Tenchi Muyo! (天地無用!, Tenchi Muyō!, lit. "Right Side Up with Care" or "No Need for Tenchi!") is a Japanese anime, light novel and manga franchise. The original series began with a six-episode OVA called Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki (天地無用! 魎皇鬼, Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki) created by Masaki Kajishima and Hiroki Hayashi, and released in Japan on September 25, 1992. The series was released by Pioneer LDC in the United Kingdom in 1994. As its popularity grew, it spurred a seventh episode titled Tenchi Muyo! Special: The Night Before the Carnival (also known as the Tenchi Special) and a stand-alone Tenchi Muyo! Mihoshi Special. A second OVA series was directed by Kenichi Yatani that was released in 1994, and a third OVA series, also directed by Kenichi, was released in 2003.
A fourth OVA series is currently in production in Japan, with the first collection due to be released November 30, 2016. The following episodes are planned to be released with an interval of 3 months each, and the final part of the series arrives August 30, 2017.
A twenty-six-episode anime television series called Tenchi Universe (天地無用!, Tenchi Muyō!) was released in 1995 retelling and expanding upon the original six-episode story. Tenchi in Tokyo (新・天地無用!, Shin Tenchi Muyō!) was created in 1997, and is another alternate version of the original story. The latest version of the series called Ai Tenchi Muyo!, was broadcast on Tokyo MX in 2014.
Spin-off series of Tenchi Muyo! were also created. Magical Girl Pretty Sammy is an example that was adapted into a manga series. The franchise has also spawned soundtrack CDs and other merchandise released both in Japan and in the United States.
Masaki Kajishima and Hiroki Hayashi, who both worked on the Bubblegum Crisis OVAs, cite the show as being the inspiration for Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki. In an interview with AIC, Hayashi described Bubblegum Crisis as "a pretty gloomy anime. Serious fighting, complicated human relationships, and dark Mega Tokyo." They thought it would be fun to create some comedy episodes with ideas like the girls going to the hot springs, but it was rejected by the sponsors. He also said that there was a trend to have a bunch of characters of one gender and a single one of the other gender, and asked what if Mackey (Sylia's brother) was a main character, reversing the Bubblegum scenario. This became the basis for Tenchi Muyo!.
In designing Ryoko, Kajishima and Hayashi were inspired by the American sitcom I Dream of Jeannie and wanted to use her in their works. In the first episode, Tenchi would open the sealed cave, which was a reference to the Jeannie's bottle, and a "cute witch" would jump out. Hayashi said that Tenchi is "sort of" based on Mackey, and that after Tenchi and Ryoko, the other girls were designed to be characters to balance the picture in the very early concepts of the series, and that they are original characters.
The first OVA was titled Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki and was created by Masaki Kajishima. The series was divided into 4 OVAs. The fourth OVA currently has 2 episodes out, and the 3rd is scheduled to be released 5/31/2017.
Hitoshi Okuda wrote two manga series based on the OVA series. The first manga is titled No Need for Tenchi (天地無用！魎皇鬼, Tenchi Muyō! Ryo-Ohki) and was published by Kadokawa Shoten and serialized in Dragon Comic Jr. magazine from December 16, 1994 to June 9, 2000. The series was collected into 12 tankōbon volumes. The second series titled The All-New Tenchi Muyo! (新・天地無用! 魎皇鬼, Shin Tenchi Muyō! Ryo-Ohki, New Tenchi Muyo! Ryu-Ohki) was also published by Kadokawa Shoten and serialized in Dragon Comic Age magazine from July 26, 2000 to December 9, 2005. The series was collected into 10 tankōbon volumes.
After the first OVA series aired, AIC began looking into TV adaptations beyond the Mihoshi Special. In 1995 Tenchi Universe (天地無用!宇宙篇, Tenchi Muyō! Uchū Hen), a 26-episode anime television series was created by Hiroshi Negishi, animated by AIC and produced by Pioneer. It was loosely based on the first six episodes of the OVA series and the Mihoshi Special. Two years later, another AIC production followed suit called Tenchi in Tokyo (新・天地無用!, Shin Tenchi Muyō!, New Tenchi Muyo!), which aired through 1997 and also ran 26 episodes. It borrowed characters and some plot devices from the previous incarnations, but with a noticeable art shift and very different concepts, such as centering on Tenchi's high school and being a priest in Tokyo. The most recent series Ai Tenchi Muyo! (愛・天地無用！) aired in October 2014. The series commemorated the 20th anniversary of the franchise and was sponsored by the city of Takahashi, Okayama.
