Ran (Urusei Yatsura)

Urusei Yatsura (film series)

Urusei Yatsura, a Japanese anime and manga series, has six movies.

Only You

Release date: February 13, 1983, dubbed 1995.

was released in 1983. The guest characters include Elle, another alien princess, who is in charge of Planet Elle.

Six-year-old Ataru steps on Elle's shadow during an impromptu game of shadow-tag; in Elle's culture, this is viewed as a marriage proposal. Eleven years later, Elle returns to Earth in order to marry Ataru — by which time not only had he forgotten the events of his childhood, but he was also going out with Lum. The rest of the plot focuses on Lum's attempts to prevent the marriage.

The film was directed by Mamoru Oshii who was mad at the many requests that the producer made of him to alter the movie. Rumiko Takahashi considers this film her favorite and it is the most true to the original series.


Beautiful Dreamer

Release date: February 11, 1984, dubbed 1996.

is the second Urusei Yatsura movie. In this film, the students of Tomobiki High are not surprised to find the day repeating over and over again. And then things start getting really strange. Possibly the best loved of all the Urusei Yatsura movies, and certainly one of the most memorable.

Even though the movie is generally well-loved by English-speaking fans, when it was first released in Japan the response was not as favorable. Writer/director Mamoru Oshii, unsatisfied with how the first film, Only You had developed, rejected the idea of catering to audience expectations and decided to do the film his own way. This almost caused Rumiko Takahashi, the mangaka, to reject the script because it deviated so far from the original story, and generated a lot of criticism for Oshii, generally from the fan community.

As a result Oshii would quit working on the production of Urusei Yatsura and go on to do other more experimental projects. This is also seen as the first movie in which he displayed his unique directing style. The Red Spectacles, released in 1987, can be seen as a live version of this movie.

Both movies borrow heavily from the Japanese fairy tale of Urashima Tarō.

Beautiful Dreamer is also the only Urusei Yatsura film released in the United States by US Manga Corps and not AnimEigo, though AnimEigo is credited with doing the translation and dubbing of the film, as well as designing the packaging to match the other movies in the series. This movie also aired only once on the Sci-Fi Channel's late night anime lineup in the U.S.


Remember My Love

Release date: January 26, 1985, dubbed 1995.

is the third Urusei Yatsura movie. The guest characters are:

  • Ruu, a mysterious boy bent on fixing Lum's life
  • Lahla, Ruu's tutor, who tries to get things set straight

The third film finds Ataru transformed into a pink hippopotamus, which sends Lum chasing after the wicked magician responsible, with catastrophic results. With Lum gone, her friends decide that there is no reason to remain, and so Tomobiki slowly returns to normal. The highlight of the film is a high speed chase scene with an angry Lum flying after the mysterious Ruu through the city at night and into a hall of mirrors (and illusion ). Ataru's true feelings for Lum are probably more obvious in this film than any of the others.

Trivia: Strangely, the writers of the film made an obvious error, intentionally or mistakingly, in that Lum's Mother actually speaks her lines in Japanese. She is supposed to be fluent only in the Oni language.


Lum the Forever

Release date: February 22, 1986, dubbed 1995.

is the fourth Urusei Yatsura movie. Guest characters include Tarōzakura, the great cherry tree.

The fourth film is the subject of much debate, as it is probably the hardest of all the Urusei Yatsura films to fully understand. Many consider it to be a multi-layered masterpiece, while others feel it is little more than a confused and rambling mess. The basic plot is centered on the great cherry tree Tarōzakura and what happens after it is cut down during the making of a movie.


The Final Chapter

Release date: February 6, 1988, dubbed 1995.

is the fifth Urusei Yatsura film. Guest characters include:

  • Rupa, Lum's fiancé
  • Carla, is said to be Rupa's betrothed.

The fifth film is an animated adaptation of the final story of the manga, in which Lum and Ataru must repeat the game of tag played out in the first episode of the television series, or the Earth will be destroyed. Further, should Ataru lose, Lum will leave forever and everyone's memories will be changed so that they don't remember she, or her friends, were ever there. Finally, Lum refuses to allow Ataru to win unless he says, to her, those three words "I love you," that he has steadfastly refused to say over the entire series.


Always, My Darling

Release date: November 2, 1991 (alternately Forever My Darling) is the sixth Urusei Yatsura film and the tenth anniversary special. The character designer and animation director for the movie was Kumiko Takahashi. Guest characters include Lupika, another alien princess.

Lupika, an alien princess, is in love with a tofu seller. To make him love her too (at least, announce his love. He obviously fears the social taboo of a tofu vendor marrying a princess), she needs to get a love potion, which is in a certain temple. Legend has it that the only person that can obtain this love potion is the most lecherous man in the universe. That man turns out to be Ataru Moroboshi. Lupika kidnaps Ataru to make him get the potion, and Lum and her friends go out to search for Ataru.

This movie is considered the worst by fans of the series.


OVA Releases

Urusei Yatsura also has a number of direct-to-market video releases which include stories not covered in the TV series or movies. All but one of these were released after the ending of the series, so popularity may have also been a factor in the continued release of new animation.


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