Awesome film. I have been going through and watching the entire Urusei Yatsura series over the past year or two. ( Usually when I detox from politics and ban myself from Twitter/Imageboards/etc.) The show gives a mindless entertainment break that is not sequential/chronological like the more serious anime series out there. And even though I wasn’t alive then, nor living in Japan as a kid, the 80’s vibes activate my nostalgic member berries big time.
The first film felt like an extended episode, or straight to VHS. This one you could imagine on the big screen. Granted, if you don’t know the characters already you likely won’t enjoy it as much. There’s tons of character development and social dynamics that you need to be aware of going in. So watch some episodes first. Not all, but at least a handful.
Even without pre-existing knowledge of the characters, you gotta’ love Japanese storytelling. Despite the clichés of mecha, floating naked test tube chicks, and peeping tom onsen crap, most anime is hard to predict. And to be fair, this is one of the biggest criticisms of Japanese media, because they often have a great premise but no idea how to end it. But at least you are left guessing with how the plot will end, and “kill Whitey” is rarely the moral of the story. In fact, because their sense of morality is so different from ours you often sympathize with the bad guys and they blur the line as they spew some philosophy. I guess nowadays that’s been done ad nauseam, (e.g. “Breaking Bad”, Spaghetti Westerns, Film Noir, etc.), but the Japanese version has a different vibe to it. Hard to explain…
It’s not like they are trying to implement a gimmick. Or be subversive. It’s more like they just genuinely view things less binarily and don’t feel the need to push a moral of the story. Maybe it comes from their humble / passive culture. Instead of lecturing, they simply explore ideas with no clear conclusion because only an egoist feels righteous enough to do that. Or perhaps they are more concerned about isolating themselves from the community by having very outspoken beliefs? Or something to do with how Asians tend to copy well but innovate less, and can be book smart but have trouble seeing the bigger picture. Idk. But a good example of their moral ambiguity is how their “demons” (yokai) are not always evil. Many are just mischievous and whacky like the Shirime yokai. It’s a dude with an eyeball on his a**. That’s it.
Likewise, they don’t have the White guilt and overrepresented demographics in their media that would prevent them from having non PC images like these without some big side plot about how racists are evil or whatever. The Third Reich images are just nonchalantly in there with no agenda or second thought because they thought it was funny. Simple as.
Actually, on second thought, towards the end where
Anyways, overanalyzing Japanese culture may be pointless here; perhaps they’re just genetically predisposed to be freaks like the birds of paradise. I mean, c’mon. We all know the Japanese are infamously weird – and g*d d*mmit – I love them deeply for it. The lyrics of one of Urusei Yatsura‘s theme songs and the 3 minute scene of episode 32 will give you a good idea of what to expect in their 2nd film.
“Let’s put weird and weird together, and make it even weirder!”
Uchuu wa Taihen da! – Urusei Yatsura (うる星やつら)
So yeah, if you want a trippy, retro, bizarre, and sweet anime film to watch that’s not full of clichés, then give it a go after about ≥20 episodes of the series under your belt.
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