What They Say:
The Urusei Yatsura story comes to a climax in this animated retelling of the final Manga story.
Lupa, yet another one of Lum’s fiances, arrives on the scene, and Lum and Ataru have to repeat their game of tag in order to prevent the Earth from being destroyed. All Ataru has to do to win is say “I Love You,” the three words he has steadfastly refused to say to Lum. Will he admit his true feelings and save the Earth? Or will his pride doom it to destruction?
The audio presentation for this film brings us the original Japanese language track and the English language dub with it encoded in stereo at 192kbps. The stereo mix for the show is fairly decent but it’s pretty reminiscent of the same kind of mix we got with the TV series itself so it’s not exactly a wild hopping time of sounds coming from every direction. The mix does sound good, and clearer than the TV mix since it’s several years more recent, and is free of problems such as distortions or dropouts.
Originally released in 1988, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer for it looks pretty good all things considered and is about on par with Lum the Forever. The main issue with that transfer was the blockiness showing up in the black and deep blue sequences. That’s far less pronounced here though you can still see some movement and shiftiness in there. There is a general level of film grain throughout the movie that isn’t all that surprising but it doesn’t terribly affect things much if you’re used to it from films of this era. Aliasing and cross coloration are both pretty minimal and the show looks pretty decent all told, again considering its age and in comparison to the previous movie.
Continuing to use the same style as previous releases, the cover for this movie uses what I believe is the same artwork as earlier releases on different media. With the darker nature of the villain this time there’s a lot of murky colors mixed into the background and with the blackness that’s covering up and enveloping Lum, who has an out of character serious look to her. Much of the cover is made up of very small character pieces as they all fly along on the pigs and it’s pretty busy but it’s not immediately easy to see who everyone is so there is a bit of fun in really looking at the cover. The back cover provides a couple of small shots from the show and a lengthy summary of the movie’s premise. The discs features and technical information is clearly listed though. As is now standard, the liner notes are now on the disc instead of on the recipe cards so there isn’t any insert with this release.
The main menu is setup with various pieces of animation from the movie that’s being filmed in the show so it has separate animated parts playing together well while some of the instrumental music plays along. It’s a cute menu and looks decent considering the source materials but the three separate instances of English dialogue used for it will be off-putting to some folks and you’ll want to get through the menus quickly or be thankful for auto-play if your player has it. The menus are quick and easy to access and the navigation is pretty straightforward. The menu load times aren’t bad but there are transitional animations, with even more English dialogue, all over here.
Though not as loaded as the last movie was, there are some extras to be found here. My favorite inclusion is the Japanese trailer for the movie which starts off with such an ominous feel, mimicking several high-profile movies of its time, and then goes into the usual antics. A new behind the scenes piece is included that covers a lot of the actors once more as they talk about their English language performances and what the show is about. The last and always best piece is the program notes that cover a number of the cultural bits and other references.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Coming two years after the conclusion of the TV series, director Dezaki, having some big shoes to follow in, looked to the source itself for inspiration. As the manga series had concluded the decision was made to adapt the ending of that for this “Final Chapter”, to bring a similar kind of closure to the animated version as the manga version had. While the movie doesn’t have the ethereal and unreal nature of the past three movies, or even the same sense of style but without the substance, we get something that’s much closer to the first movie and something closer to the longer pieces of Urusei Yatsura that Rumiko Takahashi penned.
While this is an enjoyable piece overall, it is one that Takahashi is well known for doing in what seems like a lot of her stories or at least relied on pretty heavily during the Ranma ½ run. Going back some years in time, we see a dark little figure standing outside the home of Lum’s parents and he learns that Lum is indeed their daughter, the first daughter born in quite some time in fact. He makes a promise to the young cute Lum that he’ll see her again some day and he runs off to his own great-grandchild whom he informs that he’s now found a bride for. From this we learn how, many years prior, Lum’s own grandfather had promised his daughter to another man if he gave him some food. Playing a trick on him since he had no daughter, the other man laid claim to the first born daughter.
This would normally be something you’d tell your son and his daughter but since the son had misplaced his father in a cryo-tube for nearly twenty years, it’s easy to see why nobody knew.
So it’s little surprise that the young boy is now at a prime age for marrying and he’s coming to Earth to claim his bride. Riding down on his chariot that’s pulled by a herd of pigs, Rupa’s the embodiment of the hot young hunk with tanned skin and light blonde hair. His arrival is even timed during an argument between Lum and Ataru where Ataru has once against set things against himself by how he acts with her and other girls he comes across. But Rupa, thanks to his great grandfather, has a few tricks up his sleeves and sets things so that Lum can’t use her powers and becomes an easy target to be kidnapped, leaving Ataru stranded on Earth powerless to rescue her.
What’s fun with this movie is that we get to go back to the beginning as a re-enactment with a new set of stakes of the original game of tag that Ataru had to participate in. With the ten-day limit and the need to get his hands on her horns or simply admit that he loves her, Ataru is subjected to much the same as he was the first time around. While the animation is a touch better and more fluid than the old TV series material from six or seven years prior, it’s a very nice touch and a great way to give some bit of closure and conclusion to the series. But I will say that as much as I do enjoy it, I believe it was already done in the series once and the entire bit with Rupa being engaged to Lum before she was born is such a norm for Takahashi stuff, particularly with Ranma ½, that this particular bit has always been a bit of a sore point with me.
The movie quality is roughly the same as the last couple, there’s nothing terribly new or different about them as the designs are similar and pretty consistent. One thing that I haven’t figured out yet is that in the program notes, they mention that since only 50% of the TV series has been released so far, there are characters in this movie that haven’t appeared yet. Unless they were given a minimal background status, I couldn’t find anyone who had any noteworthy speaking role that I wasn’t familiar with and I’ve only seen what’s been released. Even though this is at the end of the TV series life cycle, it’s definitely easy to get into it and it doesn’t spoil anything.
Back when these were originally coming out for the first time on VHS, roughly every couple of months, it was easy to disregard the last couple of movies after the strong showings of the first half of them. With several years gone by and a new appreciation of the franchise and its characters, these last few movies are almost like they’re being seen again for the first time and I’m finding them to be much more enjoyable and richer than I had originally believed them to be. Of course, at the time there were barely half a dozen TV releases out if that, so it wasn’t hard to be easily confused. Final Chapter is a solid way to bring some closure to the series, even though there’s more, and to really bring to point the honest truth in the relationship between Lum and Ataru. The ending here is the perfect symbol of what it is.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Interview with Lum, Interview with Ataru, Behind the Scenes of the Dub Process, Liner Notes
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B
Released By: AnimEigo
Release Date: October 14th, 2004
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.