By Rumiko Takahashi
Published by Shogakukan – 1978-1987
“A womanizer’s simple life is turned into an out-of-this-world romcom, when he accidentally becomes the fiancé of an alien “
Nothing hammers home how old you are like an anniversary! With many of our beloved, 90’s anime shows now creeping into 15th year anniversary territory, you can be forgiven for shedding a tear for your lost youth. But please spare thought for the original fans of Urusei Yatsura, because 2018 marks 40 years since the original run of this trail-blazing anime!
The anime of Rumiko Takahashi’s outrageously funny manga of the same name was a pioneering effort. With a staggering 195 episode run, the anime was the first to introduce an opening song for each installment, thereby providing the blueprint for every anime series to grace our television sets ever since.
The manga follows the exploits of Ataru Moroboshi, a lecherous high school student with an abundance of bad luck. But nothing turns your life around like an alien invasion!
With the earth surrounded, the aliens, in the form of Oni (actually Yokai from Japanese mythology) offer humanity the chance to avoid otherworldly conquest with a simple game of tag. If the human’s champion can touch the horns of the Oni/alien, then the world will be saved.
In a twisted turn of events, the role of earth’s champion falls to the lecherous buffoon, Ataru Moroboshi! His opponent, the Princess Lum Invader is then chosen to represent the invaders from the planet Oni. With her flowing green hair, revealing tiger striped bikini and will of iron, the game seemed lost before it began.
With the fate of the earth on his shoulders, Ataru is on the brink of hiding, until his long suffering girlfriend encourages him to face his responsibilities with the promise of marriage, should he succeed. Fueled with a newfound courage, Ataru faces the seemingly indomitable Lum Invader!
After a fierce chase, Ataru is triumphant thanks to an unorthodox use of lechery. Brimming with happiness, the high school student exclaims his excitement of wedded bliss, only to be misinterpreted by the defeated Lum Invader as a proposal of marriage. A proposal she readily accepts!
What will life be like for this high school simpleton, now an intergalactic romance is on the cards?
They say opposites attracts, and this could be more true for the characters of this hilarious manga!
Not only are our principle characters chalk and cheese when it comes to personalities, they’re not even the same species!
Urusei Yatsura, as well as others of Rumiko Takahashi’s works, proves her strength on creating simple charming characters.
This “odd couple” trope is at the very heart of Urusei Yatsura, and much like Takahashi’s previous works, it’s a trope she handles with ease. By creating simple, relatable yet charming characters and throwing them into simple, yet extraordinary situations, Yatsura weaves comedic gold!
With each character brimming with their own unique quirks, faults and likable personalities, Urusei Yatsura can be viewed more as a sitcom than a manga! Ataru’s easygoing, amiable, yet lecherous attitude is in stark contract to Lum’s innocent, stoic and much more mature personality.
These common, comedic vehicles bare more than a passing resemblance to American cult TV classics “Bewitched” and “I dream of Jeannie”, with the ever suffering human, trying to juggle a normal life in magical circumstances.
Adding that to the normal Japanese life setting, an underdog and a Japanese mythology and aliens, this setting promise a vastly amount of funny events and touching moment that will keep the reader hooked!
With the addition of an everyday setting in Japan, this tale of a high school looser, Japanese mythology and an alien invasion contains all the ingredients that has allowed Urusei Yatsura to stand the test of time, guaranteeing all those 40-somethings a beloved trip down madcap memory lane.
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