Ayeka Masaki Jurai
(柾木 阿重霞 樹雷, Masaki Aeka Jurai
?) is a key character in the various Tenchi Muyo!
anime series by AIC. While details of her character differ between the various series, Ayeka is typically shown as the beautiful first princess of the planet Jurai who has fallen in love with the title character, Tenchi Masaki. Ayeka is portrayed as being modest, well mannered, traditional, and aristocratic, but can also be snobbish (her proper accent is evidence of her aristocratic upbringing). She can also be very fierce when she feels that anyone or anything she cares for is in danger, such as Tenchi or her younger sister Sasami, of whom she is very protective.
Ayeka is a rival of Ryoko for Tenchi's affections. Often the conflict between the two comes out of their decidedly different personalities and backgrounds, with Ryoko being more blunt, open and sexual in her attempts to gain Tenchi's love. The level of the rivalry can vary between being equatable to a pair of bickering siblings to an all-out feud. Ryoko's teasing and efforts often bring out some of Ayeka's worse aspects. However, there are times when Ayeka puts aside her rivalry whenever Tenchi is in danger, such as the battle with Kagato.
The romanization of her name in the Pioneer/Geneon English subtitles is "Ayeka" instead of "Aeka" to clarify its pronunciation for Western viewers (ah-eh-ka). Her name is believed to be derived from aekanaru
, meaning "frail" or "delicate," reflecting her usual outward demeanor. An old reading of aeka
is "willowy", or "requiring the assistance of a man." The tree is referenced in the "soul of the ship," and further connects to "spring" and the "awakening of sexual desire." In Japanese mythology, the willow tree is known as a "demon repeller," which represents her relationship with Ryoko.
Ayeka does not have Ryoko's level of power but is still quite capable in dueling most opponents, including Kagato. She is more powerful than Tenchi in his typical state, but once transformed his Jurain powers exceed hers.