Anime Quick Information
|Average Rating: 10.0|
Paul scored this with 7/10. Disagree?
I watched the Urusei Yatsura OVA box set with zero prior knowledge of this popular anime franchise except that it had been originally penned by Inuyasha and Ranma king-pin Rumiko Takahashi.
My first impressions of this were based purely at a skin-deep level and it is painfully obvious that Urusei has not aged well at all. With the original TV series (and subsequently, these OVAs) being animated in the early 80s, the animation does not fare well when compared to its modern counter-parts. This does not render Urusei Yatsura unwatchable from the get go, but it gives the immediate impression that what you are watching is old; whether or not you can overcome this sizable hurdle will depend on how much you enjoy the story.
Thankfully, these OVAs are fairly episodic and therefore make it a lot of easier for an Urusei-newbie like myself to enjoy the (stand alone) stories without needing to worry about unseen character relationships and situations.
So if you hadn't guessed by now, Urusei Yatsura is mostly a (very eccentric) comedy anime with dashes of movie parodies and teenage romance. The main characters are Lum and Ataru Moroboshi; Lum is a weird (human looking) female alien that hovers around the streets of Japan, dreaming of a future with a young punk called Ataru Moroboshi.
But Ataru is the polar opposite of Lum; he fantasizes of living in his own 'harem', where every girl in the world wants to be with him-- but in reality, the only girl ever interested in his advances is the aforementioned Lum. Many of the gags revolve around their relationship, with Ataru giving Lum the slip and chatting up another girl, only to be forcefully electrocuted by Lum's 'magical powers' moments later.
Itâ€™s easy to say that Lum and Ataru are the central figures of Urusei Yatsura, but over the course of this box set, we meet a whole bunch of crazy and different personalities, like Shuutarou Mendou - Ataru's arch rival and sworn enemy. He often pops up, samurai sword in hand, intending to foil whatever hijinks Ataru has planned next- only to invariably end up coming off worse. I wouldn't usually find such repetitive humour so amusing, but Mendou has a real sense of pride in himself-- and it never gets old seeing people with such unflappable confidence having a taste of their own medicine for once!
Each OVA tends to contain their own weird little tales; ranging from the first OVAs time travelling, wise cracking rabbits to a more straight forward 'boy turns into dog' story. As you're no doubt thinking, Urusei Yatsura is a little damn weird, and I can't help but further that sentiment- this is anything but a predictable anime and the writers of these OVAs should be commended for always opting to take a very creative and zany route.
Due mainly to the episodic nature of each story; I wouldn't recommend watching this for hours on end. There is little character development, and the more I watched, the more I became slightly uncomfortable with the repetitive jokes and one-dimensional personalities. Each story is fun, and should be praised for their weird and inventive situations, but if you find yourself craving a little growth and development from the characters, you will be left feeling a little disappointed. Keep in mind that these are OVAs; designed to appeal to fans of the long running TV series and to deliver exactly what each character has become established for, from Ataru's never ending 'harem' to Lum's ignored affection, its all here to the maximum.
On the downside, another aspect of Urusei Yatsura to show its age is the soundtrack. I found it very disappointing- even for a lot of the musical tosh you would associate with being produced during the dark ages (also known as the 1980s). If you have ever seen the kung-fu series 'Monkey', you should know what type of music and sound effects to expect!
This Urusei Yatsura OVA box set is hard to recommend â€“ with such low production values and a very dodgy 80s soundtrack, I could easily say this set is something just for fans of the 100-odd episode TV series, but then, that would be doing an injustice to the inventive stories and quirky humour I've witnessed through out each of the episodes here.
If you are willing to let your mind transcend the limitations of what is essentially a very old looking anime, you will be rewarded with a funny and rather weird collection of OVAs. I can see now why Urusei is often referenced as a precursor to the likes of 'Tenchi Muyo!'.
|Score:||7 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Wed, 29 Sep 2004|
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