Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #25 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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. #25

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



What They Say
The ancient legend of Momotaro spins off in a new direction courtesy of that deranged monk, Cherry. Obsessions fly out of the closet when the day arrives for Ryuunosuke to buy the bra of her dreams.

The secret of Benten's mysterious chain is literally "unlocked" when it is stolen by the original Spice Girls and things get really crazy in the Tomobiki Town when Ran-chan's new plan for vengeance goes hay-wire and Lum multiplies like a rabbit!

The Review!
Reaching the twenty-five volume mark, Urusei Yatsura has become I believe the series with the most volumes I?ve collected yet for anime outside of children?s dub only shows.

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. 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. Going again with the duo shot, Lum and Ataru are posed differently than the previous volume but the result is the same with Lum looking good and Ataru not so good. 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:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rounding out the fifth box set is volume twenty-five. The four episodes here aren?t quite as up to par as some other ones in this set, but there are some good gems to be found throughout.

The opening episode is amusing for a variety of reasons. With it being the first episode of 1984, they do their new years related storyline, which has Ataru bemoaning his financial situation, noting that Lum and Ten are getting some of what should be his money. He tries to extort some of out of Ten, but ends up going along with the idea of letting Lum take him out to a restaurant and buy him presents. Ataru is nothing if not self centered in getting things. The only problem with this is that Ten wants to go along as well.

Keeping in with the shows style, Cherry pops out of nowhere and offers to tell Ten a story to keep him entertained. The story becomes the focus of the show, as we get a variant of a children?s story about an injured sparrow and the old couple who takes care of it. Like many children?s stories, there are numerous variations of it so it?s little surprise to see it changed here as well as bringing in elements from other stories, notably Momotaro. What makes this episode so much fun and different is the weird way that Lum and Ataru are drawn in their wizened elderly form and the way they play the roles.

The best episode on the disc though centers around the character of Ryuunosuke. Having spent some time saving money, she?s managed to amass around 400 yen and finds herself ready to go buy her first bra. When she finds them running in the 2,000+ range, she becomes disheartened about it and is comforted by Shinobu when she stumbles across her. Shinobu?s arrival brings in a new story element as there is a gang boss that wants to date her, but the gang itself tries to dissuade him after seeing Ryuunosuke ?dating? her and continuing to mistake her for a man. Seeing an opportunity, Ryuunosuke helps out Shinobu and the gang members by pretending to date her so that the ugly boss will forget about her. Naturally, things do not go anywhere near as smoothly, especially when Ataru decides to get involved. Who else would offer a bra for free?

For sheer laughs though, I couldn?t overlook the last episode here as it brings Ran and her mad machinations back to the forefront. In her continuing desire to simply ruin Lum?s life, she kicks off the episode by hogtying Lum and bringing her to a dark room in the school. She?s brought in one of her copiers of alien technology that makes a perfect duplicate of whatever you put inside, including people. So she copies a more compliant Lum, whom she instructs to go and break up with Ataru and then to electrocute him a lot. Each copy she makes gets only so far, as once they see Ataru something snaps them into reality and they believe they?re the true Lum and can?t hurt their love.

So Ran keeps making more copies. You can guess where it goes from there.

The series only continues to produce more and more excellent solid stories that crack me up completely when I watch them. I love the lack of continuity between episodes and the near Simpsons-like evolution it?s taken in building up the cast and then simply messing with cultural icons and general storytelling conventions. At its core is a real heart though, and that?s what makes it work so well, and this volume is no exception. Very recommended.

Features
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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