Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #21 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: C
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: C-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AnimEigo
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • 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. #21

By Chris Beveridge     June 25, 2004
Release Date: August 10, 2003

What They Say
The 21st installment of Urusei Yatsura continues the proud tradition of inspired insanity with four more episodes of way-out weirdness!

The Review!
Finally moving fully into completely new material for me, the 21st volume of the series brings four more episodes of Lum mayhem.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its only language of Japanese. With the show being so old, it's a very basic audio track that's listed as 2 channel but is essentially a mono mix with everything coming through the center channel. Dialogue is clear and there aren't any noticeable dropouts, but the volume does sound a bit lower than discs we're used to listening to. Otherwise, it's about what you've come to expect from this show.

Things are about as expected here. Colors look good for the most part though there's some occasional bleeding in the reds which is more noticeable in the last episode with the pickled plums than elsewhere. There's the usual amount of noticeable macroblocking in some of the blue sky backgrounds and some very minor instances of cross coloration in a few areas, but nothing that really detracts in the end. The feel of the cels is just more apparent as we get further into the series. There's an overall fuzziness around most of the characters that give some of the lines a really soft jittery look in places. There?s more noticeable ghosting throughout these episodes than some of the earlier ones, or I?m just able to recognize it better now.

The purple flavored covers continue here, hopefully indicating that we?ll get at least three sets worth of purple boxes before they change it to something else. The entral image this time around goes for a nice smiling Lum shot with her in the usual tiger striped bikini. The back cover maintains consistency to the past volumes and provides a short bit on the episodes as well as a character shot and witty comment. The recipe cards continue as we get a new one here that details various cultural references for the four episodes on the disc. Unlike past recipe cards, this one is more of a magazine paper feel than the actual cards we?d been getting.

Episode selection is from the main screen, and whichever episode is highlight, it also lists its original air date. While not the most appealing menus in the world, they're fast and functional, and people are likely never to really need them. One thing I absolutely did not like is the inability on any of my players to be able to use the STOP button during the menu. You actually have to either start the program or go into the video credits to be able to stop the disc from playing.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a short break between box sets, the Lum fever kicks in again and I find myself unable to resist it sitting there on the shelf. With the volumes that are done on DVD here, I never bought or rented the tapes for them, so it?s completely new and uncharted territory, which makes me all the more happy to finally get to this point after a couple of years of waiting.

The four episodes here, are of course, varied in how good the stories are. Continuing to be a Lumaholic, I enjoyed all of them but some more than others. The opening story brings Ryoko back into the picture after we get an amusing segment where we see Shutaro going through a junkyard and picking off targets of his male school ?friends? while avoiding shooting teachers and women. Ryoko it seems has decided to throw a Summer Xmas Party to celebrate things, since she likes to do things her own way. Everyone gets an invite, but it?s couple only. This brings in a few amusing pairings, such as when Megane gets the invite and the rest of the Stormtroopers fight over who it should be.

The part itself, at Ryoko?s massive tower, is a piece of work. Within this very tall building is a tree that reaches pretty much from the ground up, at least fifty stories tall. With Ryoko at the top with Shutaro, who?s shocked by the entire event, she announces that whichever couple arrives first, the man will be able to give her a Xmas kiss while the woman will be able to do the same to Shutaro. All the lusting of the various characters comes out in force and it?s a hilarious race to see who can get there first. Shutaro plays it out perfectly as he defends his sister and himself while her Kuroko watch on and comment on his progress.

A weak episode turned out to be the ?Panic in the Haunted Inn?, which has the four leads going off to a summer vacation at an inn that Moroboshi picked, only to find it fairly well run down and looking pretty shabby. Shutaro?s all set to go when they meet a young beautiful woman inside who is apparently running the place, and he does an about face and is all happy alongside Ataru. The episode plays out pretty weakly since a lot of it really does feel like a retread of so many earlier episodes and there?s a strong feeling that this episode was done pretty heavily already in the past.

This is quickly made up for with ?Oh! The Memories of Mother? which brings Ryuunosuke back to the foreground. After returning a sleeping Ten to the Moroboshi household, she ends up staying for dinner and realizing just what kind of meals can be had. We see the kind of garbage her father passes off as meals while keeping some of the good stuff for himself, and she becomes more enraged over it. At the same time, she starts gaining an affinity for Ataru?s mother and thinking of her as the mother she?s never had.

That brings her back to her father where she insists that he tell her about her mother and the past. Her father eventually gives in and starts telling the tale, but he does it in such a way that he tells the history of the modern world over the past hundred years or so and mixes all kinds of history into it at the wrong places. He then continues to switch in all kinds of women as her mother, indicating that he never knew who the mother was and plays it off as if she had a hundred of them. The history tale is particularly humorous as it mixes in so many different things from different times, including a Japanese Titanic, that it?s great fun. This episode also has a ton of in-jokes in it at the beginning in the convenience story, including Oshii brand instant ramen.

The final story is a pure fanservice fun style one with the entire gang back at the beach yet again. While the story with the dolphin becoming human and pretending to be a man was amusing, especially when he realized how unbalanced the sexes are, it?s the other tale that has Ten using his alien devices to help Ataru and Shutaro create sand-Sakura?s that come to life and are fairly like the original, but a whole lot more compliant. This goes back to the traditional style of things just happening and happening and getting nuttier as it goes along. Having four Sakura?s running around and the real one screaming at anyone who does anything inappropriate at all is just fun.

It?s still hard to believe that after twenty one volumes that this series continues to make me laugh as much as it did from the start. The show continues to hit all the marks I like and plays out in great sitcom tradition. This makes me glad we?re barely close to halfway through with the show.

Japanese Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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