Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #47 (of 50) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, January 22, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, June 06, 2006



What They Say
In the 47th installment of the show that recycles only the highest quality fortunes, sibling rivalry reaches epic proportions when a strong-natured sister takes on her somewhat strong-willed brother.

The Review!
Picking up in the fun level from the previous volume, we get more Lum and Ataru centered stories that are just plain fun.

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. This cover is a bit of a change as it has a number of characters on it in bubble headshots floating across and it's a nice change of pace, though they are just as fuzzy as previous releases. 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)
With each episode now I know the end is getting nearer and it's making me nervous but at the same time I can't help but laugh because the episodes continue to be fun to watch as the group goes through their normal series of adventures. The four episodes on this volume cover the last two airings in December of 1985 as well as the first two episodes that rung in their final year with January 1986.

The mix of episodes is decent and we get some mildly fun and a couple of really fun ones. Of the mildly fun episodes, the New Year Panic! episode is one of them as a few of the regulars make their way to Mendou's estate for the new year and insanity happens when Mendou gets to show them the new building on their massive sprawling estate. There are a few good moments in the lead-up to where the wackiness really hits in, such as how every servant says happy new year to him and Mendou travels around the estate on conveyer belt. Mendou's a good bit of fun during it in general since Ataru naturally shows up so he does the usual attacks but it has a touch of class since he has on his proper new years outfit. An episode that had similar in a few fun moments but not much overall is the one that brings Asuka and her brother Ton against each other by their mothers machinations since she wants to get them to split. She gets crafty with a bet to accomplish it and Ton gets suited up in one of Lum's armor devices but once it's on you can imagine where it goes. Where it's problematic is in the sheer amount of repeated animation for the gags.

There are a couple of episodes that were really fun here though. Continuing with the lesser focus on Christmas and the greater on the new year, the last episode of 1985 is a very amusing piece that keeps its story centered on Lum and Ataru as the two keep trying to get an omikuji that will pave the way to their good fortune in the year. Neither of them get what they want and they go through a lot to get fortunes that will bear out their wishes, from the simple local shrine that Cherry operates to the bigger draw that Sakura, Shinobu and Ran are dealing in. Where it gets really fun is when they slip into subspace and try the omikuji there and it ends up granting their wishes and Ataru finds himself all decked out and ready for marriage to a very compliant Lum. His own desires shine through as well of course but it's fun to see them spring to life while keeping to just these two characters.

And I'll say that even as much as I dislike Jariten, he got a good episode on this volume. It's a simple story that starts with him coming across a tiny goofy fairy who lost his umbrella, the source of its power, and fell into a puddle where he's now trapped. Ten sets off to find it since he's been promised one wish when he returns it. Since Ten dreams of marrying Sakura it's no wonder he's so eager to find it and to do whatever it takes to stymie Ataru from getting it. There's some good simple fun in the real world with all of this but it's when Ten gets punted into the puddle with the umbrella that it lets the little guy shine as he simply has fun and enjoys himself. It's even got a very amusing ending that puts wishes in a very straightforward manner.

In Summary:
Urusei Yatsura is simple good clean fun and this volume is enjoyable overall, with some episodes better than others as is sort of expected when dealing with episodic shows like this. I'm glad to see the greater return to the core characters, especially after several volumes in the last box set was dealing with the third level characters like Ryuunosuke and her father far more than others. The return of Lum and Ataru as the prime characters reminds us easily as to why the show is so much fun. While it's not the same as the first season or two there are some solid echoes of it in this volume. Good stuff and very enjoyable.

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