Urusei Yatsura Episode 139 – Tomobiki High School Survival! Who Are the Survivors! (1985)

Long time readers may remember when I attempted to do daily reviews of each and every episode of the television series Urusei Yatsura. I failed, due to some real life events that needed taking care of and then discovering a neck injury that kind of put a damper on the whole blogging thing for a while. And too many Ran episodes.

Anyway, I am trying to pick up where I left it, but this episode did not make it easy for me.

A previously unrevealed trio of gardeners in Ataru’s class love their tomatoes a little too much and when Ten burns all but three plants to the ground, they bury the young alien up to his neck as punishment. Vowing revenge, as he tends to do, Ten builds a device (from a shop bought kit for good boys) that can increase mass of objects. Then, when the class is in school on Sunday to do an extra test, he buries the entire school. 

Taking the usual couple of minutes to descend into a Lord of the Flies style breakdown of civilised behaviour, the three gardners fear that the rest of class 2-4 will eat their tomatoes and arm themselves. The end result of all this is a teenager wearing a giant tomato mask tearing up the school with a chainsaw. Meanwhile, Lum builds a device out of Ataru’s Game and Watch (nicely dating the show rather specifically) to reverse Ten’s, but it goes to far and the episode ends with the school now floating above the ground.

There are two main issues I have with this episode. First of all, the three gardeners look like they’ve walked in from another manga, but not in a good way, like the Mizunokouji siblings. They frequently have weird proportions and movements early on in the episode, especially jarring when the regulars look pretty much on point, sometimes in the same shot as these one shot characters.

Secondly, it takes a long time to get going. I know they are trying to do the burning passion of youth parody again here, but it’s been done a lot better before in the show, and here it drags. Once the chase round the school scenes kick in, it’s a lot of fun, but you have to slog to get there.

Beatles Watch! After failing to pinpoint what I thought was a Beatles reference in an earlier episode of the Studio Deen run, I am on the look out now. There was a really easy one to spot here as Onsen Mark’s English lesson was him reading the lyrics to “Yesterday”.

Screenplay: Toshiki Inoue

Episode Director & Storyboard: Naoyuki Yoshinaga

Animation Director: Yuichi Endo