Ayeka Masaki Jurai (柾木 阿重霞 樹雷, Masaki Aeka Jurai) is a key character in the various Tenchi Muyo! anime series by AIC. While details of her character differ between the various series, Ayeka is typically shown as the beautiful princess of the planet Jurai who has fallen in love with the title character, Tenchi Masaki. Ayeka is portrayed as being well mannered, traditional, and aristocratic, but can also be snobbish (her proper accent is evidence of her aristocratic upbringing). She can also be very fierce when she feels that anyone or anything she cares for is in danger, such as Tenchi or her younger sister Sasami, of whom she is very protective.
Ayeka is a rival of Ryoko Hakubi for Tenchi's affections. Often the conflict between the two comes out of their decidedly different personalities and backgrounds, with Ryoko being more blunt, open and sexual in her attempts to gain Tenchi's love. The level of the rivalry can vary between being equatable to a pair of bickering siblings to an all-out feud. Ryoko's teasing and efforts often bring out some of Ayeka's worse aspects. However, there are times when Ayeka puts aside her rivalry such as when Tenchi is in danger.
The romanization of her name in the Pioneer/Geneon English subtitles is "Ayeka" instead of "Aeka" to clarify its pronunciation for Western viewers (ah-eh-ka). Her name is believed to be derived from aekanaru, meaning "frail" or "delicate," reflecting her usual outward demeanor. An old reading of aeka is "willowy", or "requiring the assistance of a man." The tree is referenced in the "soul of the ship," and further connects to "spring" and the "awakening of sexual desire." In Japanese mythology, the willow tree is known as a "demon repeller," which represents her relationship with Ryoko.
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
Her arrival on Earth is due to her search for her missing half-brother and fiancé, Prince Yosho. When her search led her to Earth, she didn't find her brother, but did find Ryoko, the space pirate responsible for attacking Jurai and taking Yosho away 700 years previously.
Ayeka's apparent age is 17, but she is centuries older than that. She was approximately 17 upon leaving Jurai, but kept herself in a state of suspended animation until she arrived in Earth's atmosphere and detected the resurrection of Ryoko. Like the other members of Jurai's Royal Family, Ayeka has an extended life span and can live for centuries without aging past her prime unless she's cut off from the power of her Royal Tree, Ryu-Oh.
Because Ryoko nearly decimated Jurai and is the cause of Yosho's disappearance, at the start of Tenchi Muyo!, she hates everything about Ryoko and considers her a monster. After arriving on Earth, Ayeka proceeds to battle with Ryoko's ship Ryo-Ohki in her Royal Treeship, Ryu-Oh, and crash lands on Earth. During her capture of Ryoko and the Earth boy Tenchi Masaki who was in the space pirate's company, she discovers that the boy is able to control the Master Key - Yosho's sword, also called Tenchi, whose power can only be wielded by those of noble Juraian blood. Because her ship is destroyed in the battle, Ayeka is forced to stay with Tenchi, eventually becoming a part of the extended Masaki family.
Ayeka falls for Tenchi in episode 3, two weeks after being stuck on Earth. Ayeka begins noticing his similarities to Yosho and notices that Tenchi trains in the swordsmanship usually used by the swordsman on Jurai. She spends a day with him and her feelings for him culminate during a conversation that the two have while stuck in the rain and at the Royal Tree Funaho, whom Ayeka realizes belonged to Yosho.
During the battle with Kagato, Ayeka discovers that Tenchi's grandfather, Katsuhito Masaki is actually Yosho. Yosho gives Ayeka his blessing to take Tenchi as a betrothed instead of him because of his age (though in reality, his elderly appearance is only a disguise and he had never intended to marry Ayeka because of reasons that include the fact that he only loves her as a sister).
Ayeka is shy, demure, and proper, but can become just as aggressive and violent as Ryoko. When her temper is roused, Ayeka becomes very loud and boisterous, without regard for current conditions. However, her fights with Ryoko have seemed to diminish over time. Ayeka can also be very snobbish. She, like any other young woman, is particularly vain and tends to boast about her looks during her spats with Ryoko.
