “Yosho”, and “Washu”
- Masaki Kajishima’s doujinshi.
- Interviews in “Comic Love” Magazine and Tenchi Muyo! art books
- Tenchiken’s Tenchi Muyo! FAQ.
- OAV1, OAV2 and OAV3.
Most of the Japanese interview and article information comes to us through S.Naoe and Kaz Tatsumingo, Japanese Tenchi fans. In the past few years, these articles and interviews have become more available and I have noted this information elsewhere.
I also wish to thank AstroNerdBoy for putting up with my delays. True Sheol for a copy of the “Shin Perfect Interview”. Atonashi for helping to translate Kajishima’s weird writing. Tomato for taking the time to look up a line from an old script. Dr. Ugai for not calling me a complete idiot, but suggesting a different term. And “Tenno Heika”, admin at “JapanZone Forums”, for help above and beyond the call of duty (and not calling me a complete idiot).
(1) Does this mean Naja was a citizen of Jurai? If so, she was of the ‘general populace” for she did not possess a royal tree (that we know of). The Academy seems to have been cosmopolitan in nature, so this is not necessarily the case.
Interviewer: Then why did Washu make Ryoko?
Kajishima: Well, certainly after all, of course it is true to say that she did want a child. Not only that, in order to ascertain the true nature of the jewels, Ryoko was created as an experiment. Because to respond to the jewels, as she did, she understood that only a child born from her would (be able to accomplish this goal). In fact, even before Ryoko two people, children that is, were created by Washu!
Interviewer: Made the same way as Ryoko?
Kajishima: One was made by cloning from Washu’s cells, the other was made by combining an ovum together with pseudo-sperm*. But, both died in an accident**. For details of that particular topic, please read the “Shin Tenchi Muyo! Ryoouki” novels. (laughs).
* You could take this to mean “one experiment” was cloned from Washu’s cells, while “the other” experiment was created from her artificially inseminated ovum. Atonashi believes that he is speaking of the two children being created by different means. Ryoko was created using Washu’s ovum and “masu” (pseudo-sperm). The context seems to indicate he is speaking of the two precursor children, but this is “Kajishima-ese” speak, so I’m not sure.
** You can read “incident” here for “jiko”. Maybe the same one that created “Washu’s Pore”?
With every impact Azusa felt the grating of bone.
Why was Kagato so strong?
It was because a prototype body of Ryoko was used for* the body of Kagato.
Called the Milky Way Galaxy’s greatest brain, Washu gave her all to Ryoko’s experimental prototype. As Azusa thought, he was not human!
* I think this could also be read “used IN the body of Kagato”. Assimilation is a dangerous thing!
(4) From OAV3, Episode +1 – the young girl says she is the “josei bibun damena” (“no good female part”) of Kagato. Washu explains that “…Kagato tte… motomoto shiyuudoutai dattandayo” (“…Kagato, that is to say… originally was a hermaphrodite!”) Thanks to Tomato for digging the script out of his closet to look up that line! The term “shiyuudoutai” means “hermaphroditism”, and is not “futanari” (hermaphrodite). So what does this mean? (See “Some Speculation”, Note 5)
(5) One thing to remember — Dr. Clay was not overly fond of Akara Naja. To find this astral being who greatly resembled one of his nemesis at the Academy must have been quite surprising to the Doctor. Who knows what purpose he intended for Noike?
Part 2: Some Speculation
People wonder: Are Seto and Naja related in some way? It is a strange coincidence that they disappear and appear on the same planet at the same time. It would have been much easier for Kajishima to have written Seto as a full Jurain without this odd happenstance in her background. This fact, along with the similarity of Seto and Naja’s personality (Seto chasing Azusa through the Tenju ; Naja chasing Washu through the Academy) seem to point to a relationship. (Note 1)
But what sort of relationship? There are three major contenders:
1. Seto is Naja or Washu’s daughter — Somehow, either through genetic manipulation or by an unknown husband, Naja and Washu produced a child who managed to get lost on K1190. (I only comment that it would seem odd that Washu would not have searched for this child, even if she did not know Naja was dead). Kamiki Ushio would have asked people to help identify Seto, but no such ID was forthcoming. I doubt Washu would have failed to find such a lost child. It is possible that Washu decided to leave her where she was, as she did with her own child, Mikumo. Perhaps Washu felt Ushio could give her a better home. (Note 2)
2. Seto is one of the failed Ryoko experiments — Two “children” were produced who died in accidents. These were preliminary Ryoko experiments. This would explain why Seto’s hair color is different from Naja’s, as opposed to a “natural” child, as Ryoko’s is from Washu’s. (Note 3)
3. Akara Naja IS Kamiki Seto — In some fashion, Naja was reborn as a six-year old girl with no memory. She had been researching ancient artifacts from the Ancient civilization on K1190. It is possible that she had found something, and during the pirate attack, an accident happened, or something was activated or released, that transformed her. This is in keeping with how Washu herself was found (as a three year old girl with no memory) on Kanemitsu.
