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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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*

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