Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #13 (of 50) (Mania.com)

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



What They Say
In the lucky 13th installment of Urusei Yatsura, tabloid reporters go on a rampage when Ataru assembles a bird out of old fossils and Lum brings it to life; Goblins are galvanized into action as they once again try to find a mate for the lovely Princess Kurama; Dentists are delighted when Ten infects the school with a contagious alien toothache; And Mendou is mortified when his younger sister Ryooko arrives and proceeds to put the moves on Ataru.

The Review!
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. 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. Lum gets the front cover for this volume, marking her second or third appearance. The back cover gives Ryooko a 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)
As seems usual, we get some really good episodes and one really weak episode per disc. That's good odds in my book when it comes to a lengthy show like this.

The opening episode is the weak episode. It's got a Trek-ism to it. While out and about enjoying a walk in the secluded woods, Ataru, Shinobu, Lum and Mendou discover some old fossils. Playing around, they put them together in weird ways. Lum does her Trekkie thing and pulls out some kind of instrument that brings it to life. This is played against a group of reality-TV folks who are trying to come up with some kind of creepy story, only to have this bizarre looking creature attack them. I got a few laughs here, mostly in regards to how poorly the associate producer was treated, but this was definitely weak.

On the plus side, we have another great episode with Princess Kurama. Determined to get her life back on track, she convinces the goblins that her first wake-up by Ataru shouldn't be counted, so she gets frozen again. While her casket is moved about, it speeds downhill and ends up coming to rest by... Ataru and Mendou. Mendou tries to figure out what's going on while Ataru opens the case and unfreezes Kurama... the goblins go nuts! They convinced Kurama it was really Mendou all while Ataru keeps trying to get his way. The frustration and anxiety on Mendou's part was hilarious.

On another low-brow sort of level, the next episode focuses on a semi-Trek issue. Ten has come down with the alien version of a toothache. Ataru gets excited by this and takes advantage by poking Ten along the cheeks, adding to his pain. At school, all the guys are glad that Ten's gone for the day at least, letting them have a shot at the women. Lum arrives in school and tells Ataru that part of the healing process for the toothache is to bite six or seven other people... this is useful knowledge since biting someone spreads the toothache and Ten had bitten Ataru that morning. The class goes insane as everyone tries to bite each other.

Of a mixed bag is the episode that introduces Ryooko, the somewhat nuts younger sister of Mendou. Taking of the same kind of beauty, partaking in the same wealth, Ryooko's sole goal is to simply annoy her older brother. She manages this wonderfully, such as upon being asked who she is in the classroom, she states that she's Mendou's fiancee. All the girls in the class look ready to die. She takes this to various levels, and to a high level when she realizes how much Ataru aggravates Mendou. She even invites him over to their house, to play the roles of Romeo and Juliet. Mendou simply loses it and goes all out, to great effect.

Thankfully, there's two more volumes left in this box set. I've not yet sated my thirst for the delicious drink that is Urusei Yatsura.

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