Some anime do genuinely deserve a reboot. Others should probably never again see the light of day, no matter how historically important.
Let’s start with the good, or at least the interesting. Yes, Urusei Yatsura can absolutely be considered a classic of the anime and manga world, and yes, it absolutely holds historical significance, whether or not you ever enjoyed the work. There’s probably not a manga/anime history buff out there who doesn’t know the name Takahashi Rumiko, who was (and still is) hugely influential both as a female manga artist and simply as an artist in her own right. As for Urusei Yatsura itself, the anime & manga basically formed the blueprint of the entire harem genre before it even really existed. It’s a rom-com O.G. and for that if nothing else, I was willing to try out the reboot.
I’ll also give kudos to the production team, they did a solid job of remaining faithful to that extremely ‘70s art style while updating the color palette and such enough to appeal to somewhat more modern audiences. The aesthetic is still unmistakably there, but the show looks decent – bright, vivid, iconic, even if you don’t personally love the visuals.
This is unfortunately where the positive aspects end for me. Urusei Yatsura is, to put it bluntly, not at all suited to contemporary times. The jokes are uniformly unfunny, as most of the comedy is derived from the main character being a horny teen who can’t keep his eyes from other girls (who in turn can’t keep their eyes from him for whatever mystery reason). There’s definitely some creep-factor here as well, and in the year of our lord 2022, the fanservice is more cringe than sexy. I don’t know exactly who the main audience is for this, but I’m imagining a Master Roshi-type figure – some old Japanese dude who’s cackling over the cleavage shots and feeling nostalgic for the good ‘ol days of tiger-print bikinis and lecherous slapstick humor.
Watch it for the novelty value? Maybe, but even then, you’re probably in for a slog. Stay tuned for the inevitable Ranma ½ reboot, I guess?
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10 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Urusei Yatsura”
Did you watch the live action Ranma TV show from like 2007? Some uncanny valley shit, Takahashi apparently was surprised it was made. I guess she sold the adaptation rights at some point and just forgot about it.
I’ve seen clips of it but never sat down to watch a full episode. Haha, must be nice: “Oh, did I sell the rights to a live-action one time? Huh. *shrug*”
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Surprisingly, I found this first episode more fun than the first episode of the first adaption. Unsurprisingly, that’s probably not enough to get me very far in. There’s a reason I never watched more than one episode of this in the first place. Not quite out yet, though.
I feel like they’re much the same in terms of quality of jokes. Humor is obviously extremely subjective, and I know this is a gag anime, but even so, it’s got to be one of the most unfunny things I’ve seen.
I had the feeling the pace was a little swifter, so they didn’t linger on punchlines so much; the effect would be that I’m constantly distracted by the next shiny thing and not notice so much that it’s supposed to be funny. Might be faulty memory, or the respective mood of when I was watching either episode. I’m not going to pretend either episode was funny in a comedy way. I remember the original annoying me more often, while this is perfectly fine to take my mind off real life (which is what I use anime for 90 % of the time). How far in I get depends less on the show itself, and more how much competition it has in its time slot. If I’m fine after one or two shows when it airs, it gets dropped. If nothing else really airs around its slot I might finish this cour. I’ll get a feel for this season around… early November? What airs when and how many show’s I’d like on which day, that is – I’m certainly not lacking good anime this season. That’s abundantly clear.
You could be right there – it’s been a looong time since I’ve watched any of the original show, so I don’t remember things like pacing too well. But yeah, I have plenty of anime to watch this season, no reason for me to add this to the pile even out of historical curiosity.
I’ll have to look for this. I have a fondness for the anime of that era, and as for a Ranma reboot. I hope not. You can’t mess with what’s already a great series. I can’t see some shows being improved upon.
I hope not too. I have a much more special place in my heart for Ranma 1/2 than I do Urusei Yatsura, but I don’t think it should get a reboot.