Originally, she was a very honest, straight, outgoing, and affectionate tomboy like her mother Misaki. But fortunately or unfortunately, she had another mother, her father's first wife Funaho, who was calm, modest, elegant, gentle and had some special aura that could make others feel peaceful; young Ayeka idolized Funaho so she began copying her appearance and behavior. it's revealed in the True Tenchi novel "Yosho," that Ayeka's hair color and style were originally like her mother's and Sasami's, but she underwent gene manipulation so she would be similar in appearance to Funaho, an action meant to impress Yosho who considered his mother the ideal woman, as well as to share the same color as her father to exert power. One of the reasons why she loved Yosho might have been because he was Funaho's son.
Of course, she loves Misaki, but it was (and has been) taboo for her to hear that she's similar to her mother in personality. Every time she sees her mother's usual behavior, she feels somewhat bitter because she knows it to be a part of who she really is so she tries to suppress her natural self and play the role of the perfect princess.
Unfortunately, Ayeka's Ryu-Oh is damaged in a crash landing on Earth after an escape attempt by Ryoko. It did begin to regenerate, but it was blown away by Kagato's ship, Sōja. However, due to help from the goddess and progenitor of the Juraian Royal Trees, Tsunami, Ayeka received a seed from her deceased tree that will eventually grow into a new Ryu-Oh.
Ryu-Oh has the ability to produce three Light Hawk Wings, the greatest force in the universe usually generated by the Royal Treeships. Ayeka had bonded with the tree shortly before Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki attacked the Juraian castle, Tenju. Despite warnings made by the castle's attendants, 14-year-old Ayeka launched the young, underdeveloped ship to fend off Ryoko's attacks. Ayeka was also able to use Ryu-Oh's Light Hawk Wings to attack, though their purpose is for defense, and was able to hit Ryo-Ohki, which no other ship could do. According to the True Tenchi Muyo! novels, "Ayeka had just finished the selection ceremony and didn't have the key to help her connect with Ryu-Oh. Also, her ship had just equipped, thus was not fully synchronized with the external armor, so Ayeka and Ryu-Oh could not fully control the power of the Royal Tree. But Ayeka did not give up and continued the battle. However, she could not help the situation just by defending herself. It was only by virtue of the second generation Royal Tree's power that she could hold off the attack, and it was also because Ryo-Ohki and Ryoko were just teasing her and not fighting with full power."
Though Ayeka is not as powerful as Ryoko or even Tenchi, who is revealed to be the most powerful being in the universe, she still wields the power of the Jurai Royal Family. She can hold her own against enemies as seen during the battle with the powerful Kagato, and when she easily gets the upper hand on a well-trained Galaxy Police officer during OVA 3. She possesses superhuman strength, she can fly, and generate shields that are able stop nearly any attack and have some sort of telekinetic ability to repel enemies. Ayeka can also call upon powerful force fields that can keep even Ryo-Ohki and Kagato prisoner while also having the ability to electrocute. In OVA 4, Tenchi admits to sparring with her and being completely overwhelmed by her fighting skills.
In the Tenchi Universe continuity, Ayeka is still a princess of Jurai's Royal Family, but of a Branch House of the Royal Family, as opposed to the Main House, and (in Yosho's years of long absence) has the strongest claim on the Throne of Jurai once she is of age. As shy and demure as before, she seems to fall in love with Tenchi on the very first day she meets him.
Ayeka was drawn to Earth by Mihoshi's distress signal, but once again, she finds Ryoko there as well and a massive fight eventually occurs. Here, the rivalry with Ryoko started back during their childhood, which was shown through flashbacks, with both Ayeka and Ryoko blaming each other for their problems.
Ayeka is more than happy staying on the beautiful Earth, as upon her arrival she was growing incredibly tired of all the tasks she has to perform as a princess. It would seem that Ayeka was coming from an arranged marriage meeting when she received Mihoshi's distress signal, as she cannot assume the throne of Jurai until she finds a husband.
Again, Ayeka has a ship, Ryu-Oh, which crash-lands on Earth, however, it becomes incapable of flying when it begins to regenerate, taking root to the wreckage of her old ship. However, Ryu-Oh is not an extremely powerful Royal Tree, and there are no secrets to Jurai's awesome power in this continuity.
