Urusei Yatsura Movie 1: Only You

I did not start out as a hardcore anime fan. For many years I would casually rent some anime at video store or get the occasional fan-sub tape from Chinatown. But it was not until I really got into Ranma 1/2 in college that I invested myself in fandom at the next level. I began to actively research anime and stated to look into Rumiko Takahashi in specific. I found that much of the inspiration for Ranma 1/2 came from her earlier series Urusei Yatsura and the character of Ryuunosuke Fujinamiā€Ž. But while there were informative fans sites about the series the anime was hard to find beyond the second movie. But when Animeigo started releasing the series on DVD is became much easier for me to buy and watch. I had watched Beautiful Dreamer several times but I was hungry for the other movies. When Animeigo released the movies in a box set (minus Beautiful Dreamer which was still a Central Park Media release) I preordered them to finally see what I had been missing. The first movie I saw was very different from Beautiful Dreamer but equally special.

In conjunction with Beautiful Dreamer (Urusei Yatsura movie 2), Only You was my introduction to this massive franchise a great many years ago. And while looking at it now I surely didn’t know the details, I still fell in love with the oddball cast and their hilarious antics. And luckily since Urusei Yatsura proper doesn’t exactly have a deep and intricate plot, these movies are just another crazy enjoyable ride.

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Shinobu Miyake: Otoko nan te!!!

Carl at Ogiue Maniax is currently running a contest to win a copy of Galaxy Express 999 and Adieu Galaxy Express 999. I decided that I would make today’s post my entry into the contest. I sadly don’t talk about Rumiko Takahashi or Urusei Yatsura nearly as much as I should. Bu this contest gives me a chance to talk about one of my favorite anime characters. One that I normally don’t talk nearly enough about. I have loved Shinobu Miyake since my early in my fandom. She is fascinating character study and noteworthy in several respects outside of the scope of this post. But for now let me answer a question about growing up.

What is your favorite example in anime/manga of a character growing up, whether literally or figuratively, and why?

Rumiko Takahashi is rather infamous for creating great characters with huge personality quirks and then running them though hundreds of different scenarios as their signature shtick plays off of each new situation. For this to work the characters largely have to remain the same loveable jerks they are when they are introduced who never learn from their experiences. But I think there is one character who very clearly goes through a strong character arc over the course of Urusei Yatsura. That character is Shinobu Miyake.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #013

I read the first two volumes of Gakuen Alice and much like the anime I love, love, love it! It is really funny but with enough sentimentality and plot to balance it out. It kind of reminds of a not-quite-as-insane-version of Kodacha with superpowers. We have a plucky, not always very bright, heroine who sets out out reform her unruly elementary school class. She of course has a rivalry with the leader of the rebels but finds out he has a tragic life. Throw in a wide cast of side characters, some mystery, and a campus polluted with strange activity and you have yourself a recipe for fun times. Gakuen Alice is certainly a winner! I am also happy that Right Stuf picked up the anime which may just have to go on the next I Can’t Believe You Haven’t Seen This! panel.

I watched Urusei Yatsura Movie 5: The Final Chapter after I got started on the Anime of the Month. I have to say Urusei Yatsura always bring a smile to my face. Despite the fact that the entire cast besides Ryuunosuke are horrible human beings/aliens you find yourself rooting for them. I love this particular movie a lot. It gave me everything I wanted from the end of Urusei Yatsura. It gives us a full circle ending. It gives us lots of laughs and a little sentimentality. It ties in all the great characters and gives them all a little air time before the finale. I have to mention that I consider the ending of Urusei Yatsura 100% definitive. I’m not sure what people wanted. Did they need a marriage? Ataru and Lum making out with some heavy petting on the side? It’s not that type of manga. The ending is the only thing like a declaration of love we could have ever gotten. And that is good enough for me.

Del Rey’s novel line excited me at first, but I’ve read three so far and have not been impressed. Psychobusters does nothing to change that, in fact, it probably makes it worse since this is by far the worst one yet. The characters have no spark, they are not thought out in the least. The writing is very poor and extremely repetitive. It is hard to explain but it is written like a manga. However, writing a novel and writing a comic are two very different things. I do have the first manga sitting at home somewhere, so I will read that and let you know if indeed the writing lends itself to it.

I watched some more Shakugan no Shana. Ummmmm. Those twins are creepy. Kohaku had warned me to this fact but I feel somethings can only be understood fully when they are seen. Then again the incest twins are creepy enough that you might want to take my word for it. I feel like they want me to feel bad for them, maybe even root for Kazumi Yoshida but I can’t do it. She is just so uninteresting. She is just there to give Shana a romantic rival. I usually like the character who is a good, sweet person but have an unrequited love. For some reason I can’t see why you would want to date Kazumi. Wirhelmina Carmel can come back into the series anytime she wants. She is a character I can get behind. Her similarity to Hisui does not hurt.

Finally read Fruits Basket 20, not sure why I let this one linger on the shelf so long. It was fantastic as usual with the emotions turned up to 11 and I can only guess that the final books are going to stay at that level. I was happy, sad, furious, annoyed, and wistful! Only three left to go and I’m on pins and needles!

I finally finished the Welcome to the NHK manga. It was an enjoyable ride although it was definitely an acquired taste. Welcome to the NHK either clicks with you and you find it hysterical or it just comes off as horrible and mean spirited. I know Narutaki refuses to even try looking into the series and almost certainly with good reason. I find it interesting that the anime, manga, and light novel all start in the same place and then go in different directions and have different climaxes but all end generally the same. The light novels climax was slightly stronger but I enjoyed the manga more overall. Hopefully Funimation will release the last disk of the anime so I can compare it to the rest of the franchise.