Lum-A-Day 073 – Sakura vs Sakuranbo

The animosity between Cherry and his niece Sakura reaches new heights in this episode.

On a long hot, hazy summer day (wonderfully represented by washed out backgrounds) Onsen Mark has first his class disrupted by Cherry stealing food, then has his advances spurned by Sakura. This leads the class to wonder how the pair can possibly be related.

Ataru then returns home to discover his parents have finally run away from home. Well, gone on an unannounced holiday at least. This turn of events leads Lum to lock Ataru in the house with her, so they can finally act like newly-weds…

Meanwhile Cherry is visiting Sakura’s shrine to mooch food from his sister (Sakura’s mother).When they accuse him of trying to steal food, he tells a tale of 20 years ago, when a young Sakura was trapped in a barn with spirits (this is probably the first clear indication that Sakura is in her mid-twenties). When Ten tells the pair that Ataru is with Lum, they sense bad omens and head to the Moroboshi home.

Sure enough, chaos is ensuing. Lum’s alien cooking has gone badly wrong once more, with her alien oven releasing an army of tiny tanks and jets into the house. Deciding that this is some kind of remote control war, Cherry and Sakura decide to contact the spirits controlling them. Instead, they end up summoning their guardian spirits, who then start fighting one another.

Meanwhile the war between the tiny armies goes on unabated, having nothing to do with the drama ensuing between niece and uncle, who are now fighting each other in a trance, not to mention their spirits arguing.

Then the aliens controlling the remote control army appear, it turns out they are old friends of Lum and Lum had accidentally teleported her dinner to where they were playing war. Finally they break Cherry and Sakura out of their trances by feeding them Lum’s horrid food. Mistaking the aliens for spirits, Cherry and Sakura make up, believing that they are both powerful spiritualists!

What a thoroughly odd episode. The animation looks atypical for the show, not bad, just different. There’s some unfamiliar music used for some of the scenes too. The story feels strangely piecemeal, I’m sure it’s one of Takahashi’s tales, but I wonder if extending it to fit the anime format made it a little clunky. For instance, Ten seems to be only there to get Sakura and Cherry to go the Moroboshi’s house, and given that they only go because of “bad vibes”, his actual presence wasn’t needed beyond it filling more of the running time. Still, not too bad overall, a decent average episode.

The slightly different visual feel may be down to the presence of Takafumi Hayashi as a new Animation Director.

Screenplay: Kazunori Ito
Storyboard: Junji Nishimura
Director: Junji Nishimura
Animation Director: