Publisher: Kitty Video
Format: VHS, Beta and Laserdisc, NTSC, Japanese Dialogue
Length: 60 minutes
Original Release Date: 25 July 1983
Animation Exclusive to this Release: No
Other Sources (Japanese unless noted): Urusei Yatsura: Love Me More (VHS, Beta and Laserdisc Re-issue 1986), Urusei Yatsura: Love Me More (VHS and Laserdisc Re-issue 1991)
Currently Availability (as of writing): Out of Print
A huge hit in Japan during the 1980’s, “Urusei Yatsura” (usually translated as Those Obnoxious Aliens), the anime series, based off Rumiko Takahashi’s manga, seems to go on forever. Certainly as I watched the entire series over the course of a couple of months, it certainly did feel as it would never end. I was surprised that the series was popular enough for Animeigo to persevere with releasing the entire series, which took them from the first VHS volume in 1992 to the final DVD set in 2006 (the licence eventually expiring in late 2011). Like a lot of Rumiko Takahashi’s longer works, a great chunk of it is highly entertaining, though once the (large) regular cast make their appearances, it can get somewhat stale. The characters become caricatures, especially when there’s no real plot to the series, just randomly concocted comedy. However in small doses, “Urusei Yatsura” is a fun show. It’s kind of unsurprising that the show spawned many merchandising spin offs including this music video compilation (the first of at least three such videos). What’s more surprising is that this video seems to be the first ever anime music video compilation produced for the home video market and the first “Urusei Yatsura” home video release of any kind.
For those who don’t know the story of “Urusei Yatsura”, here’s a brief run down; an alien race called the Oni invades Earth. The mercifully give the humans a fighting chance by taking part in a game of tag. Their computer randomly selects oversexed high school boy Ataru Moroboshi of Tomobiki, Japan as the human contestant. The game involves Ataru trying to touch the horns of the Oni representative Princess Lum. Unfortunately the Oni didn’t tell Ataru that Lum can fly. Ataru spends the next few days trying and failing to grab on to Lum. The people of Earth are incensed and some are planning to lynch the Moroboshi family. In an attempt to encourage him, Ataru’s long suffering girlfriend, Shinobu Miyake, promises to marry him if he wins. On the final day of competition Ataru manages to whip off Lum’s bikini top and manages to grab on to her horns. Ataru is over the moon and states now he’ll be able to get married. Of course Lum misinterprets this and thinks he means he wants to marry her. She moves into the Moroboshi household. Lum tries hard to get Ataru interested in her, but seems to lust after every other girl in sight, which usually causes fits of jealousy and electric shocks from Lum. Later Lum’s charms cause a small group of boys to form a fanatical fan club base on her. As the show progresses, a number of Lum’s alien acquaintances and relations begin visiting her and in the process cause problems and chaos for Ataru and the people of Tomobiki.
With the intro out of the way, let’s look at the compilation;
“Lum no Love Song (Lum’s Love Song)” performed by Matsutani Yuuko
Almost all of the videos have an opening narration by Lum who often explains which episode the animation is from. This first song is immediately recognisable to most anime fans (over a certain age…) that haven’t even seen the show! It was used as the first opening animation theme and was originally released as a single on 21 October 1981. The animation comes from the first story of episode 12, “Love Battle Royale”. This episode saw the first appearance of Tsubame, who is engaged to sultry school nurse Sakura. Sakura invites Ataru, Lum and company to a disco. Naturally Ataru tries to seduce Sakura. As Tsubame is a warlock of sorts and has studied western magic, he conjures up various creatures, including Lum’s ex-fiancé Rei, who morphs from a handsome Oni to his large tiger-cow form, and the episode sort of degenerates from there.
“Kokorobosoi Na (Forlorn, Aren’t You)” performed by Helen Sasano
This song is the second ending to the series and was released as a single in April 1982. The animation is culled from the first part of episode 6, “Love Triangle Black Hole” which was broadcast on 25 November 1981. In that episode Ataru phones Shinobu in an attempt to set up a date with her, but of course Lum overhears. And naturally both Shinobu and Lum are mad at him. Ataru doesn’t give up and despite Lum trying to throw multiple spanners in the works and he eventually manages to organise a date with Shinobu. However Lum isn’t having any of this and shoots lightning bolts from her UFO in an attempt to stop the date. The end result is that the town transforms into a war zone.
“Lum no Ballad (Lum’s Ballad)” performed by Fumi Hirano
“Lum’s Ballad” is taken from the “Only You” movie soundtrack which was released in February 1983. This music video’s animation is edited from the episode “Ten-chan’s Love” which was originally broadcast on 5 May 1982. Somewhere in the show, Ten (Lum’s baby cousin) falls for Sakura. To appease his moodiness, both of them double date with Lum and Ataru. Things get romantic (as they can with an alien baby and a sultry high school nurse) towards the end of the clip. Of course Ataru has to spoil the mood.
“I, I, You & Ai (I, I, You & Love)” performed by Kobayashi Izumi
This song was the fourth ending song and was released as a single on 1 December 1982. The animation for this video comes from episode 38, “Steal Darling! The Copy Operation!” which debuted on Japanese TV on 8 April 1982. This video features Lum’s childhood friend, Ren, who arrives unexpectantly on Earth the first series of the show, and ends up love rival with Lum for Ataru’s affections. Ren is up to her old tricks and plans to steal a kiss from Ataru. But Lum discovers her plans and uses a gun to duplicate Ataru to thwart her plan. But of course you know this will lead to trouble and escalate completely out of control. Ren retaliates and uses a similar to copy Ataru. By the end of the episode there are hundreds of Ataru’s roaming the city, with hoards running after Ren, a couple with a very confused Shinobu and more being created by Lum and Ren in an attempt to thwart each other’s plans.
“Ucchu wa Taihen da! (The Universe is Very Strange!)” performed by Yuko Matsutani
The song used for this episode is one of the more recognisable from the series. It was the first end theme for the show and was originally released as the B-side to “Lum no Love Song” on 21 October 1981. I think the title of the song suits “Urusei Yatsura” to a “T”. It’s a damn weird series at times. “All Quiet at the Library!”, which was originally broadcast on 16 June 1982, provides the source material for this video. In it Ataru meets a girl called Wendy in the school library and decides to help her out (with ulterior motives of course). For whatever reason the characters of the library’s books escape and start roaming the library and of course chaos ensues. The usual gang help out Wendy put the books back on the shelves in order to return the characters to their rightful places. A lot of the animation featured in this episode is in the easily recognisably style of Yoshinori Kanada, who you might know from the “Birth” OVA (previously released in English as “Planet Busters” and “The World of the Talisman”) and “Leda the Fantastic Adventure of Yohko”. There are also a number of pop culture references thrown into the animation such as “Tiger Mask”, “Godzilla” and “Ultra 7”.
“Symphony Part 1” performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
The compilation takes a break from pop music and uses a symphonic piece. I am not exactly sure where the music originates from, but I suspect it is sourced from one of the movies. The animation used for this video is taken from the second story in episode 16, “Terrible Inspection Day”, originally broadcast 10 February 1982. In this episode the student’s mothers come to school, including the son of the wealthy Mendo family. Mendo and Lum’s mothers get into a fight which sees the Mendo family’s prize bull reduced to beef bowls by Lum’s mother and full on battle in the skies above the school with Mendo family fighter jets and UFOs. Ataru’s mother decides that the dispute should be resolved by a game of roulette with her as the dealer. However when both Mendo and Lum’s mothers place bets, the house wins. The Moroboshi family are now rich beyond their wildest dreams. However the losers aren’t exactly happy with the outcome and decide to wreak revenge on the Moroboshi household.
“Dancing Star” performed by Kobayashi Izumi
Back to Japanese pop music for the seventh video. The track used here is the second opening theme song which was released as a single in July 1983. “Demonic Jogging”, the second story of episode 17, which was first broadcast on 24 February 1982, provides the visuals. After Ataru inadvertently foils a suicide attempt of a young woman, he and Mendo get into an argument over who is nobler and somehow agree that a tennis match would be best to figure out who that is. All of the visuals used are from the tennis match portion of the episode. To be honest it doesn’t make for a great music video…
“Margarita” performed by Helen Sasano
This music video is based upon episode 42 “Drunken Boogie” which first appeared on Japanese TV on 1 April 1982 (how appropriate). In this episode Ataru gives Ten and Lum a pickled plum. While harmless to humans, it has a curious effect on the two aliens, with both of them becoming intoxicated. This causes Lum to harass other students for more pickled plums, in the process zapping them. Their dim witted teacher, Onsen-Mark, doesn’t believe the students that Lum is drunk because of the pickled plum and is convinced a student has brought alcohol to school. There lot of trippy and surreal imagery in the episode as seen through Lum’s eyes. This video uses the B-side to “Kokorobosoi Na (Forlorn, Aren’t You)” to accompany the visuals. The single was released in April 1982.
