Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #11 (of 50) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, September 10, 2001
Release Date: Monday, September 10, 2001



What They Say
Lum and Ataru actually go out on a date; A trip to the seaside results in a run-in with a cursed watermelon; A typhoon treads on Tokyo, panicking Ataru's parents; And if you think Lum and Ten are a recipe for chaos, wait until you see them after they get smashed on high-proof pickled plums!

The Review!
The third box set kicks off with disc eleven and though it's only been a few months since the second box, more Lum and friends is a great thing. These episodes quickly got me into a great mood.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its only language of Japanese. With the show being so old, it's a very basic audio track that's listed as 2 channel but is essentially a mono mix with everything coming through the center channel. Dialogue is clear and there aren't any noticeable dropouts, but the volume does sound a bit lower than discs we're used to listening to. Otherwise, it's about what you've come to expect from this show.

Video:
Things are about as expected here. With these episodes being about twenty years old and animated fairly simply, it's not going to look astonishing. Colors look good for the most part though there's some occasional bleeding in the reds which is more noticeable in the last episode with the pickled plums than elsewhere. There's the usual amount of noticeable macroblocking in some of the blue sky backgrounds and some very minor instances of cross coloration in a few areas, but nothing that really detracts in the end.

Packaging:
Consistency counts, and this volume continues the same style as the first ten volumes, with the same pink tiger stripe background and one of the characters taking center stage. Eternally cursed, Princess Kurama gets the front cover for this volume. The back cover gives Princess Kurama bio as well as a summary of the episodes on this disc. There's no insert per se, but there are the "recipe card" liner notes again.

Menus:
Episode selection is from the main screen, and whichever episode is highlight, it also lists its original air date. There's no selection for languages/subtitles, since it defaults to the only language and with subtitles on. While not the most appealing menus in the world, they're fast and functional, and people are likely never to really need them.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This disc has a number of favorite episodes. Things the just make me laugh throughout them.

The opening episode deals with Lum and Ataru actually going on a date, and end up double dating with Perm and a girl he's managed to acquire and see on the side. Ataru gets Lum to act like the girl, so she can be normal, but this girl isn't all that normal to begin with (she can't be normal to go out with Perm after all) and there's some great stuff when the two are being similar, such as the restaurant sequence.

One of my favorite episodes deals with the typhoon that hits Tokyo. With all the torrential winds and rain outside, the family boards up the house and sits it out. But as anything with these people go, it doesn't go quite right. The house starts to leak and waters begin to rise inside. To make it even worse, Lum "splits" the water in half, so it's raising downward from the ceiling as well, giving the residents some small spot of air in the middle. The way the parents react through this episode is great, especially Ataru's mother.

The weak episode on this disc deals with Ataru, Lum, Shinobu and Mendou going to a beach getaway before their summer ends. While the usual insults get flung and the oddness occurs, it's when they all decide to play "watermelon smash" that things really take a turn from the worse. Apparently the local god is a huge watermelon, so smashing other watermelon's is generally considered a bad thing. Despondent, they all go wandering off and come across said god watermelon. This is a HUGE watermelon on a ceremonial slab. And being the show that it's in, it's alive! It starts going after the four, causing trouble along the way and eventually sprouting arms and legs.

One of the more interesting episodes is the final one on this disc, where Ataru accidentally discovers that little known secret that pickled plums (something every box lunch has of course) cause Oni to become drunk. After Ten eats one and starts getting all loosened up, Lum ends up trying one to see what it does and then they both become addicted. Everyone must give up their picked plums! The chases throughout the school and the general warped nature of the episode provide quite a bit of fun.

Very few series can sustain itself for 40+ episodes, especially an episodic series. Urusei Yatsura is one of the few that gets better as it goes along, and it's unfortunate that shows like this can't seem to get made nowadays. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: C+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: AnimEigo
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Urusei Yatsura