Washu Hakubi (白眉 鷲羽, Hakubi Washū), the greatest scientific genius in the universe, is a key character in the Tenchi Muyo! metaseries.
Like the other characters, her character differs depending on the continuity, though she sometimes displays a number of innate powers which she rarely uses, preferring to solve problems with reason or technology. In all incarnations of the series, Washu has also shown to be somewhat prudent and is generally trickier to fool than Tenchi or the other girls, which makes it harder for her to fall into an enemy trap. In all three Tenchi series, Washu creates an inter-dimensional laboratory in the closet of the Masaki house, although her laboratory is a lot bigger in the OVA series than in both of the TV series.
The name "Washū" is an ancient one for Japan; specifically, the region around Osaka. The name "Hakubi" was derived from the name of a train line, the Hakubi Line. When translated, Washū means "eagle-feather", and hakubi means "excellence". Washu's hair is derived from a costume from Noh plays, intended to resemble the (usually black) legs and claws of a crab. For her, it's a red crab, because this is a food specialty of Osaka. As such, the red crab logo appears on much of her merchandise and miscellaneous apparel.
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
Washu is one of the Chousin; three sister goddesses who created the multiverse, the other two being, Tsunami and Tokimi. In order to solve the riddle of finding someone more powerful than them, Washu chose to seal her godly powers and consciousness into three gemstones and descend to the third dimension in order to analyze the mysteries of the multiverse. The purpose of Washu forgetting everything was so that she could relearn and thus try to prove the existence of a higher-level being, something impossible when she knew everything, thus this allowed her to think outside of the box. These gems have the same quality and power as the Royal Trees of the planet Jurai, which were created by her sister Tsunami. The gems are capable of creating Light Hawk Wings, the manifestation of a higher power in this dimension and are also capable of feeding power to the Royal Trees.
At some point, Washu was captured by an ancient precursor civilization and was sealed within a facility the size of a planet (Washu was in her giant form). It has been theorized that she allowed herself to be captured as part of her search to find the higher power. The civilization created three clones of Washu using bioroid technology, each one of them owning one of the three gems. The three bioroid clones were named B1 (appearing about 20 years old), B2 (appearing about 15 years old), and B3 (appearing about 10 years old). B3 escapes and meets a young boy while B1 and B2 are sent to kill her. The resulting battles are very devastating and the death-cry of B3 awakens a slumbering Tsunami who destroys the bioroids and rescues the gems. Tsunami departs, leaving Washu sealed within the facility. Why she did not release her is not revealed.
Washu remains sealed for at least 100 million years. As the seal begins to deteriorate with time, Washu begins to wake up. She was apparently 10,000 kilometers tall and as she woke up, she changed her appearance to that of a child (albeit a giant child) to attempt to gain control of her faculty by regressing to the size of a human child. It had no effect and she is unable to shrink herself down. Washu takes back the gems from the body of B1 and is finally able to stabilize herself. It is sometime after freeing herself that Washu embarks on the plan to erase her memories and convert her 3rd-dimensional body into that of an infant.
At some point, an amnesiac three-year-old Washu somehow wound up at a monastery on the planet Kanemitsu with only the three gems in her possession. Later in life, already being celebrated around the galaxy because of her knowledge and accomplishments, she became the youngest person to be accepted to the Department of Philosophy at the Jurai Imperial Academy. Professor/Doctor Washu became the greatest genius in the universe and eventually she and her best friend and scientific partner Naja Akara defected the Academy from under Jurai's control, it being redubbed as Galaxy Academy.
Thousands of years before the start of the OVA series, Washu married Mikamo Kuramitsu, a man whom she met at the Academy and subsequently gave birth to his child. The child, whose name is Mikumo Kuramitsu. However, because Mikamo came from the prestigious Kuramitsu family, as a result of Washu's "lower status," he took the baby and left in the heat of political strife. Out of grief, Washu chose never to deal with these adult issues again and altered her body to have the appearance of an adolescent girl, although she is able to return to her adult form if she wishes to. For this reason, she prefers to be referred to as "Little Washu" (Washu-chan), often in an attempt for people to convince her to do favors for them.
Afterward, a heartbroken Washu planned to go to Planet Seniwa to take her child back, but upon arriving, decided not to take him away from the only home he knew. After deciding not to take him away, Washu, with Naja's assistance, created at least two children in his place using a powerful species known as Masu, which was also in an effort to create a being capable of wielding the power of her mysterious gems. Unfortunately, both children died in an accident which most likely resulted in "Washu's Pore," a huge crater at the Academy.
Following Naja's disappearance during a pirate attack, Washu cloned her. However, the clone was much more ambitious and malevolent than the original and astrally "borrowed" the body of a male Ryoko prototype because of its great power, resulting in Kagato.
Washu created Ryoko using the Masu and her own ova, effectively making her Ryoko's mother. Kagato assisted her in creating Ryoko as well as her living ship, Ryo-Ohki, as entities capable of harnessing the gems' true power. A while later, Washu was locked away by Kagato for 5,000 years inside the alternate dimension of her own battleship, Soja. Kagato claimed all of Washu's creations as his own and brainwashed Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki into serving him. Washu remained sealed away until she was inadvertently freed by Mihoshi during Tenchi Masaki and the girls' battle with Kagato.
