Urusei Yatsura Movie 3: Remember My Love
An angry old witch apparently wasn't invited to Lum's celebration of her birth. Pulling a page out of Sleeping Beauty, she puts a curse on Lum; she will never be happy with her true love.
Meanwhile, in "present day" 1985, a new amusement park has been built in Tomobiki, named Tomobiki Marchenland. Lum and Ataru go together. However, a creepy clown watches over everyone at the park as he seems to be up to something.
Also, Ataru turns into a pink hippo. No. Seriously.
I've always been a huge fan of the original Urusei Yatsura television series. Even after near 35 years since its premiere, I still find it one of the funniest, most charming anime TV shows I've seen to date. While the setting and clothing styles of the characters have aged as well as bananas in Death Valley in the middle of July, its actual characters, storylines, and themes are timeless, and it holds up just as well today with its humor and writing as it did in 1981.The characters just find the right balance of being jerks and genuinely nice people deep down that makes me love them, and the sci-fi elements somehow remain fresh even decades after the series' debut and being copied endlessly by other anime.
By the time Remember My Love came out in early 1985, Urusei Yatsura was already on the air for over three years and already had two movies out; the average Urusei Yatsura: Only You, and the excellent (but critically dividing) Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer, which was partially a swan song for Mamoru Oshii, the former series director who left the show in early 1984.
In comparison to Beautiful Dreamer, which definitely differed in scope from typical Urusei Yatsura with its Groundhog's Day-lik premise and weirdness even for the series it was based on, to the point of almost surreal fantasy, Remember My Love is far closer in scope and feel to a regular television episode, only with a much higher budget. Also, the core cast appear a bit more than in the last two movies; Mendou, Shinobu, Ten, Lum's Stormtroopers, Ryuunosuke and her father, Ran, Benten, and Oyuki all appear and contribute at least a bit to the movie. Even Kotatsu Neko and Ataru's parents make a few appearances.
Unlike the last two movies, which were animated by Studio Pierrot, who animated the TV series, Remember My Love's animation is done by Studio Deen, a studio nowadays almost synonymous with the words "cheap" and "poor animation". Such is not the case here; everyone is always moving, always animating. The opening credits alone show a large crowd of people (among them Lum and Ataru) heading inside Tomobiki Marcheland, and all of them are animated individually. A third into the movie has a well animated chase scene that features animated moving backgrounds as well. Sadly, the side effect of the animation studio change is that while the animation is colorful and lively, it loses the artistic edge of the previous movies and TV series. It almost looks like a kids' show at times, an odd juxtaposition that annoyed me throughout. Akemi Takada's usually fantastic character design work is more sterilized as well, unfortunately.
Still, the humor is soon on. For example, when Ataru is turned into a hippo, what is his mother's biggest concern? Having to buy new clothes for her son, worried about their expense. Ataru's, meanwhile, is that he won't be able to go girl chasing anymore. Later he's forced to cope with going to school as a pink hippo in a high school uniform (a sight almost worth the price of admission itself), even getting a new ID showing his new appearance on it. Far later in the movie we have a scene where Shinobu tries to use her trademark super strength to move a large drawer in school, but finds herself unable to do so no matter how angry she gets, her super confused. Again, the humor is spot on.
Another highlight is that after two movies we see both Ataru and Lum work separately to reach goals for a change. Lum tries to find the cause of Ataru's hippo change, while Ataru bands together with his friends (and Lum's friends) separately to find out what's going on himself. It even manages to work in a sub-plot with him, Benten, Oyuki and Ran working together to find a cure for his curse without Lum in sight, a lineup we never saw in the series proper before. There's also a what-if scenario of life without Lum, played far longer and more seriously than anything the series did proper with this concept, even poking at various character tropes in the process. We have a great scene with Ataru and Lum near the movie's end that I didn't see coming, and the final minutes feature a huge chaotic ball of fun that shoves near every character in the school.
For all that's going for it, all's not well for Remember My Love. The villain, for example, is a rather banal character whose behavior isn't explained until almost two-thirds into the movie. Not only that, but the reason for his behavior is very shallow and comes across as rather eerie, especially near the film's end. There's also very little in the way of laughs after the halfway mark, aside from some brief Ataru slapstick. Beautiful Dreamer at least had trippy imagery and a far stronger story to work with, even if it wasn't a laugh riot itself. There's also a character who, while showing up earlier in the film, does not impact the plot until less than 20 minutes before the movie's end, coming off as a very blatant deus ex machina. At least her character design is pretty cute; she's the only character in the movie who does justice to Akemi Takada's character artwork. The soundtrack is also nothing to write about, aside from the opening and closing songs by Steffanie, which are neat, if not dated.
Still, in spite of its pacing problems (especially in the last half hour), for the most part I enjoyed Remember My Love. It's nowhere near as memorable or good as Beautiful Dreamer, but it's an enjoyable film all the same, especially for Urusei Yatsura fans.
While hardly Urusei Yatsura's finest hour, Remember My Love offers just enough laughs and highlights to make up for its weak antagonist and awkwardly paced third act. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Aside from the usual animated slapstick, there are a few brief scenes of fan service, including some very brief (non-sexual) female nudity. A bit racier than usual UY fare, but nothing too extreme, and nothing any teenager or older couldn't handle.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Urusei Yatsura Movie 3: Remember My Love © 1985 Kitty Films
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