Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #43 - 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. #43

By Chris Beveridge     November 08, 2005
Release Date: February 07, 2006


Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #43
© AnimEigo


What They Say
In the 43rd installment of the show that successfully flies low enough to avoid enemy anime, an uninvted guest gets a few lesson in Earth etiquette; a group of hungry students and an extraterrestrial bowl meet in a wacky culinary battle; blood, sweat and fear descends on Tomobiki when the students find a unique way to cool down and a tiny friend with bad aim helps spread a little love.

The Review!
The alien nature of the universe is something that's strong with this batch of episodes from things Lum brings into play to an invasion itself.

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. Ataru gets the cover for this installment and its been a bit since his last one so getting a full sized shot of him in his school uniform is a welcome change from another Lum or secondary character cover. 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 Mount Fuji in the background radiating yellow and red working properly again is the ability to use the stop button from the menus, something that was weirdly disabled in some volumes before and required you to actually be in the show to get it to stop playing. With the language selections being as they are, the players' presets didn't matter much.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the last volume moved away from any sort of real theme to it this one has a light one to it as it deals with a variety of alien related issues but nothing that's a clear out winner. With the variety in the tales and a complete lack of anything seriously involving Jariten, they're fun episodes that have some good moments but no real true standout pieces.

Out of the mix of four, the first two are fairly fun but of the weaker side of things. The opening episode is the weakest of the volume with the arrival of a man/horse combination pretty boy who intends to conquer the planet but is just so completely ignored by everyone and everything he does has so little impact that even Cherry sees him as a man with a disastrous future and urges him to change his ways. When Cherry looks down on you, you've got little going for you. The episode that follows it works a bit better as it deals with a passing by UFO that accidentally has its wok dropped from space into the front yard of the school where the students, ravenously hungry from being forced to skip lunch due to their extra classes. The wok is unique though as it's a "made to order" wok and whatever you ask it for it generates. The kids go crazy over it and Cherry is the most problematic but the aliens want it back since it creates the food from the ships stores. The humor is very much food based and some of it is very amusing and disturbing, particularly when Ataru talks about good smelling natto since no such thing exists, but it's a very one-note episode overall.

The second half of the disc fares better than these episodes though they do still have a fairly average feel to them. In a strange episode, Lum helps everyone in the class handle the heat by letting them use the same kind of personal air conditioner that she has which is basically a chunk of ice that hangs over head. The quirk is that it hangs there by sheer mental will but once you have it there it's nice and cool. If the person starts stressing out though the ice chunk falls on them and crushes them. This is all cute and fun as it plays along but where it gets to be a lot more fun is that if you overstress and end up doing certain things like beating yourself up, your fantasy appears inside the ice. With this realization all the guys end up with a great number of images of their favorite female friends in various states of undress inside the ice. Ataru alone has some great fantasy ice versions of Shinbou, Sakura, Lum and others. All the guys beating themselves up to get this done is hilarious and Sakura's response is even better.

The last episode on the disc plays up the cupid angle once more, which feels like it's something that's been done more than enough over the years, but it still manages to be funny and feels closer to some of the older episodes in a way. Lum grows a little cherub of sorts that shoots arrows that cause the target to start falling for the person that he's working for. So naturally Lum uses him to get some shots at Ataru but it keeps failing miserably which is fine until Ataru realizes what it is and then desires the little cherub himself. The little guy has a good moment of shooting practically everyone in an area who then proceed to fall for Lum which leads to lots of chasing and typical hijinks but the show has a more somber twist as it plays out before going for the end gag. It's a cute bit and seeing Ataru realizing the usefulness of such a creature is spot on as he blasts through the buildings.

In Summary:
It's not surprising this far into the series that there are as many weak episodes as they are, but just like I seem to be rare among people I know in still liking new Simpson's episodes, I'm still very much enjoying this show. The characters, locales and the basic kind of fun cultural and pop cultural humor appeals a lot to me and even when the episodes are weak there's still plenty of little nuggets that I ended up learning about that invariably come up again somewhere else in some other show. These episodes are a mixed bag but there is some really fun material to be had at times and some flashes of the way the early episodes used to be as well.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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