Urusei Yatsura OVA Vol. #4 - 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: 19.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura OVA Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     January 25, 2005
Release Date: June 07, 2005


Urusei Yatsura OVA Vol. #4
© AnimEigo


What They Say
In "Date with a Spirit," things get crazy when Ataru tries to hit on a beautiful ghost who has attached herself to Sakura's sorcerous Fiance, Tsubame

Then, in "The Terror of Girly-Eyes Measles," Ten gives Ataru an alien disease, the contagious "Girl Measles," (which makes the victim's eyes turn big and twinkly, like the eyes of young girls in much of manga and anime), and when Ataru's girl-hunting spreads the virus all over Tomobiki Town, chaos ensues!

The Review!
Probably containing one of the scariest episodes ever, this OVA installment is one of the best there is.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. As this is also the only language it was an easy choice as the decision was made not to dub the OVA series like they did the movies. The stereo mix for the show is fairly decent but it’s pretty reminiscent of the same kind of mix we got with the TV series itself so it’s not exactly a wild hopping time of sounds coming from every direction. The mix does sound good, and clearer than the TV mix since it is several years more recent, and is free of problems such as distortions or dropouts.

Video:
Originally released to video back in 1987, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Looking quite different from the TV series and much closer to the Final Chapter material in that it’s a brighter and much more fluid look piece of animation that took a lot of the design improvements from the Ranma production. The transfer here looks quite good overall with solid looking colors throughout most of the print with only a few areas showing any blocking in some of the large solid areas when upconverted to 720p. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent here and other than just a bit of the usual aliasing that’s somewhat the norm for shows like this it’s a very good looking transfer.

Packaging:
Using much the same design style as the movie releases but just swapping out the word movie for OVA, the cover for this release is similar if not the same as the VHS release if my memory serves me well. Giving the focus to the second episode, we get Lum wielding yet another big powerful weapon while the guys in super deformed mode are all around her and looking terribly cute. The back cover provides a couple of shots from the show itself but most of the space is given over to a lengthy summary of the setup for the OVA. The discs technical and production information is also very easy to find and while the layout isn’t exactly how I’d like it, they do mirror the technical grid format without using the grid itself for much of it. As with most of their releases now, no insert is included in this release.

Menu:
Going with a bit of animation from the episode inside of a postcard like layout, it plays out bits of animation from both episodes set to the opening song. The menu selections are minimal along the bottom but navigation is quick and easy and the layout overall very well in-theme for the show. Access times are nice and fast and since languages aren’t the norm our players presets weren’t exactly an issue this time.

Extras:
The extras are fairly minimal but there aren’t exactly a lot of materials for something like this. The image gallery is pretty straightforward while the liner notes cover some of the basics for both episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back when these were first coming out, there were things that were still blissfully new to me, which is part of the fun of any hobby as you get into it since there's usually such a steep learning curve. With Urusei Yatsura, there was so much cultural material and in-jokes that each episode always brought some new little nugget to light. This volume in particular brought about the first time I had heard the word shojo and its "girly eyes" that are somewhat of a staple of that particular area. Revisiting it all these years later only brings to mind the fun in discoveries like that.

The opening episode to this volume is a fun one but mostly forgettable as it brings one of the weaker couples into play with Tsubame and Sakura. We initially see Tsubame getting up for his morning date with Sakura only to be shocked that there's a very attractive girl laying in his bed next to him and he doesn't have a clue about what's going on. On Sakura's side, we see her already in a tiff that Tsubame is late and with the unwanted help of Ataru and Lum, she heads off to his place to find out just what's going on. Naturally when everything collides and Mendou gets involved it turns into a bigger mess with Ataru hitting on the girl, Tsubame feigning ignorance and both Lum and Sakura getting ready so smack their men around hard. All of this while the girl, who as it turns out is a spirit who claims she's never known love until Tsubame rescued her from an evil spirit the night before, clings onto his arm for dear life.

While a lot of the episode plays out as the usual slapstick, particularly when Mendou becomes more involved in all of this and the spirit girls other interest shows up trying to get her to return, there are some really amusing moments. My favorite by far is the way Cherry seemed to just show up as he always does but in that he just rubbed up against her leg like a cat, which proceeded to freak her out completely. That and the fact that Sakura picks him up almost like a cat by the scruff and uses him as a ward of sorts against the spirit girl. Multi-purpose Cherry indeed!

The second episode on the disc is one of my all-time favorite episodes though with the Girly-Eye Measles. It's got such a simple premise with Lum trying to get Ten a shot so that he doesn't spread the virus to other men since it can't affect women but Ten does his best to avoid the shot since we all know how massive the needles are from her high-powered dispensers. Ataru ends up getting caught up in all of it early on and even gets the disease which turns his eyes into huge liquid lakes of girlish beauty, enough so that anyone who looks at him won't mistake him for Ataru all that easily. Managing to get away from Lum since the disease doesn't exactly hurt him, he hits the road to girl-hunting like mad only to freak out just about anyone who sees him due to his massive eyes. Lum does her best to try and get him so she can fix him but the virus spreads wildly and the way it infects people and their reactions is just priceless.

The only problem with this episode is that several of the characters look really off-model, particularly Ataru. It's one of the few episodes in the OVA series that doesn't look as good as the others and has a slightly cheap feeling in places since the colors aren't quite as strong and the line work not as detailed. Some of it just looks really great, but most of it feels closer to the TV series plus being slightly off-model.

In Summary:
Being a volume that was one of my favorites ten years ago, the fourth installment of OVA episodes continues to be a strong contender nowadays even with more episodes of the TV series having been seen. There's just something great about the girly-eye episode that has me laughing through pretty much the entire episode, from the way Ataru deals with it to the way every guy who gets infected looks, right down to my favorite cat character. While the artistic side may diminish somewhat with this episode, the show overall continues to be one of my favorites and this one has episodes I love to share with others.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Liner 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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