Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #45 (of 49) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, November 10, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, February 07, 2006



What They Say
In the 45th installment of the sea-like, big-lipped, infatuated bully of anime, those triplets of terror look to torment their least favorite girls; a day of fun at Mendou's Marine Park turns into bedlam when Mr. Fujinami becomes an event coordinator; Tomobiki's most dysfunctional family gets a few wishes from a shiny visitor and Ataru gets green with envy when Lum's little green friend shows up and needs some help.

The Review!
With stories and characters that are pretty much all over the place with no consistent them, Urusei Yatsura simply does what it does best and that's to generate laughs.

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. The problems we experienced previously with the macroblocking in the backgrounds, particularly blue skies, are far less pronounced this time around and in general the transfers seem a bit brighter and sharper. The feel of the cels continue to be apparent as we get further into the series. Some of the ghosting issues are still there and there's a fair bit of aliasing to be seen in many scenes but overall this looks like I expected it to but a bit better.

Packaging:
The dark purple flavored covers continue here and while they're not the best looking covers, they're all we're going to get with this series. One of Shutaro's many brides makes this cover but without her massive armor casing around her as we a get a somewhat fuzzy close-up shot of her face with those big amusing eyes. The back cover maintains consistency to the past volumes and provides a short bit on the episodes as well as a character shot and witty comment. No inserts or "recipe cards" are included with this release as they've been moved to program notes on the DVD itself, a change I'm fully for.

Menu:
Episode selection is from the main screen, and whichever episode is highlight, it also lists its original air date. The layout remains the same as past volumes but this looks a bit better with an actual background, this time of Mount Fuji in the background radiating yellow and red working properly again is the ability to use the stop button from the menus, something that was weirdly disabled in some volumes before and required you to actually be in the show to get it to stop playing. With the language selections being as they are, the players' presets didn't matter much.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The 45th volume of the series brings the ninth box set to a close and it has a set of episodes that at most you could consider animal friendly but it plays with all sorts of things from returning characters to more of Lum's past showing up in the present to cause trouble. Similar to several of the volumes in this box set there really isn't a clear theme or even a dominant character outside of the main two leads of the series.

From the past, we get an opening episode that brings the three "spice girls" back into play as they continue to try and come up with ways of beating down on Lum, Benten and Oyuki. Their methods this time fail pretty spectacularly at first when they do simple stuff like painting on the outside of Benten's place or taking on Oyuki directly but it's when they get to Earth and get involved with the class as they're doing an art project at a zoo that they manage to have their most fun in messing with Lum. The ostrich that they get to do their dirty work makes short work of the bodies and minds of the regulars, particularly of Shutaro, but it gets to a lot of them as they try to get their projects done. Another bit of the past shows up in the last episode when a special package arrives at the school for Lum and inside it contains a talking frog that wants Lum to kiss him. As it turns out, this frog is someone she knew from kindergarten and he's come for a spot of help but the entire situation makes the guys jealous in general but Ataru actually starts to get expressive about the entire thing even as he tries to use it as a chance to score.

There is a new Fujinama/Hamajaya episode on this volume which seem like they're getting to be a bit too common as the series gets closer to ending but it's a nice bit of a twist. He and Ryuunosuke are at a beach doing a training session to build their endurance and earn some extra cash for the next season and it times out to when Shutaro invites Lum and Shinobu to his nearby hotel for a weekend of surfing and fun. His invitation goes incredibly wrong though when word gets out and the next thing he knows the principal and Onsen have invited themselves along with the entire class to go there at Shutaro's expense. Bringing both of the sides together, Shutaro finds out that the hotel manager made a deal with Fujinami for a unique event to happen in that people can get fish out of the pool for a small fee which will draw lots of visitors. Fujinami's trick though is that after paying, they find out that there's a shark in the pool…

One of the best things with this volume though is that we get an episode that centers around the immediate Moroboshi family with Lum and Ten in that they have a visitor arrive from the stars that offers them three wishes for the Tanabata holiday. The prelude to this is what's best though as we for the first time I think see Mr. Moroboshi in his work environment and how he has to deal with his meager allowance and food issues outside of the household. It's rare to see his life other than when he comes and goes so this is a really fun little bit that's long overdue. The rest of the episode plays out fun as well as everyone tries to come up with the best ideas for the three wishes they get even though they go for the obvious ideas at first until they start running out of wishes. The family humor is quite good here and having a stronger role for the parents once again is very welcome as they're very underrated members of the cast I think.

In Summary:
Urusei Yatsura has another batch of four fun episodes and it continues to have us laughing both before and after we watch it. The show is plenty of fun to watch but I still find talking about and going over the situations and tweaking what I've seen with the liner notes only adds to its long term fun and replay value. While there are no major breakout episodes in this volume we do get to return to a few familiar things such as the spice girls and more tea shop silliness. This is just good fun and I'm already dreading the wait for the next and final set of volumes that will bring it all to a close.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & 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