Urusei Yatsura Episode 1 (2022), recently premiered nearly 41 years after its predecessor, the romantic comedy manga and anime Urusei Yatsura (1981), also popularly known as Invader Lum, created by the legendary Rumiko Takahashi. The series is known for skyrocketing Rumiko Takahashi’s career and setting a standard for romantic comedy anime and manga. Now, Urusei Yatsura has returned in the form of a modern remake. The remake is based on the original manga and anime series, also popularly known as Invader Lum, created by Rumiko Takahashi. The series centers on girl-obsessed Ataru Moroboshi, and the alien princess Lum, who believes she is Ataru’s wife after he accidentally proposes to her.
Urusei Yatsura is produced by David Production and directed by Hideya Takahashi and Yasuhiro Kimura, with scripts written by Yūko Kakihara. Character designs are illustrated by Naoyuki Asano, Takahiro Komei serving as series director, and Masaru Yokoyama composing the music. The leading voice cast consists of Summer Uesaka as Invader Lum, Hiroshi Kamiya as Ataru Moroboshi, Maaya Uchida as Shinobu, and Water Takagi as Cherry.
In Urusei Yatsura Episode 1, Earth’s fate rests in the hands of the chronically unlucky and unapologetically lecherous Ataru Moroboshi when an alien race known as Oni invades. In order to save the world from the Oni invasion, Ataru is randomly chosen to be humanity’s representative in a dangerous game of tag duel for the planet’s fate. Now Ataru must compete against the beautiful Oni princess, Lum. Through sheer luck and unscrupulous behavior, Ataru manages to beat Lum and save the planet from the invasion. Unfortunately for Ataru and his reluctant love life, Lum falls head over heels for him off the battlefield and decides to move into his home.
Urusei Yatsura Episode 1, does a great job setting up the tone and expectations for this new series. It appears the series will split each episode into two parts with separate but continuous storylines that progress the series forward. Splitting the episodes into different storylines keeps the episode at a good pace and introduces this eccentric cast of characters and entertaining stories. As the series goes on I will be interested to see if the series continues with this pacing and form of storytelling.
As far as characters go, Ataru is not the most likable protagonist, but honestly he is not meant to be likable and that is okay. Ataru truly embodies the lecherous archetype as well as being the plain boy surrounded by beautiful harem of women fighting over him. However, there is more to Ataru than being girl-obsessed and flirting with every girls he sees. At times he can be clever, determined, and reliable when it really counts. When it comes to Lum, she steals the show as soon as she steps onto the scene. Lum’s magical-girl-esque entrance is striking and mesmerizing. With her performance, Summer Uesaka’s ability to capture and bring Lum’s fiery, playful, and sweet personality to life is a lovely touch to the character as well.
The animation in this episode is simply magnificent. It captures the nostalgia of Takahashi’s iconic 80’s classic while bringing a new, strikingly vibrant animation style to the remake. Old and new fans alike can appreciate the care character designer Naoyuki Asano took in remaking Takahashi’s while still paying homage to the original series aesthetic.
Urusei Yatsura would not be a romantic comedy without the comedy, and it has plenty to spare. However, the classic love triangle trope antics in Urusei Yatsura are pretty entertaining. I find the sci-fi hijinks to be even more hilarious. For example, this episode, Lum becomes upset with Ataru for trying to contact his girlfriend, Shinobu. In a fit of petty, jealous rage, she jams the phones and causes a dangerous lightning storm to keep Ataru from flirting. The results cause city-wide damage that Ataru’s family has to handle.
Lastly, the music in Urusei Yatsura’s opening and ending sequences are fantastic. The music for both the ending and opening is infectiously peppy and upbeat. You cannot help to move your head to the beat. Another great touch in the sequences is the strikingly vibrant visuals. I especially enjoyed that the opening sequence included images from the original manga alongside the new animation style. It was a great way of blending the two and showing where the series is today.
Urusei Yatsura Episode 1 is the correct dose of nostalgia with an updated look that pays homage to the original series. Old and new fans can appreciate this remake of Rumiko Takahashi’s iconic series for its striking animation, comedic hi-jinks, and exciting characters. Not to mention both the opening and ending sequences are amazing. I highly recommend giving Urusei Yatsura a watch, whether audiences are familiar with or new to the series.
Urusei Yatsura streams weekly on HiDIVE.
Urusei Yatsura Episode 1 is the correct dose of nostalgia with an updated look that pays homage to the original series. Old and new fans can appreciate this remake of Rumiko Takahashi’s iconic series for its striking animation, comedic hi-jinks, and exciting characters.