Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Other
  • MSRP: ¥6,000
  • Running time: 98
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer

By Chris Beveridge     October 27, 2002
Release Date: September 21, 2002

Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer
© Other

What They Say
Here's the second "Urusei Yatsura" theatrical movie directed by cult fave filmmaker Mamoru Oshii. Comes with a replica of the original souvenir book.

The Review!
The second Urusei Yatsura movie, Beautiful Dreamer stands out as one of my all time favorite anime movies. And it sits in a very exclusive club of titles that I will import without subtitles.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese but in the newly remixed 5.1 version. The audio has managed to actually come across better in this 5.1 mix than I expected, considering the age of the show and the likely condition of the original stems. Dialogue is much clearer and distinct and the music comes across beautifully. It?s pretty much all forward soundstage directed, but everything sounds much crisper and fuller than the original mono mix.

Newly remastered for release, and coming out long after the rest of the movies have come out, Beautiful Dreamer sports a gorgeous transfer that amazes me how it looks compared to the various formats and releases I?ve seen over the years. While the original aspect ratio is in some dispute as to whether it was matted for theatrical or video, this new release is done in 16:9 and enhanced for widescreen sets and appears to be almost entirely progressive as well. The colors are fantastic, especially when considering its age and the shows style itself. Cross coloration and aliasing are non-existent. This is the transfer I?ve always wanted of this show. It?s gorgeous.

Going with the traditional image, we have the great shot of Lum floating down while you can see the city in the background. There?s a lot of detail here that gets missed quite easily if you simply scan over it. It?s really the consistent image used over the years and I?m glad to see they didn?t mess with perfection. The back cover provides a number of screenshots from the show as well as a summary and the basic technical specs. The insert provides the cover image as well but opens up to list the chapter stops and explain the audio track differences as well as providing all sorts of basic DVD playback information. The disc itself is a real treat, nicely silkscreened with super deformed versions of the cast set against a blue sky with silver stars and planets.

The menu is a simple static piece, with part of the cover image to the right while selections (all in Japanese) are along the left. With no music or animation playing, access times are nice and fast and moving around is quick and simple.

There?s some really good extras here, though difficult for me. In the package itself is a reproduction of the original twenty four page theatrical booklet, which brings back fond memories of when theaters and movie studios used to provide these things, especially for event movies. The disc itself features the original theatrical trailer, which is great for using as a comparison for how the video has been remsatered. The big extra is the audio commentary done by Oshii, Shigeru Chiba, Junji Nishimura and Noriaki Ikeda. Since it?s unsubtitled, it?s all lost on me, but it gives me hope for being licensed along with this new transfer for a region one release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story of Beautiful Dreamer is one of my favorites of the traditional Japanese tales. Taking the classic story that?s similar to Rip Van Winkle, but with turtles and temples, it gets a modern update via Rumiko Takahashi?s characters, characters that often mess with the classics. Oshii?s take on this is far darker than the TV series usually gets, but it also finds its launching point from there, as the dream maker Mujaki and his little pig from one episode get reworked and re-introduced to be the main cause of the tale.

It?s the school festival, and everyone is working hard to make their particular class project the real winner. Since it?s self-management time, everyone is doing extra duty to make sure it all comes off without a hitch. And that means working day and night and staying overnight at the school itself. But for some of the characters, it feels like they?re repeating things day after day, and we slowly learn that something is vastly wrong with this situation as characters continue to disappear.

From an energetic and fun opening, the world of Tomobiki changes gradually until most of the city is in ruins, and hardly anyone is left but our cast members. Most of them simply go off to enjoy life with Lum and friends, enjoying the days of their youth and playing as much as can be. Others are investigating the mystery though, and trying to figure out what went wrong with the world and where the disappeared people have gone.

This movie was originally released very early in the US schedule, when a number of the characters hadn?t been introduced into the series yet. While that made parts of it difficult to watch, the majority of it was very easy to take in. Watching how various characters deal with the situation in a longer format than a TV episode was really needed. Seeing Megane go and start quoting his own horrendously long series of novels to Sakura starting up her own store, or to most of the characters simply having fun with Ataru?s parents adapt to having everyone live with them. And, of course, having Mendou seem entirely out of whack by driving around in a tank all the time while everyone plays with Lum.

Having seen this film so many times, it?s easy to just drop it in the player raw and enjoy it. With the visuals so fresh now in this restored version, there?s so much more to take in. I love the style of the series and this movie did a great job of giving it a more serious light and some really excellent moments of subtlety from Oshii. Beautiful Dreamer is a standout that made me realize there?s more to the TV series than meets the eye and that anime films tend to be really amazing pieces. Nearly ten years after first viewing it, I?m glad that I finally own what I consider to be the definitive version of the film.

Japanese 1.0 Original Language,Japanese 1.0 Restored Language,Japanese 5.1 Language,Audio Commentary,Theatrical Trailer,Theatrical Booklet Reproduction

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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