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. #23
By Chris Beveridge
June 25, 2004
Release Date: August 10, 2003
What They Say
Cherry feeds the gang some mushrooms with a twist, Ten accidentally gets Lum all "burned up" over a torched scarf, Ataru's parents take an overnight trip, leaving Lum and Ataru alone in the same house, and Onsen Mark takes on an impossible task - teaching Ryuunosuke how to act like a girl! The Review!
While some volumes are a mix of good and mediocre episodes, number 23 comes up with all good material.Audio:
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.Video:
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.Packaging:
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. Lum gets the main shot again with this release, this time with her in a soft pink outfit with her fingers in her hair, giving off a nice little subtle smile. 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.Menu:
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.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It?s a trip back to the October/November months of 1983 as we finish up the late 80?s episodes, starting with a great one in episode 87.
Ataru?s class is almost always up to something, so when Onsen finds a daikon in Ataru?s bag, he?s quickly suspicious. But before he can do anything, he?s hogtied and tossed into the corner to watch as the students start cooking up their Nabemono, something that must happen in fall. And since they fully expect to get in trouble, they decide to do it during class as opposed to lunch time. After all, what teacher would let the students pull out a huge bowl and go to town with all the good food?
As the meal is prepared, they find Cherry mixed into all the food that Onsen had tried to confiscate from them. Just as Ataru is about to remove him, he pulls out some mushrooms and offers them for the Nabemono. Everyone is suddenly in awe in seeing it, calling it Matsutake. This is an increasingly rare mushroom that at the time sold for well over one hundred dollars. Everyone is next to tears in touching and looking it, so with that in the meal they definitely let Cherry stay.
The result of the cooking proves to be highly amusing. Though Cherry wonders why everyone calls the mushroom matsutake, he doesn?t partake and instead watches as the weirdness begins. Everyone who tastes finds themselves doing small performances that end up wildly entertaining everyone else. Shutaro going into the closet brings a round of applause. Ataru eating matsutake brings applause. Lum flying brings applause. Heck, Megane taking his glasses off brings applause. And it only gets weirder and funnier as it progresses and more people get trapped in the insanity.
Another episode that worked really well is Lady Ryuunosuke, which brings Ryuu back into play. Onsen is convinced that something is seriously wrong and that she needs to really start acting more like a she. His attempts to get Ryuu?s father to deal with this don?t go well, with him continually referring to Ryuu as a boy. Eventually, the principal gets involved and decides that Ryuu will live with Onsen for a week and be properly trained, and they?ll see where it goes from there.
Between Ryuu?s father taking the place of Ryuu and the varying types of femininity that get thrown at Ryuu to try, the chaos simply doesn't stop. Shinobu tries to teach her a few things after Onsen seems set on a particular type, but she then offends Lum by telling her that her style of speech isn?t right either. Ran gets brought in to teach varying levels of cute speech (oh so cute) all the way up to Sakura becoming involved. The end result with her transformation into a woman is great, right down to how everyone tries to instill his or her idea of what a woman is. In the end, I think Ataru should have been the one to teach her.
With those two episodes, I was already rating these episodes high. The middle two episode were much more Lum and Ataru centric which helped balance things nicely. Such as the one where Ataru?s parents go off on a vacation and leave Ataru and Lum home alone. She takes to the housewife mode quickly and tries to make things as good as possible while he?s trying to get out of it. And that?s all while all the men are trying to stop Ataru from getting lucky with Lum.
We had a lot of fun and I was smiling almost constantly throughout this volume. Closer and closer to the halfway mark we go and it?s still providing me with more laughs than a lot of newer shows.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.