Of course, these are not the only theories. Seto herself has no inkling of her possible ties to Akara Naja, thinking she is the orphaned daughter of a treasure hunter. Kajishima may once again be misleading us. Naja (one of the galaxy’s brightest minds) may well have been vaporized in a pirate attack.
(1) The eyes as a relationship I have removed. Seto’s eye color is very odd. In the anime, Seto’s eyes are dark red, resembling Misaki, Ayeka and Sasami’s. A family trait to be sure. However, in Kajishima’s doujin and the Shin Tenchi Muyo novel images, Seto’s eye color varies, but is generally a yellowish appearance (much the same as Ryoko’s). Seto’s eye color is as much of a conundrum as what happened to Akara Naja! Of course, Kajishima describes Ryoko’s hair color as “emerald green” in the novel “Yosho”. Perhaps he’s hinting at a tie between Ryoko and Seto? (Note 4.1).
(2) In Episode 13, when Washu was hugged by Misaki, she responded “She reminds me of someone.” Both S.Naoe and I thought this might be a reference to Naja, as S.Naoe reported that Kajishima had written that Misaki and Naja were similar in personality. However, in Kajishima’s Q&As from his home page, he answered that Washu was referring to Mihoshi. This seems to put this connection to rest. Except — if Mihoshi and Misaki are similar in personality and character, does this mean they have a common ancestor — Washu? Perhaps the reason Misaki is very powerful (The Counteractor) is that she is descended from a goddess, or from the creation of a goddess (Seto)?
(3) In a recent Kajishima doujinshi, there is a scene of two children that is apparently a memory of Washu. These children resemble Washu, and are possibly the two precursor children. The following scene shows Washu and Naja dressed in formal Academy garb, and it is postulated that they are in front of a cenotaph (though it’s unclear). This would indicate that the children died before Naja, and therefore could not be on K1190 with her. So the explanation that Seto could be one of the two failed Ryokos seems less likely now. Or does it? Just how many prototypes did Washu and Naja make eventually?
Above images are from the Kajishima doujinshi Omatsuri Zenjitsu no Yoru Tenchi-hen 6.08
1. As both Washu and Kagato were later experimenting with the masu in their creation of a being able to handle the three gems, it has been postulated Naja too was experimenting with the masu. During the pirate attack, she somehow assimilated with the masu and was turned into a six-year old child with no memory. The crashed spaceship Washu shows during her lecture in Episode 10 may have been Naja’s, and K1190 may have been the home planet for the masu. This gives Seto and Ryoko a tie, as both are beings made of masu. It also explains how Kagato was able to “assimilate” with the “Ryoko” prototype (as Ryoouki did with the female Masu). But once again, Seto has never exhibited any masu like qualities. Maybe the “yellow” eyes of both Ryoko and Seto are a clue. At least it explains what happened to Naja’s body, but not why she reverted back to the age of 6 years (unless the masu was in a body that appeared 6 years old, which brings us back to the Ryoko prototypes).
2. I speculated that considering Kajishima’s apparent fondness for astral beings, perhaps when Naja was “killed”, her astral self took over the body of a 6 year old girl and merged with her. Assimilation has been done with Ryoko, Sasami and Noike, so why not Seto? But Naja’s body was not found, and that’s a problem.
3. One is that a “being” (Masu, astral projection, Washu clone, etc.) was released during the pirate attack. This “being” may have assimilated with a badly injured Naja – the result being Seto. At least this explains what happened to Naja’s body, if not why she became a 6 year old.
(5) At the end, I have to say something about Kagato. From the beginning I’ve always assumed that the Naja clone (Kagato) was female. I suppose it seems reasonable to say that a clone is a “copy” of the original. Since Naja was female, it goes without saying that the clone should be female, but now I’m not so sure. Since Washu relates that Kagato-chan looked very much like Kagato did as a boy, does it mean that Kagato was originally male, and that the Ryoko prototype was female after all? This seems the logical conclusion. But why would Washu change Naja’s sex? And as Washu relates later, Kagato was originally a hermaphrodite, or had the characteristics of both sexes! What was Washu doing, or what is she hiding?
AstroNerdBoy additional: there’s not much official artwork showing Naja, so I thought I’d insert a couple of pieces that I knew about. Click the image to see the full sized versions.
Image is from the front and back cover of the Kajishima doujinshi Tenchi Ranpou.
Image is from the Shin Tenchi Muyo! novel Washu.