Washu Hakubi Appreciation Post

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“Science is far better than love can ever be!”

Amen to that. Anyway, throughout my childhood I always had a love for science. I still remember when my grandma (God rest her soul) asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and my enthusiastic reply was “A scientist!”. Considering the career choice I’m pursuing presently, not much has changed since then. I will say I originally wanted to be an astronaut, but then realized I had a fear of heights. My acrophobia is nil nowadays, but I think my place is in the medical world, tutoring and scientific journalism/communication. I’ll be getting paid doing the things I love and I can’t wait! Turning passion into profit! Writing is a passion of mine and this blog exemplifies my love for the written word. I don’t think writing anything scientific will be an easy task, but with my respect for science and affinity for writing I can see myself enjoying the process it takes to promulgate any research findings.

Science is the engine for prosperity and understanding. Astronomy, Chemistry, Cosmology, Biology, Physics, Anatomy and Physiology, Zoology, Psychology… you name it and I’m most likely interested in it. I truly believe that, but where did this mentality come from? It didn’t just happen by accident. If the subject of this blog post is any indication it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist (ha!) to answer the question “why?”. It’s because of one particular character from an anime which aired on Toonami during my childhood. It is none other than Washu Hakubi aka the greatest scientific genius in the universe (宇宙 の 天才 科学 者 for those who speak/read Japanese).

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If you watched Toonami growing up or you like anime, you most likely have an idea on who she is. Though her character depends on the Tenchi continuity, one thing has always been consistent and it’s her being a scientist. She usually has a number of innate powers, but she prefers to solve problems through reason and technology. Being the most rational and intelligent of the characters, she’s the one explaining complex topics and enemies have a hard time trying to trick her. In all three Tenchi series, she creates an inter-dimensional laboratory in the closet of the Masaki household. She spends most of her time in her lab where she invents something which could end up being the problem of the episode, does research, and overall have a good time being curious of the natural world. Even though Washu is smart, she has a playful side to her. Her playfulness is first shown during her introduction when she wants everyone to call her “Washu-chan”, but this is often in attempt for people to convince her to do favors for them.

As I said before, Washu’s character differs depending on the series, but she is the most developed in the OVAs Ryo-Ohki. She isn’t just the greatest scientist in the universe, she’s a goddess who created the multiverse along with two other goddesses. She decided to seal away her powers and memories in three gemstones and descend to the third dimension so she could relearn and try to prove the existence of a higher-level being, something impossible when she knew everything. Funny thing though, because it seemed like she knew everything to me. Besides being an inactive goddess she is naturally an inventor and is the creator/mother of Ryoko, one of the characters in the anime. Despite looking like a 12 year old, she’s actually older than the universe itself. Unlike Universe or Tokyo, it’s explained why she looks like an adolescent. Before the start of the series, Washu met a man at the Galaxy Academy whom she fell in love with and eventually gave birth to their child. However, because her husband came from a prestigious family and as a result of Washu’s “lower class” he took their baby and left in a political strife. Out of grief, Washu wanted nothing to do with the adult world and its responsibilities so she altered her body to have the appearance of an adolescent girl, although she is able to return to her adult form if she wants to.

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The troll face of a genius.

It cannot be stressed enough how intelligent Washu is. She became the youngest person to be accepted to the Department of Philosophy at the Jurai Imperial Academy. She is renowned throughout the galaxy as the Number 1 Scientist Genius in the Universe (ユニバースNo.1 ·サイエンティスト天才) for her extraordinary knowledge and absolute experience in all areas of science and even other subjects. Her scientific ingenuity is also perpetuated as being an insurmountable task to attain since no individual who came before or after her confinement, including her longtime rival, Dr. Clay, managed to match or compete on the same level as her. Being highly talented in the field of science since she was a child, Washu was able to miniaturize and confine universes within a bottle. Washu’s scientific creations are often known for their colossal magnitude of destruction as they have been responsible for the destruction of multiple planets, star systems and even galaxies, which make them highly coveted and at the same time feared throughout the universe.

Is there anything this woman CAN’T do? Besides her scientific pursuits, she’s a good cook and has knowledge on parenting which is seen when she was babysitting Tenchi’s baby cousin. While the other characters found the infant intractable, Washu had no trouble taking care of him. She even possesses some skill with hypnosis and the ability to break the fourth wall. She can even sing! I know she’s just an anime character so the writers made her have all these talents, and while it might be discouraging for some, it really inspires me to do my best!

It’s funny how a fictional character can have an effect on my life. Washu is the reason I tried so hard to pass all of my science classes when I was at my community college. I remember when I was in middle school in my science class there was was a free response question on Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. I learned it from Washu’s karaoke song in Universe and I wrote it as it was said in the song verbatim (I even included the “You understand this don’t you?”) and got a 100% on my test. She is my favorite scientist because she makes science look so awesome and BOlieve me, it is! This is coming from someone who isn’t the most scientific literate person on the planet. While subjects like English and History always came natural to me, Science and Mathematics were two different stories. Throughout my time during high school and college I learned something though. Once I started applying myself I realized they weren’t hard, but they did require effort on my end. I discovered I was willing and capable of becoming knowledgeable in science It’s a good thing too since my major has me taking science and math classes now. Washu is one of two reasons I’m getting my degree at my university.

Thank you, Washu-chan. Thank you for instilling a love for science in me. It is thanks to you that I am able to continue to learn with an open mind and enliven to discover new limits. It is thanks to you I’m back on track to what I was destined to be. It is thanks to you I’m on a never-ending search for answers because of my insatiable curiosity which will continue for as long as I exist.

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2 thoughts on “Washu Hakubi Appreciation Post

  1. And she didn’t even come in to the show until ep 5? of the OVA.
    But it’s the Night before the Carneval special that I really truly loved her. She’s so funny, the way she wooed that Tenchi and spat out a lot of innuendoes.
    Anyway I always wonder what that carneval is. I really like it animated some day.

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