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. #35
By Chris Beveridge
December 28, 2004
Release Date: November 07, 2004
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #35
What They Say
In the 35th volume of the show thta has a better shelf life than any potted meat, flowers blanket the town and start spreading rumors in "I Hate Gossiping Flowers!" A mysterious egg ends up on the unlikeliest of bellies in "The Birth of Ten's Son? I Know Nothing!" A big-lipped bully picks on the wrong girl in "Lum's Heroic Showdown! Victory By Cheap Means!" And finally, a young ninja decides to get a job in "Her Great Wish To Find A New Job! The Return Of Kaede, The Fugitive Ninja."The Review!
Bringing the seventh box set to a close as well as the last episodes originally airing in 1984, this volume hits some good material across the board but isn't without its weak areas.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. Cherry continues his run as probably the one character other than Lum with as many cover shots as he's gotten and his near-drunk mushroom look is both amusing and scary as a cover. 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)
A bit of a watershed volume, not only does it finish out the seventh box set released by AnimEigo of the series but it's also got the last three episodes that aired in 1984 and the first episode of 1985, one that in fact brings back a character from a New Years special episode if I remember correctly. This set has some really good material throughout it in the usual Urusei Yatsura sense but it's also got some weak stuff.
The opening episode goes right for the insanity kind of story where Lum happens upon Ran doing a bit of gardening. As always when it comes to the aliens in the show, nothing they do is anything you'd consider remotely normal so Lum isn't too surprised when she finds that Ran is growing what are basically called Rumor Monger flowers. The flowers repeat things that it hears and then as the leaves blossom to the wind and spread, they end up getting distorted or repeating only portions of the rumor that they hear. So when Ran makes an example of Ten and bed wetting, the flowers repeat that. Then to get back at each other, both Ran and Lum reveal things and it all goes downhill when Cherry lets all the leaves free. To their horror, they multiply the minute they hit anything else and grow to full size. And then speak.
So the flowers start talking all around town and their words get misinterpreted by others, so you have poor Chibi ostracized all of a sudden for a non-existent(?) Lolita complex, Shutaro is horrified to be branded as a bed wetter and all other sorts of things go on throughout it that only adds to the insanity. Lum and Ran try to capture them all since they don't want it and their stories to spread but once out of the bottle... This is just a lot of fun and is very reminiscent of the earlier wacky episodes during the first twenty-odd episodes of the show when anything and everything happened because of the aliens mere presence on the planet.
One of the favorite things that gets to make an appearance on this volume comes in the form of Kaede, the ninja from the special a year or two back that met up with this class during their field trip. She's decided that she doesn't want to follow in the footsteps of her master since she figures if she does she'll look like a horrible old hag as well and escapes off to the city to gain employment and work for a regular living. Unfortunately, she ends up in Tomobiki and eventually in the arms of Shutaro who tries to hire her as a bodyguard. All is well and good until Ryoko decides to test her since she's going to be responsible for Shutaro's life. One of the best aspects of the original Kaede episode that's brought back here, though not enough in my mind, is the pint sized white ninjas and their ever so amusing voices and comments. This is just good fun material and another chance for Ryoko to get a bit more screen time.
The weak area here is, unsurprisingly to me, the Jariten episode. While I don't mind the character, when he becomes the focus it tends to be a weak episode to me since a full amount of time listening to him can drive me nuts. Particularly when he gets into something that he thinks will cause him to die. There are just so many ways to use the little kid/baby gags, though I do get a chuckle out of how he gets the girls. This time an space delivery man drops a batch of eggs by accident into Earth's atmosphere and a bunch fall down into Tomobiki, one of which lands squat on Ten's tummy. The next morning, after spending an exhaustive night trying to get rid of it, it's hatched into a bee-like variant of Ten and is now calling him daddy. It goes downhill from there with child vs. father-child and the results of where the rest fell. Much of this just didn't have me laughing, other than all the variant eggs at the very end.In Summary:
Add in some fun where Lum is forced to enter a hand to hand fight without any of her powers and it's a pretty well balanced set of episodes overall and something for almost everyone. A lot of episodes in the last few volumes have really focused more on a core set of characters such as Shutaro, Ryoko, Kotatsu-neko, Ran and a couple of others and done a good job of expanding upon them. Hopefully it'll get back to covering more of the cast and bringing some of the ones not seen in a long time like the parents back into the show. Regardless, this is still a whole lot of fun and for the most part kept me very entertained.
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.