Urusei Yatsura

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roriconfan's avatar
Sep 13, 2012

TEASER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um9dqygxEog

The early 80’s found the anime industry before a new challenge: THE SECOND ANIMEFAN GENERATION! It is reasonable to imagine how the first generation was all now adults, workingmen who pretty much left behind this hobby and centered on working and working and … um … working? Hell, this is Japan; they don’t do anything else.

So the industry now had to win the hearts of the newer generation of youngsters and to do that it had to adjust to their demands, which were drastically different from those of their fathers and mothers. In fact, the 80’s found Japan going through a huge generation gap which dissolved the major importance social norms like family and traditions played up until then. Furthermore, the newer generation pretty much didn’t care about the high ideals of the 60’s when Japan was still recovering from the war and teamwork was important and the country needed hope and the like. In fact, many didn’t give a rat’s ass about all that; they grew up in a restored country during times where everybody had a job, peace, money, and a million different things to spend them on.

The dread of war and high ideals meant a lot less to them and that was in fact the element which many 80’s anime focused on. Slapstick and ridicule! And Urusei Yatsura is one of the oldest, funniest, most famous examples. Made by female mangaka Takahashi Rumiko, the entire story is essentially a mockery of ideals and social norms.

Its style of animation is of course very simple and old today but it will stay adorable no matter how many years pass. Rejecting the series because of the old graphics and sound is NOT an excuse. You can consider yourselves shallow people that only judge a book by its cover, if you do. This series has memorable character figures, distinguishable voices and behaviors, a huge heart-warming variety in backgrounds and humor that still gets to you without needing realism, CG graphics or unbelievable visual effects. Plus, most episodes make several image and sound references to very known movies, traditions and myths (of the 80’s and before, that is) making most episodes a parody of every renowned title you can think of. The rest are funny, every day situations, with the characters experiencing new pleasures or taking part in weird games and contests. So, this department has no significance over the real value of the series.

A common trademark of most comedies is the stale and unfinished scenarios. The series begins with a story, spends a few episodes introducing the characters and then stops having continuity. All episodes are stand-alones and only those introducing recurring characters or another attempt at a given situation can be called to have an on-going scenario. Beyond that, no matter what happens in the end of an episode, it will have no effect in the beginning of the next. So, the series is focusing on one-episode story arks and not on an evolving story with a beginning and an end.

A major plus of the series is its characters, hilarious folks who easily become memorable in a few episodes.

Lum: A cult anime babe, Lum is a skimpy dressed alien, part of a race that resembles the mythical Oni of Japanese mythology. She is unfamiliar with Earth traditions and constantly invents contraptions that cause world-changing situations. And all just to please, she thinks at least, her “Darling” boyfriend-wanna-be Ataru. She can be seen as the opposite of the perfect Japanese woman stereotype, as she tries to please her man, without caring about rules, tradition or morality.

Ataru: The epitome of sleaziness, Ataru is a sex fiend that doesn’t care about manners if he can grope some girly skin. He constantly chases beautiful women and ends up being chased by the women who are in love with him and the boys who envy him for having so many women in his life. His action also cause world-changing situations and is world-wide known as the most hated and unlucky person in history. The one theme which stays constant in the series is the true love between Lum and Ataru, despite his flawed nature. In many episodes they have opportunities to part ways, but always the two come back to each other. Some of the best dramatic moments in the series are in these episodes.

Shinobu: The epitome of the perfect Japanese woman stereotype, until she gets angry and brakes mens’ faces with throwing desks. She is supposed to marry Ataru but constantly tries to have a romantic and happy relationship with a handsome man. She only ends up being disappointed and desk-throwing angry.

Cherry: A Buddhist priest that is supposed to help Ataru become an enlightening man but only ends up stealing food and causing trouble with his selfish misconceptions.

There are a dozen other beautiful women that circle Ataru from time to time, giving the series a hint of harem anime. We have a nurse exorcist, a snow queen, a crow princess, a cute Lolita with murdering tendencies, a cross-dresser girl raised as a boy, a motorcyclist gang member and many others. There are a hundred more secondary characters that spice up the story even more, from the ashamed-for-their-son Ataru’s parents, to Lum’s ex-fiancé, to Ataru’s geek classmates.

To sum it up, most characters are essentially reverse stereotypes of the ideal images of Japanese people. You must be well aware of Japan’s traditions if you want to “get the joke” but even if you are not, they are still very funny most of the time. If some actual character development had taken place, this section would be a solid 10.

