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