Itsudatte My Darling
(always my darling)
Premiere: November 2, 1991
In a dark and stormy setting, a mirror clatters away to itself. After a long search, it has finally found a subject that matches the specified parameters. Galactic coordinates: A.H.O. Planet #3. Point: Sho-Chiku-Bai. Name.....
Ataru Moroboshi gleefully chases girls across the Tomobiki fairgrounds. While the rest of the cast (in addition to various cameos dating back to the beginning of the series) wanders about the booths, trying their luck at the games or eating mountains of food, all that concerns Ataru is chasing skirts and running from Lum. Offstage, enter four munchkins in desert garb. They wander from one man to the next, comparing each to their target's photograph, but not having much luck until Ataru (Lum hot on his heels), charges past.
Hiding in the woods, Ataru barely manages to evade discovery by Lum when he is suddenly confronted by the munchkins. Demanding that Ataru come with them, they unsuccessfully try to abduct him for several minutes until a UFO lands nearby. Its pilot, yet another bazooka-wielding space princess, demands to know why the munchkins are taking so taking so long. While they shuffle about with excuses, Ataru leaps into the ship to chase the girl and takes several direct hits before he stops moving. Lum arrives just in time to see the UFO warp out of the atmosphere. Finding Ataru's fan nearby, it doesn't take her long to figure out what happened, and she rushes back to the fairgrounds to get help.
Meanwhile aboard the mysterious UFO, the pilot manages to get Ataru pried off of her long enough to get a few words in edgewise. She is the Royal Princess of the Universe, Lupica, and she needs to take him to the Planet Holy Temple in the far northeast corner quadrant so that he -- But Ataru, misunderstanding her words, is too busy agonizing about whether he's ready to marry this beautiful woman to listen to anything else she has to say. Seeing that she is unable to reason logically with him, Lupica resorts to deception. She tells Ataru that although she is willing to date him, the law forbids their relationship -- unless he can retrieve the Holy Temple's Crystal Jar, that is. Ataru readily agrees and resumes chasing her around the ship.
Aboard Oyuki's UFO, Lum, Oyuki, and Benten discuss search procedures for finding Ataru's abductor. They are interrupted when Lum's parents call, wanting to check up on Ataru. It seems seems that someone has been searching the Galactic computer net for information on "the most lecherous person in the universe," and Ataru's name came up. At this Lum becomes extremely worried about him and prays for his safety.
At Lupica's palace, on a pink planet somewhere in deep space, Ataru has finally been subdued with a combination treatment of bazooka blasts, paralysis drugs, sleeping pills, and lullabies. One of Lupica's servants brings her the latest suitors' profiles, but she violently rejects them. It seems that Lupica has to get married before her eighteenth birthday in order to take the throne, but she has been rejecting every proposition thrown at her. Hearing the call from a horn outside, Lupica runs outside to meet the tofu man. Timidly, she buys ludicrous blocks of tofu from him, quivering as she hands him the money. The tofu guy smiles, hands her a receipt, and flies into the sky as Lupica watches.
Loafing in a space bar, Lum pops umeboshi and curses her luck. After an extended period of searching she has failed to turn up any trace of Ataru's whereabouts, and the Interstellar Patrol hasn't been much help (not that it's terribly high on their list of priorities), either. At another table, Rio, Lupica's tofu vendor, chats with several of the local merchants. When one of them mentions Lupica's eminent marriage and jokes about Rio's relationship with her, he laughs half-heartedly. After all, Lupica's a princess and he's just a tofu bum. Rio stares into his drink.
Lum stares into yet another serving of umeboshi as Benten and Oyuki try to slow her down. They are interrupted when an old woman approaches, offering to tell their fortune. After downing a huge drink on Lum's tab, the fortuneteller divines that Ataru is traveling with another woman. When Benten mentions that Ataru is the most lecherous guy in the universe, the old woman tells them about the legend of Planet Holy Temple. The stories tell of a jar containing the Ultimate Love Potion deep within the temple. But since only the most lecherous person in the universe can reach it safely, it has remained sealed away for many centuries. At this, Lum, Benten, and Oyuki tear out the bar without paying the bill or listening to the fortuneteller's warnings of sorrow.
