Tag Archives: Rumiko Takahashi

Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984 Anime Movie)

Kitty Films & Toho

My rating: 3.5 of 5

The kids at Tomobiki High School are all gearing up for the cultural festival, preparing shops, fitting costumes, and getting into their usual hijinks. They’ve been so busy, they’ve even been staying overnight at the school! But wait . . . how long have they actually been working on this? Once they start paying attention, more and more things don’t add up. Parents don’t answer the phones at home. When a staff member goes home, he finds the place covered in layer upon layer of dust. When the students go out of the school grounds, they find the city oddly deserted . . . and find themselves mysteriously re-routed back to the school. Someone should probably freak out or do something, right? But it’s kind of fun just hanging out together without a lot of responsibilities, isn’t it?

Beautiful Dreamer was just recently re-released in a beautiful collector’s edition, making this classic film once again readily available to the general viewer. Not being particularly familiar with Mamoru Oshii’s directing work, I can’t specifically comment on how this movie compares to his other work; however, I have heard others say that this is an excellent example of his early work, for those of you who are interested in that. The animation and story content do certainly show the age of the movie to a certain extent, while still being pleasant and enjoyable. For those who have watched or read Rumiko Takahashi’s Urusei Yatsura, I think Beautiful Dreamer will definitely strike a chord. While somewhat dated, the art is also undeniably classic Takahashi, giving it a timeless quality that is quite endearing. The story is classic for the series as well, full of hijinks and strange, unexplainable occurrences galore. Also, Ataru chasing girls and Lum shocking him for it. There’s actually a nice focus on a large number of classic cast members, which is fun. But this movie also manages to be more pensive, to delve into Lum’s mindset and Ataru’s relationship with her . . . it’s just generally a bit more thoughtful and philosophical than the rest of the series. Surprisingly, it works well and I found the movie to be enjoyable. Fair warning, those unfamiliar with the series would probably have a difficult time jumping directly into this movie, but for those who have enjoyed Urusei Yatsura in the past, I think Beautiful Dreamer would be a nostalgic and amusing choice.

Written and Directed by Mamoru Oshii/Produced by Hidenori Taga/Based on Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi/Music by Masaru Hoshi/Voice Acting by Fumi Hirano, Toshio Furukawa, Akira Kamiya, Kazuko Sugiyama, Saeko Shimazu, Machiko Washio, Mayumi Tanaka, Shigeru Chiba, Akira Murayama, Shinji Nomura, Issei Futamata, Kenichi Ogata, Natsumi Sakuma, Michihiro Ikemizu, Masahiro Anzai, Tomomichi Nishimura, Ichirō Nagai, & Takuya Fujioka

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Media Review

InuYasha

Mangaka: Rumiko Takahashi

Kagome was just your average middle-school Japanese girl until she got dragged (literally) into Sengoku-era Japan. There she finds she’s the supposed reincarnation of the priestess Kikyo. Her coming sets off a number of misadventures, including the release of the half-demon InuYasha (who used to be Kikyo’s lover, and now becomes Kagome’s biggest problem) and the shattering and dispersal of the powerful and dangerous Shikon jewel throughout the country. Now she must pair up with InuYasha to retrieve the shards of the jewel before they are snatched up by the evil half-demon Naraku–the very same one who came between InuYasha and Kikyo, murdering Kikyo, fifty years before. Joining them on their quest are Miroku (the monk of the wandering hand), Sango (the bereaved and angry demon exterminator), and Shippo (the adorable kid kitsune), all of whom have their own grudges against Naraku. Now if Kagome can only manage to fit in graduating from middle school between all the fighting demons, tracking Shikon shards, and digging up past grudges!

