Sasami Masaki Jurai (柾木 砂沙美 樹雷, Masaki Sasami Jurai) is a key character in the Tenchi Muyo! metaseries as well as her own various non-canonical spinoffs.
In the Tenchi continuities, Sasami is the younger sister of Ayeka and so is also a princess of the planet Jurai. Within the Masaki extended family, Sasami usually takes on the dual role of younger sister/mother. She may be the most responsible of the group and takes care of all the cooking duties. She has a rarely-seen mischievous streak within her, however, and takes great delight in fooling the older girls.
Sasami has teal-colored hair usually tied in long pigtails with melon pink eyes. In the Tenchi continuities, Sasami also has an upside-down triangle birthmarked on her forehead, as a symbol of her status as Juraian royalty.
Sasami has appeared in every Tenchi Muyo! series, as well as/including several spinoffs based around her as the central protagonist. In almost every incarnation her personality, background, primary outfits, relationships, and abilities change. In some incarnations, her art style is altered more than others, though her basic coloring and structure remaining the same.
Sasami has a huge fan following across the globe and is the inspiration for what VIZ editor Carl Gustav Horn called 'The Sasami Effect', in that any young cute girl within a cast of characters will inevitably become the most popular. Possible examples of this include the Sailor Moon character, Chibiusa, plus many other "young" female characters in Japanese, French, and American series.
Sasami's personality is more mature in the OVA than in the other continuities, and more aggressive in the second TV and the Pretty Sammy spin-offs.
Centuries ago, Sasami stowed away on Ayeka's Royal Treeship, Ryu-Oh when her older sister decided to run away from Jurai in an attempt to search for their missing half-brother Yosho and seek revenge on space pirate Ryoko for nearly decimating Jurai 700 years before OVA 1 began. When the princesses arrive on Earth, they get into a battle with the resurrected Ryoko, resulting in all of them crash landing at the home of Tenchi Masaki. Shortly into the series, Sasami and Ayeka take to living on Earth with Tenchi's family (Tenchi, his father Nobuyuki, and his grandfather Katsuhito Masaki, who is later revealed to actually be Yosho), along with the cabbit Ryo-Ohki who is the reincarnation of the ship that almost destroyed her planet, and the other women staying in the house. She quickly becomes nearly inseparable from Ryo-Ohki. Sasami refers to the other women in the house as sisters.
Like the other members of Jurai's Royal Family, because of her connection to her Royal Tree, Sasami has an extended life span. She appears to be a pre-adolescent girl when in fact she is over 700 years old. She was approximately 8 years old upon leaving Jurai and is still physically and mentally 8 due to Ayeka having kept Ryu-Oh in suspended animation during their search for Yosho. Sasami will continue to grow until she reaches a maturity where she can remain for centuries without aging past her prime.
Personality-wise, Sasami is a sweet, caring, innocent young princess who puts the needs of others before herself. She is an amazing chef and cooks regularly for everyone at the Masaki house. Even though she is (relatively) the youngest (even though, in actuality, Tenchi is centuries younger than her), she sometimes is the most mature of the extended Masaki clan.
Sasami is a particularly interesting character because of the fact that she is assimilated with Tsunami, one of the Chousin - the three goddesses who created the universe. Tsunami is also the patron of the planet Jurai and progenitor to their mighty Royal Trees. Sasami assimilated with Tsunami after a near-fatal accident that occurred when she was three years old. During Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki's attack on Jurai, Sasami fell from a walkway in the Royal Arboretum, into a septic where the Royal Trees are grown near the roots of the original Royal Tree, Tsunami-no-ki. Sasami was fatally injured and Tsunami assimilated with her in order to save her life. Sasami hid her secret from those around her - including herself - because her greatest fear was that the real Sasami was dead and she was just a fake, which she thought would result in her being rejected by those she loved. When the truth was finally revealed, Ayeka informed Sasami that she didn't care and still loved Sasami just the way she was. Though they are separate, as Sasami grows, she and Tsunami will gradually become one and the same.
