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. #27
By Chris Beveridge
November 30, 2004
Release Date: October 14, 2004
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #27
What They Say
In the 27th installment of the show that will have you craving more octopus balls, Ran seeths with anger (is anything new?) when she receives mysterious videos of her painful past. Sakura's sensual charms preoccupy Ataru as he narrates a story of love and lust. Lume's vehicle crashes on Mendou's estate, sending the schoolboys into an uproar. And Ataru, along with a few friends, takes on the entire Mendou army in the conclusion to that story.The Review!
Even when half the volume is filled with recap, Urusei Yatsura continues to provide many laughs.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 and while they're not the best looking covers, they're all we're going to get with this series. Going again with a sing character shot, Oyuki in her very minimal and revealing skin-tight outfit takes 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)
Moving through box set six some more, Urusei Yatsura is fully past a hundred episodes now and is one of those few series to come out in the US that really has achieved that. Granted, some other series that have come out only in the past two or three years have done what's taken many years for Urusei Yatsura to do, but at least we're finally there now. This volume brings more of the usual insanity but it comes at a price – recaps!
The first two episodes on the disc are entire recap episodes, but rather specific ones. With a series like Urusei Yatsura it's not exactly easy to recap the show in general, though they've tried. It's just too far ranging to do a real recap properly. But what they can do is character arc recaps that let you see the flow of a particular person over the course of many episodes. It also helps that now that we're over the hundred mark, many of those earlier episodes have come and gone and haven't been seen for awhile. So when we get a recap episode that shows Ran's history with Lum, it covers a number of episodes of revelations and plots of hers while sprinkling in a little bit of a current gag to tie it all together. The same goes when Sakura gets a recap episode right after that and we see her from her first fateful meeting with Ataru all the way through some of the surreal moments of the show that she got involved in. A lot of the material isn't recent so seeing it against in this context wasn't a bad thing.
To make up for having two recaps though, the next half of the disc is a two part story that's quite a lot of fun and I could almost see as being expanded well enough to be done as a movie. After a fight that Lum and Ataru has, she heads off to sleep in her UFO. Going into her enclosure, she doesn't think much of the blinking light on her control panel so when the ship's dimensional stabilizer goes wacky and the ship crashes in the Mendou estate, she's brought out of it and doesn't have any memory of Ataru nor much of herself at that, including her ability to fly and electrify people. Mendou takes this opportunity seriously and keeps her ensconced within his mansions and begins his attempts to woo her.
Ataru of course learns of this as does Lum's bodyguards and the five of them eventually decide on a plan to go into the massive Mendou estate and try to free her. While we've had some tours and snippets of his lands before, this one is very expansive and there are a lot of jokes about its size that are made, including some amusing names for the various districts. The place is simply huge and the way they use it here is a lot of fun, from trains that run throughout to the massive Leopart tank army that Shutaro has. One of the best but short aspects of this was the way Ryoko gets herself involved simply because she likes doing things that annoy her brother. These two episodes were a lot of fun and really played to the strengths of the series in pulling off a two part story, something that the show doesn't always do well.In Summary:
While recap episodes aren't exactly one of my favorite things in the world, they're not done badly here for a series as long as this nor with as many years between releases as there has been, so some mild refreshers aren't necessarily a bad thing. But they do make up for it with a really good set of episodes that simply play up the strengths of both the Ataru and Shutaro characters, particularly their similarities, and just runs with the fast paced action, jokes and visual gags. I was initially disappointed in this disc but when all is said and done, it's a lot of fun.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Program Notes
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.