Earth faces a huge crisis. Aliens want to invade the planet. Humanity's only hope rests with Ataru Moroboshi, who was chosen to represent Earth in a one-on-one duel with the aliens' chosen warrior. There is only one problem with this plan. Ataru is a womanizing, stupid loser. How in the world can he hope to succeed?
Selected to fight for the aliens' right to take over Earth is Lum, their curvaceous, bikini-clad princess. Luckily for Ataru, the duel takes the form of a game of tag. All he has to do to win is grab Lum's horns. Not so luckily for him is the fact that she can fly and, being a normal human, he most definitely cannot. Just when it looks like Ataru is destined to fail, his girlfriend Shinobu makes him a promise: she will marry him if he can win.
The encouragement is enough to motivate Ataru to succeed. But just when it looks like Earth is saved, he faces another problem. Lum misinterprets something he said and thinks that they are now married! Urusei Yatsura follows the unlikely relationship between the lecherous Ataru, the beautiful alien Lum, and all of the strange people they meet along the way.
#1: "Uchuu wa Taihen da!" by Hiroko Matsuya (eps 001-021) #2: "Kokorobosoi na" by Helen Sasano (eps 022-043) #3: "Hoshizora Cycling" by Virgin VS (eps 044-054, 065-077) #4: "I, I, You and Ai" by Izumi Kobayashi (eps 055-064) #5: "Yume wa Love Me More" by Izumi Kobayashi (eps 078-106) #6: "Koi no Mobius" by Rittsu (eps 107-127) #7: "Open Invitation" by Cindy (eps 128-149) #8: "Every Day" by Steffanie (eps 150-165) #9: "Good Luck" by Shoko Minami (eps 166-195)
As a general rule, people usually forget what has come before. For anime fans, particularly those who aren’t Japanese, this is all too often the case as new shows are hailed as the best ever, groundbreaking, or original while completely ignoring what influenced them in the first place. Urusei Yatsura may not be (it's not) the greatest series in the history of anime but it ranks right up there in the top five most influential of all time.
Urusei Yatsura is the first of Rumiko Takahashi's work to receive an anime adaptation. It centers on what is today a tried and true anime concept, a beautiful alien girl, Lum, falls in love with a rather ordinary and none to bright boy, Ataru. While this may or may not have been the first time this had ever been put to film, you can be sure this was the first time it was done so successfully and thus spawning decades of future imitators. Add in a cast of gorgeous girls and other zany and outrageous characters and a memorably stupid and lecherous leading man, you have the framework for an amusing series.
However for modern fans a few things that are missing from the show will likely effect their overall enjoyment. For starters, Urusei is almost a completely episodic anime with absolutely nothing in regards to an overriding storyline. Once characters have been introduced into the series canon they change little if at all. Because of the nature of this format it makes many of the episodes completely predictable and annoyingly repetitive. A basic episode revolves around Ataru chasing girls, Lum becoming angry, followed by Lum electrocuting him. Additionally quite a few characters are nauseatingly annoying or generally grate on your nerves and outstay their welcome.
All that being said, when Urusei Yatsura is good, it’s REALLY good. But any viewer determined to take the leap into this series would be wise to savor it slowly over time. Over the several years I spent watching this series I found a few episodes at a time was the best I could manage in any given sitting. I would suggest that pace for anyone as well. If you are interested at all in the history of anime, UY should be near the top of your list. While most fans may not be familiar with most if not all of its characters, everyone is familiar with them as they live on today after being pioneered in this series.
The alien girl Lum remains today even thirty years later as one of the most iconic figures of anime. It’s pretty much impossible to dislike Lum. Most people think of her as a tsundere type character but she’s not. Lum is honest with her feelings and incredibly jealous. Add her electrocuting powers, she makes for a girl I don’t think any man with a brain would dare defy or cheat on. Since Ataru is an idiot he doesn't ever learn though. Despite her jealousy and frequent use of her power she never comes across as a bully or a bitch. More often than not you find yourself feeling a little sorry for her that she has fallen for such an unfaithful and idiotic man. Love is blind they say...
For Ataru, he is an unrepentant louse and womanizer in addition to being a complete idiot. You might think that because of his personality that he would not be a likable character either but that’s not the case at all. Despite his odious character defects he remains a charming and likable character throughout the series. Whether you just like his antics or like watching him in pain or being punished. While it becomes obvious that Ataru really does care for Lum, his womanizing and rejection of Lum's advances seem to be out of a desire to not be tied down or in liking being chased. Even though he is completely and totally unsuccessful in wooing any woman other than Lum he never seems to give up.
