Urusei Yatsura

TV (195 eps)
1981 - 1986
3.547 out of 5 from 1,940 votes
Rank #5,081

Ataru is one of the most desperate womanizers alive, and a man whose life is about to become complicated. When aliens invade, he discovers he has been chosen at random to be mankind’s defender, and must play a game of tag with the beautiful alien princess Lum to decide the fate of the planet! After chasing her with all of his crafty techniques, Ataru finally wins, but his victory also means he must marry the princess herself! Now, with strange alien visitors and a jealous wife to handle, Ataru still manages to keep an eye on his ultimate goal: having his own harem!

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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. SUGGESTION LIST Ranma ½, Slayers, Mahoujin Guruguru are famous old slapstick comedies.And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 7/10 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) SOUND SECTION: 8/10 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) STORY SECTION: 2/10 Premise 1/2 (simple) Pacing 0/2 (episodic) Complexity 1/2 (not much) Plausibility 0/2 (none) Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t exist) CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 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) VALUE SECTION: 9/10 Historical Value 3/3 (all-known) Rewatchability 2/3 (high because of the episodic good humor) Memorability 4/4 (extremely fond memories) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8/10 Would be better with some plot and ending but it is still great. VERDICT: 6.5/10


Let me preface this by saying that Urusei Yatsura is one of my favorite anime of all time.  The long running series was immensely popular in Japan and brought anime to new audiences.  Urusei was one of the first series to use pop music, as well as references to both Western and Japanese pop culture.  Lum, the female protagonist, became one of the first animated idols and inspired a whole genre of alien girlfriend/harem anime.  Urusei was well received critically and won two Animage Grand Prix awards.  Manga author Rumiko Takahashi is a household name in Japan and is responsible for other monstrously popular manga such as Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2, and Inuyasha.  Despite all this Urusei Yatsura remains relatively unknown in the west.  If you consider yourself an otaku at all, I urge you to watch this show.  Story:10 When aliens invade earth ordinary high schooler Ataru Moroboshi is chosen to challenge the invader's daughter, Lum, in a one on one challenge.  Victory would have been assured for the Oni, but for one thing; Moroboshi's unfathomable lecherousness.  In his moment of victory Ataru accidently proposes to Lum and the two are engaged.  Now Lum's electric shocks are the only thing stopping Ataru from resuming his carefree life of girl hunting.   The series is highly episodic, and reminds me very much of The Simpsons in content and format.  Every episode of Urusei Yatsura puts Moroboshi and his unfortuneate friends and family through some usually horrible encounter with aliens, spirits, ninja, etc.  In it's 195 TV episodes, 12 OVA's, 6 movies, Urusei has pretty much done it all.  The series influence can be seen on just about everything produced in Japan during 80's, and still influences things today.  If you ever wondered where many of those Japanese cliches came from, look no further.  There are a couple of slow episodes in the first season, but things only get crazier as more characters are introduced. Animation:10  Urusei Yatsura really raised the bar in 80's animation, especially as quality steadily improves after the first season. Despite the occasional recycled background, Urusei consistently puts together beautiful characters, vivid and imaginitive sets, and frantic but believable action.  The level of detail packed into every frame is matched by few series even today.  The title and credits are mesmerizing, despite normally skipping them after watching a couple of times, I was unable to do so with Urusei.  New titles are animated for each season.  Of course if you don't like hand drawn 80's animation, this probably isn't going to appeal to you.   Sound:9 Urusei was perhaps the first anime to use pop music in its opening title and credits.  The songs used, while having a blatantly 80's sound, are also undeniably catchy.  Second season opener "Kokoro Bosoina" is an infectious piece of J-reggae that you can't help but nod your head to.  The score is as quirky and interesting as the rest of the show.  It never fails to set the tone for the hi-jinx that are sure to follow. Characters: 10 Ataru Moroboshi is indeed the most lecherous high schooler in the universe.  His endless lust frequently drives the plot, but there are also dozens of supporting characters who mix up the action and keep things interesting.  Many of the reappearing characters are so well developed and so interesting that they have become anime archetypes in their own right.  You will recognize similarities to characters from more modern series with characters like Cherry, the diminutive Buddhist monk with the bottomless stomach and Mendou Shutaro, the katana toting rich kid, etc. Overall:10 Urusei is is definitely not your typical anime.  While you should have some idea if you're going to like it or not after the first episode, the series really doesn't mature until the full cast is assembled.  The animation quality also steadily improves throughout the series, so don't judge it on the first few episodes.  Be careful though, or you may find yourself addicted and having to watch the entire series!


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.

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