At a party to celebrate Lum’s first year on Earth, Ataru makes a speech bemoaning her presence in his life. So, despite the Stormtroopers protests, she walks out. Without any fuss.
There’s an unnamed fifth Stormtrooper in this scene, the fat chap on the right in the screenshot – I’m guessing it’s a staff insert – any idea who it’s a caricature of?
Then she and Ten pack up and depart, leaving only a doll of Lum behind. When then see Lum’s absence begin to prey on Ataru’s mind. First thinking she’s hiding, spying on him, then wondering if he was too hard on her. He goes off in search of her through the night, but cannot find Lum. And as we go into the break we leave him pining on the balcony.
Balcony? They must have had that added last time the house was rebuilt!
The next day at school, the Stormtroopers tease Ataru for clutching the doll Lum left behind. Then Ataru’s paranoia leads him to think Mendou has seduced Lum away from him. This leads to Mendou and the Stormtroopers to also come to the conclusion Lum’s really gone, and so Mendou puts his private military to work to find her.
But it’s all to no avail, and once again we find Ataru wandering the streets at night in despair in a music video bit for the previous Ending Theme “Kokorobosoi na”. And as we leave him crying in an alley, we discover the truth about Lum’s departure.
She’s off getting her passport stamped!
While she’s doing this, she overhears Ataru crying her name as she had put a microphone in the doll he is carrying. So even when she returns in the final scene and he claims he hadn’t missed her, she still knows he actually loves her.
In the penultimate episode, this was voted the best episode of the whole series by the viewers. I’m not so sure about that, it’s certainly strong and visually I think we’ve now reached what will be the standard for at least the episodes I’ve seen up to. But I do prefer the more comedic episodes where an idea is built on to a logical if ludicrous conclusion. Or the ones like the last episode, where the story seems in service to the animation rather than the other way round.
I’m not sure if this batch of episodes were produced during the first UY movie, Only You’s production, or just after.
Certainly, we’ve got less Oshii in this batch and couple of new faces in the episode director chairs. This episode is directed by series assistant director, Junji Nishimura. Nishimura’s arguably better than most of the regular directors it’s had so far, but there’s not the same sparks of brilliance Oshii has. Other notable Nishimura series include Ranma ½, Kyo Kara Maoh, and Simoun.
And back with this episode is future Chief Director of UY, Kazuo Yamazaki, who thoroughly confused me when I was writing about him in earlier posts by changing the spelling of his name from this episode onwards! He’s now やまざきかずお rather than 山崎和男 as he was credited earlier.
Also, we’re now entering a period where a non-Ito script is a rare occurance indeed.
Screenplay: Kazunori Ito
Storyboard: Kazuo Yamazaki
Director: Junji Nishimura
Animation Director: Kazuo Yamazaki.
Finally, with this episode we get a new ending theme, Hoshizora Cycling by Virgin VS: