Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: C/B
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: AnimEigo
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Urusei Yatsura
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #04
By Chris Beveridge
February 05, 2002
Release Date: August 04, 2000
What They Say
When the ONI, a mysterious race of Aliens, come to repossess the Earth, they give us one chance to save our planet; a champion, selected at random, must defeat their princess, Lum, in their national sport - TAG! Unfortunately for Earth, the champion turns out to be Ataru Moroboshi, a lecherous lad whose lack of luck is legendary.
When Ataru lays eyes on the curvaceous Lum, he readily agrees to take on the task of touching the tips of her tiny horns. Alas, when the contest begins, he finds out that the Oni forgot to mention one small matter - Lum can fly! When all seems lost, his girlfriend Shinobu promises to marry him if he wins. Inspired to new lows of deviousness by the prospect of getting just to first base, Ataru pulls it off.
Unfortunately, Lum misinterprets his victory cry as a proposal of marriage to HER, and promptly agrees.
So Ataru ends up with Lum living in his closet, planning their wedding, and zapping him with high-voltage shocks if he even looks at another woman; Shinobu isn't sure if she's been jilted or she's been saved from a life of misery; his Lum-crazed schoolmates are plotting to get him "out of the way"; and his parents are loudly wishing he's never been born.
And that's the setup to Japan's all-time favorite Anime TV series, one that lasted almost 200 episodes, plus 6 movies and 11 OVA's!The Review!
Four more full episodes of insanity as the series finally starts to hit its stride, in my opinion at least.
The majority of this disc looks good, much like disc three. Colors are right on with minimal to no bleeding, backgrounds look good and there's less grain and film damage here in terms of nicks and scratches compared to earlier episodes. There is one problem though that may be beyond some people to cope with. The first episode on the disc, the Hawaiian adventures, were filmed on different stock material if I recall correctly. What this leads to is something that isn't quite up to the same level as the rest of the material. There's loads of rainbows all over this episode, and it proved extremely distracting to me.
These two halves however are some great stories. The first one deals with the gang in Hawaii and enjoying the beach. Someone starts stealing bathing suits however and accusations fly. There's one sequence when Sakura loses hers while swimming and Ataru and the other guys start swimming after her to help. Hilarious!
This episode also contains a few fragments of English, including my favorite line spoken by some blonde on the beach, "I just love Japanese boys". This sounds innocent enough, but when said with a Japanese accent in English in the way it was done... it has me laughing just thinking about it.
The second full episode however is where things really start to get going. The in-character introduction of Mendou Shutaro, heir to the might Mendou Clan. The character and his family are caricatures of many different big Japanese families (their family crest is a goofy looking octopus). Essentially, Mendou is the sleek, self confident and stylish version of Ataru.
Which means that in their own ways, they're both pretty stupid. The introduction of this character gives Ataru a lot more to work off of and really adds to the whole dynamic. All the women are in love with him, which also changes things dramatically.
Shinobu begins to focus less on Ataru and shifts to Mendou. Even Lum takes a stab at him!
Another episode focuses on a new teacher and his Lolita complex when he discovers Lum could be his ideal woma... er, girl. There's lots of cute stuff in this episode, with Lum playing up the part of a young innocent temptress well. Ataru of course takes complete advantage of the situation.
The best episode though is Terrifying Visiting Day, which is the equivalent of a parent/teacher conference. Ataru's mother arrives (barely, after Ataru humiliates her a few times with no real malice) and is soon followed by Mendou's mother being brought in by cart pulled by an ox.
Not long after that, Lum's mother arrives. And boy, she's definitely a hottie. In the original VHS and Laserdisc releases, she spoke in an incoherent language and was subtitled with the Greek alphabet (i.e. It's Greek to me!). For some reason this wasn't kept for the DVD version and some different symbols were used. There is a helpful cultural subtitle though that does indicate that the reason for them is because she doesn't speak Japanese.
Mrs. Mendou's ox goes wildly out of control and ends up attacking Lum's mother. This results in one of the best sight gags I've seen in this series. That entire sequence, right down to Lum's mother explaning to Mrs. Mendou how to eat it, is just priceless.
So's the war that ensues, with the Mendou Clan's best weapons of war and the aliens attack ships. What this does though is allow Ataru's mother a chance to act as negotiator... much to her husbands happiness!
While we didn't cover all the episodes in detail on this disc, there are some other noteworthy things. A two parter in the middle introduces Benten and the Gods of Luck as well as her biker gang. Benten and Lum are old friends, along with Oyuki from Neptune. There's some fun stuff happening in there as well, though I didn't initially warm up to the character until some of her later appearances.
With the introduction of Mendou though, the series is hitting its stride and things are now really falling into place.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.