* Urusei Yatsura Perfect Collection
Novel, published by VIZ)
Note: this edition is out of print but still available
Review by Jesse Hausler
novel was my first encounter with the wonderful weirdness that is Urusei
Yatsura. I was already a huge fan of Ranma 1/2, and I thought I would
give one of Takahashi's earlier works a shot; it turned out to be the
best impulse buy I ever made! This king-sized graphic novel contains the
first 18 chapters of UY, and it provides a great introduction to the series.
Several things about this particular graphic novel really stand out.
The first is the astounding fact that we meet almost the entire regular
cast in this one book (the big exceptions being Mendo, Ten, Ran, and Ryuunosuke).
After reading this one, you can basically "hop in" anywhere
in the series without being overly lost. The second unusual thing about
this volume was its style; this was something that didn't become apparent
to me until later. If you've ever read any of the "Rumic World"
manga, then you know that many of Takahashi's early stories were characterized
by completely ubridled wackiness. The first dozen or so chapters of UY
(the ones contained in this book) represent the "last hurrah"
for this particular style of storytelling. Starting about halfway through
the next graphic novel, she began the switch to the "still crazy,
but slightly more subdued" style that has characterized all of her
work since. While this may prove a turn-off for some, I personally loved
seeing the cast of UY "let it all hang out"!
The last "big thing" about this graphic novel may seem trivial
to some, but I found it fascinating. The second story in the book is ENTIRELY
"Lum-less"! She's not drawn, thought about, or even mentioned
in passing. Apparently, Takahashi didn't originally plan for the invader
girl to play the starring role (perhaps instead being a "frequently
reappearing character" like Kurama, Oyuki, or Benten). This lone
chapter (which focuses on Ataru, his family, Shinobu, Cherry, and a pint-sized
devil) offers a fascinating look at what Urusei Yatsura might have been
like had Lum not stolen the show. Don't get me wrong; I think Lum is "da
bomb". Still... it's interesting.
All-in-all, this is quite possibly the single best compilation of UY out
there. It is side-splittingly funny, wacky as can be, and occasionally
heartwarming. If "Beautiful Dreamer" is the quintessential "must
watch" animation for UY fans, then "LUM - Urusei Yatsura Perfect
Collection" is undoubtedly the "must read". Check it out;
you won't be sorry!
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