The supporting cast is enormous, as one would expect from a series of this length. The results are mixed. Because many characters have extreme personalities I often found that they became annoying if they were featured too often. Shinobu starts as Ataru's girlfriend and vies for his affections in the early parts of the series. She is one of the rare exceptions to change over the course of the series. I was glad to see her not pine over Ataru for the entire series though she took a rather strange turn from being an ordinary Japanese girl to being a super strong girl. Mendou also shines as the super rich boy who is adored by all the girls, except the one he most wants (Lum). But in actuality he is just as much of a womanizer as Ataru is. He makes for an excellent foil. Others like Jariten, Ran, and Megane are generally amusing but tend to get on your nerves if they get too much screen time. Cherry and Ryuunosuke's father are ALWAYS annoying and generally made me swing from the desire to punch a hole through my television and projectile vomiting.
From an artistic standpoint, due to its success it’s likely to have influenced character designs for an entire generation and eventually lead to what we have today. I think you can probably trace the origins of "moe" back to at least this series as the thin, lanky, and elegant body types of the 70's give way to younger, chubbier, and cuter looking ones. Despite its age though and the peculiarities of animation from this era its still looks fabulous. The characters are extremely expressive and have enough dissimilarity that they are easily distinguishable from each other, with only a few exceptions.
The seiyuu performances are first rate and each brings out their characters to perfection. Whether it be Lum's anger or Ataru's perverted giggling you can’t help but be drawn into Urusei's universe. The series features many different OP/ED themes that vary from your standard J-Poppy tunes that wouldn't be that out of place today and the very dated engrish disco tracks. It’s old enough now that you may just have some 80s nostalgia.
I my opinion everyone should give this series a watch. While it certainly isn't an easy viewing experience, getting through it will give you an appreciation for the history of animation in Japan and an insight on Japanese pop culture. Not to mention it's also pretty damn funny. read more
Back in my "Maison Ikkoku" review, I mentioned that it seems that fans have a tendency to neglect some of the old classics that made the creators they love big in the first place. Either that or they turn a blind eye to them, seeing as they're "old". I'll probably get some flack for all that, but it's just so prominent in today's anime fandom that the latest things out there are "the best anime ever" one day, and when "one year later" rolls its way by and/or when the series ends, it would be a thing of the past.
And the cycle goes on and on. This is the way everything in the media and life is unfortunately. But there are still series out there that can still be remembered by the vetran anime fans and are held in high esteem as being influential to many manga artists (Like "Dragonball" for example. Eiichiro Oda, one of the people influenced by DB went on to make "One Piece", which is freakishly popular in Japan), and "Urusei Yatsura" is no different. Heck, reruns of it still play on Japanese primetime and the manga gets reprinted constantly!
The story is about Ataru Moroboshi, who, as normal as he looks, is the unluckiest and most girl-crazy being in the entire universe. His mere existance attracts unnatural bad luck towards himself and the people around him.
But one day, Ataru comes home to see that the leader of a race of alien oni is sitting in his house. It turns out that he has been randomly selected by computer to race in the major sport of the Oni's planet: the game of tag. He's challenged to race the leader's daughter, the beautiful, tiger bikini-clad Lum. Ataru has to chase Lum for ten days and grab her horns, or else the race of Oni aliens will take over Earth.
This seems easy to Ataru at first...that is, until he finds that Lum can fly, taking the difficulty level way higher than he expected. On the night before the last day, Ataru's childhood friend Shinobu promises to marry him if he is able to win. Full of a new burst of confidence, Ataru grabs Lum's horns in the final minutes of the game and shouts, "NOW I CAN MARRY HER!!" Unfortunately, Lum misunderstands what he means and takes his victory cry as a marraige proposal to her, which she accepts promptly and starts calling him "Darling".
At first UY may seem like another "Love Hina" type of anime, where the show lives to only show fan service and nudity. Other then some little things and unexplicit nudity, the show's pretty clean, depending on which episode it is (there's only two I know of that featured nudity), but seeing the art quality and film quality making them look less detailed, I doub it'll infect anyone. Other than that, it's nothing else than what you would see on BayWatch: four alien chicks in bikinis.
Though it's definitely a good example of 80s anime. Sure, it's incredibly cheezy and the kind of funny that makes you laugh because of how dumb (in a good way) the show is, but it plays like a dream.