InuYasha is a manga that is near to my heart for many reasons: it was one of my very first manga ever, it’s led me to finding many other great manga, and it’s a great manga to talk about with other people, among other reasons. Even disregarding the history I have with this story, I think it’s a wonderful manga. Rumiko Takahashi is one of my favorite mangaka, and InuYasha is executed with her typical aplomb and signature art style (which I love). It’s an interesting blend of adventure (somewhat dark and bloody at times, actually), comedy (as per Takahashi-sensei’s norm), and romance (also classic Takahashi). While definitely being more serious (and battle shounen) than, say Urusei Yatsura or Ranma 1/2, it still maintains a lighter side that keeps it from getting bogged down and depressing. I think the relationship between Kagome and InuYasha is one of the most intriguing I’ve ever read–and the most amusing when she gets angry at him and makes him “sit!” And of course, Kagome herself is fascinating in general; I mean, what girl gets dragged to another era, sees a guy stuck to a tree with an arrow through his chest, and immediately thinks “Ooh, he’s got dog ears. I want to touch.”?! The inclusion of numerous wild-card characters (Sesshomaru, Kikyo (reanimated), Koga, Kohaku, and even some of Naraku’s subordinates at times) keeps things interesting as well. My only complaints are: 1) the story kind of dragged on a bit towards the end, like Takahashi was having a hard time figuring out how to end it (but the actual ending is really good), and 2) there’s unnecessary fanservice in the early volumes (understandable, just coming from writing Ranma 1/2, but still unnecessary). But I could keep talking about the things I love about InuYasha for pages and pages, so let’s just say that this is definitely a recommended manga.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review

Rumic Theater

Mangaka: Rumiko Takahashi

We’re probably all familiar with issues like misjudging someone, hiding a pet in a no-pets-allowed apartment, or hearing an elderly acquaintance speak of past loves and mistakes–either through our own experiences of those of people near us. But I can almost guarantee that you’ve never experienced them on the scale that Takahashi-sensei writes in this wonderful collection of short manga. Whether it’s hiding an important client’s pet penguin, having their front gate mistaken as the garbage dump–by their boss who just moved into the neighborhood–or getting into arguments with her mother-in-law because of household gremlins, Rumic Theater is full of delightful domestic drama that is sure to amuse.

I am a long-standing fan of Takahashi-sensei’s writing, whether it’s a more domestic tale like Maison Ikkoku or a more action-filled tale such as Urusei Yatsura or Inuyasha. Regardless of the style, her manga are filled with sweet romance, poignant angst, and absurd humor, blended to perfection. Pair that with a very characteristic visual style–one that fits her writing wonderfully–and you’ve got an incredible manga. Rumic Theater is unique in that it is a collection of six short stories (many of her tales are epically–and possibly exhaustingly–long); however, it is classic Takahashi and definitely recommended, especially to those who prefer her more domestically-focused writing (as opposed to, say, feudal fantasies or crazy alien stories).

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Maison Ikkoku

maison ikkokuMangaka: Rumiko Takahashi

My rating: 5 of 5

Welcome to Maison Ikkoku, home to aspiring college student Yusaku Godai and a handful of other less-than-ideal boarders (who think his room is the ideal place to hold a party–while he’s trying to study!). Add a new apartment manager–the young, beautiful, recently-widowed Kyoko Otonashi–and you can imagine the chaos that ensues. While Yusaku and Kyoko fall in love practically at first sight, they are such a fumbling, indecisive, jealous, wishy-washy pair that it’s debatable whether they’ll ever actually get together. Not to mention that the other boarders aren’t about to make it easy for the awkward pair.

This manga is not for the impatient–seriously, the romance takes a good 6 years of the characters’ lives to get on its feet! For all that, it’s a cute story. The humanity of the characters is both maddening and endearing. And while the plotline is meandering and episodic, it has enough direction to be enjoyable. I must admit, it’s also a pleasant change to read a manga featuring utterly normal, working-class adults. No magic, no aliens, no kids with superpowers, just the everyday joys and struggles of life to which I can relate. Maison Ikkoku is definitely a recommended read.

Note: I would say this is probably for a 16+ audience at least, partially for sexual reasons, but even more so simply because the themes featured are ones that an older audience will appreciate more than a younger one.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review

Urusei Yatsura

urusei yatsuraMangaka: 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.

5 Comments

Filed under Book Review