Tenchi Muyo! was not my favorite pastime anime. It doesn’t breach Top 5; hell I don’t think it would even hit my Top 10. To best honest, as an adult, I find a couple of themes that run through it are grossly misogynistic and problematic. There is only so much harem anime a bitch can take. Tenchi Muyo follows teenager Tenchi Masaki, whose peaceful existence is disrupted when he discovers he comes from a line of alien royalty and several alien women decide to live with him in his house. They soon get into all sorts of wacky shit. And in true harem definition, pretty much all these women have a crush on Tenchi. This poor dude shows very little interest in being romantically involved with any of them. However, this fact does very little in deterring them from throwing themselves at the hapless Shinto priest in-training. I guess that kind of humor just is not very entertaining to me.
But one thing that I definitely reflect upon fondly, all these years later, is the ‘cabbit’(cat/rabbit hybrid) Ryo-Ohki!
Those of you who know me personally, understand that cats are my life. I think they are one of the greatest organic creations to ever grace this universe, period. I’m not a large rabbit fan but, you know, they’re fine. They’re around, just rabbiting, being specks of prey. Now while Ryo-Ohki isn’t a feline proper, they definitely fit the mold of a cute, cuddly companion. BUT ALSO, THEY ARE A DANGEROUS AND FIERCE LITTLE COMET THAT WILL FUCK YOU UP. HARD. A bit of background information about the critter is that Ryo-Ohki is the bonded complement to Ryoko Hakubi, one of the most powerful space pirates to fly through the solar system. (Also, she is one of the aforementioned alien women infatuated with Tenchi). Ryo-Ohki is more than just clickbait on Instagram for likes; they also are able to transform into a giant spaceship! Can Pusheen do that??? I don’t think so!!!!
There are multiple different incarnations of Tenchi Muyo!, and with it, come different embodiments of the infamous cabbit. In one series, Ryo-Ohki was created by Washu, the genius scientist. In another, they are just a member of a different kind of species. In Pretty Sammy TV, RO is a guardian of Sasami, another main character in the Tenchi Muyo! universe. In true anime fashion, there is also a “human” version of Ryo-Ohki. Can’t forget to toss a bone to the furries! In episode three of Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, we see a newly hatched Ryo-Ohki comforting Ayeka in the forest. RO is so affectionate and caring, and we see this demonstrated throughout the episode, even to those who were initially cold towards them. (cough -Ayeka the weenie- cough). My favorite part from this episode probably starts at 20:08. JUST LOOK HOW GRATEFUL THIS LITTLE BOOBOO IS. Their eyes teared up at being able to devour their favorite food, carrots! So pure!
“Eat enough of those and one day you’ll grow up to be a spaceship!” HEHEHEHEHE, oh Tenchi you barnacle.
From the episode “No Need For Swimsuits!” in the Tenchi Universe Saga, we see Ryo-Ohki get cuddly with Ken-Ohki, the cabbit companion of Nagi, Ryoko’s arch enemy. It’s one of those star-crossed lovers situation, where they remain staunchly faithful to their human counterparts but can’t help but love one another from afar. Dating must have been tough, considering Ryoko and Nagi pretty much wanted to kill each other during the entire series. At least they could say they were never bored.
I love how gentle and loyal and sweet RO is to their friends. I’m glad that the devotion to Ryoko is seen as sacrosanct; another essential part of shounen and shoujo anime. RO is right up there with Ein from Cowboy Bebop and Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service. You just can’t forget them. They added to the depth and humanity of their partners, and were on their own, fleshed out characters. They made you laugh and cry. And for me, they were an important part of my childhood. Hats off to you Ryo-Ohki; the stars burn brighter with your existence.