Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #22 - 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. #22

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

What They Say
Big Clash - Ten vs. Ataru
After getting trampled and made a fool of by Ataru, Ten undergoes some seriously demented training in order to be ready for a final to-the-death battle with his nemesis.

Horror! Attack of the Killer Tororo Potatoes
An alternate universe is the stage for a tale in which the vegetables climb the food chain to get revenge.

Galactic Teacher CAO-2 Strikes Back!
Lum and Ran discover that the teacher they marooned on a deserted planet is back and out for revenge!

Going Mad! Poor Child Shuutaro!
Mendou's attempt to cure himself of his various phobias result in a trip back in time to determine how he got them. And yeah, if you're thinking, 'Gee, I know how he got them...,' you're right!

The Review!
The next installment in the long running series brings a mix of good and mediocre episodes.

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 central image this time is a large close-up of Lum looking off to the side, not really show much beyond the face and shoulders. 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 another batch of four episodes, the series varies in quality of story though that?s more dependent on the kind of Urusei Yatsura stories you like. For me, this is a disc with great bookends but mediocre interiors.

The opening episode brings us back to the eternal fight between Ten and Ataru for dominance in the household (since we all know Ataru?s father most certainly doesn?t have any say in what goes on in that particular home). Ataru?s pretty much on top of his game during a lot of this, providing some great sequences early on where he abuses the little fire breathing kid to no end. Once he managed to stuff the ball into his mouth and then not only bounce him up and down repeatedly but also smack him clear across town I was dying with laughter. Naturally, Ten realizes after getting so thoroughly beaten that he has to undergo some changes to fight back, which leads to the wackiness of the show.

The third episode falls under the mildly amusing category where we have something of a school reunion for Lum and a couple of her friends. This isn?t a good gathering though as it centers around the return of a teacher they had ditched on a planet back in their younger days who has come back to really get them back. The teacher varies between amusing and just disturbing, with his look of a mechanized giant eraser. The plus side to the story is that it brings in the childhood friends such as Benten and Ran and pushes them all into the cute younger days, but the times with the teacher just doesn?t seem all that interesting. His scenes tend to just bring the show to a chase sequence and little more.

The best episode here is the final one where we have Ryoko discovering that her brother Shutaro is undergoing some weird form of training (after bribing his guards to let her in, a great little sequence in itself). Not much later when having most of the regulars in his mansion, he takes Lum to show her what he?s been doing. To overcome his fear of dark confined spaces, he has tons of the large jars that he places himself in to last as long as he can in hopes of breaking the fear.

Naturally, everyone gets curious as to what?s caused the phobias to begin with and Lum whips out a tiny little gadget that takes them back in time to when it happens. This brings us to the Shutaro of the past, a tiny little form of him that?s imperious as ever and just hilarious to watch as he commands everyone and attempts to kill his older self, all while Ataru tries to take advantage. This episode is hugely fun in how it plays around with Shutaro from both time periods and deals with those who work for him.

While the center episodes are fairly weak, they?re definitely made up for by the bookend episodes. The last episode here is one of the better ones of recent memory which helps as well.

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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