Review of Urusei Yatsura: Movie 3 - Remember My Love
Rumiko Takahashi is one of the best-known manga artists, especially in the West. There are a host of anime series that are based on her works, and nearly all of them run into three figure episode numbers. Most recently, Inuyasha has made its UK debut, and I have reviewed the first twelve episodes elsewhere on the site. But long running anime series rarely find an audience in the UK, and the numbers sufficient enough to justify a release schedule up to 50 or more discs usually only apply in places like the US. In the UK, we have to make do with the spin offs and tie-ins, which can fit on fewer discs. All we see of Ranma½ in the UK are the two movies. Yet another Rumiko Takahashi title, Urusei Yatsura has had better exposure, with around five hours of OVAs, as well as five of the six theatrical movies being released here on DVD. Of course the few hundred television episodes are nowhere to be seen.
When aliens from the planet Oniboshi invaded Earth, they offered a challenge. If Earth`s champion could defeat their own, then they would leave humanity in peace. But they would get to choose the champion. They chose eternal lecher Ataru Moroboshi, a teenager with only one thing on his mind. All he had to do to win was to catch the alien princess Lum, a task made easier by her obvious attractions. The downside was that she could fly. When all seemed lost, Ataru`s girlfriend offered to marry him, but when Ataru agreed, Lum got the wrong end of the stick, and accepted his `proposal`. Since then, Lum has become an ever-present part of Ataru`s life, making his life as a pervert extremely difficult, as her jealousy would manifest in the form of electric shocks. That was the premise of the series Urusei Yatsura, and as the show progressed a large cast of fascinating characters built up.
The one film that we haven`t yet seen in the UK is the second one, so we go straight on to the third, Remember My Love, which takes the characters in a more wistful direction.
In 1967, a fairy godmother that wasn`t invited to the celebration of the birth of a princess prepares a curse. In 2267, a young boy on an alien world finds a mysterious crystal ball. These disparate events are about to turn Ataru and Lum`s world upside down, who in 1985 are going on a date to a theme park. But this funfair is a little too freaky, as Ataru`s friends find. Things go from odd to completely weird at the magic show, when Master Magician Ruu turns volunteer Ataru into a hippo, and then promptly vanishes, leaving the teenage lecher in his altered state. While Lum`s devotion to her `darling` is boundless, there are some things that are too hard to take, and when Ruu offers her the chance to turn Ataru back, she leaps at the opportunity, and disappears. It`s up to Ataru to break the curse and rescue Lum, but she isn`t even in this reality anymore. He`s going to need help.
Another early DVD release from MVM and the age is certainly telling. With a 4:3 transfer that looks as if it has been taken from the VHS, it`s low resolution, soft and has some colour bleed. On the other hand, it`s clear and pretty free of print damage, and the animation isn`t hampered by the soft look.
Again, the sole Japanese soundtrack with burnt in English subtitles betrays an early disc. The dialogue is clear, and the straightforward DD 2.0 track has no flaws.
… a cricket chirps…
It would be a waste of time to simply rehash the first film`s anarchic humour and offbeat charm, and Remember My Love takes the characters in another direction. The third film has a more reflective melancholy to it, a darker edge that counterbalances the comic mayhem. Unfortunately it is uneven in tone and poorly paced, catering first and foremost to long-term fans of the series.
The main arc of the film is to separate Lum and Ataru, but it takes its sweet time getting around to it, with a good third of the film spent in setting up the theme park and magic show. It does an effective job in creating an eerie atmosphere, but the weirdness continues for far too long before getting to the meat of the magic show. It`s an opportunity for several of the television show`s regulars to get their cameos in, without moving the plot along.
There`s time spent investigating Lum`s disappearance, and there is the eventual coming to terms with her absence, and the passing of the magic from their lives. It`s really only in the final third of the film that we come to the meat of the story, with Ataru realising the affection that he has developed for Lum in between all the electric shocks, and understanding that it is down to him to resolve the situation. This would be all well and good in terms of character development, but the film ends with one of the most tired sci-fi clichés I can think of, wasting all that work.
Remember My Love is fun, but it`s one of those films where you appreciate the little moments more, because the final product as a whole just doesn`t hang together well. Fans of the series will get more out of this, but for those who are just dipping their toes into the Urusei Yatsura universe, this is a poor place to start.