Urusei Yatsura – 172

うる星やつら episode 172 (TV anime)
Urusei Yatsura Ep. 172 review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Urusei Yatsura - 172In space, the Blue Bird escapes from a space city, forcing a detective and his aid, both of whom look like string puppet characters representing the feudal era of Japan, to pursue.  Meanwhile on Earth, a sudden thunderstorm has put a damper on Ataru’s girl-hunt and he seeks shelter.  Hearing a girl scream when it thunders, Ataru finds the girl in the next shelter and starts hitting on her. She rejects him, but when he says that thunder and lightning aren’t the result of static electricity, she listens as he weaves a tale of male and female clouds in love causing the rain, thunder, and lightning.  Just as Ataru is about to kiss the girl, as part of “lightning,” he gets electrocuted by Lum.  She drags him off in the rain, telling him he should try those lines on her sometime.

Urusei Yatsura - 172The next day, Ataru discovers his precious girl-hunt notebook was destroyed in the wash and at school, he desperately attempts to recall names and numbers. Lum discovers him and fries him for it, but he flees.  Meanwhile, the Blue Bird arrives on campus and encounters three male students who want taiyaki. Since the giant bird grants wishes, the bird says that everything they touch will turn to taiyaki. The boys think it is a joke and two of them end up touching each other and turn into tire trees (“taiya” sounds like “tire” in Japanese and “ki” means “tree’).  The bird continues around the campus, misunderstanding what people wish for and giving them homonym items instead. The bird encounters Lum and attempts to use its happy beam on her, but she fights back as the detectives round up help.

Urusei Yatsura - 172Lum forces Blue Bird to back down, but he vows to make her happy no matter what. Ataru takes advantage of Lum’s fight to hit on the underclass girls with his new, larger girl-hunt notebook.  Lum puts a stop on his activities, leading Anna to be very grateful, but Blue Bird sees Lum’s desire for “Darling” and decides to help, only to have Lum elude him.  Lum traps Ataru on the roof and he destroys his notebook since that’s what has her upset. However, it isn’t his girl-hunt notebook and he’s off again with the real notebook in hand.  Blue Bird appears, saying that he’ll now make Lum happy by giving her that notebook, though he thinks she should dream big. She fries him and he retreats, vowing to leave her unhappy.

Urusei Yatsura - 172Lum remembers Blue Bird is dangerous and makes an announcement at school.  Megane finds the announcement to avoid a blue bird and not tell it your wishes to be absurd except that this comes from Lum.  Perm arrives and convinces Megane and company to get a wish, even though he knows its cursed. Fujinami gets a wish and turns Ryuunosuke into a male, but can also turn any woman into a male. Ataru gets a wish to turn anyone into a woman and does. The absurdity goes on and Lum finds the Blue Bird, who thinks he’s made everyone happy. The detectives arrive and capture the bird while Ataru gets Shinobu to promise to date him if he turns her back into a woman. Cherry gets in the way and is transformed. Shuutaro, in woman form thanks to Ataru, is angry but suddenly Ataru is attracted to “Shuu-chan” and the chase is on.


Urusei Yatsura - 172As you guys know, I’m a big proponent of retaining honorifics in subtitles. This episode reminded me of why I’m that way. When Ataru suddenly started addressing the female Shuutaro as “Mendou-san,” the subtitles had to have Shuutaro question the sudden usage of “san” as questioning Ataru himself, thus COMPLETELY changing the nature of what happened.  Then, Ataru shifting to “Shuu-chan” got squelched to “Shuu” or “Mendou” to accommodate NOT using honorifics.  Indeed, the whole sex-shifting, honorific-changing stuff had to be modified to one degree or other because the official subtitles come from a time when honorifics are SOOOO scary (even while having to explain Japanese jokes in the subtitles that couldn’t be localized).

Urusei Yatsura - 172Now that the rant is over, the episode itself was OK, but felt more like a retread of previous episodes.  The “kane” (money) joke turning into “kane” (bell) joke was done in episode 154.  Ataru being attracted to non-females was done in episode 145.  Shuutaro changing into a female version that Ataru becomes attracted to and starts addressing as “Shuu-chan” came up in episode 120.  There’s never an episode with Fujinami in it where he’s not wishing that Ryuunosuke is a man (and it continues to be as irritating as ever).  I’m sure I could continue to glance through old reviews and pull up other elements from different episodes and show how they’d been retread for this episode.  I guess the writers didn’t have anything in the well and came up with this.

So as I said, an OK episode that retreads old ideas which were funnier when they were fresh.

Urusei Yatsura - 172
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