Urusei Yatsura OVA – 03 – Inaba the Dream Maker

うる星やつら OVA episode 03 (OAV anime)
Urusei Yatsura OVA Ep. 03 review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Shinobu is walking home from the grocery store when Ataru, fleeing from Lum, grabs her. She knocks him far away, but then Soban races to her, proclaiming his love. The now angry Shinobu knocks Soban into the sky and walks away, lamenting her lack of a love life with a decent guy. She stumbles upon a blonde-haired guy dressed in a rabbit suit, desperately in need of food. He takes a carrot and scarfs it, but when he comes on too strong to thank her, she sends him flying too, where he flies past Lum and into subspace. There, he meets with a group of human-sized rabbits who’d been wondering where he (Inaba) had gone. They ask him for a key, but he doesn’t have it, leading the rabbits to worry about the situation, but figure that no human could use the key so it should be OK.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Shinobu finds said key, which Lum IDs as a subspace key. Lum creates a subspace door, which Shinobu then unlocks. Shinobu steps through and falls into subspace, followed by Ataru and Lum. There are tons of doors all around, so after Lum grabs Ataru and Shinobu, she flies them through an open door, where they find themselves back at Tomobiki City. Ataru is off to chase a girl, so Lum chases him. Shinobu starts walking away when she encounters a woman named Shinobu who’s speaking with another woman. This Shinobu has a child named Kokeru, who’s father is named Ataru, and whom has the same lecherous behavior as the Ataru Shinobu knows. This causes Shinobu to wonder if they’ve gone into the future.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Meanwhile, the rabbits are cleaning doors in subspace when they find an opened door, leading to the place where Inaba lost the key. They wonder if humans have now discovered the Room of Destiny. Inaba goes to retrieve the key while in the “future Earth,” Shinobu laments the discovery that she will marry Ataru in the future after seeing her future self address Ataru’s parent’s as “mom” and “dad.” Inaba pops in from a garbage can, telling Shinobu she can’t accept this. He gives her his card, which states he’s from the Destiny Production Management Bureau. Meanwhile, Lum and Ataru discover they are in the future when they see that Tsubame and Sakura are married with two kids. Ataru’s attempts to see more results in Sakura punching him into the sky.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Elsewhere, Ataru lands on the future Shuutaro, who’s there to personally fire the future Ataru. Adult Shuutaro instinctively reacts to the teen Ataru when the future Ataru is seen in the distance. Lum, observing from on high, thinks that Ataru is coming home to her future self, but is horrified to learn that her future self is married to Rei, and that Ran is dedicated to killing said marriage. Lum returns to Ataru, who’s also furious with the future they’ve witnessed. The two encounter Shinobu and Inaba, where upon learning whom Inaba works for, Ataru demands Inaba fix this mess as none of them like the future they’ve seen. Inaba says they can’t change this future, but in the Room of Destiny, they can go through another door and see another future.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03After taking them to a locker room to put on the proper uniforms (bunny girl costumes for Lum and Shinobu, a rabbit costume for Ataru) so they can travel from place to place, Lum wants to find a future where she and Ataru are married, but Ataru wants to find a future where he has a harem. The next future they investigate has Ran married to Rei, but Lum is married to Shuutaro with Ataru as their servant and Shinobu is still single, chased by Soban. The trio split up, but find no future to their liking. Lum is not happy that no future she visited had her married to Ataru. Ataru is upset to, not that he was not a rich harem master, but that he wasn’t even a modest harem master, married to all of the beautiful girls and women in his life. Shinobu laments her future has no love for her, so Inaba decides to do something about that.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Taking them to the Destiny Factory, Inaba ignites the furnace and has each of them make a doorknob imbibed with their vision of a perfect future. After making their doorknobs, Inaba is about to take them to the Room of Destiny to put their knobs onto doors, thus creating the futures they want. However, the rabbits come in and capture the four, putting them on trial. Inaba is found guilty of treason and is to be boiled alive. After the rabbits reject a plea from Shinobu, Inaba tells Shinobu that he’s OK with dying if it means she has a happy future. Shinobu uses her great strength to break out of their cage, where the trio free Inaba and grab their doorknobs and flee to the Room of Destiny, where each now has their their doorknob.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03The rabbits appear and send Inaba falling through subspace so that Shinobu goes after him after punching the lead rabbit. The rabbits back off when Lum threatens to fry them, but manage to knock her doorknob out of her hand. Ataru gets away and gets his knob on a door, where he finds his dream one-room harem, though the women complain about the lack of space, and Lum isn’t there.  Ataru doesn’t like a future without Lum, especially when he learns how his future self abused her.  Upon leaving that future, Ataru throws away his knob, but feels Lum is partially responsible. Lum hears him call her an idiot, so she’s going to punish him since Ataru’s behavior is why there are no futures where Lum and Ataru get together.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Shinobu saves Inaba and hides him from the rabbits by entering a door with her doorknob. The rabbits are puzzled over why they can’t find Inaba when Ataru shows up, fleeing from Lum. Lum’s attempts to fry Ataru end up frying half of the rabbits. The survivors tell Lum to stop, so she fries them as well. The lead rabbit gets furious, and the rabbits join him, but neither Ataru nor Lum are listening and the rabbits get electrocuted again. Meanwhile, Shinobu and Inaba see her future, where she imagined things not having changed in terms of Ataru chasing women, Lum chasing Ataru, Shuutaro wanting to punish Ataru, etc. However, thanks to Inaba, she realizes what would have been acceptable to her before no longer is, so she kisses him on the cheek in thanks.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Back in the Room of Destiny, the enraged rabbits decide to trash all of the future doors and just start over since they control fate. Ataru and Lum end up going through a door where they see themselves in the future getting married. Since the door they are in is being cast down, Ataru decides he has to save this future, so he and Lum leave and he tries to keep the door from falling. The rabbits jump onto the door, sending it and Ataru crashing down. Lum has had enough and again electrocutes the rabbits so that they crash down.  Shinobu and Inaba arrive after Lum thanks Ataru for trying to save their future. Inaba gets them safely back to their own world, telling Shinobu that if they should meet again in the future, he’d like to take her out to tea.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03Ten-chan is angry that they went exploring without him, but as he and Ataru eat watermelon, Lum fumes over the fact that her doorknob was lost.  She blames Ataru for this, so he again he flees for his life, Ten-chan also giving chase to find out what is going on. Elsewhere, Shinobu is walking home with groceries when Inaba falls from the sky. He tells her his punishment was to reconstruct the future doors solo, but he asks Shinobu if he can take her out to tea and a movie. Shinobu happily agrees as Ataru races through, chased by Lum, who’s determined to fry him again for his bad behavior. Meanwhile, Inaba returns to the Room of Destiny, where he finds Lum’s doorknob and places it on a new door.

