Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (Movie 2)

うる星やつら2 ビューティフル・ドリーマー

Urusei Yatsura Beautiful Dreamer (Movie 2) Review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Ataru, Lum, and others from their class are relaxing in the ruins of Tomobiki-cho, Ataru looking exhausted. In the past, Ataru’s class are preparing a World War II themed cafe, complete with a Leopard tank from Shuutaro. Lum is looking for Ataru, who’s crashed out in the tank, dreaming of his harem. Shuutaro hears him calling out Ryoko’s name, so he enters the tank to take care of that while Onsen-sensei grabs the cannon turret. Ataru being started out of sleep causes the turret to turn, sending Onsen-sensei outside. Since Ryuunosuke has entered the tank, Ataru is trying to hit on her, which Lum discovers. Ryuunosuke escapes, but Ataru and Shuutaro get electrocuted, causing the tank to go haywire and destroy their work on the cafe.

Now with an all-nighter planned to repair the damage, Lum and Shinobu go to make tea, where Sakura-sensei happens to be. Shinobu can’t understand what Lum sees in Ataru, but Lum loves him and all her friends at school. Ataru and Shuutaro make a run to get food for everyone, but encounter strange things on the way back. The following morning, work continues as an exhausted Onsen-Mark arrives. Sakura-sensei orders him to go home and get some sleep, but mistakenly gives him high-potency laxatives instead of tranquilizers. Realizing her mistake, she races on a motorcycle to his apartment, but upon entering, she discovers everything nasty and mushrooms growing. She throws Onsen-sensei out the window, then races to catch him but decides not to because of how dirty he is.

At a cafe, the still exhausted Onsen-sensei states that he’s lost track of time, citing the story of URASHIMA Taro. Sakura-sensei won’t hear of it, despite the fact that he believes Tomobiki-cho to be on the back of the mythical turtle from the Urashima story and that she wouldn’t sense it since she’s caught up in it. She changes her mind that evening when they return to school and discover that the scene from the night before is playing out, complete with another Onsen-sensei gripping the cannon of the Leopard as he dangles outside the classroom. The bedraggled Onsen-sensei kicks everyone out of school and locks the gates while Sakura-sensei decides to do some investigating.

Lum flies off with Ataru to his home. Megane and Perm take the train home but end up back at the station they started from and eventually back at school. Kakugari and Chibi take a a bus home, but end up back at the school. Shinobu takes a ride from Shuutaro, but they too end up back at school. Sakura-sensei goes to Cherry’s camp, but finds it abandoned. She hails a taxi cab, but when the driver starts talking of the URASHIMA Taro story, Sakura tries to exorcise him, but fails to nail the “turtle”. Her ride ended up at the school, so she and the others head to Ataru’s house to seek lodging for the night and escape the rain. Shinobu discovers that Ten-chan has a small but odd but cute piglet as a pet.

The next day, everyone heads to school, but a sleepy Ataru sinks into a puddle and disappears. Shinobu sees something weird on the way to school. At school in the pool, Shuurato’s Leopard tank sits and Ataru emerges, not knowing how he got there. A worried Lum finds him there, being chased by Shuutaro, but when Ataru won’t say where he’s been, he and Shuutaro get fried. Sakura-sensei decides to break the loop and has everyone in the class meet up at Jipangu Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake restaurant. With the disappearance of Onsen-sensei, Sakura-sensei and Shuutaro attempt to tell the others of what is going on, Shuutaro having been made aware earlier. Ataru and the others aren’t convinced, but when Shuutaro says he won’t pay the food bill, they decide to help with the investigation.

At the school, the guys and Lum head in to investigate, finding weirdness all around. Sakura-sensei and Shinobu are outside as Sakura-sensei notes that the school now has new floors added to it. The group flees to where Shuutaro has an emergency harrier jet. With most clinging to the sides of the plane, Shuutaro takes off, but then they discover that Tomobiki-cho is on the back of stone turtle with Cherry and Onsen-Mark as statues holding the city. With fuel running out, Shuutaro lands the plane at Ataru’s home, which keeps its power, gas, and water despite there being no one else around. Further, the continence store nearby never runs out of food and supplies despite no one being there to supply it.

With that, this small group of people live their lives, Shinobu and Ataru’s mother doing the cooking. During the day, there’s a lot of goofing off except for Shuutaro, who takes his tank and is destroying decaying buildings. Ataru pursues Shinobu and Ryuunosuke, irritating Lum. Those two girls disappear and Sakura-sensei has Shuutaro repel down the side of the city, where he finds giant statues of Shinobu and Ryuunosuke now helping Cherry and Onsen-sensei. Sakura-sensei figures she’s next to disappear, so she sends word to Ataru to meet her that night the school’s clock tower. Ataru shows up on time, where he’s surprised to see Shuutaro is also there waiting.