Another thing I might want to bring up is that some sites cite this series as a "harem anime". Sure, there's a bunch of women in it and a central male loser character, but keep in mind that most of the women in UY hate Ataru. Despite his barely controlable libido, Lum loves him no matter what. D'awwwww.
The story is very lighthearted and wacky, with all sorts of bizzare references to Japanese mythology and cheesy puns on the language. The artwork is colorful and very cartoon-esqué, but the main target that the show wants is plain fun. It creates a happy mood for the viewers and freely takes you on a random and crazy ride through all the characters.
"Urusei Yatsura" has probably one of the biggest casts out of Rumiko's other stories (next to "Ranma 1/2"). We have Lum's fire-breathing cousin Ten, who hates Ataru with a purple passion and will do whatever it takes to make Ataru look bad, Ran, a redheaded alien with a split personality, the noble Oyuki, the motorbiking Benten, and an assortment of many other weird monsters and aleins.
There's a good balance of humans too, like Shinobu, who can come across as sincere but can get so angry that she's able to lift ridiculously heavy objects and throw them, Lum's fanclub at Tomobiki High, consisting of a bunch of nerds that are ready to reprehend Ataru if he commits a misdeed related to Lum, Ryuunosuke, a girl raised to be a boy by her sexist father, the rich and handsome Shuutaro Mendou, and Ataru's (REALLY) whiney parents who do hardly anything but mourn that the wish they never had Ataru.
Take all these characters and put them in a regular environment, and it's one wacky romance-comedy thoughout all 195 TV episodes, 4 movies, and 6 OVAs.
But one thing that can strike someone funny is Ataru's character. He's a far cry from the meek yet determined Yusaku Godai, and Ranma Saotome and Inuyasha, who are characterized with bravery and great fighting skills.
However, as much of an idiot and a pervert that Ataru makes himself out to be, he's actually a very caring person, and an intelligent one at that. His legendary bad luck and resistence to injury has convinced him to be otherwise and that's the reason why he acts the way he does. And as much as he dismisses it, he truly loves Lum as much as she loves him.
With a strong amount of sotries and characters, along with loads of laughs and catchy songs and BGM, "Urusei Yatsura" is an anime that is particularly hard series to get bored of.read more
Urusei Yatsura (Those obnoxious aliens) was an extremely popular manga and anime series that ran in Japan in the early 80s. Lately, people have been forgetting about these wonderful classics, and so I figured I'd write a review on one that I really enjoyed watching years and years ago, Urusei Yatsura. Urusei Yatsura is Rumiko Takahashi's first work to receive an anime adaptation (ahead of other classics such as Maison Ikkoku, Ranma and Inuyasha). Needless to say, Urusei Yatsura is a true classic that opened the way for future rom-com anime, and all the meanwhile is a wonderful-highly enjoyable story.
The basic outline of the story will seem really stupid, childish, cheesy, boring and "unorignal" at first. But if you take into account that this story was written over 30 years ago, then you'll realize that it was the birthmark of similar stories. And if you compare the anime solely to modern-day shows, then perhaps it won't be one of the best shows you've come across, but Urusei Yatsura set the stone down for these new shows that you enjoy to be created.
Urusei Yatsura is the comedic story of the tumultuous relationship between the Beautiful tigerskin-bikini-clad alien princess, Lum, and the Earth's most lecherous boy, Ataru Moroboshi. Ataru is a pervert whose constantly trying to chase other girls around and Lum has to continuously bring him back into line with her raging jealous temper and tremendous jolts of electricity. But the story goes far beyond that. Urusei Yatsura covers nearly all genres, from romance to science fiction to comedy to parody to Japanese mythology to psychological. Urusei Yatsura incorporates it all into a wonderful, enjoyable story. The outline of the story is basically: The alien race is about to take over Earth, but in order to save the human race, a deal was made between the aliens and the humans. In a race, if a human [Ataru] can touch the Alien representative's horn in a race, then Earth will be saved. At first Ataru doesn't want to do the deal, and would rather have the human race extinct than actually do something he doesn't want to do... But that all changes when he sees that the Alien representative is a beautiful girl - Lum. With the idea of actually being encouraged to grab and grope the beautiful alien to reach her horns, Ataru eagerly does the race and succeeds - thanks to Shinabu, Ataru's one true love who promise to marry Ataru if he succeeded. Upon touching Lum's horns, Ataru yells in glory "I can get married", which causes Lum to misunderstand - thinking Ataru wants to marry her, and so the entire 175 episodes of the story begins.
If you're looking to watch a series that intertwines many side events into one large main event, and the story is connected, then this isn't exactly the place to look. The episodes are episodic, and it jumps around all over the place. The story is honestly really random, and at times makes absolutely no sense. But so what? It was always enjoyable and hilarious to watch Ataru try to run away from Lum, Lum chase him down and a whole load of bizarre events unfold. I've seen people compare this show to the Simpsons in terms of how weird and unorderly the story is, but I'd say they have nearly nothing alike. 175 episodes of 1980s comedy-romance, how lovely right?
The show can be characterized as character-driven, because there is no real plot. There is only characters that create a story each episode because of their love/hatred/annoyance/misunderstanding of each other. The characters are the epitome of your average stereotypical characters. Ataru being the super annoying pervert that he is. Lum being that jealous girl who doesn't want any other girl to be near the guy she loves. And blah blah blah, a whole buttload of other side characters who take their part in the large scheme of things, and then suddenly leave/disappear at some random time because the writers can do that kind of stuff. Throughout the long course of 175 episodes, Ataru and Lum's characters develop a lot-lot, and the audience starts to adjust to their characters, and instead of having a feeling of annoyance towards the characters, the audience develops a sense of bond-love-friendship-understanding with the characters which keeps the entire story not only funny, but captivating and memorable. Sure, Ataru is a pervert who is running away from a innocent, beautiful girl who purely/solely loves him. At first the audience wants him to love Lum back because Lum is so beautiful and innocent, but from Ataru's perverted point of view, why should he love someone if he doesn't actually love her? And Lum... Oh Lum, why must you always shock the poor boy just because he doesn't love you back? It's all just a misunderstanding. Stop stalking Ataru. But over the longass time of 175 episodes, all those thoughts suddenly change-evolve into something like: I love you all. All characters in Urusei Yatsura are annoying at times (like really annoying), but that helps develop their characters into characters that the audience can relate with and like - learn from their annoyance/mistakes. 175 is a lot of episodes. Yes, there are some filler-episodes that help define a character, and yes they can be quite boring at times, but that's the 1980's - long-running series for you. If the load of episodes, turns you off from the show, then poor you, that's your loss. Urusei Yatsura has a quite cast of characters throughout the 175 episodes that you should definitely watch.
The sound and art of the show was composed/drawn in the 1980s, so it's unfair to compare it to romance-comedy-supernatural stories of today. But compare to other shows of it's time, Urusei Yatsura's art is spectacular, and the music isn't great, but isn't bad either. The music of Urusei Yatsura is more of the cute-innocent girly girl yet has a supernatural-alien pinch of sauce style. Especially the opening which is basically a high-pitched girl's voice squeaking, but it's not like an annoying squeaking sound, but more of a cute love sound. There aren't many times in the show (despite being 175 episodes) where music, soundtrack is being played during the show. The character's voicings were wondrous, I loved them, and normally I'm not a big fan of character's voices in romance stories. The character's designs were drawn up by the great, Akemi Takada who also drew the character's for the great Maison Ikkoku. It's no surprise that Lum is considered one of the most beautiful, and greatly drawn characters in anime history. Lum is in her own way unique and beautiful, and she is like a mother-figure to modern-day beautiful super-natural females. The overall art (cities, animals/aliens, characters) is really old-fashioned (reminder: 1980s) but it really added to the livliness of the entire story.
All in all, Urusei Yatsura isn't perfect, and it most definitely isn't the greatest classic out there. But Urusei Yatsura is a trailblazer in anime history, and it remains as a mother-figure show for modern-day romance-comedies, and for those of you that have a lot of time on your hands and want to check out a true classic rom-com anime, then Urusei Yatsura is definitely the one to check out. read more
If I were to recommend only ONE show for someone to watch if they were new to anime. I can't say for sure that this one would top the list, but it'd definitely be one of the candidates to hold that spot.
This show is just one thing:
"good, old-fashioned anime fun"
The show excels at being absolutely random, and absolutely outrageous at some points. It's kinda like the Simpsons but with that fun and exaggerated anime twist added to it. That's why I genuinely enjoyed watching this show, it's just made me laugh at the situations that the characters get themselves into; or what they do to each other.
The only thing I didn't like about the show is that after you try to marathon thru the show and you watch 10-15 episodes in one sitting.. the show will probably become less enjoyable. I watched all 195 episodes, but it took me well over a year (with on-and-off periods throughout) to complete watching it all.
Do you have an older game console sitting in the cupboard, basement or attic? Perhaps it's time to dust it off, plug it in and start enjoying it once again. We're about to discover some fascinating retro games based on anime franchises we've grown to love over the years.