"Magic? Yes, because I'm a magical girl!" -Sasami in Newtype Jan.'96
In this oddest installment of Tenchi since Mihoshi Special, we get to see an alternate-universe tale featuring none other than Sasami. (Hooray!) Just a little background, because this is a Tenchi Muyo story unlike any other. First off, throw your plot preconceptions aside. This story takes place in an alternate Tenchi universe, and the characters are related differently to each other. To be completely accurate, this OAV is not Tenchi Muyo, but rather Tenchi and Friends (according to what it says on the tape). The Tenchi Muyo staff created this OAV as a parody of magical girl shows like Sailor Moon and Minky Momo (i.e. the bouncing star in the opening), and it has some interesting Project A-Ko similarities as well. It did so well in Japan that a Pretty Sammy OAV #2 is in the works, and there's already a Pretty Sammy video game.
So what's it all about? Well, the story opens in the magical kingdom of Juraihelm where we meet the competing candidates for queen of that realm: Tsunami (in a splendid speaking role) and Ramia, who is almost as deranged as Ayeka. Tsunami is chosen, but she must have someone on Earth to represent her in order to be queen. That's where Sasami Kawai comes in, and with the help of Tsunami and Ryo-oh-ki, she becomes Magical Girl Pretty Sammy, scourge of bad guys all around! Watch out for her Coquettish Bomber!
Other characters include:
Ryoko: The new girl in town. Cutely naive and insanely powerful. Fights with Ayeka for Tenchi.
Ayeka: The president of the student council. She's rich and spoiled, but one hell of a martial artist. Her laugh scares me.
Tenchi Kawai: Tenchi and Sasami are brother and sister in this OAV.
Chihiro Kawai: Tenchi and Sasami's mom. She's a failed idol singer who runs a CD shop. She likes to karaoke.
Mihoshi and Kiyone: They work at the CD store. Mihoshi is a college student. Kiyone is a poor ronin because Mihoshi distracted her and caused her to fail her entrance exams.
Washuu: A strange girl who moves in. She's got such a sad story *sob*.
Misao: Sasami's best friend. She's used by Ramia and becomes...
Pixy Misa: Pretty Sammy's rival. She speaks in English sometimes.
Rumiya: Ramia's little brother.
Ayeka's followers: They're cool. That's all I have to say.
The best thing about this OAV, other than its silly fun, is the way the creators took familiar characters and threw them into a different universe. Even though the characters are different, essentially they're the same, and we learn some more about them, too. Enjoy and watch on (it's a long marathon)!
[12/2/04 Update: For further articles by Lawrence Eng, see his anime page.]