Not all is normal in Tomobiki, even by its standards. The students have been preparing feverishly for the first day of the student fair, which is scheduled to go on the next day. However, problems arise when some begin to notice that the next day simply will not come. As the students begin to try to find the reason for the problem, their beliefs about reality and the world of dreams are challenged.
Urusei Yatsura is one of my favorite anime series for many reasons, and one of those reasons is the wacky brand of comedy that comes with it. That said, Beautiful Dreamer is completely different from any other work related to this series. The comedy is still there, but it's greatly toned down and replaced with more of a serious story as the cast of characters find bizarre things happening to the world around them. It's a drastic change to the usual feel of the series, but the end result is something I've long considered a masterpiece.
The story, of course, is fantastic.
The art is very good for its time, that being the early 1980's, and the music fits perfectly with what's going on in the movie. But one of the things I enjoyed the most about this movie relates to the cast of characters. Normally with the Urusei Yatsura series, Ataru and Lum are focused on very heavily. And while they are a big part of this movie, they also take a backseat for a lot of it, allowing some of the supporting characters to take much bigger roles than usual and show some of their depth. Onsen-Mark, Sakura, and Mendo all get a rare chance to shine, and it's really a pleasant change from seeing them in the background all the time.
Even if you've never seen any of the Urusei Yatsura series before, this movie is a great, great watch. I know because it was the first piece of the Urusei Yatsura anime that I had the pleasure of watching, and I enjoyed it so much that I sought out the rest of the series afterward. If you ever find yourself awake at 1 A.M., pop this movie in your DVD/VHS player. There are few better things to watch right before you go to sleep for the night.
The Ursei Yatsura franchise & TV series is an insane, wacky, hyperactive, frantic, comedy show with most of its humour rooted in Japanese culture and in general it's not really my cup of tea. However the director, Mamoru Oshii of Ghost in the Shell fame, whilst using the characters and setting of the TV show tones down the madcap slapstick nonsense a notch or two and instead creates a trippy, surreal, philosophical film concerning dreams and how they interact with reality. It's still a comedy but this has got miles more depth than anything seen in the TV series.
Without any knowledge of the TV series
this film will probably baffle newcomers with its strange cast of weird characters and its odd and unreal universe. However if you can get past that obstacle then there's a really clever and well made film underneath that explores themes and ideas concerning the nature of dreams and what we percieve as reality, territory that Oshii would return to and expand upon in his later films, whilst reamining an enjoyable and light hearted comedy. A quick briefing on the Japanese folktale of Urashima Tarō and Zhuangzi's butterfly dream may also aid understanding of the plot if needed!
What happens when director Mamuro Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) and creator Rumiko Takahashi come together to make a movie? Well, in 1984 the second Urusei Yatsura movie debuted. It is regarded as the best of the Yatsura movies by the fans. An interesting fact was after the “failure” of the first movie; Oshii wanted to stop catering to the fans and do the film his own way. This was so far from the original show that Takahashi almost rejected the script. How did it turn out?
Urusei Yatsura is a wild and crazy time with all of the characters interacting behind Ataru and Lum. It
is a hilarious non-stop comedy fest with little regards for a story and primarily focusing on making the viewer laugh. However, Oshii went the opposite and minimized the slap-stick humor and created a plot, and story involving all the characters. It is still a comedy at heart, but with a story on top of it, really invoked the viewer of the franchise to something incredibly fresh and interesting. Plus, the art, animation, and sounds are all top-notch to still hold up today.
There are two downsides to Beautiful Dreamer. One, if going into the movie without a simple knowledge of the show and its characters, the casual fan will probably suffer a bit. Two, as the show focuses on Lum and Ataru and each episode continues from there, Beautiful Dreamer seems to focus on all the shows characters as a whole. Basically, not enough Lum and Ataru until near the end.
Not much of the actual plot can be explained without ruining the experience of watching and learning yourself. If one could guess, based on Oshii’s future works, it has something to do with reality and what it means to perceive it.
Beautiful Dreamer is a pleasure to watch and the supporting cast of characters get a chance for air time in the foreground instead of the background. A little more Lum and Ataru time would have been nice, but a fun watch none the less. Who knows, it might be good enough to motivate some to watch the original show.
Well, I must admit that I really did not have big expectations with this movie, I do not really like the works of rumiko and already in case this series was considered the "old haruhi" but I ended up seeing it thanks to the direction was in charge of Oshii. It was a great and funny surprise.
Urusei yatsura 2 is incredible by many aspects, we have the direction at the hands of mamoru oshii which is very attractive with those beautiful camera angles and of course the incredible animation so versatile that the film has. I love how the film decides to show us the
reality of the genre to which it belongs and a clear game with the dreams that could remind the oniric atmosphere of David Lynch's films.
I recommend it totally and I also recommend the other films (especially because they are very interesting visually and the fourth movie is at the same level)
It is easy to say that the most beautiful anime are those produced by Studio Ghibli. For sure, Ghibli’s films set the bar for what is anime art. However, although five of their films populate this list of the 20 most beautiful anime, other examples from the past four decades are just as impressive.