Those days were like one big carnival we thought would never end.
The first television series based on Tenchi Muyo!, Tenchi Universe (also known as Tenchi Muyo! TV) tells a similar story to Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, but in a longer manner. The first half of the series, "Earth Adventure", introduces the main characters, and a short arc that explores various fantasy worlds ("Time and Space Adventures") follows. The show's second half, the "Space Adventure" arc, follows Tenchi and the gang as they travel to Jurai to attempt to stop a coup. This show is its own specific continuity; although it shares almost all of the chief characters from the OVA, many aspects of the story and characterization are changed from the OVA.
This series was followed by two movies, Tenchi Muyo! in Love (released after the series' conclusion) and Tenchi Forever! (Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Haruka Naru Omoi, released in 1999), which are both set in the same continuity.
- Always Someone Better: Nagi.
- Badass Beard: "Knight-Azaka" has one.
- Beach Episode: The "Space Adventures" arc features one.
- Big Bad: Kagato. For the whole series this time.
- Bounty Hunter: Nagi.
- Broke Episode: Episode 16
- Canon Foreigner: Kiyone, Nagi, Ken-Ohki, and "knight-Azaka" & "knight-Kamidake".
- Canon Immigrant: The "Time and Space Adventures" arc is based on a popular audio play that was set in the OVA universe.
- Cowboy Episode: Tenchi in Space. After Tenchi's been kidnapped by the bounty hunter bent on defeating Ryoko, the two agree to meet at a location suspiciously similar to a small western town, complete with tumbleweed, saloons, and an eerie sunset.
- Disney Death: Ryoko in episode 24 of Tenchi Universe, although the sequence leading up to it was one pure Crowning Moment of Awesome and Tear Jerker all in one incredible package.
Ryoko: I'm lonely. [dies] Hey Ryo-oh-ki! Where shall we go next?
- Evil Counterpart: Kagato, who is the ruler of Jurai and master of the Jurai power in this canon, wields his own dark counterpart to Sword Tenchi. While the original sword is a thin, katana-like sword with a light blue blade, Kagato's is a larger sword resembling a broadsword with a black-and-red blade.
- First Girl Wins: Ryoko. Though it's not directly stated, the implication isn't exactly subtle. Especially after the second movie in the continuity.
- Flanderization: This is one of the most common complaints about this series. Most notable amongst the changes are Mihoshi being demoted from Genius Ditz to The Ditz, Ryoko and Ayeka's feud becoming less important to the story, Washu becoming an egomaniacal Mad Scientist with two pop-up dolls to proclaim her greatness ("Washu, you are a genius!", "Washu, you are the greatest!"), Ryoko becomes a much less likable Jerkass, Ayeka is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and Tenchi becoming more wishy-washy and easily flustered (compared to the OVAs). The trope is completely averted in the second movieTenchi Forever!, since the film attempts to tell a much more subdued and personal story.
- Friendly Enemy: When Kiyone first arrives at the Misaki estate, she makes it her mission to arrest Ryoko. Ryoko, for her part, is completely nonplussed and seems content to just share a drink with her. By the end of the episode, the "enemy" part of the equation is completely erased.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: Ryo-ohki unintentionally does this to Sasami after being scared into hiding by Mirei.
- A God Am I: Kagato flat out says this almost word-for-word.
- How We Got Here: The entire series.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is titled "No Need for..."
- Ironic Episode Title: Episode 24 is titled "No Need for Ryoko!"
- Incest Is Relative: Averted in this series, which was a major surprise compared to the originals. Washu is simply a mad scientist who was imprisoned on Earth for making doomsday devices and other bizarre inventions, Ryoko is "just" a space pirate, Ayeka and Sasami are no relation to Katsuhito, Tenchi is related to Katsuhito only through his mother's side of the family, and there's no word on whether or not Mihoshi is related to Washu (though that is doubtful).
- Jerkass: Ayeka and Ryoko in some episodes.
- Kabuki Sounds: Tenchi Universe used them for the title card and the eyecatches.
- Karaoke Box: Episode 16
- Like a Badass Out of Hell: Strongly implied to be how Kagato acquired his dark Jurai powers; he's literally been through hell and back!
- Market-Based Title: Tenchi Universe was simply known as Tenchi Muyo! in Japan, and Tenchi Forever! was released as Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Haruka no Omoi in Japan.
- The Millstone: Mihoshi, especially towards Kiyone and Washu. So long as Mihoshi and Kiyone are together, Kiyone's career seems to only slide further into ruin.
- The Movie: 1996's Tenchi Muyo! in Love and 1999's Tenchi Forever! are set in the Universe continuity.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Nagi to Ryoko, occasionally bordering on Foe Yay; she wanted to be the only person to defeat Ryoko, and she would even help Tenchi's crew just to protect Ryoko from her other enemies.
- Rashomon Style: Ryoko and Ayeka tell wildly opposing stories of the same event at least twice in the series.
- Refrain From Assuming: In the English version, the theme song is called "Tenchi Muyo!" (same as the Japanese version), not "Love Will Leave You Crying".
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Subverted; in episode 14, Tenchi and company attempt to use a door invented by Washu to secretly board another ship, only to discover that the door has a very limited range of use.
Tenchi: And why didn't we use this earlier, Washu? Tell me, please.
- Does this count as a Leaning on the Fourth Wall moment?
- Sequel Hook: After the final episode was aired in Japan, a teaser for the then-upcoming movie Tenchi Muyo! in Love was aired.
- Shout-Out: Episode 8 features a cameo by Moldiver.
- Show Within a Show: Type 3 -- Mihoshi is so distracted by one program that Washu's Mecha Washu-Mihoshi runs off mid-fight to watch it.
- Sock Puppet: Washu's puppets A and B.
- So What Do We Do Now?: Tenchi finds himself facing this at the end, only for Ryoko to show up -- with the rest of the cast trailing her -- to remind him that carnivals come back.
- Space Opera: The "Space Adventures" arc, which is pretty much the entire second half of the show.
- Surprisingly Good English: The English version of the opening theme song is sung by the same singer (SONIA) as the Japanese version--in virtually flawless English!
- Sword Beam: Kagato uses one. And it even comes with instant facepaint!
- Tenchi Solution: Averted in this canon.
- Time Travel: Pretty much the plot of Tenchi Muyo! in Love.
- Token Yuri Girls: Parodied in one episode. After being cast into a High School AU, Magical Girl Sasami shoots the bickering Ayeka and Ryoko with a "beam of friendship". The sequence just gets more suggestive as two begin gazing into each other's eyes, proclaiming their mutual love and admiration, and almost kissing before being cut off by the end of the episode.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue
- Whole-Episode Flashback: Rather, this is a Whole Series Flashback.
- Work Off the Debt: In episode 19, Ayeka and Sasami wash dishes to pay the group's bill at a diner.