Tenchi Forever! The Movie : Haruka naru omoi (1999)

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Tenchi Forever! The Movie – Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 – Distant Memories is first and foremost an oriental ghost story. In film and story an Oriental Ghost Story is one where the hero, the main character is drawn into a world that is not his own and usually by the whiles of a very attractive female spirit. This might sound like one hell of a good time but the spirit has only one thing in mind and that is its own satisfaction. For a while the victim, yes victim, is kept happy and complacent while the ghost or spirit has their way with them. If there person were to ever wake up the illusion that the spirit had made for the two of them would be broken and the hero able to escape. Since the main character is not actually doing this of their own free will you could call this the ultimate date rape as the spirit does what every they want and the hero has no choice or will do do anything other then what the spirit wants. It is very important to know and realize this as you watch any of the oriental ghost story type films. They are about ultimate pleasure but ultimate captivity as well.

For those that are no familiar with the Tenchi Moyo universe or stories here is a little about what is going on. So please forgive if you see too many spoilers. Tenchi Masaki is a young man, a teen at the beginning of the series but he is also decedent from royalty. Not any royalty but royalty from a distant planet. He is the grandson of Katsuhito a runaway prince, Yosho who was the the crown prince of Jurai. Yosho’s sisters Ayeka and Sasami go to earth to find him and meet and fall in love with Tenchi on earth. It seems that all of the women from off-world fall in love with the likeable boy, the boy who could one day be ruler of Jurai if he can withstand the struggles between Ayeka and Ryoko, a reformed space pirate as well as referred to as The Devil Caller. There are other characters that are central but they need not be explained right now. Suffice it to say that it is a very interesting universe to get stories from and they do create a lot of different versions.

It is spring at the beginning of the film and Katsuhito finds a flower that reminds him of lost loves and desires. At the same time Tenchi and Sasami are cleaning the steps to the family shine when Ayeka and Ryoko start fighting over who gets to use the broom. Both are trying to get Tenchi to choose between them even though they know that while one might be first they are both in Tenchi’s heart and he would never be without them as he loves them both. Being the way that he is he will not choose and instead creates a diversion and runs into the woods to escape. It is in the woods that he comes across an ancient tree with strange flowers and just walks into and vanishes. No one knows what has happened to him as all his loves, friends and family start looking for him. It is not till six months later that they get even a clue as to what happened to him. It takes all the skills and intellect of Washu Hakubi to even be able to find out where Tenchi is and how to contact him.

Ayeka and Ryoko are beside themselves with grieve as to what has happened to Tenchi and all the while he has been trapped lovingly in an alternate reality by Haruna. She is in fact using Tenchi and his Jurai powers to keep her and the world she created going so that she will no longer be alone. She is infact dead and a spirit that has inhabited the tree that Yosho planted when he arrived on earth. The tree was in fact the grave of Haruna as well as the tree that was bound to her on Jurai. It is what is keeping her spirit bound to the earth and what gives her the power to be able to affect Tenchi the way that she has.

While the story is interesting it is both riveting and boring at the same time. It doesn’t have the flair or the action that many of the other Tenchi stories have but it will still leave you feeling good as the credits start to roll. This is not a film that you want to watch if you are sleepy as you will find yourself fast falling asleep and having some of the most interesting dreams that you might have without partaking of other mind altering substances or drinks. The film is refreshing and is definitely good for couples viewing but not for children as it does have sexual scenes and nudity. They don’t hide anything but it is not without taste. You could say that this film is a slow and comfortable view. Though some might say screw instead. In any event the film is worth seeing at least once or more if you are a fan of the universe that has been created by Hiroshi Negishi.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★☆☆