Planet Holy Temple. Deep within the pyramidal structure for which the world is named, Ataru, Lupica, and her servants wander through a dark labyrinth. Navigating the traps and passages with ease, Ataru leads them straight to the altar of the God of Lust. Sensing Ataru's horny aura, the altar slides away to reveal a hidden room. Fetching the Crystal Jar from a pedestal within, Ataru proudly presents it to Lupica, who leaves him to die when the room starts to collapse around them. Heading for the exit, they are shocked when Ataru bursts out from a casket, where the trap had dumped him. Arguing with Lupica for double-crossing him, he just manages to grab hold of the potion when Lum explodes through a nearby wall and makes off with him. Lupica tries to pursue but is stopped at the temple's entrance when Benten rains crimson bullets at her from above. Lum rushes Ataru to Oyuki's UFO as Benten brings the temple down around Lupica's ears.
Heading home, Ataru chuckles to himself as he thinks of all the fun he can have (ab)using the love potion, when Lum catches him. She chases him around the ship, finally throwing a lightning ball that accidentally hits the warp control panel. Fortunately, this incident brings little more than a bumpy landing, as the ship crashes through the roof of the high school. Ataru jumps out and tears down the hall, Lum just behind. As Benten and Oyuki assess the damage to the UFO, they discuss the trouble that is likely to ensue and decide to stay out of the whole love potion business. Unfortunately, the entire class happens to overhear their conversation, and they all charge after Ataru.
Running through the shopping district, Ataru manages to escape Lum by locking her in the back of a truck. His victory is short-lived, however, when he sees everyone else running behind him. Running into his mother, who is out grocery shopping, he chats with her briefly before taking off again. The class catches up with him shortly thereafter, but is shocked to find that Ataru doesn't have the potion on him. Holding Ataru at swordpoint, Mendo demands to know where Ataru hid it. Ataru looks thoughtful for a moment, then tells them to look at the bottom of the Tomobiki River.
Unpacking the groceries from her shopping trip, Ataru's mother is surprised to find a small bottle at the bottom of her basket, with a note asking her to keep it safe until he gets home. Then Lum arrives, and notices the bottle.
Needless to say, the potion is not at the bottom of the river. Nor is it buried on the school grounds, or in any of the other places Ataru points the class to. Eventually they get tired and string him up. Mendo tries to get the truth out of Ataru by swiping at him with his katana, but is interrupted when Lupica arrives and starts blowing things up. When Lupica points her bazooka at him and asks for the potion, Ataru directs her to the river....
Running home, Ataru decides that his only option is to use the love potion on Lupica. Snatching up the jar from the dinner table, he is too busy complimenting himself on his cleverness to pay attention when his "mother" offers him a glass of juice. Surprise! Lum switched the real potion with a fake, and added a little to the juice Ataru just drank. She tries to get Ataru to look at her, but he resists, unwilling to give up his girl-hunts. Suddenly, the wall blows in as Lupica makes her entrance. Unfortunately, the moment Ataru turns his head to see what's going on the potion takes effect, and he falls deliriously in love with Lupica. Lupica is pleased to see that the love potion is so effective, and stopping only long enough to grab what she thinks is the Crystal Jar, runs out. Ataru tears after her, and not even Lum's electric zappings can stop him this time. They catch up with Lupica in a courtyard not far from the house. Lupica denies responsibility for Ataru's condition, and is unable to provide a remedy for it. She jumps into her ship and takes off, leaving Ataru with his arms outstretched to the sky, calling her name.
Lum trods sadly home in the darkening light to meet her classmates. When they ask her about Ataru and the love potion, she just points behind her. Ataru is little more than a shadow of his former self. Wallowing in sorrow several miles deep, he does little more than cry Lupica's name, ignoring all other stimuli. Lum, cursing herself and her lack of patience, throws the Crystal Jar to the ground, where it shatters before everyone's eyes.
Back on Lupica's planet, Lupica eagerly awaits Rio's tofu delivery. After buying yet another small ton of tofu from him, Lupica offers him a drink, unaware that Benten and Oyuki are watching from the bushes. Lupica recalls her childhood with Rio -- how they first met when she was sick and he was delivering tofu, and how Rio started delivering tofu every day regardless of anything that stood in his way. Rio is somewhat depressed by Lupica's impending marriage, but takes heart in that her future husband will be eating his tofu, as well. At this, Lupica practically orders Rio to drink the water she gave him, and when it has no effect she runs into the palace, crying. Outside, Rio bows his head. Blaming the distance between their social positions, he sadly returns to his delivery route.
