Day 04: Most Favorite Female Character Ever
In contrast with the last entry I made, this one is a no brainier for me.
I can see some people going, “But Lily, why would you choose this character over Sailor Moon? I thought Sailor Moon was your favorite anime of all time!”
Ah, don’t worry! It still is but there’s some things that even Sailor Moon couldn’t do. And, well, once I get into it, I’ll be able to answer that question. For this entry, I’m going to choose Ryoko Hakubi from Tenchi Muyo!
It all started when I saw the first episode to Tenchi Muyo! when Toonami aired anime during that time after school – it’s how most kids of my generation got into it after all. From my group of friends, it was something that we saw every day and even had our second ship war among each other (our first being Digimon but that’s another topic for another time). Who would Tenchi choose – Ryoko or Ayeka? For us, this was our first harem anime (as much as I wanted to watch Ranma 1/2 I just didn’t know where to find the first episode) so it got me thinking about “who would be good for Tenchi?”
Granted, I feel that maybe I was the only one who cared who he got with because it certainly felt like we were arguing who’s the better character.
Ayeka has her points – she’s the princess of Jurai and has power that’s unimaginably great. She has proper manner, obedient, loyal, and everything a princess could and should be. If it wasn’t for her quick temper and jealousy, perhaps her and Ryoko would have gotten along better.
But Ryoko? Well, in my opinion, I feel she’s a much more fleshed out character. Check out the cut for the spoilers!
One thing that I really found annoying about the Tenchi universe is that, with every new series, there’s a new origin story. One is being stuck in a cave, a couple is Ryoko coming from space for one reason or another. But if there’s anything that remains the same in the series is that she loves Tenchi and will always fight over him with Ayeka (or anyone, really).
To be honest with you, I can’t really decide if I like Tenchi Muyo! or Tenchi Universe better (What is this Tenchi in Tokyo you speak of?).
Tenchi Muyo got into some depth with Washu and Ryoko, especially when Zero and Kagato came onto the scene. I really sympathized with Ryoko there because she was lonely and while she was awesome and badass as a space pirate, she still had a very human and vulnerable side to her that I couldn’t help but want to empathize with.
Though, the difference though, she doesn’t rely on her vulnerable side all the time and she never really did just lie there and take whatever punished she got (minus from Kagato at first but he’s a dick and imprisoned her before she found the will to fight back). Not only that, it really showed how much she cared for Tenchi and the other girls.
Maybe she won’t ever say out loud how she really feels for Ayeka (a man notwithstanding) or the other girls but I know she feels some kind of friendship with them.
After all, you can’t really stay in a house like that and not form meaningful friendships with them, especially with everything they’ve gone through together.
However, in Tenchi Universe, the universe in that series expanded even more so – now, it’s understandable that a lot of the focus was taken away from Ryoko and Washu considering their origin story changed (but Ryoko was still very much a space pirate, which is still one of the coolest titles in anime even to this day) but there was still a lot of depth to be had.
For example, after Washu creates a machine that enables the creation of alternate worlds, the girls snuck in and inputted their own ideal world (of course each of them – with the possible exception of Kiyone and Sasami – with Tenchi) but in order to get rid of it, they had to go into that world until Washu is able to destroy it. The last one would be Ryoko’s.
Ryoko’s ideal world would be, basically, a Bonnie & Clyde situation where her and Tenchi are well-known robbers in the 1920s America with incompetent police women (Kiyone and Mihoshi) with Ayeka with the “grieving” fiancee. In the end, Washu managed to destroy it and Ryoko didn’t want to leave – in fact, she was upset into thinking that Tenchi just didn’t want to be with her.
What Tenchi said to her, though, makes me realize even more that Ryoko really does have a pure and innocent side to her. Granted, her dream world isn’t that but her emotions were. You can tell in that one scene alone that she really does have eyes for Tenchi only and she really does want him to fall for her for real.
And then the ending. The first thing Ryoko did after she was able to is to go to her Tenchi. That counts for her loyalty in volumes.
In the movies, Tenchi almost always depends on Ryoko one way or another. In fact, in the third movie, he remembers her the most! He draws Ryoko. Ryoko is the one who makes the biggest impact on Tenchi.
Ryoko always seemed to be so sure of herself. While she does have her moments of vulnerability, she doesn’t let anyone get her down and kicks major ass when she has to. A lot of people regard Ayeka as feminine – but that’s because she’s a princess and she may be bound to that.
However, Ryoko, to me, defines what a woman is. Not just someone who acknowledges their emotions, but someone who can take care of herself and does what she can to survive. She’s sure of herself and she’s aware of who she is and doesn’t really do anything to please anyone. But if she chooses to, she tries her very best and loves them a lot. She’s loyal and strong. She doesn’t force anyone into anything but always tries to show them what they’re missing. She’s fun and she seems like someone you can talk to (maybe if you can catch her on a good day). She’s rebellious and really doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of her unless she actually cares about that person. Also, she’s really confident in her body and is proud to display it.
As a growing girl, that made such a huge impact on me on what femininity can actually be versus what it should be.