- Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:51 pm
Switching from the home life of Tenchi in episode 7 back to the spacetime craziness of episode 3, episode 8 returns us to space, where we are confirmed that the second person on the vessel is indeed Beni, or at least some incarnation of her.
Interestingly, Beni is quite concerned with Momo's well-being, and even calls her "princess". Similarly, Momo does not want to leave Beni. One could speculate that Beni here is Momo's guard or caretaker, given "high school Beni" has the role of bodyguard for the science club. While Momo is dressed in what looks like a kimono, their ship does not seem to be the usual Juraian make. I doubt Momo is from the Jurai royal family, which means she might represent a different faction in space. That would be quite refreshing.
However, as a princess, that might imply that Ayeka may know of her in some fashion.
Beni's dialogue references a "him" and "his trials", as well as a "Sou-sama". Whether or not "Sou-sama" and "him" are the same is not made immediately clear, but one does wonder if these incarnations of Momo and Beni are running from or to someone. Then, one asks why.
Washu's brief dialogue mentions that "she died", but since the genius likely does not know either girl's name, which one she means is left open. Considering Momo is shown with Tenchi in episode 3 and 8 during this feudal era sequence, one could surmise that the "spaceship Beni" may have died due to the rift.
On Earth, Tenchi and Momo encounter alternate versions of the student council members: Inukai (Hachiko), Tomomi (Tori), and ??? (Hana). Considering the double versions of Momo and Beni, one wonders if this trio are the original incarnations of these girls, or parallel doubles created from the rift.
Point of fact, Momo is wearing a similar costume as she did on the spaceship, but since it is a kimono either way, one might not be certain that this Momo and "spaceship Momo" are the same. However, I would bet that they are.
Tenchi and Momo are accompanied by the trio, who are planning to confront a demon. Their description of the demon is a throwback to Ryoko's introduction in OVA series 1 episode 1 as well as Washu's in Universe episode 4. Apparently, said demon rules over everything. Upon arrival, we encounter a version of Ryoko, dressed as she was in OVA series 1 episode 3 or many episodes of Universe. Notably, this Ryoko proclaims herself to be a space pirate, aware of bounty hunters
, and with no knowledge of Masaki Tenchi. Moreover, Tenchi recognizes her immediately. Likely, since alternate universes seem to be the shtick, this Ryoko is an alternate universe double of the one Tenchi knows. After a brief exchange with Inukai, Mihoshi arrives driving the mecha suit from Universe episode 1 (and episode 5) and wearing her combat uniform from OVA series 1 episode 6, OVA series 2 episode 5, and Universe episode 1. She announces herself as a Galaxy Police officer (and as 1st class detective, if I'm hearing the Japanese right).
The entire sequence with Tenchi running across Ryoko and Mihoshi appearing in the mecha suit is completely a direct reference to Universe episode 1, where both are introduced for the first time in that continuity. That alone makes me fall in love with this episode of Ai Tenchi
, and the series as a whole. The entire episode feels like Tenchi
to me, much like episodes 3 and 7.
However, what has happened? Considering Washu is playing with multiple universes, the versions of Ryoko and Mihoshi seen here could certainly be homages to, or incarnations of, the Universe Ryoko and Mihoshi. Since Momo and Beni were dragged into the rift and presumably deposited in this "feudal universe", perhaps Universe Ryoko and Mihoshi were as well prior to their crash landing on Earth in Universe episode 1. That would explain their equipment, costumes, and lack of knowledge of Tenchi himself. This is, of course, speculation. We'll have to see how it plays out over the next few episodes.