Mangaka: Rumiko Takahashi
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Boy meet alien. Now play tag with her, the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Never mind that she can fly and deliver massive electric shocks at will. Spoiler: Ataru Moroboshi (miraculously) saves the world. Now he’s got a bigger problem: the alien, Lum, has decided that she loves him and has moved into his house (to his parent’s dismay). Lum follows Ataru everywhere, shocking him when he practices his usual skirt-chasing techniques (to Ataru’s dismay). Not only that, but Lum’s presence attracts a huge cast of unusual characters, both alien and human. Add alien technology, and naturally, mayhem ensues.
Urusei Yatsura is truly a classic manga. Although it was one of Takahashi’s first major works, it already displays many of her classic elements. It has a sprawling, episodic plotline; an enormous cast of rather dysfunctional–but highly amusing–characters; and a perfectly balanced blend of comedy and romance. The art style is also typical of Takahashi’s work, although the character designs aren’t quite as defined as in her later works. I would recommend this manga to anyone interested in classic manga that have been influential on more recent works, as well as to anyone who enjoys an easygoing romantic comedy with a zany twist.
Note: The English version of this manga was published in two sections–Lum: Urusei Yatsura and The Return of Lum: Urusei Yatsura. This is because there was a chronological break in publication in the U.S. The plotline is continuous between the two, and they should be read as a single work. Also of note, the English translation is flipped (reads left to right) and omits several chapters. (I still hope that some amazing publisher will do with Urusei Yatsura what VIZ is currently doing with Takahashi’s more recent work, InuYasha: publish the complete work, unflipped, in nice omnibus editions.)
Update 6/16/19: So it looks like we’re getting that re-release of the English translation. We’ll see how it ends up, overall. I’ve read the first volume, and although the translation work isn’t superb, the volume is decent on the whole. Holding out hope for a complete and reasonably well-done release of the series.