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Urusei Yatsura (うる星やつら) is a comedic manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi that premiered in Weekly Shōnen Sunday in 1978 and ran until its conclusion in 1987. Its 374 individual chapters were collected and published in 34 tankōbon volumes. The series tells the story of Ataru Moroboshi, and the alien Lum who believes she is Ataru's wife after he accidentally proposes to her. The series makes heavy use of Japanese mythology, culture and puns. The series was adapted into a TV anime series produced by Kitty Films and broadcast on Fuji Television affiliates from 1981 to 1986 over 195 episodes. Eleven original video animations and six theatrical movies followed, and the series has been released on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD in Japan.
The manga series was republished in several different formats in Japan. Viz Media licensed the series for English publication in North America under the names Lum and The Return of Lum, but the series was dropped after nine volumes were released. The television series, OVAs and five of the films have been released in North America with English subtitles by AnimEigo who provided extensive notes on the series to allow people to understand the many cultural references and jokes in the series that would normally be impenetrable for non-Japanese. The remaining film Beautiful Dreamer was released by Central Park Media. Five of the movies as well as the OVA's are available from MVM Films in the United Kingdom.
The series has received positive reception inside and outside of Japan from both fans and critics. In 1981, the series received the Shogakukan Manga Award. The television series is credited with introducing the format of using pop songs as opening and ending themes in anime. In 2008 the first new episode in 17 years was shown at the Rumiko Takahashi exhibition It's a Rumic World.
An alien race known as the Oni arrive on Earth with the intention of invading the planet. Instead of taking over the planet by force, the Oni give humans a chance to fight for the rights to the planet by competing in a competition. The competition is a variant of the game of tag, in which the human player must touch the horns on the head of the Oni player within one week. The computer selected human player is Ataru Moroboshi, a highly lecherous, very unlucky and stupid high school student from the Japanese city of Tomobiki, and the Oni player is Lum, daughter of the leader of the attempted Invasion.
Despite his initial reluctance to take part in the competition, Ataru becomes extremely interested in the game when he meets Lum. When the competition begins, Lum surprises everyone by flying away and Ataru finds himself unable to catch her. Before the last day of the competition, Ataru's girlfriend Shinobu Miyake encourages Ataru by pledging to marry him if he wins. On the final day of the competition, Ataru wins the game by stealing Lum's bikini top, which prevents her from protecting her horns in favour of protecting her modesty. In celebrating his victory, Ataru expresses his joy at being able to get married; however, Lum misinterprets this as a proposal from Ataru and accepts on live television. Despite the misunderstanding, Lum falls in love with Ataru and moves into his house.
Despite Ataru's lack of interest in Lum (due of immense shame that the tag game brought to him) and attempts to rekindle his relationship with Shinobu, Lum frequently interferes and eventually Shinobu loses interest in Ataru. Still, Ataru's high flirtatious nature persists despite Lum's constant attention. Lum attempts to stop him from flirting, which results in Ataru receiving powerful electric shock attacks from Lum as punishment. Two characteristics of Ataru are particularly strong: his bad luck, that drow to him all possible weirdos of the planet, the spirit world and even galaxy, and his prodigious ability to support extreme physical wounds without a scratch, beyond doing incredible physical performances like ninja tricks and catch a katana with the bare hands.
Later Lum begins attending the same school as Ataru despite his objections ( he strangled himself with the food he was eating when he heard the news), and Lum develops a fanbase of admirers among the boys of the school, including Shutaro Mendō, the heir to a large corporation ( but in truth not so different from Ataru ). Despite their romantic interest, none of Lum's admirers would risk upsetting Lum by trying to force her and Ataru apart, although this doesn't stop them from trying to get Ataru entrapped from his own behavior, and interferred with them ( namely beating Ataru very bad ) every time they get closer.
As the series continues Ataru develops his own sentiments for Lum but, for reasons never explained, he denies them even to himself, keeping his rash and very platonic behavior aganist her. Only when there is the serious risk to lose her, his guard lowers showing how much he values her, sometimes even putting his life in peril almost to a suicidal level. Only to return at his old idiotic ways after the danger passes. For example on one occasion he had the opportunity to construct his ideal future, were he is master of an harem. However while visiting this future he discovered that Lum dumped him because of the ill-treatment that his future-self deserves to her ( for keep the harem, set in a mere six tatami mat appartament, he sold all of her things, have made her found a part-time job, made her sleep on the roof and even stopped feeding her )the youngh Ataru didn't think twice to throw aside this future. In this same occasion he saw a future were they getting married, and after seeing how much happy she was in this future, he fought with all of his strength for protect it, unluckily failing ( because the future isn't set in stone, it can be changed by every move one do ).
Many histories are set in different chapters, but very few of them actually told events with later effects in the plot and the majority of the stories concludes without explaing how the things settled, as in the next story all is back to normal. The manga plot differes from the anime/movies plot in some details. First many characters, that in the manga appeared only a couple of times, in the anime became fixed. The best examples of this are the Lum Strormtroopers: Megane, Chibi, Perm and Kakugari. While in the manga they appeared only in the first two volumes, for being later replaced by Shuutaro Mendou, in the anime they are beetween the main characters ( particularly Megane ), filling they roles alongside Mendou. Anoter example is Ten, the arsonist cousin of Lum, that in the manga appered starting from the seventh volume, but in the anime he appeared since the third episode, so many tales are modified to include him. Many of the anime episodes are based on two or more tales sewn together, others are entirely new tales, and others are expanded single chapters. Also the tales composed by more chapters are compressed in single episodes. Finally the order in which stories are told is different from the one of the manga.
Also, Ataru and Lum are more closer in the anime sharing many more romantic moments and even properly kissing each other a couple of times ( somenthing that in the manga never happened). However their relationship in the anime is also more complicated because the order of episodes is different by the original manga order and so the evolution of the characthers isn't linear. So in some episodes Ataru is extremely ( but subtle ) attached at Lum, but in the next he tried to get rid of her forever. The same concept is appled to the other characters. For this reason the love square beetween Shinobu, Lum, Ataru and Mendou never came at an end while in the manga Shinobu stop paying attention to Mendou in favour of Inaba, a trans-dimensional man dressed as a bunny, that in the anime appeared only in the first OVA and in the fifth movie.