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. #37
By Chris Beveridge
April 10, 2005
Release Date: April 29, 2005
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #37
What They Say
In the 37th installment of the show that warms your socks faster than any kotatsu, a misunderstand threatesn Ataru and Lum's relationship as winter invades Tomobiki in "Spring Is Not Far! The STory Of The Lonesome Fairy." Sakura takes some of Lum's dream fruit and begins to have strange relationship dreams about the one guy she can't stand in "Into The Dream: Scramble For Darling, A Battle-Royale." Sugar, Ginger and Pepper use their sex appeal to seduce Ataru in "Those Three Girls Are At It Again! The Great Darling Seduction." And a possessed foot-warmer with a penchant for cold weather searches for a lost love in "Kotatsu-neko Runs About! He's Getting Warm No Matter What!"The Review!
Letting Shutaro take a break and having Lum more involved, Urusei Yatsura has more varied tales for this volume – plus Kotatsu-chan!.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. Jariten with a mildly stupid look on his face takes center stage this time as he sort of just hangs there. 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)
Continuing to work through the 1985 segment of the series, Urusei Yatsura shifts to more varied stories with this set of four episodes and brings Lum back into play more than she was in the last volume which was surprisingly Shutaro-centric. The stories themselves are more reminiscent of some of the earlier ones in the series as well which was enjoyable.
One of the usual devices to provide weirdness for the series is to have something that's normal for Lum fall into someone else's hands. After she gets a rather intrusive physical exam from the robot doctor, she ends up with some "dream fruit" that'll work just for her. Jariten tries to get some for himself but apparently it'll only work on her. But when he learns that Sakura's not sleeping well, he swipes one of them since it'll supposedly help her sleep at night. Surprisingly, Sakura actually takes it since she doesn't believe what Ten says it's really for and she ends up with three nights of dreams that are progressively worse and has her questioning her sanity and reality.
The dreams are all focused on romance in three stages and unfortunately for Sakura it turns out that Ataru has managed to worm his way in there somehow. From a first meeting to courtship and then to the actual marriage ceremony, she's confronted with the undesirable thought of Ataru being her one true prince, so much that he's even dressed up that way. Ataru plays it to the hilt in both of his appearances while Lum actually gets jealous that an imaginary Ataru is getting somewhere with Sakura. The kiss is priceless and the almost Wedding Peach-like instance of Lum during this just had me laughing a lot.
Another episode that provided fun brought back the wanna-be delinquent girls, Sugar, Ginger and "Viper" Pepper. They're still wanting to get even with Lum and the others and establish themselves as the baddest of the bad so they set their sights on getting Ataru to fall for them with their middle-school sex appeal. Trying a different tactic than before, they opt to go through severe training to be like their former seniors and spend time doing military style training to be like Benten, survive the cold like Oyuki and dress up in skimpy tiger clothes like Lum. When they actually go to attract Ataru away from Lum though, he doesn't even register their presence. Which really isn't surprising, has he gone after any middle-schooler's before? I certainly hope not. There are lots of explosions, chases and general pratfall kind of material that makes it a lot of fun and to see.
One thing I was really glad to see return in this volume is an episode focused around Kotatsu-chan! He's been sent to live with Ataru for a bit so he avoids getting a cold living outdoors with Cherry, so while there he picks up a new kotatsu for the room. The only problem is that this 100 yen priced kotatsu is that it's seemingly possessed and doesn't want to have a blanket on it nor a huge cat to lay across it. It's actually something that the Mendou family disposed of some time ago as we find out it has their family crest on it and things turn wacky when Shutaro arrives on cue to explain its mysterious past. Kotatsu-chan just continues to be one of my favorite non-speaking characters and the more time he's around the happier I am.In Summary:
Moving away for a bit from the way the previous volume was, we get more varied stories, more Lum and a bit more of a return to some of the traditional tales and antics from earlier in the series. The skirt chasing is here, the weirdness of things from Lum's world and Kotatsu-chan make it all work well and provided quite a few laughs along the way. I'm still surprised that the show hasn't really lost any of its appeal for me by this time since it is still very much episodic and very limited in its kind of growth and development. But at the end of each episode, I'm ready to hit the next one and that continues to be a good sign.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles
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.