Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura is an anime series in the Urusei Yatsura franchise
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A lecherous young man finds himself engaged to an incredibly hot bikini-clad alien. Unfortunately, she's a very jealous fiancee...

The alien Oni race decide to invade Earth but offer to leave if Earth's champion can defeat theirs at a game of tag. But the randomly selected Earth champion is Ataru Moroboshi, a hapless Japanese teenage lecher. Racing the beautiful Princess Lum, Ataru tricks her by stealing her bikini top and wins the game. Earth is saved, but he has gained an alien fiancée living in his closet. She may be sexy, but she has the power to electrocute him if he goes near another girl and is fiercely jealous of his many love interests, including his Earth-girl paramour, Shinobu.

One of Western fandom's favorites, based on the 1978 Shonen Sunday manga by Rumiko Takahashi, this romantic comedy mixes sci-fi with Japanese Folk Tales and suburban life. Takahashi has a dark side, but she keeps it for her horror stories like Mermaid's Forest; in most of her work, creatures of all planets share the same failings and desires, and there is more of a gulf between male and female than there can ever be between human and alien.

The TV series (sadly showing its age in terms of animation quality) introduces us to Lum, her unlikely beloved Ataru, the unluckiest, laziest, and most lecherous boy on Earth, and their associates, including his helplessly uncomprehending parents, her dreamboat ex-boyfriend, Rei, her bratty cousin, Ten-chan, and her many pretty friends. The original series is loaded with topical domestic humor in the manner of a Japanese Simpsons, but though little of this survives translation, the fresh, funny slapstick and situations do, along with an educational quantity unforeseen by the original filmmakers. UY's depiction of mundane Japanese life is a window onto a culture alien to many Western fans, a fact cleverly exploited in the studiously annotated subtitled releases from AnimEigo. The TV series is a delight from beginning to end and absolutely deserves its fan-favorite status; its stablemate Ranma 1/2, originally made for an audience too young to remember the early UY, has attained a similar status simply by copying it.

The movies and videos are all variations on the same theme-love, and the crazy deceptions we play in its name. The first two movies are directed by Ghost in the Shell's Mamoru Oshii and designed by Kazuo Yamazaki. Only You (1983) introduces another alien fiancée for Ataru, and shows Lum's desperate attempts to save him from walking to the altar with Elle, a girl who rules a planet with décor straight out of a rose-strewn Harlequin fantasy. In the surreal Beautiful Dreamer (1984), the characters are caught up in Ataru's recurring dream, enabling Oshii to play with perceptions of reality within the conventional format of a romantic comedy. Yamazaki moved up to direct Remember My Love (1985) with character designs by Takada. This tale of transdimensional travel, obsessive love, and the line between childhood and adulthood remains, for all its lunatic wrappings (such as Ataru transformed into a pink hippo and a Bradburyesque nightmare circus that later showed up in Neo-Tokyo and Sailor Moon), the purest SF story ever achieved by the UY team. Lum the Forever (1986) was again directed by Yamazaki and designed by Takeda, with Dirty Pair's Dokite directing the animation. The gang is making a film, with Lum as the star, but all the surrounding activity, including the cutting down of an ancient cherry tree, has awakened a curse that may change their lives forever and lead to the loss of the things they value most. UY The Final Chapter (1988, Kanketsuhen) puts the romantic boot on the other foot; instead of Ataru running after some cute girl, Lum is carried off by an alien hunk named Lupa, to whom, it appears, her grandfather promised her in marriage when she was still a baby. Neither Ataru nor Carla (Lupa's girlfriend) is pleased, and the chaos culminates in yet another game of tag to decide the fate of Earth. Dezaki directed Konparu's screenplay with designs by Shibunnoichi. Typically, the "final chapter" wasn't-the last UY movie was actually Always (Itsudatte) My Darling (1991), made when UY had been supplanted on TV by Ranma, reversing the previous plot for a kidnap tale in which Ataru is carried off by an alien princess named Lupica, and Lum sets out to get him back with a little help from biker goddess Benten and snow princess Oyuki. It was made by a new team, with Yamada in the director's chair, Takayashiki joining Konparu on screenplay, another Takahashi (Kumiko) designing and directing the animation, and music from Koteki.

The ever-increasing cost of movie-making coincided with the rise of the video format that started with Dallos in 1983. In 1986, the Japanese UY fan club began screening "exclusive" mini-movies at public events, soon revealed to be advance copies of the straight-to-video UY releases Ryoko's September Tea Party and Memorial Album. Both stories used flashback footage from the series with about 15 minutes of new framing animation to recount the past history of the characters and episodes from the story line-a useful way of hooking new video buyers to boost TV series sales on video. A new story, Inaba The Dream Maker (1987), featured a transdimensional white rabbit and answered the question of what happens when you unlock doors in time and space without knowing where they lead. Next up was the insanely funny Raging Sherbet (1988), in which flying alien ice-cream cones carry out kamikaze revenge attacks on Lum's greedy girlfriend Ran. Ghost love story Nagisa's Fiancé appeared the same year. Then 1989 brought four new romantic comedy stories. I Howl at the Moon has Ataru gobbling Lum's cooking and turning into a wolf. Catch the Heart has hard-nosed Ran involved in chaos when a spirit gives her a candy that makes capturing the heart of the one you love a breeze. Goat and Cheese shows the problems of ancient and incomprehensible family curses when Mendo's father breaks one by taking a picture in front of the statue of great-grandfather's goat, and The Electric Household Guard gives Mendo a new servant with eyes only for his sister, Kyoko. In 1991 the series was rounded off with Terror of Girly-eye Measles, in which Ataru's womanizing ways spread an alien virus all over town, and Date with a Spirit, in which he tries to date a pretty ghost haunting sorceress Sakura's fiancé. An improvisational dub of two episodes by minor British celebrities was screened as Lum the Invader Girl (2000) as part of a "Japan Night" on a U.K. cable channel.

Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Urusei Yatsura
Name: うる星やつら
Romaji: Urusei Yatsura
Publisher Pierrot
Start Year 1981
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Aliases Those Obnoxious Aliens Weird Folk from Planet Uru Noisy People
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