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.|