Ryo-Ohki (sometimes written Ryo-Oh-Ki), known in Japan as Ryō-ōki (魎皇鬼?, lit. "royal ghost monster"), is a fictional character in the Japanese anime series Tenchi Muyo! and its spinoffs. Ryo-Ohki's appearance is similar to a cross between a cat and a rabbit, and for this reason Ryo-Ohki is commonly referred to as a cabbit. Ryo-Ohki also served the role of mascot for Pioneer Entertainment before that division of Pioneer Corporation became Geneon.
Ryo-Ohki's appearance as what fans describe as a "cabbit", love of eating carrots, and association with the character Sasami are common among all of the series in which Ryo-Ohki appears. Ryo-Ohki is usually a shapechanger, but the shapes, aside from the "cabbit" form, vary according to the series. Ryo-Ohki's background and other traits vary considerably from one series to another.
In the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki Original Video Animation (OVA) series, Ryo-Ohki is a unique artificial life-form created by Washu. She is initially Ryoko's spacecraft and power-conduit (see below), as well as technically being Ryoko's sister (they are both Masu-hybrids). She and Sasami quickly become attached to each other, however, and she generally chooses to spend her time with Sasami rather than Ryoko. She possesses the ability to transform herself into a small animal form, generally referred to as a 'cabbit', a contraction of 'cat-rabbit', which she gained after Ryoko resurrected herself in episode 1. Following an incident later in the series, she gains the ability to shift to two catgirl-like humanoid forms — a child form and an adult form. However, her adult form is rarely seen, both because she has the mind of a child, and because she has trouble walking on two legs.
Ryo-Ohki's personality is that of a carrot-loving animal. She also has a bit of a crush on Tenchi, though it is not exactly romantic. A dive into her mind reveals that it is filled with images of her and Tenchi harvesting carrots. In addition, she likes to entertain people, such as with her small dance number in Episode 13. She has the mental state of a child, and does not appear to think beyond her next carrot or hug.
Ryo-Ohki was originally created by Washu as a means for Ryoko to access and control the vast power contained within her gems, hence the small gem set in Ryo-Ohki's forehead. Seven hundred years ago, the combined power of Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki was as great as a Jurian 1st Generation ship. Another danger is that, despite this power, it is completely possible to mass produce Ryo-Ohkis, which is a great fear to the Juraian Royal Family. Additionally, unlike some of the most advanced Jurian battle ships (such as the Chobimaru) that can use an elemental tactic for either defense or offense, Ryo-Ohki can use up to three of four elemental tactics at the same time (wind, water, and fire).
In Tenchi Muyo! GXP, Ryo-Ohki appears in episodes 12, 15, and 17. Also in the English anime version of episode 12, Ryo-Ohki has learned to speak human dialect. Ryo-Ohki has also gained a younger sister of sorts, in the form of Fuku.
In Hitoshi Okuda's two manga series (generally set in the OVA continuity), Ryo-Ohki is much the same. She is shown in a few sequences as not as much an animal as a young girl, however, especially in the more recent All-New Tenchi Muyo! titles. In these, she's also shown as another rival for Tenchi's affections, and in a sequence judging all of the girls, she is shown as tying them all with a score of 100 (her score is outside the frame, but her score doll is shown in a cheering pose like the others'; she was considered a serious challenger and had a session with Tenchi; there was no mention of any of the six women/girls having been shown as inferior in any way). Generally, Ryo-Ohki prefers her young child form in these stories; she *has* used her 'adult' form twice (once to date Tenchi, once to work out).
Ryo-ohki has two relatively unusual sequences in the manga. In volume 3 of The All-New Tenchi Muyo!, a short story features her reaction to a prank from Ryoko when she suggests that carrots will make her fat. In this story, she's shown as capable of conversing with Washu clearly, and somehow communicating with Sasami. Her thoughts are shown in clear language.
In volume 8, during the story dealing with the matchmaker (and the aforementioned contest), the matchmaker's robot secretary is shown falling in love with something that resembles a Ryo-ohki plush or puppet, eventually wishing to marry it. It's referred to as 'Ryo-Ohki', and Washu verifies she can fly herself, although the 'real' Ryo-Ohki is definitely active during this story. This may be one of the 'other' Ryo-ohki-like creatures seen in one episode of the OVA and one story in the manga, where other "cabbit"s are shown. No explanation is given for them, or their relation to the 'main' Ryo-Ohki.
In the Tenchi Universe continuity, Ryo-Ohki is not unique; another "cabbit", named Ken-Ohki (owned by Nagi) appears in the series, raising the possibility of still more "cabbit"s - perhaps an entire species - existing. Her origins are not known. She is otherwise similar to her OAV incarnation, serving as Ryoko's companion and spaceship and Sasami's pet. As a humorous plot device, Ryo-Ohki and Ken-Ohki are fond of each other while their owners are bitter enemies. Ryoko suggested that Ryo-Ohki is in love with Ken-Ohki. She also "informed" Sasami in Episode 10 that Ken-Ohki is, in fact, a male, while Ryo-Ohki is a female.
Tenchi in Tokyo
In Tenchi in Tokyo, Ryo-Ohki is Sasami's pet and guardian, as Azaka and Kamidake are for Ayeka. She still transforms into a spaceship from time to time, albeit smaller than in other series, but can also transform into a gigantic pink-colored mecha, which is either piloted by Sasami or autonomously.
In the Pretty Sammy OAV series, Ryo-Ohki can speak and is male. He serves as an advisor to Sasami, who becomes the magical girl Pretty Sammy. This relationship is a reference to the magical-girl genre convention of the animal advisor; it was most likely meant as a parody of the relationship between Sailor Moon and her cat Luna. He also has a young male humanoid form.
In the Pretty Sammy television series (also known as Magical Project S), Ryo-Ohki is a boy from the magical dimension of Juraihelm, who takes the shape of a "cabbit" in order to serve as Sasami's advisor. Like the OAV version, he speaks while in "cabbit" form.
Sasami: Mahou Shojo Club
Not much is known about Ryo-Ohki at this point except that it is the "pet" of Washu Kozuka. However, it has been shown that Washu can be cruel to the animal if it suits her needs. This is why, just like its counterparts in other Tenchi series, it stays with Sasami.
The cabbit can shape shift in a manner similar to its Tenchi Muyo self. It is unknown at this point if it has a human form. It is also unknown if Ryo-Ohki is male, female or perhaps neuter.