Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B-
- 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. #26
By Chris Beveridge
November 15, 2004
Release Date: October 14, 2004
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #26
What They Say
In the 26th installment of the show voted best comedy featuring an alien girl with green hair, the finest fast food fighters in the world converge in town for an all-star eating contest in "Sure Death! The Fast Food Wars!" Cabin fever strikes when Mendou and Ataru get stuck in the Mendou family vault in "Big Trouble in Bigger Vault!" The soap hits the fan as Ataru and the boys try to sneak a peek into the girls at the bathhouse in "Top Secret Pool Party Peeping Plan!" And school life crumbles when Sakura's younger self emerges from a strange dream in "Sakura's Childhood."The Review!
Urusei Yatsura finally moves into new territory and past the halfway mark with another set of comical episodes.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. The problems we experienced previously with the macroblocking in the backgrounds, particularly blue skies, are far less pronounced this time around and in general the transfers seem a bit brighter and sharper. The feel of the cels continue to be apparent as we get further into the series. Some of the ghosting issues are still there and there's a fair bit of aliasing to be seen in many scenes but overall this looks like I expected it to but a bit better..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 a sing character shot, Benten in her biker garb gets the full cover here. As usual, it's decent enough considering how few materials are available but it's just very soft and indistinct in so many areas due to its sourcing. 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. No inserts or "recipe cards" are included with this release as they've been moved to program notes on the DVD itself, a change I'm fully for and welcome with a big smile..Menu:
Episode selection is from the main screen, and whichever episode is highlight, it also lists its original air date. The layout remains the same as past volumes but this looks a bit better with an actual background, this time of a darkened moon in the sky, helps it to not feel quite as bland as earlier menus. One thing area that's also finally fixed is the ability to use the stop button from the menus, something that was weirdly disabled before and required you to actually be in the show to get it to stop playing..Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though these things arrive to us in big boxes with lots of episodes and there's always some sense of dread to them just due to the load they add onto the review pile, once that first episode is started up all of that washes away and we just really get into the swing of things again. This particular volume is something of a milestone event since it's the first batch of newly translated episodes I think we've had in several years now. Between pushing the DVDs out, dropping VHS and getting caught up to where they had left off, it's been some time since we've had new material. During that time they went and got the translations for everything else done though which is why we'll see some fast releases (in fact, set seven showed up just over a week after this set arrived to us).
Going into this new batch of episodes, and the fact that, depending on how you count it, we're at the 101st episode or so, this show continues to be just as enjoyable as it was fifty episodes ago and that's not easy to do, especially with the gimmicks used here. The four new episodes bring some good material to the table and just have a lot of fun with the characters. The opening tale here has a lot of fun with the "fast food wars" that get instigated when several of the guys find themselves with part-time jobs and Megane's place finds itself at odds with one of a small number of wandering "food warriors" who are extremely particular and sensitive to things. There's an amusing moment where Cherry points out how the warrior that's in their shop doesn't waste a single unnecessary bit of movement while eating or doing anything else and Cherry leaves out no detail in it.
For weirdness sake, the second episode on this volume takes the cake. Mendou's decided that he's going to take Ataru out once and for all after both of them get trapped inside the Mendou family vault, especially as people are finding them more and more alike as time goes on and that offends Mendou to the core, and he invites Ataru out to his mansion. Showing him around some of the far deep levels of the complex, he sets his trap and unleashes a flood there to try and take him out. Of course, things go badly with most of Mendou's plans and before you know it he's being swept away by it as well, including into some dark watery recesses. The two of them are of course practically identical in more ways than not so it's always fun to watch them go against each other, especially since Ataru is so laid back about it and that only stresses Mendou out more, which means he becomes more like Ataru.
And while they aren't on each and every volume, the series never goes too far without a bath or hot spring episode and this volume keeps that quota up. Ataru's headed off to a bath house after school and the guys follow him in trying to figure out just what's going on with him doing that. Their plans go awry as Mendou shows up with his entourage and takes over most of the place and even that goes into a messy direction once they all learn that most of the women in their lives are having a bit of a bath house party in the women's only section. Typical hijinks ensue but these characters just make even some of the repetitious material work well time and time again. Ataru's determination to see them naked should make men proud the world over.In Summary:
I've said it before and I'll say it again; Urusei Yatsura won't change the world but it's a show that just keeps me laughing every time I see it. I'm the kind of person that grew up watching a ton of 80's sitcoms back when sitcoms were popular (but not necessarily good) so shows like this do have an appeal to me, just like I can still watch and enjoy the Simpson's after fifteen years of watching it. This set brings me back to the comedic nature of the characters and out of the bigger stories the movies tried to weave that we've seen recently. The core material continues to be strong and well executed here so that long time fans will still find lots to enjoy and newer fans can just jump right in and pick it up well enough as they go along.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set at 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.