Anime-wise it is a must-series for all otakus with a taste for quality. It still is amongst the longest and best comedies around. Its humor is a parody of the Japanese culture and its stereotypes, becoming a sort of self-criticizing essay on Japan’s history. Every romantic comedy anime in the last 20 years owes something to this series. The most famous Love Hina, for example, offered nothing new in the comedy genre. Urusei Yatsura on the other hand FOUNDED most stereotypes and allowed other series to build their fame on those. And although we get dozens of comedies today, each making fun of something, very few ever manage to reach the variety, perkiness, quality and memorability of Urusei Yatsura.

The series has a pretty high rewatch value, since you can start at any episode and you are almost guaranteed a good laugh without spoiling any story continuity (because there isn’t any). To be honest, 1/5 of the episodes are not funny at all. But the rest made me laugh hard; a feat quite hard.

Ranma ½, Slayers, Mahoujin Guruguru are famous old slapstick comedies.

And now for some excused scorings.

General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 2/2 (generic but well-founded)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (usually artsy)

Voice Acting 3/3 (silly but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

Premise 1/2 (simple)
Pacing 0/2 (episodic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t exist)

Presence 2/2 (funny/sexy)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)

Historical Value 3/3 (all-known)
Rewatchability 2/3 (high because of the episodic good humor)
Memorability 4/4 (extremely fond memories)

Would be better with some plot and ending but it is still great.

VERDICT: 6.5/10

2/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
FullmetalCowboy24's avatar
Jul 15, 2012

Critic's Log - Earthdate: July 15, 2012. Review #11: Urusei Yatsura

If you want to know why I always start my reviews with "Critic's Log" and all that other technical stuff, it's because I like the franchise Star Trek, I believe every episode of the show starts off with the captain saying "Captain's Log, Stardate" something. I'm sort of making fun of that, I admit it... I am a Trekkie, not only am I a Trekkie, I'm also a Browncoat (fan of Firefly), a Gamer, a Brony (fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), and OBVIOUSLY an Otaku (you know what an Otaku is... A fan of Anime. Duh!) So what does this have to do with this review? it doesn't... This is completely irrelevant to the review I'm doing but this is relevant for an intro to warm up the start of a review of an anime like the one I am about to discuss, here is Urusei Yatsura!

Ataru Moroboshi is the unluckiest and most lecherous young man alive. When aliens decide to invade Earth, Ataru is randomly chosen to defend the planet Earth by playing a game of what the aliens consider a national sport... Tag. Should he win, the planet Earth will be saved. However, Ataru's motivation is for much far less noble reasons as the one he's up against is a curvaceous alien princess named Lum. The game goes on for 10 days, and on the last day... Ataru is motivated by his girlfriend assuring him marriage (and consequently... A marriage night one can think of) He finally catches Lum, however he gives his cry of joy for the coming marriage that he is assured of, which is misinterpreted by Lum as a marriage proposal, Lum promptly agrees, beginning the two's (quote-unquote) "Marriage" together.

To be technical, the animation was from Studio Deen and Studio Pierrot, but the production of Urusei Yatsura was by Kitty Films. This is an 80's anime and at the time I wrote this review, it is almost been made 31 years ago. This is an anime that was immensely popular in Japan, and this is also an anime adaptation of the first manga that Rumiko Takahashi wrote and drew. This is also an influential anime on some levels, for having a lot of Japanese cultural elements in terms of fashion, events that occur in the show, and even avant-garde artistic expression. If you wonder what the name "Urusei Yatsura" even means, it means "Those Obnoxious Aliens"

The animation in Urusei Yatsura itself needs to be excused from grading, this was an 80's anime, so don't expect the greatest animation in Urusei Yatsura, for an 80's anime... The animation is not terrible by all means, yeah it's a little dated but some people might even appreciate the old-school animation that Urusei Yatsura has to offer.

The music by... Anzai Fumitaka (not a big composer for anime) is okay for Urusei Yatsura but also is appropriate for the show as well, the music isn't at all fantastic and it's not even impressive or even worth listening without the show, it contemplates the show well because the music sounds very zany which contemplates the zany plotlines for 90% of the entire show. The first opening is cute but really zany.