Because of her assimilation with Tsunami, Sasami is automatically bonded to the genesis Royal Tree, Tsunami-no-ki and the owner/captain of its ship, Tsunami-fune, which is obviously the most powerful ship in the Juraian Fleet.
Sasami's strength and endurance are also enhanced by the link with Tsunami-no-ki. Additionally, Sasami is an accomplished combatant, most likely taught by her mother who is the Supreme Commander of the Juraian Royal Bodyguard. For example, Sasami easily defeated Mashisu Makibi, a trained Galaxy Police officer. In OVA 4, Tenchi admits to sparring with her and being completely defeated by her skills. One of the cherry-like hair bands she wears is capable of becoming a battle staff.
In OVA 3, Sasami admits to Mashisu during the battle that she is in love with Tenchi. When her connection to Tsunami was revealed, the girls understood that when Sasami reaches maturity, she will take on the appearance of the beautiful Tsunami and that she will become a threat in their battle for Tenchi. The fact that Tsunami has always appeared as Sasami's adult form supports the theory that she and the young princess were destined to be one.
In the Tenchi Universe continuity, Sasami is still Ayeka's sister and a princess of Jurai's Royal Family, but there is no mention of her parents, and Yosho (along with his grandson Tenchi) appears to be only a distant member of the Royal Family to them and direct heir to the throne..
Sasami is still an accomplished cook. She does not use any special powers other than the ones usually possessed by the members of Jurai's Royal Family. She does - or did - own her own ship, but it was soon destroyed, stranding her on Earth at Tenchi Masaki's home in an attempt to bring her sister back home.
She is also an expert video gamer, especially fighting games.
The revived ancient knights of Jurai, the real Azaka and Kamidake, become her guardians at the end of the series, with Azaka also becoming her gaming pupil. And after briefly returning to her place at Jurai, she leaves permanently to Tenchi's home on Earth.
Sasami travels with the rest of the extended Masaki clan to the year 1970 to keep a close eye on Tenchi's mother Achika after it is revealed that something happens to her in the past, causing Tenchi and the house to start fading away from existence. Her job with Ryo-ohki was to make sure Tenchi stays out of sight from Achika so they do not come into contact and risk creating a time paradox.
Six months after Tenchi went missing, Sasami returns to Jurai with Azaka and Kamidake in order to use the Juraian network to find Tenchi or clues of his whereabouts with no good results. A manga companion to the second movie, which is also called Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2: Eternal Memory, shows what was happening to Sasami off-screen and introduces Tsunami to the Universe continuity. Sasami is taken into a sacred place in the Jurai palace with a girl named Izumi as her guide. Izumi and Sasami pass challenges in order to reach Tsunami, whose power Sasami plans to use to free Tenchi from the parallel world that he is trapped in thanks to a woman named Haruna. Meanwhile, Sasami reflects on her true feelings for Tenchi, revealing that even though she is possibly too young to "even know what love means," she loves Tenchi with all her heart. Tsunami makes Sasami realize that Tenchi will choose who he wants to be with and that she cannot force him to leave Haruna's world. However, Sasami comes to assimilate with Tsunami just as she had done in the official continuity. She reveals to the reader that although the others believe that Washu's instruments are what allowed the door to Haruna's world to be opened, Washu's plan failed and it is actually Sasami using her power due to her bond with Tsunami keeping the door open, hoping Tenchi would choose to return to them...to her. The manga heavily implies that Izumi is the future daughter of Tenchi and Sasami, but Sasami will die soon after her birth. However, according to Sasami's narration, that was only one possible future because, with every choice they make, they can change their fate. It's also told that Tenchi might not choose Sasami but she'll still care for Tenchi the same as always.
In the series Tenchi In Tokyo, Sasami's personality changes drastically. Instead of being shy, extremely polite and mature, she is shown to be much more emotional and her moods became more erratic, given to bouts of juvenile anger and sulking. Sasami also became much louder than before. Her feelings towards Tenchi are much clearer, as she tends to be more honest in expressing herself.