An anime film titled Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love, created by Hiroshi Negishi, is a continuation of the Tenchi Universe TV series. A second film, Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness, was adapted from a novel written by Naoko Hasegawa. The third film, titled Tenchi Forever! The Movie, is the sequel to Tenchi Muyo in Love and was adapted into a manga titled Tenchi Muyo! In Love 2: Eternal Memory.
Kajishima has written several books based on the franchise, including the ongoing Tenchi Muyo! GXP: Galaxy Police Transporter novel series, the novels Shin Tenchi Muyo! Jurai, Shin Tenchi Muyo! Yosho, and Shin Tenchi Muyo! Washu, and recently, the Paradise Wars spinoff. There are also a number of dōjinshi by and interviews with Kajishima, as well as a companion book, 101 Questions and Answers of Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Oh-Ki. Naoko Hasegawa wrote a series of thirteen light novels continuing from the first OVA series, starting with "One Visitor After Another: Hexagram Of Love" in 1993.
Numerous video games have been released based on the franchise, such as Tenchi Muyo! Game Hen for the Super Famicom.
A radio drama was released titled Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki Manatsu no Carnival.
The first Tenchi spinoff is the Magical Girl Pretty Sammy series, a magical girl series where Sasami is the lead character. The first use of Pretty Sammy was in the Tenchi Muyo! Sound File, a Japanese-only music video release. The same animation was used in the ending of the Tenchi Muyo! Mihoshi Special. In 1995, a three episode Pretty Sammy OVA series began, where Sasami, who is known as Sasami Kawai, magically becomes Pretty Sammy. The second Pretty Sammy series is a TV series, which came out in 1996, also known as Magical Project S. This series is in a separate continuity from the OVA series. Pretty Sammy also appears in the Mihoshi Special toward the end of Mihoshi's story, and in an alternate reality sequence in the Tenchi Universe series.
Also created by Masaki Kajishima, the 1997 OVA series Photon: The Idiot Adventures is related to the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki universe, or more specifically, its recent installment, Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar. Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar copies a number of elements from Photon: The Idiot Adventures, such as Koros, Aho energy, having a princess named Lashara, and a young hero with such strong superhuman abilities he's practically invincible.
The 1999 series Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure is related to the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki universe, due to the blatant use of the "Lighthawk Wings" associated with the Jurai dynasty in Tenchi Muyo. The creator of both Dual! and Tenchi Muyo!, Masaki Kajishima, confirmed that Dual! does relate to Tenchi Muyo!, and is in fact an alternate version of the Tenchi Muyo! universe. Guardians of Order published a line of English-language Tenchi Muyo role-playing game books based on the various series in the Tenchi franchise starting in 2000.
Tenchi Muyo! GXP was released in Japan in 2001. The series takes place during the Kajishima version of the OVA continuity, and is set a year after the events of the third OVA series (despite being released first chronologically). The main character is Seina Yamada, a friend of Tenchi Masaki who accidentally joined the Galaxy Police. Many characters from Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki make appearances in this series, including the use of Seiryo Tennan as a major character and a full-fledged Tenchi Muyo! crossover in episode 17.
Battle Programmer Shirase is a 2003 spin-off of the Pretty Sammy OVA and TV series, keeping the character Misao Amano from Pretty Sammy, and with the main character Akira Shirase, Misao's great-uncle; however, it bears little in common with either Pretty Sammy series because it has neither magic, nor Sasami, nor Misao's alter ego Pixy Misa.
Sasami: Magical Girls Club aired in Japan in 2006. The third spin-off featuring Sasami (known here as Sasami Iwakura) as the main character.
The most recent Tenchi spin-off series is called Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar(aka Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari) which follows the tale of Tenchi's half-brother Kenshi Masaki as he finds himself in a foreign world that uses humanoid machines to fight their wars.