Over snacks and tea Sakura-sensei attempts to exorcise the being but fails. He shows his true identity and calls himself Mujaki, a being responsible for granting dreams, even if said dreams are evil. Lum’s innocence drew him to her to make her dream of a life with Ataru and her friends come true. Anyone that threatens that dream are kicked out, but they are put into other their own dreams. Sakura and Shuutaro are trapped in a dream, but Mujaki is shocked when Ataru shows up. Since Ataru has protection from Sakura, Mujaki grants Ataru’s dream of a harem. However, Ataru is not happy since Lum isn’t there. Mujaki is surprised, but Ataru says he loves Lum and other girls, thus a harem without Lum is meaningless.

In his frustration, Mujaki accidentally drops a baku, which Ataru takes which will allow reality to return. Ataru blows the horn, which causes Ten-chan’s pig to start destroying Lum’s world. Mujaki says that Ataru won’t escape as Ataru is caught up in the destruction, waking up in Shuutaro’s vehicle on the night that the two went for food. However, this too is a dream. Mujaki has several other dreams for Ataru, designed to punish him. A young girl with a big hat says she knows the way to reality – Ataru has to call the name of the person he cares for most as he falls. The girl is a young Lum, so as Ataru falls to Earth, he calls out every girl before calling to Lum, thus waking up in the classroom with the others. Lum wakes up and they are about to kiss when the others are awakened, so Ataru backs off to Lum’s frustration, resulting in her frying him.


Wow, talk about a journey into the surreal. Well, I was warned about this.

The tale of URASHIMA Taro has come up quite a few times in various anime and manga titles I’ve watched or read.  It is something that I suppose I should try to read sometime, assuming I can find a good translation and not one that tries to Americanize the adaptation. I’m guessing that knowing the story of URASHIMA Taro would probably have made a difference in how one viewed the Beautiful Dreamer movie.

This surreal world is supposed to be based on Lum’s dream, so it is understandable that she’d want those she cares about close to her. However, I couldn’t help but think, “Did she not want her parent’s around? What about her best friends Benten and Oyuki?”  After all, these are also people that we know Lum cares deeply about, so it seemed odd to me that they would be excluded (though let’s face it, they were excluded for practical purposes on the production side of things).

Anyway, the movie does a good job of establishing the mystery by showing the ruined Tomobiki-cho, which it continues during the initial parts of the flashback, but then when the surreal moments start happening, for me, the movie began losing interest. In a surreal setting, anything can and will happen without rhyme or reason. At that point, it just becomes a journey, which while not boring, didn’t really grip me. I just found myself not really caring about what was going on because nothing matters in a surreal setting.

One thing this movie does do is establish how Ataru can be in love with Lum, but at the same time pursue other women and dream of a harem.  I liked this element of the story a lot as it makes Ataru so much more understandable as a character. Yes, he loves Lum and doesn’t want others to have her, but he loves beautiful women in general, thus he doesn’t want to be tied down to just a single girl. Yet, if Lum isn’t in his ultimate harem, then it is pointless because in his perfect harem, she’d be the head of that harem.

There’s not much humor in this tale other than Lum frying Shuutaro alongside Ataru. The only laugh I got was because I made an assumption about a joke being set up. When Sakura-sensei realizes that she apparently gave Onsen-sensei a bottle of powerful laxatives instead of sedatives, her racing to his apartment and seeing in in such a nasty state made me think that Onsen-sensei had basically spewed diarrhea all over the place. After all, that was the joke that was set up, and I laughed out loud because I thought that was the joke.  However, thanks to the surreal nature of the movie, this was apparently dust, mushrooms, and decay from the passage of time, which was so unclear during the scene. That means that there was no joke there. No wonder I dislike surreal stuff most of the time.

Cherry has almost no role in this anime, so there’s a positive element. Fujinami-san is reduced to a cameo, and Ten-chan doesn’t have much here. So, the three most irritating characters are relegated to minor statuses, which was fine by me and why the movie didn’t irritate me even if it didn’t grip me.

In the end, this is a movie that I’ll remember as being surreal, but I’ll likely forget most everything else about it.

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8 Responses to “Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (Movie 2)”

  1. O-chan says:

    I pretty much agree with you review based off this was my initial reaction when I first saw it…it wasn’t until I had stronger appreciation for the series that this movie grew to be my favorite on repeat viewings. I think your thoughts on this movie sums up how most people react to Mamoru Oshii’s movies in general (sans Ghost in the Shell).

  2. evgenidb says:

    New Iron Man OVA: http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=9468

    Maybe we’ll get OVAs for the rest?

  3. Kiddo626 says:

    I’m glad you got at least SOME enjoyment out of this movie. For a while, I was actually worried you would hate it. LOL

    I loved this movie from the get-go. As a matter of fact, it was actually my intro to the franchise and what made me start following the series. I loved the surreal images and interpreting the movie. It all just gripped me, and to this day, that image of Ataru seeing a decomposed Lum still sticks with me. Wow…

    As for Movie 3, it’s also a little surreal, but fortunately, there’s a lot more humor to balance it out so it won’t seem so bogged down. Ataru’s feelings for Lum are actually the most open in this movie, so that’s always a bonus.