The Voice acting on the other hand will be a somewhat short topic, the original Japanese cast is not bad at all. The English dub of Urusei Yatsura is atrociously bad... It is so bad that they dubbed a few episodes and stopped because it was that bad. I never listened to the dub but I have read a couple sources saying that the dub was atrocious. It's also interesting to note that Michael Sinterniklaas was the English voice of Ataru (even though the dub didn't last long, he was credited as voicing Ataru in the dub). He had much better roles later in his career. To make a long story short... Urusei Yatsura is only available in subtitled form

This show also has way too many characters but since the premise and everything that Urusei Yatsura consists of, it is excusable that there are so many characters in this anime.

If there is one thing that still works is that this show can get really funny when you least expect it...

This anime really blends some elements well, it has humor, action (in a humorous way), it has comedy, and it has family dilemmas, relationship dilemmas, friendship dilemmas, Japanese cultural references. We can all say that the anime adaptation of Urusei Yatsura has led to Rumiko Takahashi's success and led her to make later titles that most of us already know. Let's face it, she's a very talented Manga artist, and she also makes most of her characters lovable.

It's also interesting to note that Mamoru Oshii was the director of this anime for Seasons 1 through 8 (The First episode through Episode 106), if you don't know who Oshii-san is, let me give you a hint... Does the anime film Ghost in the Shell ring a bell? Kazuo Yamazaki takes Oshii-san's place for the remainder of the series

The biggest question is... will everyone like Urusei Yatsura once they see it? the best answer I can give is... it all depends on what the viewer likes in their anime. On a critical note. This is an influential anime even though some people overlook this fact sometimes.

Urusei Yatsura was available by AnimEigo and it is so out of print, it is also a hard anime to find DVD volumes of. The manga from Rumiko Takahashi was available by Viz Media and unfortunately the manga was cancelled in the U.S. (apparently due to low sales in the U.S. and only 9 volumes of the manga were released in the U.S.) There are several movies and OVA's based off the series and they are also were available by AnimEigo and they are also out of print as well, The second movie called "Beautiful Dreamer" was from Central Park Media and the only Urusei Yatsura release not to be licensed in the US by AnimEigo, that movie is also out of print.

With that said, Urusei Yatsura is a one of a kind classic anime series, it may not be for everybody and I was originally going to not give a rating for this show since I thought that this show can be graded on any number. But since it is considered an influential anime at its time, I really had to think that this was a big show for Japan for the time it came out. This may have not been a big hit in the US and it probably doesn't have to be. But for its influence in animes to come at the time.

I give Urusei Yatsura a 9 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!

Feel free to comment below, and guys... beware of aliens wearing tiger-striped bikinis

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
9/10 overall
foxhead556's avatar
Dec 23, 2010

Intro- Moroboshi Ataru is the world's unluckiest boy. He's also the world's biggest prevert, and can't seem to get a single girlfriend. 1 day aliens come down to take over the Earth, but they give the helpless Earthlings a chance to save themselves by randomly picking a hero to play a game of tag against their chosen player(Lum the princess of the aliens). Unfortunately for Earth, their hero is Ataru. While everyone prepares for the world to end, Ataru does his best to capture the princess but unfortunately for him she can fly and send electric shocks. As a result, Ataru's love, Shinobu, makes a deal with him that if he can win the game of tag, she will marry him. That encourges our hero Ataru and allows him to win the match in the final minutes, and upon winning, yells out for everyone to hear, “Now I can marry her!” Unfortunately, Ataru doesn't specifically which “her” … thus Lum and the race of invading aliens accept his proposal for marriage.

Review- Anime as we know it now would not be what it is if it weren't for Urusei Yatsura. Prior to this show, most anime was still relegated to Saturday mornings and family fare. Even anime like Captain Harlock and Space Battleship Yamato was seen as shows for children and such thus anime was not seen as a legitimate form of entertainment for all ages. But there were a few exceptions, anime was seen as very much “for kids”.

But soon a new anime was born called  Urusei Yatsura, which still resonates in Japanese culture to an extent rivaled only by Doraemon. The only difference is that Doraemon was a success among children. But urusei yatsura on the other hand was a show that truly crossed over for both young and old alike. And thus Lum was considered the first anime idol or the Otaku's first dream girl. Thus with the birth of Lum came multiple merchandise for example records, posters, orin oither words become a multimedia phenomenon. Lum was the first anime character that Japanese guys could idolize without being looked at funny – and as a result she remains an icon not just in Japan, but worldwide.

