Once upon a time there was an airhead called Mihoshi. She used to be a feared Galaxy Police officer, albeit mostly by her colleagues and superiors, but recently she's been hanging out with Tenchi and his friends on Earth. One day she decided to tell everyone a story... This Mihoshi special (as it's also known) is technically part of OVA continuity, but in fact it's rarely counted as such and isn't part of the official numbering. This seems a bit counter-intuitive to me, but it's easy to see why people would hold that attitude. Its 27 minutes comprise:
(a) 2:00 min. A dream sequence based on Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, etc. There's no obvious reason for this story-within-a-story to begin with a gratuitous dream sequence, except for fun. Tenchi would become famous for its multiple continuities and you can probably blame a lot of that on this special. They're playing around. I admire that.
(b) 3:10 min. A framing sequence as Mihoshi tells a story to the rest of the Tenchi family. Theoretically all of this is a complete waste of time, except that it's extremely amusing. No one bickers like the Tenchi family. All of this is compatible with mainstream OVA continuity, if one handwaves certain details of the story itself as the product of Mihoshi's faulty memory, overheated tiny brain and/or flat-out lies.
However since these scenes are sprinkled throughout the episode, their overall effect is almost homoepathic. Once Mihoshi's woken up from being Alice in Wonderland, we're only back in the real world for 90 seconds before she's embarked on her story-within-a-story. Thereafter we get six quick glimpses of the real world and then it's over. None of those glimpses exceed twenty seconds. No one's stopping you if you want to dutifully watch this between episodes 7 and 8 of the OVAs and if you do I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did, but it's certainly not essential.
(c) 19:00 min. Mihoshi's story, in which she tells what's supposedly one of her old cases as a Galaxy Police officer. Effectively it's the first of what would be many Tenchi Muyo alternate universes, since Mihoshi casts her friends as the heroes and villains of her story. This is very funny, but only for us. Overall this story-within-a-story is regarded as canonical by precisely one person in the entire world who isn't a fanboy and as mad as a snake. I'm talking about Nahoko Hasegawa, writer of the first OAV series, 12 Tenchi Muyo novels and the second movie
(d) 2:50 min. The end credits sequence, which started life as a music video in something called the Tenchi Muyo Sound File. As such it's one of the most momentous moments in Tenchi history, being the original screen debut of Pretty Sammy. In the main Tenchi continuities, Princess Sasami is Ayeka's ten-year-old sister and one of my favourite characters in anime. Amid this bunch of superpowered lunatics and murderous intergalactic villains, she more than holds her own and is at times practically the mother of the group while still being a vulnerable little girl. She doesn't even have any powers. She's just cute. However this end credits sequence turns her into a magical girl like Sailor Moon
, vanquisher of evil with her mini-skirt and magical wand. Naturally Pretty Sammy would become an independent franchise in her own right, budding off into almost as many continuities as Tenchi Muyo itself.
Here she's wildly out of context, not to mention eye-bulgingly perverted. We begin with a whip-wielding Evil Kiyone in a red bikini interrupting a lovers' clinch between Sasami and Tenchi. Goodness only knows what he thinks he's doing canoodling with a ten-year-old. Maybe Evil Kiyone's also a Galaxy Police officer? Whisking Tenchi away in her bicycle-powered spaceship, Kiyone thus arouses the wrath of Sasami and her longest nude transformation sequence to date. Shortly afterwards Pretty Sammy defeats the voluptuous vixen with her Pretty Coquettish Bomber magical attack and wins back her man!
As you can tell, this dialogue-free snippet is one of the maddest things you'll see in a month of Sundays and way too much fun. It's particularly surprising that we never again saw black-haired Evil Kiyone. She's, um... well, it's not hard to see the appeal of the character.
However as the title suggests, the meat of the show is Mihoshi's space adventure. It might look like a daft romp, but this OVA is where Kiyone and Magical Girl Pretty Sammy really hit the Tenchi Muyo multiverse. The third OVA series in 2003-2005 would muddy things by giving Mihoshi a completely different teal-haired long-suffering ex-partner in the person of Noike Jurai, while giving the name of Kiyone to a different character. Personally I prefer this version. Kiyone is great, albeit business as usual if you've seen the various Tenchi TV series. However Pretty Sammy is wildly out of context, which in itself is interesting. Normally she has her own fictional universe. The other Tenchi Muyo regulars would get occasional cameos, albeit less so as the years went on and Pretty Sammy spun ever-further from its parent franchise, but here she's in the regular Tenchi universe. A magical girl in hard SF with spaceships and ray guns. What she might be doing here is never explained, but it gives rise to a magic vs. science duel between Pretty Sammy and Washu.
Naturally she gets a nude transformation sequence. With breasts. They're not huge, but they're definitely breasts. Oh dear.
This special won't change anyone's life, but it's funny. No, make that extremely funny. It probably helps if you know the cast already, as with most character-based comedy, but by the standards of one-off 27-minute OVAs, you could hardly ask for more. It's different, it's bonkers and it made me laugh like a hyena. Job done.