- Sat May 10, 2014 3:06 am
This novel continues from the end of OVA Series 1, starting on New Year's Eve, six months after Ryoko's release. With a cursory review of who the characters are, the reader is treated to a bash at the Masaki home.
The opening scene has Ryoko and Ayeka vying for Tenchi's affections with their confections, which showcases the ladies' personalities quite well. Naturally, the young man himself tries to mediate before just escaping. Sasami stands out as the voice of reason, and Washu the voice of sarcasm.
Tenchi also has a more forceful presence in this work. He stops Ryoko from kissing him, breaking her heart and leading to one of the heartfelt exchanges in the novel. He demands that everyone stop railroading him into choosing a mate, breaking Ayeka's heart in the process. The novel also focuses on his indecision and inexperience, which gives him a more rich character, as opposed to his nearly background status in many continuities. In both above situations, Tenchi immediately feels wretched for what he said and how insensitive it was, which the girls sometimes use to their advantage.
Notably as well, Tenchi can use the Light Hawk Sword rather readily, though he cannot completely control it. This makes the ending of the novel problematic for all parties involved.
Ryoko remains very blunt and brash as illustrated by her attempt to kiss Tenchi, as well as her confrontations with Ayeka and Azusa. However, these two scenes also illustrate that she has potential for deeper meaning. She wholeheartedly loves Tenchi and wants to be with him, despite her tactless approach. Likewise, she will stand against even Jurai's “Divine Response Warrior”, or more simply “hitman”, for her own freedom and individuality. Coming directly off of her battle with Kagato, her attitude seems very well-founded.
Ayeka notably has a good deal of inner monologue. She deeply considers ruining Ryoko's life by having her father make her permanently wanted, the pros and cons. She schemes to ingratiate Tenchi to her father, much to Ryoko's dismay. She reflects on her behavior when dealing with Ryoko and her heartbreak over Tenchi. This all gives her a more cerebral presence, always analyzing and weighing her options. Yet, her main flaw is her rivalry with Ryoko and affection for Tenchi.
Mihoshi, however, has a fresh coat of paint. While she is a bit oblivious at times, she actually has some thoughtful musings, both in her own thoughts and with Washu, who is surprisingly very sympathetic to her plight. This does seem to reflect her characterization in Series 1 of an overworked officer, needing some respite.
Here, Washu seems much more of a mother figure, scolding both Ryoko and Ayeka for their behavior, before getting frustrated with them and storming out. She seems to fit this role rather well, being the most experienced and forward-thinking of the group.
However, the highlight of this work is Makibi Kiyone, Mihoshi's dear partner, worried about her comrade's fate.
She even harbors some jealousy against Mihoshi for all she has had been given. It was refreshing to see Kiyone in this setting, as well as learning more about her character, particularly some of her feelings toward
The reunion between the ruling couple and their children is quite touching, portraying them as loving parents who are loved by their daughters. However, Azusa calls out Ryoko, and the confrontation between them is respectful and blunt. Ryoko says her peace about her involvement and swears she would rather die than be imprisoned again. Azusa admires her courage and absolves her of the crimes under Kagato's control. He even welcomes her as a friend of the crown. As for Katsuhito and Tenchi, he welcomes them openly and without hesitation. This is very counter to his role in OVA Series 2, where he is very distant to Katsuhito and dismissive of Tenchi. He also appreciates his sake and loosens up very readily, much to his wife's dismay.
Misaki, likewise, has different portrayal. She tries to save Ayeka embarrassment of her drunkenness. She comforts and protects Sasami when danger strikes at the banquet. Again, she is quite sensible in direct contradiction to her appearance in OVA Series 2. Admittedly, she seems more like Funaho in OVA Series 2.
Even Nobuyuki receives a great scene with Tenchi. Son confronts his father, asking him if he knew about Jurai. Not too surprisingly, he did, and the exchange between them was precious. Here, the architect shows some of his grief over the loss of his wife, Masaki Achika, and, moreover, his dedication to her by choosing not to remarry. This is an insight into his character reflects many of the feelings from Universe
Episode 9 and Tenchi Muyo! in Love
Marshall Kuramitsu himself makes a rather extended appearance throughout the half of the novel, wanting to meet with his daughter, as well as with Azusa. He more subdued in this work, rather than his ambitious and scheming portrayal in OVA Series 3.
Of another particular note is the new character Peter “Pete” Finlay of the Administration Department of the GP, saddled with preparing a banquet for the arriving dignitaries from GP and Jurai. He becomes rather interweaved into the plot, so to avoid spoilers, it is sufficient to say that he is an interesting character and cryptic. His relationships seem to focus mainly with Mihoshi, and to a lesser extent camaraderie and respect for Ryoko.
Overall, the novel was very enjoyable and jives very well with OVA Series 1. The literary style is notably similar to a drama script rather than a novel, leaving it feeling a bit bare. Also, there are some issues with knowing who is speaking. Yet, the dialogue really is where this work is at its best. The characters seem very true to their portrayals in the original six episodes, and I give kudos to Ms. Hasegawa for her work. Brava.
And, thank you again to the translators. Barring a few capitalization and spelling errors here and there, the piece was splendid. Keep up the good work.