Episode 16a: “Oh! Lone Teacher”
Original airdate: February 10, 1982
Corresponding manga chapter: None
Major characters introduced: Sanjuro Kuribayashi
Minor character introduced: Tomobiki principal
Summary: Across a windswept snowy plane, a lone figure in a trenchcoat and slightly miscolored Lupin III cosplay approaches Tomobiki High School. In the principal’s office, he is given a briefcase full of money to take care of the school’s worst class (three guesses).
In the classroom, Kuribayashi-sensei proclaims that he will restore order to this class, while Lum and Ten watch from the window and are creeped out. Kuribayashi-sensei’s attempt to look tough literally backfires on him as his lighter explodes. The class explodes into laughter, and Mendou reproaches him for smoking in class. Ataru cheers him on until he gets a cigarette butt in the mouth; he’s the target rather than Mendou because he’s UGLY. This throws Mendou into carefully-orchestrated fits of guilt over the harm his beauty causes others (occasionally peeking to check the effect; I had a dog who did the same thing when she begged for food). The girls beg him to preserve his beauty, and he reluctantly agrees before going to the hallway to clutch his aching face.
Kuribayashi-sensei makes his play for teacher of the year by singling out Ataru for the first round of spirit-crushing, since he just can’t stand the UGLY. Ataru stands up for himself and winds up hauling garbage during the class run (better than being hauled away as garbage, I guess).
Lum flies in to see Darling, only to see him under a trash-heap with a teacher looming over him. She chews out Kuribayashi-sensei, using the word “Darling” three time in three sentences, and mentions that they’re married. Sensei is overcome, while Shinobu completely loses her shit.
Kuribayashi-sensei goes off to prove that he’s love’s bitch, and not man enough to admit it, by going to the empty beach and playing “she loves me/she loves me not”. Cherry wanders by and gives a brief definition of the Lolita Complex, while the flower tells Sensei that Lum doesn’t love him, and he swears eternal vengeance on Ataru. This takes the form of using him as an eraser, mop, baseball bat, trampoline, and basketball, much to Ataru’s bewilderment.
At home, Ataru bemoans this horrible treatment, which surprises Lum, as he’s been very nice to her, demonstrated in the form of a Fibber McGee-like closet full of presents. All he wanted in exchange was a photo of Lum, which gives Ataru an idea. Cut to the neighborhood stray cat bringing Kuribayashi-sensei a letter, which is apparently a message to meet Lum in the park. There follows an awkward scene where Sensei asks Lum if she’s happy to be with him, she says yes, and he’s overcome again. Lum asks him to go somewhere fun, leading to a montage of a toy store, a roller coaster, an amusement park, and the movies.
He’s overcome yet again to find out that she doesn’t dislike him, and she requests a kiss on the forehead. As he leans forward to bestow it, the wall pulls aside to reveal the boys from Ataru’s class, who run around in joy at his humiliation. The principal (whose mustache seems to have grown from a gray toothbrush to a full walrus in the course of the episode) chews him out, and…well, I know I often joke about characters’ brains breaking, but it seems to happen literally here:
He climbs a nearby lamppost and begins singing “Lum no Love Song”. Lum is confused, since she just did what Darling asked her to, and Ataru laughs evilly. Kuribayashi-sensei tells Lum that he just wants to be somewhere far away, and she complies, apparently leaving him on the Moon, or at least some moon somewhere.
Changes from the manga version: Original episode.
Thoughts: This is an interesting one. It’s the first fully original one, and the first (and really only) one to introduce a major character with no equivalent in the manga (since the Stormtroopers are based on background characters). Onsen-Mark had already been introduced by this point in the manga, but Kuribayashi-sensei hangs around the anime for a while. (I’ll be glad when they switch, since his name is annoyingly long to type.) Fortunately he can’t keep up the level of intensity he shows in this episode, and settles down into the role of recurring background teacher.
For an entirely original episode, this one has the characters down, particularly Ataru’s low-down scheming and Mendou’s calculated ploy for pity. It also demonstrates an important rule of Urusei Yatsura: It’s funny when bad things happen to Ataru. (I flashed on the Looney Tunes cartoon where Porky Pig uses Daffy Duck as a car engine.)
Kuribayashi-sensei is a very polar figure here; he goes from being absolutely horrible to Ataru (which one is normally in favor of, but he’s being singled out for no good reason here) to being completely pitiable when dealing with Lum. It’s a good thing that the episode doesn’t slow down to examine the appropriateness of his interest in Lum; she’s not one of his students but does appear to be a teenager, and Cherry singles him out as a Lolicon. Lum doesn’t seem bothered, and he doesn’t even plant the kiss on her before being caught, and he is being led on, so at this point it probably qualifies as “no harm, no foul”. (Amusingly, I re-watched the first episode of GTO this weekend, which also uses the “lead the teacher into a compromising position” ploy.)