Living with Tenchi
After Kagato's defeat at the hands of Tenchi who was able to produce his own Light Hawk Wings, Washu took an immediate interest in the innately powerful boy and declared her desire to claim him for her own. Washu then moved into the Masaki house on Earth and placed her laboratory in subspace, using the Masakis' closet door as a portal. Washu's staying with the Masaki family is somewhat a part of the Chousin's purpose, but mostly it's due to fate. Since then, she has made Tenchi her love and research project, the latter much to the boy's chagrin, while the former was expressed in her offer to only have another baby if it belonged to him. Tenchi gains all of Washu's respect and love, as she wouldn't dare to keep anything from Tenchi and would risk her life for him, similar to the other girls. Washu feels the exact same way about Tenchi that Ryoko does because she has been telepathically linked with Ryoko; her mind was synchronized with Ryoko completely while she was sealed on the Soja. With the seal being broken, her ego returned to her, but the experience with Ryoko had kept her eyes on Tenchi for more than a decade and took root in her mind. She's aware of that and uses it to toy with Ryoko's feelings, hoping that she could be more honest with herself (which happens when Washu fuses Zero with Ryoko).
Washu attempts to take a very aggressive parental role with Ryoko, though they do have a deep connection, albeit a twisted one. Washu does what many consider to be cruel, harsh things to Ryoko. However, considering Ryoko's past as a notorious pirate and the fact that Kagato repressed all of Ryoko's emotions while she was under his control, this is the only real way to get through to Ryoko, unveil her true feelings, and soften her up so that she'd be a better pairing with Tenchi.
Aloof, brilliant, and witty, she balances the household and dispels most of the chaos and according to Nobuyuki Masaki, is at the top of the pecking order though she is often foiled by her great-great-granddaughter Mihoshi Kuramitsu, a genius of luck.
Even after discovering that Tenchi is the superior being that she and her sisters have been searching for, for millennia, Washu reveals that she cares more about Tenchi as a human being than as just the result of her search and she and Tsunami will continue living with him and they convince Tokimi to do so as well.
In the 2nd OVA spinoff, Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar, it is revealed in episode 4 that Washu hypnotized Tenchi's younger half-brother Kenshi Masaki. She did this in order to make sure that as a child, Kenshi never revealed the extended Masaki family's origins to any normal Earthlings. Washu's face is almost covered in darkness in his flashback, but can be recognized easily, Kenshi referring to her as "that mad scientist." Kenshi also refers to her and the other girls as his "sisters".
In the GXP anime, it is shown that Washu will (at least occasionally) return to the Galactic Academy in disguise, and set up a shop to sell various things.
In the Tenchi Universe continuity, like the other characters, Washu's background is different from her OVA counterpart. Washu is still the greatest scientist in the universe, but she was banished from the Universal Science Academy for producing weapons of mass destruction capable of destroying countless planets, and was imprisoned in a capsule device which itself was encased in a large crystal, and sent into space. Eventually, the capsule fell on Earth and was placed in the Masaki Shrine where Washu remained for 700 years. That is, however, until she is freed during a squabble involving Ryoko (who is not her daughter) and Juraian princess Ayeka. Washu is not a goddess, being portrayed more as an egotistical mad scientist than in the official continuity, but still possesses her aloof, witty, and all-knowing nature.
Humorously, Washu has two dolls named A and B that pop up on her shoulders to proclaim her greatness and to cheer her on ("Washu, you are a genius!", "You can do it, Washu!," etc.).
Washu, near the end of the series, talks with Tenchi, who was depressed as his grandfather was easily defeated by Kagato. Washu informs the downtrodden Tenchi that she has sensed enormous power and potential coming from him ever since she first met him and is able to convince him that he will be able to defeat Kagato because of his Jurai power surpasses his grandfather's.
In the final battle, Washu, unable to get the Juraian Army to cooperate with the extended Masaki clan, then disables a portion of the Jurai fleet with her supercomputer virus. After the battle with Kagato, Washu was elected honorary president of the Universal Science Academy, promising to only use her powers for peace. She was kicked out a month later for developing a weapon capable of destroying the entire universe (though as Tenchi narrates, no one was surprised). Washu eventually returned to Earth along with the other girls.
Washu is instrumental in saving Tenchi in Tenchi Muyo! in Love. She is able to shield Tenchi from fading away from existence because of the assassination of his mother in the past and sends the other girls to the year 1970 to protect her from the sinister Kain.
In the final installment, Tenchi Forever!, Washu searches far and wide for the missing Tenchi and when he is finally found, she is able to harness enough power from Camellia trees around Japan in order to defeat Haruna, the woman keeping Tenchi in her dream world against his will.
It would seem that like the OVA version, Washu is in the form of an adolescent girl. It is unknown if this is her own doing or just the way she naturally is.