Thoughts/Review:

The first thing noticeable about this 3rd OVA episode (which I see one credible source calls a TV special, but every place else refers to it as an OVA) is the higher production values in the OP, which continues throughout the episode. The character designs are changed somewhat (Shinobu especially so), but visually, things look good.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03

I got a chuckle at how much Sakura as a wife was made to look like Kyoko from Maison Ikkoku, except that here, Sakura’s apron didn’t have the chick with the “Piyo Piyo” on it.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03

That aside, this wasn’t so much a funny episode, but it was a highly enjoyable one. It was fun seeing various futures being shown. At the same time, I couldn’t help but have a Back to the Future Part II vibe from all this, except that this OVA came out in 1987 while the 2nd Back to the Future movie came out in 1989.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03

I did find it interesting that although Ataru still wanted his harem, it wouldn’t be complete without Lum. It was even more interesting to see Ataru’s negative reaction to his future self’s mistreatment of Lum so that she left the harem.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03

Also interesting is how during Lum’s and Ataru’s argument, both had valid points against the other.  For Lum, the root of the problem is Ataru’s constant pursuit of other women and his dream of a harem.  For Ataru, it is Lum’s clingy nature, combined with her constantly frying him.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03

Still, at the end, the fact that Ataru was willing to save the future where he and Lum get married was a nice touch.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03

Another nice touch is the romance that has evolved between Shinobu and Inaba.  During the first future that we saw, Shinobu was married to Ataru, which would probably have been the future had Lum not come to Earth. After all, in those early TV episodes, Shinobu actually wanted to marry Ataru and vice versa. Then, Shinobu shifted to an attraction for Shuutaro, but with Inaba, she has a nice, hard working guy who truly cares about her. I don’t know if he’ll show up in other OVA’s, but I gather that Shinobu and Inaba do become a couple.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03

In the end, this nearly hour-long OVA plays like a movie, with high production values and an interesting, entertaining story.  After the failure of the first two OVA’s, I’m glad that the third one is a good one.

Urusei Yatsura OVA - 03
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16 Responses to “Urusei Yatsura OVA – 03 – Inaba the Dream Maker”

  1. O-chan says:

    Both Tomobiki-cho (the definitive Urusei Yatsura website) and wikipedia list this OAV as a TV Special. Also on the back of Animeigo’s 2nd OAV DVD they state “First they did the TV series; then they started making movies; then they did the TV Special; etc…” so there’s three sources right there.