Ayeka is a relatively minor member of the Jurai royal family if compared to Prince Yosho (Tenchi's grandfather, Katushito Masaki) who is first in line for the throne followed by Tenchi, his heir. Ayeka is not the daughter of the Emperor as in the OVA. Still, after being kidnapped by this series' Kagato (and being inexplicably stripped of her shoes and socks while in captivity) and released by Tenchi, she stays on Jurai because she must remain with the Imperial Family from then on and assume the throne because Tenchi chooses to live a peaceful life on Earth, but as the series concludes, Ayeka chooses to run away from home and rejoin Tenchi on Earth.
In Tenchi in Tokyo, Ayeka is once again a princess of Jurai. She teams up with the Galaxy Police to capture the space pirate Ryoko and scientist Washu, who stole the Jurai Light Stone. After they crash-land onto Earth, Ayeka fights Ryoko, who turns the tide of the battle in her favor by absorbing the light stone herself; it isn't until Tenchi's intervention that Ayeka is saved.
Her ship Ryu-Oh is called Ayesa in this series (as shown in Pioneer's subtitles).
Instead of being completely shy and demure, she's similar to Ryoko in terms of explosive emotions. She's a lot more gullible than in the other series and is occasionally ditzy (ironically, even more so than Mihoshi ). On the other hand, unlike Ryoko, she does somewhat accept that Tenchi may prefer Sakuya Kumashiro to herself and others, as she confesses to a woman named Masayo whom she and Sasami aided once. Unlike Ryoko, also, she decides to stay on Earth; she aids Washu with her research about Yugi (she's the one who discovers Yugi's background) and attempts to protect
Sasami and the Masaki household, ending up seriously injured by Matori. Ayeka is the first to notice that she and the others are being unwillingly separated from Tenchi, which greatly worries her.
Her powers are still similar to the other two series, except we never see her fling energy blasts. Instead, she activates her forcefield on many occasions. Her Guardians, Azaka and Kamidake, take on a more combative role instead.
Pretty Sammy media
In the Pretty Sammy OVA series, Ayeka Takada (高田 阿重霞, Takada Aeka?) (she was given the last name of her seiyū Yumi Takada) is from a rich family, is the class president and is skilled in martial arts. She has a crush on Tenchi Kawai. Ayeka sends her three female servants, Yuri, Yuka, and Yuma, to spy on Ryoko, who also has a crush on Tenchi. Ayeka is briefly transformed with Ryoko into a Love-Love Monster by Pixy Misa, and becomes more obsessive towards Tenchi until his feelings get through to Ayeka, enabling Pretty Sammy to restore Ayeka to her normal condition. But even after that, Ayeka's rivalry towards Ryoko over Tenchi's affections still continues.
In Magical Project S (Pretty Sammy TV), Ayeka is known as Romio (露美御, Romio?), the third candidate to be the queen of Juraihelm. After she loses, Romio disappears from the scene for a time, later appeared before Ramia to help her become queen after Pretty Sammy had restored the balance between Earth and Juraihelm, with Tsunami about to be crowned queen. Much to Rumiya's protests, Ramia accepted Romio's offer and Romio kidnaps Eimi Date (Sasami's classmate) and turns her into her own magical girl, "Love-Me Eimy", for her plan to drain Juraihelm and earth of all magic.
When that fails, Romio revealed her true self to Ramia and attempts to drain Juraihelm's magic with her NT System and use the stolen magic power to send earth into the sun. It turns out that Romio was once a magical girl, but was unable to fix the balance between Earth and Juraihelm, and since then she has felt the Earth is evil and wants to destroy it. Romio's plan is stopped by the combined might of Pretty Sammy, Pixy Misa, Ryo-Ohki, and Rumiya with the assistance of Professor Washu, who develops her own NT System. After her NT System is destroyed, Romio is carried off into the distance by an angry Ramia. At the end of the series, despite her defeat, Romio hasn't given up and is now leading the Martians against Earth, as Pretty Sammy and Pixy Misa move in to stop her.