Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: AnimEigo
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Urusei Yatsura
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #49
By Chris Beveridge
January 24, 2006
Release Date: June 06, 2006
Urusei Yatsura TV Vol. #49
What They Say
The 49th volume of Urusei Yatsura takes good-hearted family fun and sprinkles it with demented monks, electric shocks and hot-tempered friends with unforgiving memories.The Review!
Dropping down to three episode so it can include some extras, this volume proves to be one of the weaker ones of the series.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. Going with another full cast shot, this one is even more detailed than the previous one with a ton of characters floating about from the shows long history. The artwork and colors look great and it's good to see so many of the regulars together. 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.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 the background image is poorly chosen with a very fuzzy shot of Ataru and Lum kissing with far too much black around them, giving it a really bad look. 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:
There haven't been any real extras for the series up until now and this volume has a couple of pieces to it. The first is a video piece that was done in Japan that runs through the visual history of the series by the covers, from the record covers to the video covers. This is a great little history piece and to see all the large scale pieces of artwork. If only it was available for use on the TV series releases itself. Seeing the Warner Bros. logo next to Lum is just amusing in itself. The US packaging is also included in a step gallery format where each of the boxes are presented along with the individual volumes, including the movies and OVAs. The last extra on here, discounting the trailer for the first movie, is a line art gallery showcasing designs for a number of the characters.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the drop to three episodes so that they can put on some extras for this and the final volume, we get a mix of episodes that overall is pretty weak but still has some good laughs to it. Unfortunately, the volume starts out with the weakest of the episodes and builds up from there to a good ending with a Ran episode.
The opening episode brings back, for the last time, one of the worst of the minor recurring characters from the show with Kon, that painfully pathetic little fox. This time he's come back to Tomobiki after hearing a tale about a fox who freed a woman from being trapped in a piece of paper by grabbing an Oni's horns, thereby breaking the spell. He lucks out in that one of the locals is on their way to Tomobiki to deliver vegetables so he tags along for the right. So when he arrives in Tomobiki, he comes across the scene of Shinobu being chased by the big-lipped guy from the other school who happens to drop, you guessed it, a picture of Shinobu. Kon then spends the rest of the episode trying to come up with ways of catching Oni horns, often by taking on the form of others and convincing them to help in some way. Seeing him take on the form of Cherry or Shinobu is amusing but it doesn't fool anyone. Just like past Kon episodes, I really can't stand the little guy and his nature.
Things get a little bit better in the next episode when a new character is introduced who comes from a jungle-like area in Mendou's estate where electric vegetables and plants grow. He's accidentally freed from the jungle and wanders into Tomobiki proper only to find Lum, who is annoyed due to Ataru being late for a date, so she ends up going with the handsome lad who wants her for his own. Since he's in spotted leopard wear and she's in tiger bikini mode, the two seem like an easy match and the guy is definitely all for it. Everyone else isn't and an all-male party heads into the jungle to discover what's going on. The weirdly creative here is that everything in the jungle is based around electricity with vines being power cords and light bulbs sprouting everywhere. The concept is neat but the new character is such a basic buffed up version of Ataru with the simple needs that we've seen before that it's just too repetitive in a lot of ways. The setting is amusingly creative though.
The best episode on the volume is the last one as Ran gets to be the main focus of it to an extent as she and Lum spend some time together and Lum keeps trying to get Ran to not remember the past since so many things Lum did to her back then was just plain awful. This doesn't last too long, though we do get a number of cute flashbacks to them as kids, before Ran simply gets mad about it and searches out her various toys to find the right one with which to extract her revenge. The choice this time is the "Personal Controller", a shiny red button which has eyes and retractable legs and arms that searches out its target and basically turns them off, giving control of the body and voice to whoever has the main control. So with Ran now in control of Ataru, it heads off in some fun but Lum is able to catch on pretty quick and mess with it just right. The controller itself is the main star of the show with its attitude but overall it's a very solid episode..In Summary:
While the episodes are a mixed bag, though definitely dependent on how you feel about the fox character, it's overall pretty good when you mix in the extras by being able to see all the original Japanese artwork. With only three episodes it definitely goes by faster but has that slightly less filling feel to it all. Knowing that the next volume is the last one though makes me not want to go any further and to hold off on that one for as long as I can.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Record & Video Covers,US Covers,Line Art Gallery
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.