In Tomobiki, Ataru hasn't recovered any from last night. He crouches by the window, calling Lupica's name with his arms reaching for the sky. For her part, Lum hasn't been seen since the episode with the smashing of the Crystal Jar. At the space bar, Lum, Benten and Oyuki again consult with the fortuneteller. It seems that Lum made a serious mistake in destroying the love potion, as a second dose would have overridden the previous one. There is, however, one thing that can still be done. If Lum returns to the spot where she smashed the jar on a full moon, a Moondrop flower will grow in the soil that was soaked with the potion. The main ingredient for the potion, if Lum feeds Ataru its nectar then he should return to normal. But they have to take care, for if the flower is exposed to the light of the sun it will wither and die. According to Oyuki's almanac, Earth's next full is tonight. The girls run out of the bar, leaving the old woman with the bill (again) until Lupica steps forward and offers to pay. Meanwhile, in a much dingier ginjoint not far away, Rio downs his sorrows in drink. One of his comrades, a fellow merchant, tells him that Lupica is heading for Earth again, and suggests that she may have found an acceptable suitor there.
In the soft, glowing moonlight, Lum and Co. crouch around the spot where she smashed the jar. Slowly, a soft, white sprout pushes its way up through the soil. Lum, overjoyed, rushes to snatch the blossom when the ground in front of her explodes. Lupica, intent on brewing another potion, has come to claim the flower. Benten tries to reason with Lupica, telling her to just tell Rio how she feels. Stung, Lupica fires her bazooka around, grabs the flower, and heads for her low-orbiting UFO, with Lum right behind.
Unwilling to let Lupica escape with Ataru's cure, Lum starts throwing lightning bolts at her, and Benten opens up with her submachine gun. Lupica's servants, watching from the UFO, return fire. Mendo calls out his personal army, which lights up the night sky with its guns. The UFO doesn't seem to be vulnerable to anything that's being thrown at it, and at Oyuki's recommendation, Benten sets out for Lupica's world to get Rio, only to meet him coming in.
Standing atop a smokestack, Benten shows Rio the battle, and how Lupica is fighting for him. She demands that he tell Lupica that he loves her, but torn between his shyness and the difference in their social standings, he cannot. So Benten ties him up, and hanging Rio from her bike, offers Lupica a trade: Rio for the flower. But the deal is disrupted when Ataru, riding on Rio's flying delivery bike, suddenly appears and gloms onto her. In the ensuing struggle, Lupica drops the flower, which Lum catches.
In response, Lupica puts a headlock around Ataru, intending to keep Lum from administering the cure before the flower dies. She is just within reach of her ship's entry bay when a shot from one of Mendo's ground tanks connects. It doesn't hurt the ship or Lupica, but it does destroy her flight pack. She plunges towards the earth with Ataru, and Rio, watching from beneath Benten's bike, rips free and dives after her. The three struggle against one another as the ground grows closer and closer, and it looks like the end until Oyuki freezes them in a giant icicle -- which promptly breaks free of the bike and falls anyway.
After bouncing around for a while, the ice ball shatters on the banks of the Tomobiki River. Lum rushes to the stunned Ataru, and tries the pour the Moondrop flower's nectar into his mouth... but no nectar comes from its petals. During the fight, the sun had begun to rise, and now the blossom is wilting in the growing sunlight. Unwilling to accept defeat, Lum stuffs the entire plant in his mouth. Ataru's eyes slowly open, and he looks into Lum's face... only to rush to Lupica. Lupica kicks him back towards Lum and Co. Undaunted, Ataru starts grabbing at Sakura, Shinobu and Ryuunosuke...
Meanwhile, Lupica cries over Rio's prone form. As her tears fall on his face, Rio's awakens. Looking up at Lupica, his mind flies back to the happy days of their childhood, and he rises to his feet. Shyly, he admits that he has few skills outside of tofu, but asks for Lupica's hand in marriage. Lupica turns away for a moment, then rushes into his arms. Rio carries her to his delivery bike, sets her on top of the storage case, then climbs aboard, lifting towards the open sky.
The cast watches them go. They remark how well things have turned out, and how natural love runs stronger than the shallow bonds formed by mere drugs. They are busy condemning love potions in general when Cherry appears. It seems that last night he rescued a frog from a well, and it turned out to be a 4000-year-old Chinese prince under a curse. As a reward, it gave him a jug containing a 4000-year-old Chinese love potion.
Cherry grins. "Catch!" he says, throwing the jar into the cast. And the crowd explodes.
Yatsura 6: Itsudatte My Darling