One of the BEST anime comedies of the 90's which created a generation ^_^
Perhaps the definitive anime series of the 90's, Tenchi Muyo (OVA) still to this day never fails to impress me with its well written storyline, beautiful animation and like-able characters.
I was introduced to anime in the 80's with shows like Voltron, Thundercats, the Disney TV lineup (Gummi Bears, Duck Tales, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers) and DiC (The Littles, Dinosaucers, Inspector Gadget) - which were all written / edited by Americans storytellers and hand-drawn and painted on cel by Japanese or Korean artists, some abroad or in Canadian studios. In the mid-90's I was introduced to mainstream anime Dragonball Z as edited by Pioneer and Robotech which was 3 series spliced together and edited by Carl Macek, who was one of those mainly responsible for anime entering the US Mainstream as there were many, many anime which he adapted. The point of recalling all of these series is to convey that Tenchi Muyo is truly the next evolution of anime in the US.
That being said Tenchi Muyo OVA remains my favorite anime of all time. This defined a generation, introducing such influential characters as Ryoko (the bold yet sensitive "space pirate"), Ayeka (the Royal Jurai princess who eventually comes "down to earth"), her sister Sasami ( friendly little girl with a mysterious secret), Mihoshi (ditzy Galaxy Police Officer), Washu (brilliant mad scientist) among others supporting cast (Kiyone, Yosho, Kagato, etc). In basic synopsis, Tenchi Misaki is a regular high school kid who ignored his Grandfather's warning of leaving a demon sealed in their shrine, releasing her and becoming involved in an intergalactic tale which pertains to his heritage. Sounds zany right? Well, compared to today's anime probably less so but then, in the 90's, this was very uncommon and the tale wove is still so incredibly well done.
What makes this OVA stand out is that it does not attempt to make a disturbingly drastic change halfway through as most others series do today. For Example, ALL newer anime, in my opinion, make some huge change in story by killing off a main character or doing something so horrendous or so surprising it usually underscores the overall whole story and comes off shallow or destroys the "magic" interaction of characters. To it's CORE Tenchi Muyo is a comedy with action, it wants you to like, no, to LOVE its characters (THE best American voice actors in any anime BAR-NONE), it wants you to want to see the next episode, and overall it wants the viewers to have FUN. It became so popular that it stemmed from a 6 episode series, to a 1 episode "Special" to another 6 episodes near conclusion. I have seen each episode numerous times and they are ALL fun ^_^ The OVA was followed by two Tenchi Pioneer made series, Universe and Tokyo, which were also very fun but made in different story and art styles.
Regrettably Pioneer pulled out of anime altogether and another 7 OVA episodes were produced by Geneon (a Pioneer separate branch company), which to their shame, lost the magic of the characters: replacing designs with ugly flat (albeit "colorful") computer colors, interactions floundered and expressions which make characters dis-interested and cheesy. They did the same to another series, Tenchi GXP, which like most poor anime, focus on adult humor, which extended into the absurd (orgy last ep). At this point they were "milking the franchise" to make money.
In conclusion Tenchi OVA is one of the best written anime comedies of the 90's. You must see it! ^_^