Tenchi Forever!, also known in Japan as Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2 - Distant Memories (天地無用 IN LOVE 2! − 遙かなる想い, Tenchi Muyō in Rabu Tsū!: Haruka naru omoi), is a 1999 anime film directed by Hiroshi Negishi and is the last of three films based on the Tenchi Muyo! series. It is a sequel to the 1996 film Tenchi Muyo! in Love- itself a sequel to Tenchi Universe, both of which were also directed by Negishi. The film premiered in Japan on April 24th, 1999, and released on DVD later that year in the United States by Pioneer Entertainment, titling it "Tenchi Forever!" because it was possibly the last entry in the Tenchi Muyo! series.
In the film, Tenchi Masaki mysteriously disappears after a normal day at the Masaki shrine. Six months later, Ryoko and Ayeka discover an older-looking Tenchi accompanied by a beautiful woman named Haruna, but he is unable to hear or even be touched by them. It is revealed that Haruna, Katsuhito's deceased former lover, has trapped Tenchi in an alternate dimension and manipulated him into believing that the two of them are lovers.
Tenchi Forever! is noted for its departure from previous entries in the series, as it replaces the usual comedy-flavored action with downbeat, sexual melodrama and focuses on Katsuhito's past, Ryoko and Ayeka's relationship with Tenchi, and Tenchi's inner desires.
After a normal day at the shrine, a stressed out Tenchi tries to get away from Ayeka and Ryoko's constant bickering. Tenchi wanders into the forest and disappears. Six months later it is revealed that he got sucked into a tree, the grave of Katsuhito's former lover Haruna.
Haruna has married Tenchi, and Tenchi has no memory of Ayeka, Ryoko or the rest. Tenchi is now several years older, has long hair. Tenchi shrugs off his old life as a dream.
Six months later Ryoko, Ayeka, Mihoshi and Kiyone are all still trying to find him in and rescue him. Nobuyuki has filed a missing-persons report, Mihoshi and Kiyone have infiltrated the Science Academy to look for clues, Sasami returns to Jurai, and Ryoko and Ayeka have moved to Tokyo to continue the search.
After spotting a glimpse of Tenchi with Haruna, the girls report back to Washu, who realizes that Tenchi has been drawn into a parallel world very close to ours. A plan to find and bring him back is set into motion.
Meanwhile, Tenchi is beginning to get severe headaches, which for some reason coincide with his fleeting memories of his real life. Haruna becomes very upset when he starts to subconsciously draw crude pictures of Ryoko. To comfort her, Tenchi takes her out shopping and buys a pair of engagement rings, and stops for dinner at Ryoko and Ayeka's restaurant. When Ryoko tries to address them, there is no response, and her attempts to touch Tenchi pass right through him, making his headaches worse. Tenchi and Haruna fade away into seeming nothingness, leaving Ayeka and Ryoko confused.
Washu contacts Katsuhito, and the old shrine master admits that he may know what's happening. Haruna was the name of the woman he left Jurai with, but she died on the way to Earth. The huge tree that Tenchi encountered before he vanished grew from the spot that Haruna's body was buried. Katsuhito explains that her soul must have been very lonely, and drew Tenchi into her world to recapture the love she had lost. With this new information, Washu finalizes her plan.
With the power of the trees Katsuhito planted over the years, Washu creates a doorway into Haruna's reality, and Ryoko and Ayeka enter. Confronting Haruna and Tenchi, they try to bring him back, but his altered memories confuse him, and Tenchi sternly rebukes the two. With her power over the parallel world, Haruna banishes them back to Earth. Devastated by Tenchi's rejection, Ryoko begins to cry.
Haruna has been draining Tenchi's Jurai Power to keep her world stable, and he begins to feel the effects. The world begins to fade away when Tenchi remembers more about his past, and Haruna cannot hide discrepancies of the "perfect world" from him. Her method of restarting the day, and Tenchi's memories after something goes wrong stops working thanks to Katsuhito slashing into Haruna's tree with his lightsword, channeling his essence into her soul.
Haruna recognizes her true love Yosho, and remembers why she took Tenchi away in the first place: as a substitute for Yosho. Yosho and Haruna leave together, Katsuhito reappearing in front of the ruined tree, and Tenchi finally remembers who he is. Without Haruna's presence, her world begins to vanish, and Tenchi has no way of escaping.
Washu can only send one person to rescue Tenchi now, and Ayeka tells Ryoko to go. Ryoko finds Tenchi now willing to leave and teleports them back to the real world, Tenchi looks back down on his false life, "ready to leave it behind". A shot of Haruna's table shows the rings they purchased together, left behind by both individuals as they leave the charade she kept up for so long.
Later the Masaki household is slowly returning to normal. Tenchi has become young again, his hair short and spiky as it was. Though he does not remember his experiences in the parallel world, he has taken up drawing like his older alter ego, because he likes the way it makes him feel. Tenchi and Ryoko enjoy a quiet moment together as the wind shakes the trees.
- In the Japanese version, Haruna is voiced by Kikuko Inoue, a prolific voice actress who, among other roles, is the voice of Belldandy in all of the adaptations of Oh My Goddess!, another series produced by AIC. In the English dub, Haruna is voiced by Debi Derrybery, who is also the voice of Ryo-Ohki,Yugi, and Mitsuki.
- Tenchi Forever! would be the last time that Petrea Burchard would voice Ryoko until she reprised her role for the North American release of Ai Tenchi Muyo! in 2018.
- The ending song, "Love Song ga Kikoeru", is performed by Anri (Eiko Kawashima) a pop singer-songwriter whose music has seen a resurgence of popularity on the Internet in recent years alongside other City Pop artists from the 1970s and 1980s.
- A few of the movie's musical themes are synthesizer arrangements of preludes by 19th century Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin. In all, Chopin's preludes Op. 24 Nos. 3, 4, and 17 and his Etudes Op. 10 Nos. 3 and 9 are used in the movie.
North American License
In 2010, FUNimation Entertainment rescued the North American license of the film, along with the previous two Tenchi films, Tenchi Muyo! in Love and Tenchi Muyo! Daughter of Darkness, and ha distributed all three in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.