Posted by psgels on 16 April 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




Urusei Yatsura was the first series that Mamoru Oshii fully directed, having previously worked on episodes of Yatterman and Nils no Fushigi no Tabi. Now, it has 195 episodes, so I refuse to actually go sit down and watch it, but I always wanted to check out the first two movies of the series, which he also directed.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get past even twenty minutes of the first movie due to its incredibly cliched premise. I know that it was fresh at the time and all, but that single movie has been ripped off so many times by now that it has become a chore to watch. Not to mention that it has one of the worst male leads imaginable. The second movie though, is a different story. It’s probably the first point at which Mamoru Oshii first showed his unique style of directing that would later go on and create many classics.

You can pretty much watch it without having seen anything of the franchise before. I mean, the premise is just that an alien falls in love with a loser of a playboy, and the side-characters also all speak for themselves. This movie still pretty much features the main cast goofing off, but it actually has a very interesting plot.

My biggest praise at this movie is how balanced it is: there is just enough time devoted to people goofing off, there is quite a bit of attention to the setting and ideas behind the movie, there is the right amount of philosophy, romantic antics, action and weirdness. A lot of different characters all have their moments in the spotlights and yet it still feels like a complete movie.

On top of that, the animation is also pretty excellent; this movie especially shines in its portrayal of the chaotic scenes, whether this is focused on school life or some of the weirder plot twists in the story. The characters here all like to goof off, but yet they are portrayed with the kind of life that a lot of modern anime are missing. Instead of the excessive whining that you usually see in these teenaged school series, these people actually feel fun to be around. This movie is versatile enough to not make them boring, and the first Urusei Yatsura movie just showed how easy it is to just screw up with that.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Well written dialogue, well paced, really well balanced. A lot of fun to watch and pretty much succeeds at everything it attempts.
Characters: 8/10 – the characters still remain simple teenaged brats, but they are fun and interesting to watch thanks to the pacing and dialogue.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very good animation, though admittedly not the best for movie standards.
Setting: 8/10 – An interesting premise based on bending reality.

Suggestions:
Mahou Tsukai Tai OVA
Maison Ikkoku
– Ranma 1/2

2 Responses

  1. maglor says:

    Too bad you couldn’t enjoy the 1st movie as well. When my friends and I first watched in it the 1980s, we were floored with laughter for the first 30 minutes of the movie, as, and you said it so in your post, it was something new and fresh to us. For its time Urusei Yatsura was one of the more daring series, and it may have changed the anime worlds in more ways than people realize.

  2. Nimroc says:

    If I remember correctly Mamoru Oshii was himself unsatisfied with how the first movie turned out.
    So he decided to do things his own way with the second instead of pandering to the fans.
    Which left Rumiko Takahashi displeased instead.

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  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:11 PM)
    But I agree with Bam in that the show has lots of moments where it shines, namely in the action and the entertaining character interactions. If I was interested more so in a character story rather than an overall plot, I’m sure I’d like Eva a lot more. Certain shows work really well purely off that principle like Phantasia, but by the time I got to Eva I’d gotten relatively desensitized to those character tropes. Shinji didn’t help much either.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:07 PM)
    There’s no narrative thrusts throughout the show, it’s just scenes happening to get from one action set piece to the next all the while shoving blatant symbolism in your face. The little plot there is feels incredibly weak, aside from the world building there’s no clear objective besides a vague idea of defeating angels and something about Gendo that’s almost background noise with how little it affects the story.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    Having started watching anime only in the mid 2000s despite occasionally seeing them on TV during the 90s, I come from a school of thought that emphasizes coherence more than anything else, basically I want the story to have focus. And while Eva’s influence on character archetypes and animation cannot be argued, I still think the story in Eva is pretty bad.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:56 PM)
    Judging purely visually I agree some leeway must be given due to the technical limitations of the time but all of my issues with the series is not visual related but story.
    I have admitted that I don’t hate Eva and I do like aspects of it. But do you really need me to give it praise? There is plenty giving it praise. I see no reason to join the choir.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:51 PM)
    Now you are just flying off the hook.
    I understand Eva’s cultural significance, and it’s effect on the medium. I just deem it irrelevant when judging the anime itself. For you see dear boy, if you are going to place EVA above modern anime then you must judge it by modern standards. If it falls short you can’t just bring up historic significance to wave away it’s problems.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:46 PM)
    I praised Fate/Zero for its story, pacing and charismatic protagonist. UBW I agreed to its superb battle animation and overall quality of first cour. Now when someone watches EoE or Eva Rebuild 2.2 and comments on nothing of quality, then who is the biased one here really?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:34 PM)
    If anything at least call Shinji a shitty annoying character- cuz even I won’t deny that.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:25 PM)
    When I mean discussion I don’t mean a series of personal likes and dislikes- but judging objective elements: plot consistency, animation quality, restrain in fan-service and pandering, over reliance on tropes and cliches, etc. Otherwise we all have our different preferences.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:20 PM)
    I agree with the cons of Eva, as well as its strengths. Same with Fate. Being pessimistic is a stance, not inherently a flaw. The setting of Eva predicates that tone. If anything I have a bias towards Berserk, and that’s mostly all out of nostalgia.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:16 PM)
    Also what ladies? Even the “gentlemen” part is stretching it. It’s very easy for someone who didn’t follow anime 20 years ago to criticize one of its most historic moments. At least this Tenka Seiha fella doesn’t talk smack about what he doesn’t really understand.

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