The principal we see here is, I believe, also an invention of the anime, and doesn’t bear any resemblance to the one who appears later. Another regular teacher, Mr. Hanawa, had been introduced in the manga by this point but won’t show up in the anime until halfway through season 2.
The AnimEigo notes observe that Kuribayashi is a parody of the samurai from the films Yojimbo and Sanjuroo. As I noted above, he also owes his fashion sense to Lupin III.
Episode 16b: “Terrifying Visiting Day”
Original airdate: February 10, 1982
Corresponding manga chapter: ” The Parents’ Day From Hell”, volume 4, chapter 4 (Viz release)
Major(ish) characters introduced: Mrs. Mendou, Mrs. Invader
Minor character introduced: Mendou family butler
Summary: Women are walking into Tomobiki High School, among them Mrs. Moroboshi, who fears what she will hear from Ataru’s teacher.
She turns to leave, but Ataru spots her, tracking her down and thwarting her attempts to leave in ever-more-embarrassing ways. Fortunately, they’re interrupted by the arrival of a woman in an ox-driven cart and her accompanying butler. Fittingly, she turns out to be Mrs. Mendou.
The principal literally rolls out the red carpet, but her entrance is upstaged by the arrival of a spaceship, from which emerges a beautiful woman in a tiger-striped dress who speaks in Wingdings.
She greets Ataru with the ol’ electrocuting handshake. She makes up for it a moment later by saving him when the Mendou ox goes wild and runs toward them, and Ataru is more than happy to get up close and personal. On the backswing she judo-throws it into her spaceship, and a moment later bowls of Beefbowl float down into the crowd. This will not stand, and Mrs. Mendou gives Mrs. Invader a glove in the face, and it’s War, with the Mendou Private Army (and air force, and Panzer Brigade) advancing on the school. Mrs. Invader responds by calling down a fleet of UFOs, and the battle is on.
Ataru is thrilled to see a real war, while the sensible students run for cover. Mendou adds that it could be the end of the world, as his mother has an Ultimate Weapon. Ten calls out for peace talks, but is clipped by a jet and lands in Mrs. Moroboshi’s arms. The time has come to step up.
Her solution is to pull out a roulette wheel, with the loser agreeing to withdraw her forces. Mrs. Invader puts it all on 21, Mrs. Mendou on 10, and the ball is thrown. It stops on 8, and Mrs. Moroboshi, demonstrating that she understands probability and/or gambling a good deal better than the other two, declares that the house is the winner. She rakes in her winnings, demonstrating in the process that she can’t keep up a noble expression much longer than her son.
The ladies Mendou and Invader are not pleased, and demand their money back through their respective mouthpieces.
Mrs. Moroboshi refuses, and the respective fleets are shown in flight, with an unfortunate logo on the Mendou jets.
The Moroboshis are at home diving into the money like a porpoise, burrowing into it like a gopher, and throwing it up in the air and letting it hit them on the head. The two fleets open fire on the house while the neighbors discuss the situation in a remarkably matter-of-fact way, and the house goes up in the third mushroom cloud seen in the series so far. The fleets retreat, the Moroboshi’s stand in the smoking ruins of their house, and it sort of looks like you can see Ataru’s mother’s underwear. She’s satisfied, though, because Earth is saved!
Changes from the manga version: The manga notes that Mrs. Mendou traveled three days by oxcart due to her dislike of machines. Mrs. Invader’s speech is represented with Mah Jongg tiles. Her spaceship lands on the cart rather than the ox being sucked up. The discussion goes on longer, exacerbated by Lum mistranslating (“Well, the grammar’s tricky…”). After the challenge to the duel, Mrs. Invader responds that while she’s flattered by the proposal of marriage, she must decline, and the situation disperses.
Thoughts: Fun episode, but it’s a classic case of the anime taking a relatively quiet chapter of the manga and dialing it up (no kaiju in this one, though). Overall I prefer the manga version, since it had more character interaction, but the sequence with the roulette wheel is funny, especially Mrs. Moroboshi’s change of demeanor.
We get another look into the odd Mendou family home life here, but we won’t get the full impact of it until we see the episode set at their mansion. The business with the glove is a nice callback to Mendou’s introduction (more so in the manga version, where he was trying to hit Ataru with it in order to issue a proper challenge.
We see here that Lum’s mother has the same electric powers as her daughter. Her father hasn’t shown any sign of powers beyond being really big at this point, and I don’t think he ever does, but it appears that these powers are a) at least partially genetic and b) reasonably common, at least among named characters.
Next episode: A mysterious camera causes Ataru to vanish!