Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 30

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This is RABUJOI’s 3,000th anime review!

Wow, has it already been thirty episodes? How time flies when you watch something four minutes at a time. For the first twenty-nine, we’d only gotten the slightest hints about what exactly was going on, and not much at all about precisely what Tenchi was up to.

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Now we get those answers all at once in an episode that does wonders for the cohesion of the overall show. The events of this episode take place before all the Junai High stuff, so it would have worked just fine as the first episode, in fact, but that would have been too dull. No, I like it right here, three-fifths of the way in, after we’ve already gone through many adventures with Tenchi and his students.

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As it happens, Momo and likely Beni, are “temporal castaways” Tenchi was sent into the past to rescue and return to their rightful time and place. When that mission failed and another temporal rift opened, he found himself back in Washuu’s lab, while Momo and Beni ended up in the present day at Junai High.

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Washuu convenes a family meeting with Tenchi, Ryouko, and the Jurai sisters, and formulate a new plan: Tenchi will infiltrate the school posing as a student teacher and gather information. That brings us to the actual, baffling first episode of the show, with Tenchi ending up in the middle of the forest. (Ha, I thought Kurihara-sensei was Washuu…what a FOOL I was!)

So yeah, this was a very informative episode that puts everything we’d seen before in a new and more coherent light, and will inform the show’s final two-fifths.

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 29

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So now we know the school administrators (if there even are any) are so cheap, the leave the roof repairs to Tenchi. Tenchi does his best, but he’s no roofer. Meanwhile, down below his home harem prepares a barbecue to cheer him up.

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Normally no non-students are allowed on dorm grounds under any circumstances, but Sasami’s over-the-shoulder smile is enough to melt Touri’s heart, and allows the incursion.

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It’s not just a barbecue for Tenchi, but for everyone (presumably there are no vegetarians among the main cast), even the science club, who happens upon the party. Yuki tries to graciously retreat, not wanting to start another fight but Momo invites them to join them; the more the merrier. Not to mention Aoi can’t resist the smell of the meat, nor can Beni pass up the opportunity to duel with Ryouko — with meat (and without collateral damage) this time.

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It’s another gesture that speaks to Momo’s inherent decency, diplomatic skills, and desire not to be alone like she once was in the past. She never wanted war with the science club. It’s a lightweight but feel-good episode, and as is usually the case, the grilling meat made my mouth water.

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 20

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ATM! plunges us straight into the first sports festival event, an obstacle course between Hachiko and Yuki that quickly spirals into an extremely free-wheeling affair, what with the use of Hachiko’s bokken and Yuki’s Gouriki-kun.

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There’s order within the chaos, though, as each character acts according to their strengths – and weaknesses. When Gouriki snatches Hachiko’s sword, she reverts to a scared little girl…but Momo, ever the cheerful, inspiring leader, is able to get Hachiko to carry on long enough to recover her sword – and her normal personality.

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Thanks to Touri’s hacking of Gouriki, Hachiko is able to defeat Gouriki and win the race, while Yuki can only slap her cheeks in disbelief and outrage at her defeat. 50 points to the White Team. On to the next event!

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 19

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It’s Bloomertime…which is to say, Touri doesn’t have much changing to do! Although, one would hope she has different bloomers for athletic exertion. While the gym uniform seems to homogenize the students, there are still those who’ll hike their shirts up, like Hana and Rui. Momo is her usual cheerful self, and insists whatever happens, everyone is to have fun; that’s an order, teehee!

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In the teachers lounge, seemingly the only two teachers in the school go over the game plan, but which I mean Kurihara puts Tenchi in armor for his “referee” job, warning him that the sporting events of the imminent festival are based on “local traditions.” It occurs to me that the environs of the school aren’t that different from the environs of the “flashback episodes” in which Momo is just a kid. Also, Kurihara is basically Queen Beryl, if Beryl taught at an all-girls’ school. Which is kinda funny.

