“Typical” High Schooler Ataru Moroboshi has been picked by a random to save the Earth from invasion by the Oni. To do so, he must touch the horns of the alien’s top warrior, Lum. But things aren’t as straight forward as they appear, as Oni are capable of flight…
However, falling back on his true nature, Ataru manages to succeed, only to accidentally propose to Lum at the end. She quickly accepts, then informs Ataru that if he is ever unfaithful to her, she will use her other power on him. The power to send electricity coursing through him with a touch…
You don’t talk about Magical Girlfriends without talking about Urusei Yatsura. Actually, that’s not the whole of it. You really can’t talk about anime without mentioning UY. It is one of the most popular manga/anime out there. It has run 34 manga volumes, 195 TV episodes, 11 OVA, and 6 movies, which is nothing to sneeze at. More, and I might be going out on a limb here, it probably inspired the whole Magical Girl Harem sub genre in Japan.
Again, someone with more anime/manga knowledge might correct me on that last bit, but I don’t think it’s a bad assumption to make. What research I could pull off the web seems to suggest this, though admittedly I am not the best at finding facts on-line. Still, hear me out a moment.
UY started in 1978.
Another thing that leads me to this conclusion – and I hasten to add that they too might be wrong – is the following quote from TV Trope Wiki:
…UY is one of the earliest tongue-in-cheek harem comedies, combining its outlandish premise to spice up deceptively typical plots, as well as parody the genre nearly a decade before the fact.
It’s impossible to just describe UY. I can say this quite without reservation, as I’ve tried and failed before. I fell back on words such as “wacky”, “wild”, and “almost killed me.” These do not really work for me, and, looking back on it, I’m kind of embarrassed by it. What I mean to say, without reservation, is that it is one of the funniest, most entertaining anime out there.
In cold print, the set up sounds… kind of bad. Ataru Moroboshi is a lecher of the worst order. He’s a grabby, groping kind of guy. What would be termed in the olden days as a masher. Not the kind of hero you’d expect. Or even want, come to that.
In practice, however, it’s sort of like the Waner Brothers Road Runner cartoons. Atatu is Wile E. Coyote and every single women in the series (save Ataru’s mother and Lum) acts as Road Runner. You really don’t want him to win, but he loses so often (and so cataclysmic) you find you almost have to like him.
I was going to squeeze Lum into that comparison somewhere (the Acme products?) but really, she’s more like Sam Sheepdog. I might have tried using that particular duo, except the women in UY aren’t exactly sheep. Most (if not all) of the women in the series are perfectly capable of handling Ataru’s advances, and do so with ease. Sometimes they do so with power rivaling Lum’s own electrify nature.
Whether or not the above comparison hold eight, know also that the series never, ever sides with Ataru’s shenanigans. In fact, it’s made clear early on that it’s his lecherous nature that the source of all of his woes. Were he to changes his nature, perhaps things would improve. The electric shock treatments might even be cut back a touch.
But only a touch.
I’ve really only covered one character in this review type thing here. The series has a tone of excellent characters, ranging from Ataru’s long-suffering fiancée (!) Shinobu Miyake to Lum’s fire-breathing breath cousin Ten. Then there are Lum’s Storm Troopers, a group of male classmates who want Lum to themselves, and who will go to great lengths to do so. And so on and so forth.
I think I can recommend this series straight across the board. Not only are both the series and manga excellent, but the movies are great as well. My favorite of the set is Beautiful Dreamer, in which the cast discovers not only that they are living the same day over and over again, but their numbers are dwindling. You probably should have a grasp on the characters before watching this one, or, really, any of the movies, but like I’ve been saying, doing so is worth the effort.
One small caveat (again?): If you have a problem with subtitles, then you might not get into UY. The series has never been fully dubbed into English.
That aside, below is the first season opening theme for . Try and get it out of your head once you’ve heard it…