    Despite our differing opinions, this is a great review! Keep it up! 🙂

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks. ^_^ Interesting what captures people and what doesn’t. However, that just proves that no two people are alike.

      Anyway, not sure when I’ll get to the third movie, but hopefully not to far into the future.

  4. HaroldZyme says:

    For themes, it’s very meta and born out of Oshii’s frustrations on Only You where he felt it was just a long episode of the series, and how he had little creative freedom. He felt the show was just an endless loop of events repeating, so thought of a story where the characters become self-aware of this. Much of Mujaki’s lines are in fact what Oshii actually believes, including his belief that Lum and Ataru will never learn or grow and that he should leave the series because of it.

    It includes tons of subject matter that Oshii adores: Hitler, Nazis, Jets, tanks, Jesus, Christianity, dreams, ruins, fish, etc. Yes when Lum walks on water in the pool it is a Jesus reference. The film could be critiqued as too self-indulgant on Oshii’s part but I feel it fits within the Urusei Yatsura series.

    For structure, it inverts many Urusei Yatsura rules and common structures. Many stories start with the chime of the school clocktower bell, we start stories with uplifting music and a dancing lum in a bikini, and Cherry will appear warning of some grave doom about to occur. Here Cherry is removed so he can’t warn the cast, the bell is broken, and the film starts with an apocalypitic visuals and Sakura and Mendo in swimwear. Much of the subject matter concerns Oshii’s actual views on the nature of reality and how it’s all subjective and ultimately meaningless. Lum and Ataru are out of focus for the majority of the film.

    For characters, it’s ABOUT Lum and Ataru’s relationship while not starring them. We finally get Lum, Ataru, and Shinobu, actually directly expressing their feelings towards each other which is something they don’t do in the show much. So Shinobu directly asks Lum what she sees in Ataru (notice she doesn’t give a direct answer, implying Oshii has no idea himself) and shows Lum a bit of hostility throughout the film that Lum reciprocates. Ataru finally clarifies that he utterly loves Lum but he also wants to have a side-harem.

    Underneath the surreal and melancholic film-making, it’s a pretty straight forward story. Mujaki meets Lum, falls for her, and decides to fufill her wish of an endless summer playing with her friends in a dream that never collapses. The night before the school cultural festival, he has the main character repeat the day before forever. Behind the scenes, there is a cat and mouse game played between the cast and Mujaki. Sakura and Mendo act as Sherlock Holmes and Watson trying to figure out the mystery.

    When Sakura visits Osen Mark his apartment is decaying since he was never meant to see it, as it was created for the dream then not maintained so it fell apart in the days/weeks that he was repeating the day. The world of the dream progressively falls apart as the characters discover more, and it is no longer needed to maintain them.

    Mujaki impersonates others to tempt them into leaving the dream. First he gets rid of Cherry by temping him with a supply of food. Then he impersonates Sakura to get Onsen Mark to leave. Then he tries to tempt Sakura by impersonating the cab driver, but she has a wand so she wards him off temporarily. Next is Shinobu, Ataru’s ex that he lures down an alleyway with wind chimes and tries to tempt her into a dream about marrying Ataru. Since she shows up in the next scene, it didn’t take until later when she accepts a dream marrying Mendo.

    Mendo figures out the nature of the dream when he sees that Lum is able to draw water when he could not. Sakura then figures out that the people who are being removed from Lum’s dream are either males who figured out the nature of the dream, or women whom Ataru shows sexual interest so she knows she’s next. Then she sends Ataru a romantic letter, and Mujaki reads it thinking Sakura wishes for a romantic dream where she and Ataru are together. So Mujaki shows up as Ataru, fully expecting to whisking Sakura away to her own dream, but Mendo’s presence throws him off. He’s able to trap them in a dream world when they let their guard down.

    The rest of the film is Ataru trying to trigger an escape from the dream world but he just goes in circles. Mujaki shows he isn’t such a goof as he appears, as he sends Ataru to a series of nightmares involving Lum and threatens to torment Ataru with them forever unless he cooperates. At this point Ataru is deep within Lum’s subconsciousness and communes with her child-like subconsciousness which is powering the entire dream. There’s two Lum’s running around the film – the conscious teen Lum who is experiencing the dream like everyone else, but then the child like Lum who represents Lum’s subconsciousness who is carefree wandering the dream without any cares.

    Lum’s subconsciousness tells Ataru how to leave the dream: jump down and shout out the name of the woman you want to see when you awaken. It is Lum then that let’s Ataru go because she has total faith that Ataru will choose to wake up to see her. It’s an utterly sweet scene.

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