(Editorial note, November 2006: You know, I don’t dislike this inaugural TMTT entry nearly as much now as I did the last time I read through it, which was a year or two ago. Hmm.)

Without further ado, and permitting those holding their breath to breathe, we hereby present the pilot episode of Tenchi Muyo Thumbnail Theater, Ryoko Resurrected.

Grandfather: Tenchi! Oh, Tenchi!
Tenchi: A-snooping I will go, a-snooping I will go…
Grandfather: Looking for these, the keys to that mysterious shrine? Note how good I am at dropping expositional hints for the viewer! I bet you can’t take these keys from me, you wuss.
Tenchi: *whap* *thud* Ow!
Grandfather: Work harder.
Tenchi: Mmmppf mmf. (Translation: “I’d thank you for the ‘lesson’ Grandfather but I have this keyring in my mouth…”)
Tenchi: Not only did we start off this show with a bad cliché, but I’m going to repeat it and make a bad joke out of it at the same time!
Grandfather: Tenchi! Why must you come to this cave and have the same flashback sequence time after time? A demon sleeps here, you know, a beautiful sexy clever feisty demon… oops, I said too much. No wonder you’re obsessed with this place.
Tenchi: Uh, Grandfather? This story bears no resemblance to what really happened, does it?
Grandfather: Not really. Oh, and let me drop some more clues about later events for the viewer. You know, I think I’ve found my niche in this series…
Tenchi: I’m glad that flashback is over. Oh darn, I broke something.
*rumble* *rumble*
Tenchi: A passageway. Well, might as well see all I can before Grandfather beats me into the middle of next week for causing all this damage.
*splash* *bonk* *thud*
Tenchi: Oh great. I’m such a feeb that I can’t even grip onto nicely squared-off rocks with large spaces between them. I guess I might as well slide down into the darkness. Waaaaaah!
*thud* *bonk*
Tenchi: Hmm, looks like I landed on the V’Ger set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. What’s that light? What’s that creepy mummy lounging in the bathtub?
Demon: C’mere and give us a kiss! What? Hey, why are you running away? Let’s see how hot YOU look after being trapped in a bathtub for centuries!
Tenchi: By sheer willpower and terror I shall ascend the not-all-that-difficult passageway to escape this foul beast!
Demon: Damn.
Tenchi: That was close. Good thing I learned how to tie rocks together.
Tree: I’m sure nobody will notice if I send a bright beam of multicolored light out into space. Naah.
Big Nosed Kid: Hi Tenchi. How about a little exposition?
Tenchi: Sure. I spent my summer at Grandfather’s shrine and almost kissed a demon mummy.
Big Nosed Kid: So you’ve got the hots for really old ladies?
Tenchi: Get a life, and get out of my show! I’m going to go take a nap on the roof. It’s the last bit of peace and quiet I’m going to get for the rest of the series, after all.
Tenchi: Hmm, maybe I slept in a bit too long. What’s my kitty doing here? Um, where’d my kitty go?
Ryoko: *giggle* Hey there, little boy. Come here often?
Tenchi: You… you’re that mummy! The glowing eyes give it away!
Ryoko: That’s right, squirt, and I’m going to take a gentle, playful sort of revenge on you for my 700 years stuck in that healing spa after they turned off the heat and locked the doors.
Tenchi: Hey, I didn’t trap you in there, it was my ancestor Yosho.
Ryoko: So what? I feel like breaking things. Besides, we want to give the viewers enough action to make them want to see the next tape in the series.
Tenchi: Mwaah!
Ryoko: Mwah-ha-ha-ha! Destruction is fun! Run faster, Tenchi!
Tenchi: I’m too busy running for my life to wonder how she knows my name… Hey, maybe I should try attacking her with a metal pipe. Sure, that’ll work against plasma beams. Or maybe not. Mwaah!
Ryoko: Mwah-ha-ha-ha! Run some more, Tenchi!
Tenchi: Ow! Okay, how much falling down do I DO in this show anyway?
Ryoko: Don’t hurt yourself, that’s my job! I’m having so much fun I’m going to teleport the same distance that I would normally fall if I just let gravity do its job. Just doing my part for fanservice, baby.
Tenchi: Great. A gas leak. I’d better bail.
Ryoko: Not before I show off another of my amazing skills for the viewers at home!
Tenchi: So you can walk through walls. Great. Just as long as you don’t blow us up, okay? Since bad cliches seem to be in order for this episode, I’ll burn through two of them in short order. Anything to get me out of this classroom!
Ryoko: And I get to show off my naivete! Enjoy this moment, fanboys, ’cause it’s the only ditzy moment you’re getting out of me for a long time. Hey! Why you little–
Tenchi: Well, that’s that. *clap* *clap* Shame, really.
Ryoko: *cough* *cough* That’s no way to treat a lady! Or me either! I am SO VERY going to kick your– but first, let me freshen up a bit in front of this mirror.
Tenchi: Please tell me that the rest of the show isn’t like this. Sheesh. I think I’ll go to my classroom and sit for a few minutes. Yes, that’s a much better idea than actually leaving school and running for home.
Ryoko: All better. So, where’s that pesky Tenchi?
Tenchi: How ironic that half the school’s on fire before the alarm goes off. Even more ironic that after all of these explosions and flames nobody’s yet come to see what’s going on. Speaking of staggering, isn’t it amazing that I noticed the jewels on her wrists and deduced that those are the source of her power?
Ryoko: Ker-Pow!
Tenchi: Mwaah! *bounce*
Ryoko: Whoops! Didn’t see THOSE coming, did you? *jiggle*
Tenchi: Er, no, but let me (and the drooling fanboys at home) get a good look at you.
Ryoko: Whatever. *slice*
*whoosh* *bright light*
Tenchi: It seemed stupid to hide behind my satchel, but look how well it turned out! Oh yeah, that weird-looking sword hilt saved me. I’m the luckiest bastard in all anime.
Ryoko: That does it, no more Mr. Nice Demoness. *slice*
Tenchi: Mwaah! Maybe I should grab hold of the supernatural floating sword hilt.
Ryoko: No fair, you have superpowers now too!
Tenchi: As if! The sword’s doing all the work, monster lady.
Ryoko: Monster! *punch*
Tenchi: Stupid sword blocks all her supernatural attacks and I get thrown to the fence with a right hook. Figures.
Ryoko: *growl* Just because I AM a monster doesn’t mean you get to call me one! Aaargh!
*slice* *plink* *boom!*
Ryoko: Good thing I take defeat so philosophically. Wait, isn’t that out of character for me? Or are we trying to establish the fact that I never do what’s expected of me?
Tenchi: Hey, it’s not like I meant to chop off your hand. The sword, remember?
Ryoko: It’s okay, I can make a new hand. See?
Tenchi: Oooo, neato. Do it again!
Ryoko: Thank you, thank you. Bye now!
Tenchi: Ha ha ha! *boom!* Oh, duh. School’s on fire. Authorities coming. Better jet.
Tenchi: Home at last. Good thing I’m so blase about magical swords and flying demon girls. Time for a good night’s slee– WAAAA!
Ryoko: What’s the matter, don’t you like breasts? If you don’t want ’em, there’s bound to be a couple million fanboys who will take your place in a heartbeat.
Tenchi: And thus we establish the theme for the rest of the show: strange alien women sneaking into my bedroom with whom I definitely do NOT have sex. This is going to be a long, long series… *clap* *clap* I pray now for a short run and a tidy resolution.