    As far as quality goes this OAV is the peak of the OAV series. The reason why is because the original manga chapters were a 5-parter that ran in Volume 31 (the series ran a total of 34 volumes and I already stated Movie 5 is pretty much the entirety of Volume 34). Just to give you an idea of the anime to manga ratio the TV series covered up to Volume 29 where the most recent adapted story was the one where Lum gets kidnapped by the electric Tarzan guy (and that was originally a 4 parter in the manga).

    The remaining OAVs are more in line with the later half of TV series but with a little more quality control (well, at least the first 4).

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I knew Tomobiki-cho listed it that way. However, how can a TV special be called an OVA? That’s what doesn’t make sense to me.

      As always, thanks for the info. ^_^

    • O-chan says:

      I know that OVA/OAV means Original Video Animation which implies “direct to video” but there are several factors to consider.

      Firstly, the production team is very distinctly different from the TV staff and more in line with the remaining OAVs and Movie 5 (which was the next piece of animation to be chronologically produced coming out a year later in 1988).

      Second, I don’t think Animeigo and Tomobiki-cho would inaccurately call it a TV Special for the heck of it.

      Third, Animeigo released the OAVs out of order anyway, and during the timeframe they were released originally on VHS in America it was easier just to market this as part of the “OAV/OVA” line than to make it it’s own distinct release. In fact, Viz did a similar thing to Ranma 1/2 Movie 3 where they made it an “OAV” because it was only 30 minutes and it’s production values were more in line with the OAV series.

      Unfortunately, outside of those theories I have nothing else to go on. Still this production is the standout for the OAV series and even the OP/ED sequence is only used in this piece of animation. The remaining OAVs use the OP/ED theme “Urusei Yatsura STARS ON” which is a mash up of the various TV OP/ED themes. Then towards the end of the OAV series the production staff just starts to recycle random TV OP/EDs for reasons that only make sense to them.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Well, it may have aired on TV later as a special, but it just seems that one wouldn’t call something an OVA when it didn’t come out on video first.

    • O-chan says:

      I’m not sure if you go my email, be I e-mailed the guys who run the Tomobiki-cho site if they could clarifiy this, this is the response I got:

      “My friend Mason is the one responsible for the majority of the Urusei Yatsura content on the site, and some of it is quite old (a lot of this was written by him in the mid 1990s). So with that caveat, I had never done any investigation regarding the the Inaba Special until you presented me with this question. I’ve dug through my own materials and I cannot find any evidence that it is a TV special. Confusion could have arisen from the fact it was premiered at a special KAC (Kitty Animation Circle) fan convention on July 18, 1987 (the same day it was released on VHS). It was screened at Meguro Town Hall/Auditorum (Meguro Koukaido) in an event that was attended by various staff and cast.”

      So you are right, it is an official OAV. But it’s interesting about it’s origins.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’ll have to look and see if I have you on the white list. Since I’ve moved to DreamHost, the spam filters are a lot higher than they were before.

      >So you are right, it is an official OAV. But it’s interesting about it’s origins.

      Yeah, it is, and thanks for checking into that. ^_^

      Back in the day, anime wasn’t done “right” in terms of releases in the U.S. AnimEigo licensed the first You’re Under Arrest OVA and TV series as well as the lone full episode of You’re Under Arrest! Mini Specials, but marketed the whole thing as a single TV series, IIRC.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Heck, for the UY OVAs, they released them out of order and improperly numbered.

  2. junior says:

    I’ve heard that Inaba was created as Takahashi’s way of throwing a bone to the long-suffering Shinobu (who’s a decent girl in a story where all of the boys her own age are lecherous louts). Inaba himself will make at least one more appearence, as he’s seen in the fifth movie. I don’t recall if he has any other animated appearences.

  3. Shingo says:

    So Megane, Perm, Chibi, and Kakugari weren’t in the pan of all their friends in the wedding, despite more obscure characters like Soban, and Prince of the Underground underground being present. Only for them to suddenly appear when lining up for a photo.

    Maybe he was crying off to the side, while his friends comforted him, and convinced him to appear for the photo?

    Also I wonder if there is any symbolism in the future versions of Ataru, and Lum always having their faces hidden?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Maybe he was crying off to the side, while his friends comforted him, and convinced him to appear for the photo?

      Ha!ha! Who can say? 😉

      Also I wonder if there is any symbolism in the future versions of Ataru, and Lum always having their faces hidden?

      I was never sure what to make of that.

      • Shingo says:

        Another observation is in the manga, the guests aren’t seen at the wedding due to being out of shot, there are a bunch of speech bubbles saying Ataru isn’t right for Lum, and objects thrown at Ataru such as a pair of sandals.

        So the wedding future is more positive in the animated adaptation.

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