Urusei Yatsura OVA Vol. #6 - Mania.com

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  • 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: 19.95
  • Running time: 77
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura OVA Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     February 01, 2005
Release Date: July 12, 2005

Urusei Yatsura OVA Vol. #6
© AnimEigo

What They Say
In "Ryoko's September Tea Party," some of the best scenes of the original TV series are combined with 15 minutes of new animation to reveal the pasts of each of Ryoko's guests.

Next, in the "Memorial Album," the Mendou clan's personal satellite narrates the story of the Mendou family, again using a mixture of new animation and scenes from the original series.

The Review!
The final set of OVAs for Urusei Yatsura goes into fairly heavy recap territory to remind you of what has come before.

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.

Originally released to video back in 1985 and 1986, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With it being made earlier than the rest of the OVAs and combining so much footage from the TV show, the prints here look very much like the TV series itself. 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.

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. Going with the tea party as the main focus, we get a number of the girls together in super deformed form floating around and being all smiley and happy while there's a large shot of Lum behind all of them. 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.

Using the shot from the from the first episode that has the kids looking through a hole in the wall where clips from both episodes play, the menu is nicely in theme with the show. It's a neat way of bringing a bit of the show into the menu. 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.

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. Also included is a digital restoration clip that shows off some of the differences in the video quality of the release before and after.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Unlike the other OVAs in the series, the final two here are ones that have always felt out of place from the others. Even more so with this version as there's an indication right up front on the video that these are from a Videodisc source, which means likely at some point that the masters for these have been long lost and all they had was the videodisc version to salvage them with. I don't remember that notice on the VHS releases but it's been close to ten years since I last saw these so I can't be all that sure.

With these two episodes, which came upwards of a couple of years before the previous five volumes worth of OVA's, they definitely don't feel up to the standards that had been set from Inaba the Dreammaker and going forward. A lot of this is just due to the intent of the episodes as well as the animation style. The intent of the episodes was to provide some simple recap episodes that would bring in some of the best of the TV series and wrap it up with something cute and different. Or, like the Memorial Album episode, it was just to serve that purpose and have a few minutes of new material to tell a story that's quite well told. Since they're focusing so much on TV animation, the designs are the same in the new animation and it all came before the Ranma ½ material anyway so it's not in the same bright and shiny vein as some of the previous OVAs. This isn't bad but when you get used to how some of those looked and then go backwards it can be a bit jarring at first.

I had forgotten just how much recap there was here since these were the two least watched OVAs of my collection before since I'm not a big fan of recap, even when it's from as wide a range a show as this one. What made these even more difficult at the time is that there was so much material from episodes that hadn't been released yet (or released until last year!) that I didn't like forward-spoiling the series for myself so these just became dusty tapes on my shelf.

Of the two, Ryoko's September Tea Party is the better of them since it runs longer, something like fifty minutes, and it has a bit more new animation to it. The premise is a simple one where Ryoko invites a number of women (as well as Ten) to a tea party so that she can get to know them better. This in turn has them telling various little stories about themselves which are done in the form of clips from previous episodes. Depending on where you are in the TV series will determine how many spoilers there are as well as whether some of these clips are just far too recent to be seen, such as the ones with the tiny fox that falls in love with Shinobu. Ryoko's idea for a recap episode works nicely as an introduction to some of the wackiness of the show but they avoid doing a full out series recap which is a plus.

The Memorial Album episode is a bit stranger at first as it has a recon ship in space becoming self-aware but through it's watching of Tomobiki and those in it, notably of the Mendou clan that owns it. Some of the interpretations are skewed since they're from some of the stranger episodes of the series, such as when there are multiple Mendou's or multiple Ataru's, but the core of the episode is to break down a couple of the relationships and watch as the big spaceship slowly realizes that it's time to stop watching and time to start living itself. It serves as something of a message to its fans at the end of the TV series run, though since they kept making movies and OVAs I don't think they really listened.

In Summary:
The weakest of the six volumes but also the one that's easiest to show to new fans, the final volume of the OVA series is a real mixed bag depending on your own views of these kinds of recaps. Not being a fan of them myself, this release will suffer much like the VHS version that came before it and will find itself hardly ever watched again unless it's loaned to some unsuspecting soul. For those who haven't been getting into the series though, this is a decent way to catch up on some of the fun antics without the entire cost issue, since I know there are people who have been buying just the movies and intend to get the OVAs but not the TV series.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Liner Notes,Digital Restoration Clips

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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