Towards the end of the series, Sasami becomes friends with Yugi, the antagonist of this series who desires to separate the girls from Tenchi, before learning Yugi's true nature, but remains her friend even after finding out the truth about Yugi. At the end of the series, Sasami visits the now-sleeping Yugi every day.
Ryo-Ohki is her guardian in this series, and not the pet of Ryoko as in the other series and was always in Sasami's ownership. Sasami can take command of Ryo-Ohki's mecha's form, which is only shown in this series.
Two official manga series have been created by Hitoshi Okuda - No Need For Tenchi and Shin Tenchi Muyo! (aka The All-New Tenchi Muyo!). Based on the OVA series and branching off after episode 13.5. The manga series generally has a lighter attitude than the anime series and the characters personalities reflect this. Sasami has a much more open relationship with Tsunami-kami-sama, who herself is more breezy than her own OVA counterpart, possibly due to Sasami's influence, but more likely by Okuda-sensei wanting to write her that way. Sasami is the only person, in the manga or the anime, that Tenchi has said the words "I love you" to. In volume 5 of the second manga series, Sasami's age is given as 709 years, however, Sasami's age was returned to 708 in volume 7 of the second manga series for unknown reasons. Possibly a mistranslation in either volume.
A series of books written by Naoko Hasegawa, a former scriptwriter for the OVA. The novels branch off after episode 6 of the OVA series. These novels were never translated, however, so little is known about the character development in this time-line.
One Hasagawa novel, Manatsu no Eve, was made into a movie, which was later adapted to English and released in the U.S. under the title Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness. This is the only contact most non-Japanese fans have had with Hasegawa's branch continuity, and in perspective retrospect, both the OVA and Universe canons seem to have meshed into this one. Sasami's connection to Tsunami-kami-sama from the OVA is not mentioned in the film. Sasami has more screen-time as she befriends Mayuka, Tenchi and Yuzuha's (the antagonist in this film) genetic daughter.
The OVA and TV versions of Pretty Sammy have a completely re-worked Sasami. Now she is Sasami Kawai (河合 砂沙美 Kawai Sasami?); in the OVA she is the daughter of a failed singer turned record-store owner named Chihiro Kawai and sister to Tenchi Kawai; in the TV version her parents are Ginji & Honoka Kawai, also record-store owners and she has no siblings.
An ordinary young girl, Sasami was granted magical powers by Tsunami, who is in line to become the queen of a magical realm/planet called Juraihelm. She battles an enemy called Pixy Misa, who is secretly Sasami's best friend, Misao Amano. The Pretty Sammy series was originally created as a parody of the Magical Girl genre, particularly Sailor Moon.
In both series, Tsunami was chosen to become the next queen of the magical kingdom, Juraihelm. Before she can accept the crown, Tsunami must choose someone to represent her on Earth, and she has selected Sasami Kawai, a schoolgirl whose parents run a music store, CD Vision. Sasami was sent off by her parents to deliver a CD to a house she has never been to and discovers that the customer was actually Tsunami, who then introduces herself to Sasami. Sasami was given a magical baton that would allow her to transform into the magical girl, Pretty Sammy. She was also given Ryo-Ohki as her advisor (similar to Luna of Sailor Moon).
At first, Sasami was reluctant to transform into Pretty Sammy (as she fears that everyone will be able to see through her disguise), but once Pixy Misa, another magical girl, comes into action, Pretty Sammy has to put a stop to her actions. However, neither Sasami nor her best friend, Misao Amano, are aware that Pixy Misa is actually a transformed Misao.
Also in these series, the upside-down triangle birthmark only appears on her forehead in her Pretty Sammy form.
In this anime, Sasami is a fifth-grader who has magical powers since birth. But she has been forbidden by her parents to use those powers since age three; she still practices it, but in secret. It is after she and her new friend Misao find out about the secret of her new teacher, Washu Kozuka that she becomes a member of the latter's magical girl club and maximize the use of her magical power.
Ai Tenchi Muyo
Sasami appears, as a teenager, in the series, Ai Tenchi Muyo, traveling to Takahashi, Okayama to aid Tenchi Masaki in a 'secret mission'.