Based upon the characters and situations by Rumiko Takahashi
Written & Directed by Mamoru Oshii
- Running audio commentary by director Oshii
- Art gallery
- Original Japanese trailer
- Trailers for both Urusei Yatsura movies
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Wacky strangers
- Lecherous high schoolers
- Sexy aliens
- Mysterious pigs
Released by: Central Park Media
My Advice: Get it.
[ad#longpost]Rumiko Takahashi is one of the most-loved names in manga and anime, but before Inu-Yasha, before Ranma 1/2, there was Urusei Yatsura. Beautiful Dreamer is the second movie in this series and as such bothers less with introducing the characters than with a new plot.
Ataru Moroboshi is the typical anime loser in the grand tradition of Tenchi Muyo, Yusaku Godai, or Junta Momonar. Luckily for Ataru, he’s in an anime show, and that means he gets to meet a beautiful space princess named Lum, whose idea of a clever thing to wear to explore space is a tiger-print bikini. Now he may still be a loser, but he’s also famous and has a super-hero for a girlfriend. Unluckily for Ataru, Lum’s existence is influencing him, as well. The show opens as the gang is preparing for the school festival; Ataru and Co. have chosen to run a Third Reich-themed coffee shop, but the authentic antique tank donated by Medou is way too heavy for the second floor. Soon, they realize that they are repeating the same day over and over, the day before the school festival, but as they piece the truth together, they learn that they are trapped in a surreal version of their town that is slowly decaying, and no one seems to know who has the key to the puzzle.
The characters are many and not really introduced in the show, as viewers are expected to be fans of the show and already know who is who. We have:Lum, the blue-haired alien princess with a sweet disposition; Ataru, the lecherous main squeeze; Shinobu, Ataru’s would-be human girlfriend; Mendou, the rich boy who thinks he would be a much better fiancé for Lum; Miss Sakura, the busty school nurse who has some powers of her own, and assorted other friends and hangers-on.
The extras include original trailers for both this movie and the first one, Only You. There is also a very nice art gallery, and while the look of the show may seem dated to some, it’s still vintage Takahashi and looks great. The star of the features list is a commentary with the director, Oshii. His voice is all in Japanese, of course, but it is subtitled in English over the movie’s visuals. It’s very interesting, as he goes into depth about the creation process, how he sees comedy, how he made various decisions, and what makes this movie work. His discussion about what live action techniques he uses and what Takahashi’s reactions to the piece were are worth the price of admission alone.
The remastered video looks great, and while the art style is somewhat vintage and might not be to everyone’s tastes, it still suits the subject matter and is nice to look at. The sound is equally well-done; both language casts are professional and talented, bringing meaning and emotion to their lines.
The film does a great job of letting Takahashi and Oshii to do what they want with reality and not have to explain much, and it’s always fun to see writers and directors just having fun. If you are not yet familiar with UY, you might want to do a bit of reading to become acquainted with the characters, as they aren’t really introduced here; the intended audience was already familiar with the show and story. Anything by Oshii or Takahashi are considered classics of the anime genre, but this movie is especially beloved, as it so beautifully represents what romantic comedy means. It is a great example of Takahashi’s oeuvre, and is also just plain fun to watch.