Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #40 - Mania.com

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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. #40

By Chris Beveridge     April 25, 2005
Release Date: April 29, 2005

Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #40
© AnimEigo

What They Say
In the 40th volume of the show that wishes all the world's octopi a happy birthday, Ten finds a love locket from Lum's past that stirs up fond memories in "First Love Again. Will Lum And Rei Reunite?" A man and his daughter open a new cafe in Tomobiki which causes the school staff to get steamed in "Here Comes The Barista Of Youth! Shining Cafe Of Dreams!" Ataru meets a ghost-girl who simply wants to go on a date with him before she goes to heaven in "Darling, I Love your Kindness." And everyone's favorite fox (or maybe just Shinobu's favorite) returns to Tomobiki in a magic bus in "Return Of The Purehearted Fox! I Love Shinobu!"

The Review!
Bringing the eighth box set to a close, the four episodes here continue the manic mayhem that simply is Urusei Yatsura.

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.

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.

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. Shutaro gets a cover again though it's not one of his best poses as he's got his "what the hell is that thing?" look on his face as he backs away from whatever it is. 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.

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.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Containing the May 1985 episodes and also being the last four episodes in the eighth box set from AnimEigo, we get a good mix of episodes for this volume though it's still pretty much like the last couple of volumes in there aren't any major stand-outs but there is a good deal of fun to be had for the most part.

The opening episode fixes something that's been out of balance for awhile by bringing Rei back fully into an episode instead of just the roundabout scenes he's been getting via Ran recently. The event itself is a big party at Shutaro's estate where his young octopus is having her birthday party and everyone is invited to it. Though it's something nobody wants to be at in a sense, it does have large amounts of high quality food so you get plenty of people there. Lum is nicely dressed up for this but can't find a particular earring she wants. So when she leaves, Jariten continues to look for it since it can give him an excuse to go to the party. The jewelry he brings her though is one she's deathly afraid of due to its properties. If you open it and look at the picture inside, the other person will feel an irresistible urge to come to you.

Naturally, Rei's picture is inside and he comes a running as quickly as possible. This was actually a gift Lum gave Rei when she was younger (and only wore a one-piece outfit and not her usual bikini outfit) when they were dating but Rei was his standard self and ate his half of the piece. Apparently he was just saving it though as he's able to cough it up here in the present as the party goes into a complete mess with the giant moo-cow rampaging everywhere, Lum trying to escape and Ataru actually acting gallant at times. Rei's return is much welcomed and he has a lot of fun here, though it's Shutaro who really suffers the most in this episode.

Another episode that was a lot of fun here deals with a father and daughter team who open a café nearby Tomobiki High so that the kids can have a new place to express their youth and discuss things. The kids take advantage of this, and other cafes as well, by hitting them during the school day, often skipping Onsen-Mark's classes which infuriates him to no end. So he brings in his special secret perfect club, Shinobu and Shutaro, to help bolster his case with the Principal about making it something that the kids aren't allowed to do. This starts a mini-war of the groups that are out to get each other, though Shutaro collapses completely when he meets the daughter, Izumi, and promises never to harm her livelihood. This episode goes all over the place with the different sides trying to win out and some of the completely confused while the manager tries to deal with the chaos that keeps brewing in his café due to the special kids from this school.

The disc is rounded out with a decent pair of episodes, but ones that just didn't do much for me. One episode has Ataru getting permission to go on a date with a young girl who died in bed and didn't get to experience life, so he's taking her ghostly form out so that she can move on without regret. It has some cute moments and it shows just how good Ataru can be, especially when he knows there's no real payoff to it, but it also shows just how jealous Lum can get at times. The last episode is the weakest of the box set I think as it brings back the fox that loves Shinobu but just irritates me. Something about him just doesn't appeal and I can't stand the episodes that he's in.

In Summary:
Almost along a fifty/fifty split, the last volume of this box set and the fortieth disc in the series, we get some good material, some decent material and some very weak material. The good stuff does manage to really outweigh the lesser works though so that helps make the show enjoyable no matter what. It does end the set on a weak note though but even in that episode there's some fun with the usual cast members since it's not focused solely just on Shinobu and the fox. When the show is on its game, it definitely continues to be funny and amuses me to no end and we got a lot of that from a couple of episodes here on this disc and from this set overall.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

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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