Liz and I were chatting the other day, and somehow we started talking about Tenchi. I don’t know if any of you have seen Tenchi, but I’m sorry if you have. I’m about to say not nice things about Tenchi. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Tenchi—no wait, there is.
See Tenchi is an average boy with a mildly extraordinary gift: exotic women are infatuated with him. The problem is, he couldn’t seem to care less. He has magic wielding babes dancing around him trying to get his attention, and he seems to spend most of his time moping on the roof wondering why he was chosen for this destiny.
Earth to Tenchi: participate.
So Liz and I decided that Tenchi could be played by an inanimate object with the ability to speak, say a supped up speak and spell. That’s right, I think you could meaningfully replace Tenchi with a speak and spell and cause no problems to the plot of Tenchi.
DON’T DO THIS!
If you have a character who could be played equally well by an inanimate object, they aren’t pulling their weight. Think of your novel as an elite team of soldiers. If everyone can’t pull their own weight, they’re slowing you down. They could get you all killed. Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but if you have a Tenchi in your manuscript you’re endangering your chances for agents, publication, even a solid readership. I won’t claim that I watched all of Tenchi, but when they played Tenchi at the Anime club, half the people would get up and leave. I sat through more Tenchi than I should have, but I just couldn’t believe that anyone would have a character so… well… boring.
Tenchi is a Gary Stu.
If you find yourself stuck watching Tenchi (and you just might, there are people out there who dearly love Tenchi), I have a way for you to make it more fun to watch. Just pretend that Tenchi is a supped up, evil, Speak and Spell, and all the women around him are captured by the dark, magical lure of the nerdy toy. That is to say, the magic of it is twisting their minds. They are hallucinating Tenchi, and they are all caught in its thrall, not unlike the One Ring.
Sorry if I just ruined Tenchi for you.