Urusei Yatsura Movie 6: Always My Darling - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: C
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £12.99
  • Running time: 78
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura Movie 6: Always My Darling

By Dani Moure     February 10, 2004
Release Date: January 19, 2004

Urusei Yatsura Movie 6: Always My Darling
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
Lupica, another one of the legion of space princesses who all seem to have found out about Earth in some tour book, appears and abducts Ataru. Needless to say, Lum, assisted by her friends Oyuki and Benten, gives chase. Also needless to say, Lupica isn't after Ataru for his great looks or charming personality (because he doesn't have either).

Lupica's goal is the greatest love-potion in the galaxy, which she intends to use to induce her sweetheart to tie the knot. To get it she needs the possessor of the greatest lust in the universe. Now you know why she needs Ataru Moroboshi... Urusei Yatsura 6: Always My Darling. Insanity, Japanese style!

The Review!
The animated incarnation of Urusei Yatsura comes to an end with the final movie produced - Always My Darling.

The audio is much the same as it has been on past discs. The film is only presented in Japanese with English subtitles, and I noticed no dropouts or distortions during playback.

Video makes out much the same as past releases, too. The subtitles are burnt into the picture, and are surrounded by a bit of artefacting. The video is quite grainy, with occasional macro-blocking during some scenes. It's a cheap, bare-bones release, but it's still disappointing.

The front cover is dominated by the new-style Lum, with an amusing action shot of Ataru grabbing Lupica, surrounded by the Buddhas to the right. Rio also appears on his tofu bike, as do Oyuki and Benten, though the latter is obscured by the "movie 6" text. Consistent with past releases, the movie's title takes up a large portion of the bottom of the cover. The back cover contains two screenshots, production credits and a summary of the movie... only it's not a summary of this movie. In fact, it's the text for Movie 5, The Final Chapter, which is a disappointing error.

The menu is the usual barebones style. The main menu is static, as usual, with two screengrabs of Lum that look quite grainy, and the choices of "Play Movie" and "Scene Index". The scene index is a static menu with a brief shot from each of the movie's six chapters. The menus are rather dull, but as always are nice and fast to access.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the disappointment of Lum The Forever, I was quite eager to dive back in to Urusei Yatsura, hoping that this movie would be a little better. While it's far more straightforward and much simpler than Movie 4, Always My Darling is an enjoyable romp. Produced as the tenth anniversary special for the franchise, the biggest disappointment is that it brings little closure, and isn't much more than an extended episode rather than a suitable swansong. Nevertheless, it's still enjoyable.

The movie opens in typical style, with the usual gang at a festival, and Ataru running from Lum to the first woman he stumbles across. There are some little Buddha types running around all the while, looking for Ataru. When they finally find him, they attempt to take him away, but he easily overcomes them. A Princess in a spaceship then appears, and he immediately jumps on her. Of course, it turns out the Buddhas were actually trying to capture him for her anyway. Aboard her ship, Ataru spews out all his usual lines, thinking she wants to marry him, but nothing seems to work. She does eventually come round, though, saying that to date her he must procure the Crystal Jar from the Planet Holy Temple.

Meanwhile on Earth, Lum finds Ataru's fan and is distraught, enlisting the help of Benten and Oyuki to find him. Her parents later communicate with her, and reveal that someone had got into their computer files to search for the most lecherous man in the universe ? undoubtedly Ataru himself! The girls end up in a bar in space, where an old man reveals that the one Lum loves is travelling with another woman. When they mention Ataru being the most lecherous guy in the universe, the man asks if they've heard of Planet Holy Temple, which is rumoured to hold a jar that contains the ultimate love potion. Everyone concludes this must be where Ataru is being taken, and off they go.

Also in the bar are a group of men ? one being Rio, the tofu deliverer, who is seemingly in love with Princess Lupica. He hears that she's currently seeking out husbands, as she needs to marry before she's 18 to become air, but he doesn't think it'd ever work if he asked her. Over on Planet Holy Temple, Ataru obtains the jar, but before Lupica can get away with it, Lum arrives to rescue Ataru, and sure enough they make it away with the jar.

Back on Earth, as everyone gets wind of the love potion, they all chase after Ataru in hopes that they can get some and make the person they want fall in love with them. It turns out that Lum is the one to outsmart Ataru and get hold of the potion, but when Lupica returns to take the potion for herself, she is the first one Ataru lays eyes on, and so he is devotedly in love with her!

You can probably imagine where the rest of the story goes from here. Obviously, as the last film produced, Ataru is never going to remain in love with Lupica. The path to the end isn't surprising ? Lum gets everyone involved and they all help keep Ataru away from Lupica, she comes to a conclusion about who she wants to be with and it all works out nicely in the end. But, as predictable as Always My Darling is, it's still enjoyable. It plays it straight down the line, goes where you'd expect it to go, but it retains the essence of fun that Urusei Yatsura is known for.

The jokes are still there, and I found a lot of this movie pretty funny. While the humour, especially with some of the jokes used before, doesn't seem as fresh as it did before, the film nonetheless managed to bring a smile to my face quite often. Most of the humour this time revolves around Ataru and his situation though, particularly his interactions with Lupica and Lum, and there's not really much humour outside the three central characters of this movie.

Which happens to be my biggest problem with it. Aside from not really doing anything you wouldn't expect, there's simply not enough of the supporting cast for my liking. As the tenth anniversary special you would expect it to be a celebration of all the usual characters fans know and love. Instead, another character is brought in to drive the plot into territory that most are familiar with (the love-potion affecting the wrong person plot is one of the most frequent in this genre), and the characters she brings with her get more screen time than most. We see barely a glimpse of the Stormtroopers, and Mendou has but a few lines, being reduced to the one to keep Ataru on a lead by the end of the movie. This is the biggest shame, and it's unfortunate that this ended up being the last animated version of Urusei Yatsura.

Still, the regulars we do see are served pretty well, and Ataru and Lum were mostly on the mark throughout the film, if lacking some depth of character, with Ataru his usual girl-chasing self and Lum showing her never-ending devotion to him, while scolding his actions and getting upset at being the cause of Ataru's lust after Lupica.

One thing that's immediately noticeable when you start the film is that the character designs have been overhauled. While for the most part, everyone just looks slightly updated, Lum gets the biggest change, and I wasn't too fond of it. She actually reminds me of Inu-Yasha here, which is a bit concerning. While it wasn't too hard for me to get past, I could imagine it putting off fans who'd followed the show for so long and were used to the previous designs.

In Summary:
Always My Darling is a fun outing, but it doesn't feel like film that should end the animated side of the Urusei Yatsura. It plays the story by the book and is lacking in terms of depth and the supporting cast, but it's quite amusing and definitely enjoyable, so well worth a watch for anyone that has an interest in the series.

Japanese Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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