Though anime fans are blessed to have a vast majority of anime available on DVD, BluRay, or one of the various different streaming services, right now may be a good day to remind our readers that while we certainly have more anime available than any other time in history, we still technically don’t have everything. Sometimes we don’t get a series because of licensing issues (most commonly involving the music in said series). Old age can make good masters difficult to obtain. Sometimes a series just doesn’t have enough market potential for any studio to bring it over.

What IS surprising is when a popular anime that have none of the above issues don’t make its way across the pond. This is exactly what happened with not only a popular anime, but an anime that is considered to be one of the iconic trailblazing series that put anime on the map in America (or, at least, on the map in Blockbuster Video rental stores across America). A series that – for better or worse – left an impression on American audiences as to what anime was and could be. It even got some airtime on Cartoon Network! And yet…there is a season completely missing in America.

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No Need for Tenchi?!

Old Anime Trends- Harem Boom Tenchi Muyo

Tenchi Muyo is an OVA from the early 90s about a teenage boy who finds himself living with a bunch of hot alien girls. The idea of the anime was to create the ultimate love triangle and have all the girls fall in love with Tenchi. Tenchi would (at least not until much, MUCH later on) never actually commit to one of them, and viewers were left to ultimately decide themselves which girl was perfect for Tenchi (though most agree that it was either Ryoko or Aieka). Throw in some science fiction action that was inspired by Star Wars, and that is essentially what Tenchi Muyo was all about.

The OVA was one of the first real anime ‘hits’ in America, selling in most comic book shops, video stores, and even becoming a favorite at Blockbuster Video. It was popular enough that it became the flagship franchise for Pioneer Entertainment, who released most of the episodes and movies until Funimation Productions took over the licenses after the company folded. Tenchi was so popular that he even appeared on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. While there have been various reboots and spin-offs of the character, the OVA series is largely considered to be the “official canon” by many fans, and was successful enough to have several ‘seasons’ of this iteration.

What is Missing?

Magical Project S

Magical Girl Pretty Sammy is a spin-off of Tenchi Muyo starring one of the younger girls, Sasami, as the leading protagonist. Other characters from the Tenchi universe (including the title character himself) also make appearances, but normally in much different (and much smaller) roles than in the mainline series. Unlike the romantic comedy nature of the Tenchi Muyo, Magical Girl Pretty Sammy is more related to magical girls shows that were popular at the time such as Sailor Moon, and features “monster of the week” storylines.

There are three series in total. There is the OVA Magical Girl Pretty Sammy, which was dubbed and subbed by Pioneer, the Magical Project S series that was partially released subtitled only, and then we have Sasami: Magical Girls Club, which has had no official English release at all. Of the three different series, American’s got roughly half of it released here (and only a few episodes dubbed into English).

Why Americans Never Got It All

Anime DVD

The answer to why Americans never got all the seasons of Magical Girl Pretty Sammy is more straightforward than most of our articles here: the series was a poor seller. Unlike Tenchi Muyo, which targeted audiences 13 and up, Magical Girl Pretty Sammy was a much more family-friendly series that was deemed safe for audiences 3 and up. While it featured the Tenchi characters, older fans who bought the tapes simply were not interested in a magical girl comedy geared toward kids. Since most of the series remained undubbed, Cartoon Network never attempted to acquire the rights.

When the rights passed along to Funimation the company notably made no real attempt to save the license for Magical Girl Pretty Sammy. To this day none of these series have been re-released in America, with Sasami: Magical Girls Club never even being attempted to be acquired. While it could be argued that these series would do better on a streaming platform that doesn’t have a lot of options for families, it appears that the series is too old for most companies to take much notice of it. So, while Tenchi Muyo fans might be curious about these spin-off series, most of them just simply were never made available.

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