To me no show had ever parodied the breadth and width of Japanese culture, so well as Urusei Yatsura. THey have some sci fi mixed in with the good ol jpn mythology and folktales like the classic Oni. But the best part of Urusei yatsura is the high school cast, With multiple characters it's hard not to love one of them. There is Ataru our preverted hero, Lum our alien princess, Shinbou Ataru's  ex fiancée who has super strength, Medou the rich counter part of Ataru and many other characters too wild to describe in such short time. What also made me enjoy the characters were that you can see them change mentally and physically from the start of the series to the end.

As for animation,it was fairly average when it was around.So Unfortunately, this means that Urusei Yatsura has noticeably aged. But lucky for us the makers didn't try too much  things with a television budget. To me it would  look more dated if they tried to pull off the state of the art look. The music in my own opinion is very catchy and enjoyable even now younger fans may enjoy it since Urusei Yatsura doesn't jsut stick with 1 type of music gernre as they spread out to pure pop,new wave, and Pat Benatar-style arena rock!

Urusei Yatsura can be recommened to alot of people. Even thought their is some brief nudity (Lum's top comes off once or twice), innuendos, and slapstick violence, I would have trouble in not recommending this to someone because of those factors said above, but those are noting compared to the humor and entertainment you can get form this show. The only reason i could think of someone not watching or enjoying this show is that your a buzz kill or not giving yourself a chance to watch&enjoy it. In the words of my old 10th grade earth science teacher"Give yo self a chance" As for age groups I would say anyone older than 4 would enjoy it. Children would get a blast out of the physical humor(a classic Tom and Jerry) , tweens,teen would enjoy the high school humor, and for adults they would enjoy the endless cultural references being tossed left and right.

If i was to pick a single word to describe Urusei Yatsura it would be “weird” but in a good way. UY represents the idea that the Japanese are completely nuts … and are proud of it. Even though it was been over twenty years after the show first hit the air. Urusei Yatsura is a timeless comedy that takes a deep, hard look at the japanese mind from a comically stand point. Newer fans of anime may put down urusei yatsura since most may have seen the jokes used in newer animes like Tenchi Muyo and Ranma 1/2(made by the same person) but that should't matter since UY can be pretty much enjoyed by everyone. But even though Urusei Yatsura is "old" compared today's anime it still deserves to be remembered as being one of the first mega block busters in anime and still is.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
ferrrnanda's avatar
Aug 21, 2014

This is personally my favorite i love Rumiko's work and all the others like inuyasha and ranma, but this is really good... if you have ever seen any of her other works you can tell that Lum one of the main chaarcters incorporates a little bit of everything all her other female main charcters has which makes lum the best. i love the love story and thats pretty much it..... its really good trust me :D

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
10/10 overall
0 0 this review is Funny Helpful
cronus7's avatar
Aug 26, 2012

Urusei Yatsura was the first of its kind, and without it, anime just wouldn't be the same. Many, and I mean many, shows have followed its example (tenchi, and just about every other 'harem'). this show was one of the funniest, and most historically important series to have been made, yet sadly, due to drawn out, and low quality translations by a certain anime distributer in North America, it has remained relatively unappreciated in the west. Another reason to watch, is that this is the first major work written by Rumiko Takahashi. so, to the review!


There really isn't much of a story to this one, but that's part of what makes it so great. Like most great comedies, the characters are the heart of the show, so the plot is only there to provide a basis for the hilarious situations that they get themselves into (such as say, contagious cavities, time travel, getting trapped in a vault with a lot of water, Lum (female lead) almost turning into a cow, and a ghost cat who has a fondness for kotatsu, etc.)

ANIMATION: It's from the early 80's, so the animation isn't very good, however, it does get better during the series, after all, lotgh did. not much else to say here, its the only real flaw to the show.

SOUND: The opening/ending themes are REALLY WELL DONE, and it was the first anime to use pop songs as its opening theme. The musical numbers during the show were good as well, and never drew [too much] attention to themselves. 

CHARACTERS: This is what made this show so wonderful, not fancy animation, not a deep and meaningful plot but, instead, it relied upon a unique, loveable, and in most cases, a completely insane set of characters, who, as the show goes on, wiggle their way right into the sweet spot of your heart.

OVERALL: This show still has series modelled after it 30 years later, and reruns of it are stil shown in japan. The only real way to sum up the premise of the show, is that anything can happen, anywhere, anyhow, and hilarious things will result thereof.

Thats it, and bye bye, so just remember, if you have yet to see this show, then you NEED to stop what you're doing, and start watching it now.

10/10 story
7/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
0 0 this review is Funny Helpful