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.

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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Dec 2. 2015 05:04 AM)
    Although that one as far as I know does not have another version with better art.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Dec 2. 2015 05:03 AM)
    The onepunch man fans will be happy to know that Bone is adapting another work by the author, Mob psycho.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:46 AM)
    @Kaiser: so far it’s good. I’ve been hearing the buzz but I wished someone had nodged me to watch it sooner.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:42 AM)
    You’ve reminded me Bam that I’d been meaning to pick up ash vs the evil dead sometime.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:39 AM)
    @Kaiser: the remake was still pretty entertaining, but it lost the silly comedy edge the series was known for. I still think that the 2nd film had the most unique and prominent voice of its own, and all of that is present in the new series’ pilot. If anything Raimi cranked it up a couples of notches here and there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:35 AM)
    There was a mean spirited feel to the remake I found pretty appealling.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:27 AM)
    @Kaiser: the original Evil Dead was playing the horror genre straight, but it had a strata of slap-stick that was partially unintended. With Evil Dead 2 he doubled down on the strange horror/comedy dynamic and it became fantastic. Army of Darkness was very entertaining, but it strayed very far from the series’ roots. The remake was only produced by Raimi, while he got back on the writer/director chair for the pilot of the new series, and proved that he still got it sharp as ever.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:19 AM)
    Then again I believe Raimi was fairly involved with the remake.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:18 AM)
    The remake as far as remakes go should have been worse but it worked much better than I would have thought and I say this as someone who hates reboots/remakes.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:16 AM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen the first evil dead but I don’t think its aged well, the second one I’ve seen and its hugely entertaining later on but its army of darkness that was the most enjoyable of the three for me.

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