Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #28 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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. #28

By Chris Beveridge     December 02, 2004
Release Date: October 14, 2004


Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #28
© AnimEigo


What They Say
In the 28th installment of the show that loves to name monks after fruits, Lum gets stuck in an upside-down version of Tomobiki where everything and everyone is backwards in "Parallel Worlds! Where's Darling?" Ryuunosuke loses her breast wrap, plays rugby and gets trapped in a tiny alien spaceship, only to be chased by a swarm of young men in "Raging Queen of Rugby!" Ran bakes some sweets for Rei and gets more than she bargains for in "Ran's First Kiss has Bitter Tears of Love." Finally, Lum cooks up some "Unremovable Magic Lipstick" for Ataru, only to see the love potion create hormone hysteria in school.

The Review!
Urusei Yatsura moves into a new season and the vitality and energy surges ahead once more.

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 single character shot, Sakura gets another cover shot with a basic purple top and a bit of a smile. 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:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Urusei Yatsura with this volume kicks off on the official episode 107 which is the start of a new season of episodes for the series. After having some downtime with the show, the crew has come back with a renewed sense of energy and have put out a really great batch of opening episodes here. And in addition to that, there's a new opening and ending sequence for it. The bulk of it basically consists of Lum dancing around, which I certainly won't shy away from, but in my mind the original opening and ending from the first episodes is still the best one there is.

With the kickoff of the new season, the four episodes across the board here are a lot of fun. The opening episode hits on a lot of the stuff that makes this series so much fun and almost magical for me. It's as simple as a cherry blossom festival and Ataru and Lum are strolling along through it when Lum feels something strange in the air. Before she can warn Ataru not to break a branch that could cause a disruption in the flow of things, he's snapped it off and Lum finds herself wandering through a myriad of realities that are close to theirs but not quite. One of the best ones in this is where all the sexes are reversed for the characters. The feel of that kind of show is just bizarre, though it's not the first time we've seen Megane in a skit. Ugliest… women… ever. Or at least since Monty Python. But even in a strange and comically filled episode like this, there's some real emotion and strength to it when Lum has to choose which reality to go with.

Ryuunosuke makes out great in a couple of episodes here. The first one has her losing both of her chest wraps which means she's walking around in her clothes without a bra. After all, her father certainly won't let her get one and she's so clueless on female life that she wouldn't know where to start. So with her wearing the boys uniform and strolling down the hall with her breasts being, well, nicely endowed at this point since she is a growing girl, every guy in the place is just enamored with her all of a sudden. Being called "miss" causes her shock and joy and she's simply thrilled about the entire situation. Until she puts on her boys rugby uniform and all the guys are trying to get her since she has the ball. This even mixes in an amusing alien invasion story right alongside it that's just so frantic and bizarre that it had me laughing continually.

While Ran gets herself a very amusing episode where she thinks she's finally making headway with Rei, the last episode here was just the best where Lum sees a commercial for lipstick that's heavily associated with making youthful memories so she creates her own lipstick. It's unusual elements, because it must have them, is that the lipstick attracts to itself. So if she puts the lipstick on and gets Ataru to wear some, they'll be attracted like magnets. Naturally, Ataru avoids this fate and snookers the lipstick from Lum but it ends up in the hands of fiends at school and the entire classroom erupts into chaos when the girls think they've got a shot with Mendou or the guys with Lum or Ryuu or Shinobu. This harkens back to some of the great classic classroom battles and is just a lot of fun to watch snowball into the situation it does.

In Summary:
While I won't say that the series had been getting stale, going into this batch of episodes shows that they were indeed in a bit of a lull and the break between really rejuvenated the team as these stories are solid through all four episodes. There's plenty of jokes, lots of comical action and a just right helping of romance and character growth for our lead characters. This is just a lot of fun and it still amazes that twenty-eight volumes into the series I'm still loving every minute of it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Program Notes

Review Equipment
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.

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