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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