Urusei Yatsura, Omnibus 5

By Rumiko Takahashi. Released in Japan in two separate volumes by Shogakukan, serialized in the magazine Shonen Sunday. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Camellia Nieh.

One of the well-known factoids about the Urusei Yatsura manga is that is is unsentimental. Now, this is not really all that true. There’s plenty of sweet moments scattered throughout its pages. But it is, when compared to its anime adaptation, a lot more interested in laughs than heartwarming. There’s a chapter in this volume where the Moroboshi house is dealing with a hurricane that’s flooded the entire place thanks to some of Lum’s technology, and the manga does not have the touching Ataru/Lum moments the anime put in. Even the manga moments that clearly ARE sentimental are subordinate to the comedy – the longest extended story in this volume has Ataru hitch a ride on Ten’s spaceship to stop Lum getting married off by her dad. Ten being tiny, Ataru spends most of his time stuck in a funny crouch – it’s especially funny when he stops a guy from hitting on Lum by stomping on him, then goes back to pretending he’s not really there. But Lum recognizes him, and smiles. See? Sentimental. Just.

No new major characters are introduced here, though we do get a few two-or-three chapter girls for Ataru and company to deal with. The best of these is the girl who, thanks to her dad, is literally followed by rain everywhere she goes. Miserable, she is nonetheless touched when Ataru insists on dating her anyway, even if it means he just gets a cold. (Unfortunately, her father looks exactly like an abusive dad we will meet later in the series, which sort of threw me off as I was reading it.) And there’s a ghost who everyone tries to help move on to the next world, but is far more interested in mooching off of everyone in this one. Lastly, we get an elderly vampire and his bat companion, most noteworthy for the male bat transforming into a human girl to trick Ataru… something very quickly regretted.

Ataru and Lum have mostly settled into their permanent characterization here. Mendou and Shinobu are here as well, but they mostly function as part of the Greek chorus, so don’t get as much face time. Shinobu has not yet gotten to the point where she can rip trees out of the ground to threaten people with. As a result, these chapters feel very much like a relaxing rest stop for the series, where we can sit back and enjoy the chaos caused, with one exception, on Earth. Soon the “main cast” aliens will return in a big way, and the plots will get even sillier. Certainly there’s not going to be much romantic development – Ataru may not want Lum to get married, but he’s not about to stop trying to date anyone and everyone. Even Tsubame and Sakura, who are an actual couple, can’t settle down to make out without everyone horning in.

Fortunately, a new semi-regular debuts next volume. Unfortunately for you, she’s my favorite character in the whole series. So if you want to hear me gush – a lot – about Kodachi Kuno only done WELL, tune in next time. Till then, this is still a must read.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind