Otaku USA Magazine
Urusei Yatsura Is the Perfect Rumiko Takahashi Love Story

Lum, as she'll appear in the new Urusei Yatsura

You heard, right? Urusei Yatsura is getting a new anime! (I mean, of course you’ve heard — we literally just told you.) The Rumiko Takahashi classic will be getting an electrifying four-cour series this year. And Sumire Uesaka is playing Lum. A perfect choice.

We’re always excited to see a classic return, of course. But there’s something extra special about a return to this show in particular. Takahashi is a powerhouse in the world of romance manga, so we have no shortage of titles to love. It’s just that this one really sums up her whole scene — a perfect encapsulation of her unique take on love in manga for years to come.


Paranormally Normal

"Hold me back, baby."

While not all of Takahashi’s romance manga have a supernatural aspect, a lot of them do. Kagome and her half-demon boy, for instance. Akane and her cursed fiancé. And, of course, a bad luck magnet and a lightning-wielding demon alien.

But Urusei Yatsura, like all her best work, doesn’t maintain that particular divide as the primary conflict. Once we’re all used to Lum flying around in her bikini and zapping Ataru, that’s just part of the setting. The conflict is in their personalities: a girl who loves a guy, and a guy who’d rather die than say he loves her back. It’s as normal as things get.


Alone in a Crowd

Ataru and the girls

Takahashi has a talent for creating characters — both in terms of quality and quantity. Urusei Yatsura and its follow-ups give us some of anime’s most memorable characters. And then several dozen more. This isn’t unheard of, of course. Long-running manga build up a massive cast, and they get their own side stories.

But with those massive casts, it’s all the more impressive that the story keeps drawing your eye back to the central couple. Madness is going on all around (especially in the case of Urusei Yatsura), but they’re still the core. No matter what the world around them may do, the heart of the story is always those two people. You feel it even more on the zoom-in from a big cast.


Romances for the Ages

Lum and Ataru

The stars of Rumiko Takahashi’s love stories don’t really seem like power couples. Urusei Yatsura is a romance initially built on a misunderstanding. Ranma 1/2 is a pair of teens betrothed teens who, whoops, actually do like each other. Even the otherworldly creatures — the aliens and half-demons and shinigami — are (as noted) extremely normal.

But the stubbornly unspoken love between Lum and Ataru is one for the ages. Takahashi collaborated with singer Koda Kumi to create a manga music video around that love. Even certified anime madlad Mamoru Oshii, going as off the rails as he ever does when someone hands him a franchise, kept it as an intrinsic game mechanic of Beautiful Dreamer.

We can’t wait to see these two back again when the new Urusei Yatsura drops this year.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.