“Kage fumi no Waltz (Shadow Tag Waltz)” performed by Shiori
The next video’s audio was originally released on the “Only You” soundtrack in February 1983 and was the film’s insert song. The animation comes from episode 41, “Panic in the Typhoon!”, and was originally broadcast on 1 September 1982. The Moroboshi house isn’t weathering the typhoon too well and is leaking like a sieve. Lum uses a device to levitate the water drops leaking from the roof. But the mood gets quite romantic when a blackout occurs, but what do know, Ataru spoils things as usual.
“Hoshizora Cycling (Cycling in the Starry Sky)” performed by Virgin VS
I sort of remember this episode (“Appearance of the Red Phantom”, episode 37 broadcast on 28 July 1982), but I cannot fathom why the all of the guys in the show are dressed as women. A school formal is taking place and the gang are inexplicably dressed in drag. A mysterious masked man in black called the phantom appears at the dance. The last time he was there was when Onsen-Mark was student. The phantom stole his girlfriend. However the phantom is now a lot porkier and the girls have no desire to be near him. Lum decides to cheer him up by asking him to dance, but the mood is spoilt by the arrival of his wife. The episode again features the distinct handiwork of Yoshinori Kanada and includes cameos by Kamen Rider, Tiger Mask and a pitcher from the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. The song used in the video, “Hoshizora Cycling” was the third ending theme for the series and was originally released as a single in October 1982.
“Yume wa Love Me More (My Dream is Love Me More)” performed by Kobayashi Izumi
The song used in this video was the sixth ending theme and was first released as a B-side to “Dancing Star” which was released in July 1983. The visuals are culled from episode 59, “St. Valentine’s Day Horror” which first hit Japanese TV on 16 February 1983. In this episode a young girl called Mako takes a liking to Ten, but of course the feelings are mutual. Lum and Ataru try to help things along (which Ten doesn’t like). However Ataru spies Mako’s mother and tries to seduce her. As per how things usually happen in this show, Lum finds out and you can pretty much guess how the episode ends.
“Moonlight Coaster” performed by Virgin VS
The video uses mostly the roller skating sequence from episode 39, “Pitter Patter, Summer Date” which was first broadcast 11 August 1982. Lum pretty much blackmails Ataru into taking her on a date by stealing his little black book of girl’s numbers. Lum decides to hide her horns and act like a normal girl. As I stated before, the bulk of the video has Lum roller skating in a park. Later Lum returns Ataku’s book, but strangely decides not to use it to go out with other girls that day. The song used in this video, “Moonlight Coaster” was the B-side to “Hoshizora Cycling” which was first released as a single in October 1982.
“Symphony Part 2” performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
The final video uses another symphonic track. Unfortunately, like the other piece previously used, I’m not exactly sure where it originates from. The animation is taken from the first part of episode 16, “Oh Lonely Teacher! First Appearance of Kuribayashi Sensei” (and seemingly the last appearance of Kuribayashi Sensei in the show), which first aired on 10 February 1982. As you might have guessed by the episode title, a new teacher comes to school and manages to upset the proverbial apple cart. However when he sets eyes on Lum, he’s smitten. Lum decides to go out on a date with him and the two of them head to the amusement park and other clichéd date spots you typically find in anime. As the video ends, Lum bids the viewers farewell and credits scroll on screen.
So is this one hour long compilation worth your time? Like the other anime music video compilations I’ve written about, it all comes to down to whether you enjoy the music and if you’re a fan of the franchise. As I said in the beginning of this post, “Urusei Yatsura” is a lot of fun, but perhaps it is better seen in small portions, say an episode at a week like the original broadcast. It does become pretty repetitive as the series progresses. Your tolerance to “Urusei Yatsura” and early 1980’s J-Pop may be higher than mine. The videos themselves are pretty bog standard in terms of editing with dialogue from the episodes sometimes edited in. If you’re a diehard fan, then you’ll probably want this for your collection.
As for availability, well for a franchise this popular the options are surprisingly few. Amazingly this compilation (to my knowledge) has never made it to DVD or Blu-ray. There were the original VHS, Beta and Laserdisc releases in 1983, as well as a re-release in February 1986 and another re-release in June 1991. There seems to be very few copies for sale in the second hand market. I saw one LD being sold for around ¥500 and a handful of VHS tapes being sold from ¥800 up to ¥2,000. I also managed to find a Beta tape being sold for ¥9,000. Rather slim pickings there. So if you’re a fan of the series as well as the music, by all means hunt it down (as long as you own dead media players). The hassle of finding an original copy probably isn’t worth the time for casual fans of “Urusei Yatsura”. This wasn’t the only music video compilation made for the franchise. I’ll be looking at a couple more at a later date.