Anime Meta-Review


Urusei Yatsura: The Return of Lum Manga


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Urusei Yatsura Manga
  • seen: 1-9 of 9
  • type: manga
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title is a personal favourite.
    • This title was never completely translated.
  • grade: worthy
  • people: Takahashi
  • Series state: Can't find any more to watch.
  • source: Viz
  • made: 1979
  • Review created: Original date unknown.
  • mod: Wed Apr 25 00:22:59 EST 2001

It seems to be a rule that manga is deeper and more subtle than the anime which it inspires, and that definitely seems to be true in this case. The crazy visual humor is still present, but somewhat reduced, and the characters more balanced and developed. The best example of this being Ataru, who actually has moments where you can almost understand what makes him tick. He certainly is a lot more competent in this form. It appears that the anime creators have taken the relatively simple stories and added a lot of extra action and exotic visual characters to expand on them to make up for the loss in understanding the characters thoughts and mood. As an example there is one episode, parent teacher day at ataru's school, where Lum's Alien mother and the super-rich matriach of the mendou clan are brought into conflict by their own nature. In the anime this is an excuse for an immense fight scene between alien warships and mendou clan tanks and attack fighters. In the manga it is resolved (sort of) at the personal level and in a more logical fashion. This sort of `elaboration' of the manga source is the rule, rather than the exception. It also appears that collecting the essence of Urusei Yatsura in this form might be cheaper than gathering the anime in addition to being closer to the creators vision. Of course I have a general preference for manga and the original source, which is nicely combined in this material. I will be interested to see if the pace is maintained throughout the series. Beware though, the title is confusing as this is a translation of the original Urusei Yatsura. The `Return of Lum' part comes from the fact that the first 10 stories were published seperately, as `Lum : The Perfect Collection' (I think) and may be out of print (much to my annoyance). Thus if you get the first volume of this series, you will find it begins at story 11. I have also heard it said that the series is in `hibernation' mode, with Viz not releasing new product.

Indeed it seems fairly certain that this is the case. Sadly this is a serious blow to this series. The reason being that Urusei improves as you get drawn into it, get to know the characters and the cast grows. Given that it comes to such a sudden end, relatively early in the series, collecting this series (even if still possible) is an investment that must be carefully considered. Mind you, I still treasure the volumes I have.

In a lucky stroke I managed to get my hands on the first volume in the series. It is unusual in having a full color dust-cover, although the coloring combines with Takahashi's style to make it look older than I think it actually is. It is labelled simply `Lum' with the authors name and Urusei Yatsura in smaller letters. In style and content it fits well with the other volumes, which is not suprising because the different names are purely a by-product of the American release. The most interesting thing is that Ataru's tag match with Lum is entirely over within the first story. Likewise the introduction of Sakura is cool but quick, although cherry and sakura are the main `villains' for serveral of the stories. In essence, while this is a nice book to have (I think) it is not vital, either in story or character, to appreciating the rest of the series.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:26 WST 2009