Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #14 (of 50) (Mania.com)

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

What They Say
In installment 14 of Urusei Yatsura, the ghost of a large cat stands between Ataru and his dinner; A strange raccoon proves that no good deed goes unpunished; Ataru goes through hell (literally!) to get the perfect part time job; And Lum's Year-End Party turns into an exercise in demented deduction.

The Review!
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.

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.

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 with a bit of a different look, a reddish pink sort of jungle garb. The back cover gives Kotatsu Neko 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.

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.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This disc is probably one of the weaker ones in the series so far as far as the batch of episodes go. There's only one really good episode, one mediocre episode and two poor ones. On the plus side, the really good episode is one of my favorites.

The really good episode is the introduction of Kotatsu Neko. This oversized cat shows up in the midst of a potentially big street fight between a group of cats and dogs over a stash of meat found in the street. The dogs do their best to intimidate Neko when he arrives, but it does no good. The cats inquire about the food, and Neko lets them take it. It's around this time that Jariten, enjoying being blown around on the wind, finds himself blowing up against Neko.

Jariten being the nice kid he is, brings Neko back home with him and manages to sneak him past Ataru's mother. Neko comes to a complete stop however, once he sees a kotatsu that's just sitting there. Neko quickly sets the kotatsu up on the staircase and proceeds to settle in. And all is well and fine up until the time Ataru comes downstairs for dinner, and Neko won't let him past. Things devolve fast with this and with a subplot of Ataru's parents getting divorced and a rivalry between Sakura and Cherry over their eels. The background behind the Neko is interesting, but in the end it's just great to finally have this character introduced, who shows up in various episodes later on as well as the movies, such as sharing a kotatsu with the school principal.

The episode that dealt with Ataru acquiring a part time job, and having to literally go through hell to get it, was amusing. A good part of the amusement came from when he ended up with the bathhouse job and was doing his damndest to wash every girls back in the place. It's basically your hot springs episode done rather tame, but with a fair amount of nudity considering the time it came out and all.

The other two episodes left little of an impact on me that even just a few hours after watching the disc, I can't remember what they're about. As said, this is definitely a weak disc in terms of good episodes, but there's some good nuggets and gems in there. It just takes a bit more work to get to them this time is all.

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