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



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AnimEigo
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 77
  • 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 Chris Beveridge     October 22, 2004
Release Date: January 11, 2005


Urusei Yatsura Movie 6: Always My Darling
© AnimEigo


What They Say
Lupica, another one of the Legion of Space Princesses that 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 libido in the Universe.

Now you know why she needs Ataru Moroboshi!

The Review!
The final piece of Urusei Yatsura in the movie format, this 10th anniversary special gives the gang one more chance at some fun.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this movie in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is a pretty basic one that gives a full feeling to the forward soundstage. I don't think a lot was really expected out of an anime movie for its sound back in 1986, especially since much of the music is your basic keyboard synthesizer type of music, but it sounds decent and is free of any real problems other than just being old. We listened to much of the English language track and didn't note any issues there either.

Video:
Originally released in 1991, this 10th anniversary special is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for it looks pretty good all things considered and is about on par with Final Chapter. While there is still some blockiness going on with the dark blues and some of the blacks, the one aspect that hurts the most with this release is the film print itself which has a number of nicks and scratches and dirt. Hopefully this isn't the best master left out there and that there's a chance to see a truly clean version some day. There is a general level of film grain throughout the movie that isn't all that surprising but it doesn't terribly affect things much if you're used to it from films of this era. Aliasing and cross coloration are both pretty minimal and the show looks pretty decent all told, again considering its age and in comparison to the previous movie.

Packaging:
Continuing to use the same style as previous releases, the cover for this movie uses what I believe is the same artwork as earlier releases on different media. The artwork uses a really good image of Lum holding onto the flower with an almost sad look to her while around her you have the bulk of the cast in smaller form running around and generally getting into trouble. The back cover provides a couple of small shots from the show and a lengthy summary of the movies premise. The discs features and technical information is clearly listed though. As is now standard, the liner notes are now on the disc instead of on the recipe cards so there isn't any insert with this release.

Menu:
The main menu is a simple yet effective piece with a scrolling background of fish while the foreground has a long line cast shot of all the main characters from the show over the years set to a brief loop of the song from the special. It's a cute menu and looks decent considering the source materials. The menus are quick and easy to access and the navigation is pretty straightforward. The menu load times aren't bad but there are transitional animations. Both of our players had trouble with languages. Our main player got the right language but didn't get the subtitles since the limited subtitles is the first English subtitle track. Our secondary player in the office didn't get the right language or the right subtitles that our presets are set at.

Extras:
While not as many extras as the previous movies, this one does get a couple. In addition to an image gallery, there's several pages worth of program notes that also cover other material as seen in the past. The program notes continue to be one of the best aspects of these releases, particularly as notes like these have seemingly fallen out of favor in mainstream releases in general.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Just as it says in the program notes, the series got its true ending with the fifth movie that adapted the manga ending to the series and in my opinion really made things clear, unlike some of Takahashi's other series. While Final Chapter serves as the end to the series, this tenth anniversary special that appeared three years later takes the gang for one more romp and serves as a side story that can fit into the series pretty much anywhere after the bulk of the characters have been introduced. As it focuses primarily on Lum and Ataru and the secondary cast take a back seat, it doesn't impact things in general.

The plot is light and fun and fits well with the tone of the last couple of releases in the movie series. Lum and Ataru are being their usual selves and during one of the culture festivals it's not surprising to find Ataru chasing girls like mad and Lum becoming one of his prey until he realizes who it is. This of course leads to some brief comical chase sequences before things settle down into the larger storyline. Unbeknownst to either of our characters, a princess from another planet has been searching through the databanks to find herself the most lecherous being in the universe. Much to Lum's parents disappointment, Ataru has fit that match and they let Lum know that someone's been searching for it and has pegged Ataru. Before Lum realizes it, Ataru has gone missing and there's no hint of where he may have gone.

Kidnapping Ataru isn't exactly something that happens though, as he's approached by the princess who is intent on capturing him but he's more than willing to go wherever a beautiful lady is so he's quickly inside her spaceship without even wanting to hear what she has to say. He just wants here and he's true to the core and can be easily believed to be the most lecherous being in the universe. For Princess Lupica though, he's a real problem and her bazooka only barely keeps him at bay. Though she needs him for her goals, she can't believe just how bad he actually is and how much he's able to break out of just about any kind of jail or restraint to go after her.

Lupica's plans are pretty simple and fit in the fun vein of things as opposed to a philosophical style plot. Being a princess, she's in love with someone of a lower social class on her home planet and desperately wants him to fall in love with her. To achieve her goals, she's decided that she's going to go to the northeast quadrant of space where there's a holy temple that's as old as the ages and within it contains the ultimate love potion. This potion can only be reached by the most lecherous person in the universe as it's filled with all sorts of traps that a person with this kind of ability can actually navigate. Though Lupica tricks Ataru into getting it for her by promising to go on a date with him, Ataru's ability shines through beautifully and you can see how his years of girl chasing has definitely paid off.

This takes up a good amount of time in the show itself as we have Lum, Benten and Oyuki chasing down Ataru and Lupica and is basically the first half of the show. The second half manages to top that fun by having the potion come to Earth and it starts to fall into the wrong hands and is used in the wrong way while everyone that knows Lum is trying to find it for their own reasons. The show really goes into high chase and comedy mode with all of this but also has some really cute sad moments, such as having Ataru practically baying at the moon and lusting after only one girl. With the way this show fits into the continuity pretty much anywhere, it's easy to slide this into an earlier part of the series and see it as just a double length episode with a bit more to it.

One of the things that's really fun with this particular special is that while most of the secondary cast really don't get much time, even Mendou is really reduced here, it looks like just about every character gets some screen time here even if it's not a speaking part. During one part where Lum and the others are drinking in a bar on another planet, the panning sequences outside the bar showcase a wide variety of the characters that have walked through Tomobiki over the years. It's fun to see them, even for just a few brief seconds, as it's a great way to really close things out in a special like this.

The print quality aside, the characters and animation for the special are even more strongly reminiscent of the Ranma material than the Final Chapter movie was. Though it's not as soft as that series is nor is quite the near stick-figure format that the early Urusei Yatsura episodes were, there's a definite growth in the character designs and animation here that tie it much closer to shows done from Takahashi materials of this time than of the original release time. Lupica in particular looks quite a lot like some of the women from the Ranma rogues gallery. This in general I think works in its favor since it's interesting to see how its adapted to the changes of Takahashi's own artwork over the years.

As always, I would love to see a 25th anniversary special and see how that could be done. Since that's not that far away maybe someone ambitious on this side of the ocean can make a push for it.

In Summary:
The last of the movies, Always My Darling brings a lot of fun and outright comedy to the special that's capped off the series for fans for many years. Though it's been ages since I last saw it, it was great to see it again and it brought back a lot of memories. This fits in with the light half of the movies that were made for the franchise and it's simply a lot of fun with some good emotions and character bits included. It certainly won't change the world but for fans of Urusei Yatsura it will bring many smiles and plenty of laughter.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Image Gallery,Program Notes

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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