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Ultimately, though, not much happens, as this segment brings us right up to the start of the festival without getting into any of the events. The students are assembled like soldiers, and Kurihara announces that extra club materials, funds, and using Tenchi as a servant-for-a-day are all on the line. Tenchi is hearing that last bit for the first time. What abuse is he in for this time?

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 18

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The culture fest and beauty pageant are over, and Tenchi believes his cross-dressing days are as well, but an ardent Saryuu Hana isn’t satisfied. She visits his house to drop off a very well-drawn yuri doujinshi involving herself and “Tenchi-onee-sama.” She also wants Tenchi to cross dress again for the upcoming sports festival, leading to visions of Tenchi in a midriff-baring cheerleader outfit.

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Ryouko and the Jurai sisters can’t help but hear his conversation with Hana, and decide they’ll work hard to make him a sensation. They also sneak a peek at the doujinshi (well, the two older ones do) and are both shocked and a little turned on. The book itself glows with Hana’s love (or lust), both closed and open.

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About that sports festival: both the StuCo and Science Club are vigorously preparing, as is Kurihara-sensei, who dons her “carnivorematrix” garb to whip Tenchi dummies to shards, remarking “this farce is over.” I guess whatever plan she has for Tenchi is going to the next level.

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 17

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Some anime go on for a whole full-length episode with their beauty contests, but ATM! gets it done in three minutes flat, thanks to brisk pacing, an efficient contest format, and quick-witted commentary by the duo of Hana and Touri. It’s also an excuse to dress up the characters in ways that accentuate their individual strengths, from Momo’s cuteness to Kurihara-sensei’s…carnivorousness.

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The scoring is all over the place, and there’s definitely bias against the science club, and Kurihara is the contestant to beat, but Tenchi blows everyone out of the water with his ridiculously-convincing raven-haired beauty drag, a look Kurihara incidentally helped him with, perhaps in hopes he would defeat even her.

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Naturally, Tenchi wins. The Jurai sisters now know that his supervisor is someone to look out for, while Hana seems to have now taken a more specific liking to Tenchi. With the Miss Contest over, the next episodelet could be about literally anything.

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 16

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With a title like “Tenchi’s Transformation”, I thought Hachiko’s on-stage kiss would be the cause of said transformation. Alas, Tenchi just runs off-stage.

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Yuki replaces herself and Rui with Gooriki for dishwashing duty, startling Ayeka, who unleashes her heretofore unseen weaponry, which is formidable in nature. I’m sure Yuki will mourn the fact that her just-repaired robot is again in pieces…but where’d she get such a big apron?

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Ryouko and Beni continue their pissing contest (for lack of a better word) with Ryouko really opening herself up for a counterattack when she bends a metal pole into a crude dog. Beni takes the sculpture, straightens it, and creates a beautiful bird. Maybe she should change her name to Ben…di?

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But Yuki puts a stop to their “battle” for the next event, the Miss Jurai Contest. Kurihara-sensei again scolds Tenchi for almost kissing Hachiko (even though he was thrown into that coffin by a robot! Perfectly reasonable explanation!), then proceeds to make him up into a contestant. This is his “transformation:” into a tall raven-haired beauty.

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Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 06

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After his long ordeal, Tenchi returns to his home, where Sasami and Aeka tend to him, serving tea and helping him unpack a “care package” from Washuu containing items he’d never believe necessary for the task at hand. Tenchi’s relaxing bath is interrupted by a cheeky Ryouko, and Sasami and Aeka come in and add to the unwelcome commotion.

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First of all, man, Tenchi’s got more girls than old men have hair in strange places. The latest two, Sasami and Aeka, are legacy characters from the original show, and there’s a lot written about them over at MAL, though I didn’t read it. Suffice it to say they’re a bit of a combination of doting housemates, sisters, and wives, and Tenchi doesn’t mind having them around…

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Unless they disturb his peaceful bath, that is. To be fair, the Masaki sisters were only responding to the noise Ryouko (another legacy character) was making while pestering Tenchi. But yeah, between all the anal-retentive signs on the walls (and the racket within them) and all the new girls at school he must contend with, there’s clearly not a lot of alone time for Tenchi…although that also means there’s nary a dull moment.

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