In Tenchi in Tokyo, Washu was a renegade scientist who had helped Ryoko steal the Jurai Light Stone, an artifact of the planet, and was pursued by the Juraian forces (led by Ayeka) and the Galaxy Police (led by Mihoshi and Kiyone). During the chase, Washu sensed an unusual energy source emitting from Earth, and after they were forced to crash-land on Earth, Washu sensed that the power came from Tenchi's necklace (an heirloom handed down from his late mother, Achika Masaki).
Throughout the series, while researching his necklace, Washu invented various items that would allow the girls to see Tenchi during his time in Tokyo (notably, a dimensional portal), however, her inventions would often malfunction. Personality-wise, she's still a mad scientist, but she is more mellowed-out than her Tenchi Universe incarnation. When Yugi's plot had scattered the Masaki family, Washu was the only one not fooled by it and locked herself in her lab-closet to research. And after analyzing Yugi from her previous attack against the Masaki shrine, Washu found out she came from Jurai. With some help from Ayeka, Washu discovered the ruins to which Ayeka had been previously with Tenchi were actually a prison meant to hold Yugi, as she had been imprisoned for nearly destroying Jurai 3,500 years ago. Washu later sent an analysis robot to analyze Tenchi's girlfriend, Sakuya Kumashiro, as she suspected that Sakuya might be some factor in Yugi's plan, which proved to be true when the scan showed that Sakuya was a shadow of Yugi.
With her Gem Analysis complete, Washu went with Katsuhito to Tokyo, and she explained everything to Tenchi about Yugi and why she worked so hard to break them up. After that, Washu observed the final battle against Yugi, when she was transported to Yugi's dimension and at the end of the series went to work on a new Dimensional Tunnel by using the power of the gems.
One of Washu's time experiments goes haywire, and several of her previous inventions emerge to wreak havoc in a tucked away all-girls school in the mountains overlooking the Masaki's traditional homestead near Kurashiki. During her exploits, only the intervention of top Galaxy Police officers can disrupt her plans, but the entire planet is put at risk when both sides refuse to lower the stakes.
Okuda's No Need For Tenchi! and The All-New Tenchi Muyo! manga series
In these mangas, which are a non-canon continuity of OVA 2, Washu's personality is slightly more caring and mature. Instead of remaining locked inside her laboratory all day and having almost no contact with the others, she shows more concern for those around her, often giving advice or support, almost like a motherly figure. She develops a bond with Sasami, admiring how strong she is. Washu also gains her first rival in the Okuda manga in the form of Yume.
During The All-New Tenchi Muyo! series, she faces Dr. Clay once again, who uses one of Washu's creations, the "Dark Crystal". The crystals evolves morphing into a Washu Doppelgänger called Dark Washu, who's sent to attack the Masaki residence in order to kill Washu. During this incident, Washu is challenged to face Dark Washu on the surface of Europa (one of the moons surrounding Jupiter), but before that she's forced, by Dr. Clay, to erase the memories of his friends, to forget she ever existed. However, this doesn't erase their love for her; Tenchi and the others then set on a flight to rescue her. This makes Washu mature even further and becomes stronger to protect the ones she love, admitting she needs the support of others in order to grow.
In the Magical Girl Pretty Sammy OVA series, she is an Earth child prodigy known as Washu Kobayashi (小林 鷲羽 Kobayashi Washu?) (she was given the last name of her seiyū, Yuko Kobayashi). Graduating from M.I.T. at eleven years old, she became the high school science teacher at Raioh Academy. She would help Pretty Sammy on various events, regardless if Pretty Sammy even wanted her help. When she's not following Pretty Sammy around, she works at Sasami's school as her science teacher. She also has moved across the street from Sasami and Tenchi's house and it was never established if she knew Pretty Sammy's secret identity. Washu is also credited in Pretty Sammy OVA episode 2 as the inventor of the Internet.
In Magical Project S (Pretty Sammy TV), Washu Fitzgerald Kobayashi (鷲羽 フィッツジェラルド 小林 Washu Fittsujerarudo Kobayashi?) is an American and she has a habit of addressing Sasami's father Ginji as Johnny, just as he has a habit of addressing her as Catherine. Washu's role is similar to that of the Pretty Sammy OVA, but with the addition that she is also the first human to be fully aware of Sasami's secret identity as Pretty Sammy and only moved in next door to Sasami's house to keep an eye on Sasami and analyze her magic for research purposes. Later, she discovers that Misao Amano is Pixy Misa. Her most notable appearance in the TV series was that after analyzing Pretty Sammy's magic, she was able to develop her own NT system that was used during Romio's attack on the Earth. Not only did it supply Pretty Sammy, Pixy Misa, Ryo-Ohki, and Rumiya with magic, but it also protected them from Romio's NT system.
In the anime Sasami: Magical Girls Club, she is Sasami's cooking teacher, Washu Kozuka (小塚 鷲羽 Kozuka Washu?). She is also the mentor/advisor of the secret magical girl club and teaches its members the fundamentals of being a magical girl. She is also Ryo-Ohki's mistress, using the poor cabbit in some of her cooking demonstrations. Although she is the cooking teacher, it was revealed that she (ironically) cannot cook.