Mania Grade: C+
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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. #33
By Chris Beveridge
December 27, 2004
Release Date: November 07, 2004
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #33
What They Say
In volume 33 of the show that generously tips more than it should, a school trip turns into a pear-picking possession in "Where is Kuriko and Chojuro's Lov Nest?" Ten meets a caped crusader with a tiny costume and strong moral values in "Man Or Bird?" An Opulent And Luxurious Superhero!" The spice girls return to wreak havoc on some familiar interplanetary girls in "Get Them! The Revenge of the Girl Trio." And Lum's little red friend helps judge a classroom talent (or lack thereof) show in "Hidden Talent Show of Fire!" Performing Is Our Life!"The Review!
One of the weaker volumes of late, Urusei Yatsura still sneaks in some fun 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. 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 dark 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. Rather than something of a regular character or at least a regular secondary character, the "spice" trio gets the cover this time. 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.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)
While lots of little things worked for me across this volume and a couple of the episodes were good, there was an equal part that just didn't click right and was fairly uninteresting. On the plus side, Kotatsu-neko gets even more screen time in these episodes and becomes a very regular background character that continues to watch events as they go by without getting really involved in them.
The first two episodes are the weakest of this box set so far and were the first in a long while that almost tempted me to fast forward through them. The opening episode about two pears in love that end up being separated, only to have the male pear connect to Ataru's head and take over his body so it could search for its long lost love, was really a stretch even for this show. It just didn't have much appeal. Little bits throughout it were nice, such as Ataru's list of babes he dreams about or the jokes about how many field trips this class takes, but the rest just felt weak. Much like the second episode did, where what's basically a salesman dressed up as a super-hero that's traveled throughout space for years gives Ten a costume so that he can try to fight for righteousness in the world and defeat evil. Evil of course being Ataru since he's always getting picked on by him. Ten's challenge of being able to stand up to Ataru doesn't work well since more often than not, Ten is the one getting Ataru in trouble and his seeking of revenge and the pity mode just don't work.
The other two episodes worked rather well and provided a good bit of fun. The Trio's Revenge episode brings the three girls who took over as the gang members when Lum, Benten and Oyuki graduated and moved on. Their belief in taking over the gang is that they need to defeat their predecessors to properly establish themselves so they go on a quest to take each of them down. It's about halfway through before they get to Lum and they end up going after her on a really bad set of days. She made a promise to Ataru to not lose her temper and fry him when he flirts with other girls for three days. If she's able to control her temper that long, he'll go out on a date with her. So she lets her shocks out in other ways which ends up hitting the trio as they attempt to make their attacks. The trio is fairly comical in nature and does some usual stupid tricks, but the worst was thinking Lum was going to be the easiest to take down.
Probably the best of this batch is the last episode though and it really surprised me for the first half of it. The time is spent with Kotatsu-neko browsing through the principal's desk and the principal talking about the need for a hobby as he balance spinning plates on his fingertips. With a look of interest in Kotatsu-neko's eyes, the principal waxes nostalgic about his own past and talks about his life as a young man and what he went through to find love and to deal with being an awkward lad in an awkward time. It almost feels like we're going to get an entire episode without the usual gang but at the halfway mark it moves back to the classroom where the principal is overseeing a spontaneous talent contest of sorts. The nasty part is that one of the judges is an alien friend of Lum's and whomever he doesn’t like (such as men) get sent off to another dimension if they don't perform well. It's a very amusing set of performances and complaints with a beautiful end gag to it.
One change that hits all the episode with this volume is that the opening and ending sequences have changed to new animation and I believe new songs and the eye-catches have changed. No more of Lum in the magicians outfit but rather we get her doing a cute bounce in her bikini outfit in a near-chibi form. The new material is good and catchy as always but I still long for the first opening sequence again as that continues to be my favorite.In Summary:
There's been such a great run of episodes for so long now that I'm not surprised I hit a batch that just didn't work well for me. This volume, about half the episodes fall into that category, but there's still the other half that provides plenty of laughs and had me very entertained. There's less cultural gags and jokes this time around and more general slapstick and situation comedy so it's fairly broad and easy to get into. The last episode was the real winner though as it takes time to expand on one of the very minimal secondary characters that's been there from the start and let him shine a bit more than normal.
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.