The Urusei Yatsura Viewing Project, part 35: “Darling’s Had It This Time!”

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Episode 35: “Darling’s Had It This Time!”

Original airdate: July 14, 1982

Corresponding manga chapters: “A Narrow Escape from Memory Lane” and “A Very Narrow Escape” volume 4, chapters 12-3 (Viz release)/volume 7, chapters 1-2 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapters 59-60

Summary: In a coffee and tea restaurant shaped like a castle, a young waiter composes a letter in his head to his mother about the pretty girl dining there, with her charming forehead and eyes like cherries (not Cherry’s, fortunately).  Little does he realize that it’s Ran, who’s having a drink with Lum.  Lum is concerned that Ran is willing to hang out with her when she’s usually plotting revenge, but Ran blames her changes of personality on the things Lum did to her in their childhood.

We flash back to when they were five and had a sleepover at Ran’s house.  Ran’s mother warns her not to wet the bed like she did last night, and she promises she won’t.  In the night, Lum wakes up and switches places with Ran, and the next morning Ran’s mother is spanking her for wetting the bed.  Ran points the finger at Lum, who denies responsibility, and Ran is punished further for blaming someone else.

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In the present, Lum is somewhat abashed but says that it’s the sort of thing kids do, and Ran says that’s not all.  They’re interrupted by the waiter bringing Ran her cola; he’s so distracted by her that he falls down the stairs on the way back.  We return to the flashback, when Lum recaptures Ran’s friendship by offering to give her Lum’s favorite doll, and to have the sleepover at Lum’s place next time.  At Lum’s place, Lum gives Ran her Oni doll, but in the night repeats the place-switching routine.  The next morning, Ran’s mother comes over, and sees Lum’s mother hanging out the stained sheet.  Ran gets spanked again, and when they’re leaving, Lum runs out with the doll.  Ran’s mother insists that bad girls don’t get gifts, and that Ran should be more like Lum, and takes off.

Back in the present again, Ran mentions that she was punished further when they got home.  She orders an expensive dessert with the intention of Lum paying for it (the waiter falls down the stairs again after taking the order) and Ran reminisces about a bet in their past.  They were visiting the Terrible Fields, and Lum bet Ran that they should throw a rock at a big lizard and run, and whoever was left behind would treat the winner.  Ran points out that unlike Lum she can’t fly, and Lum says that she’ll save her if necessary, then chucks the rock.  The lizard chases them over hill and dale until they hit a cliff, and Lum flies them over it while the lizard bemoans its mistreatment.

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Lum misses the point in an epic way by saying that if she hadn’t been there Ran would have been in trouble.  They’re interrupted by the arrival of Ran’s dessert, delivered by the bandaged waiter, who walks away musing about love and falls down the stairs again.  In the flashback, they’re now at an amusement park, where Lum says she’ll treat Ran to ice cream.  When the bill comes for 20 Torajima (tiger stripes), Lum tells Ran to pay half; Ran’s ice cream is Lum’s treat, while Ran owes Lum an ice cream for losing the bet.  Present Lum thinks that it makes sense, while present Ran contends that it lacks something in the compassion department.  Lum orders a drink, and Ran insists that she’s not going to let Lum trick her into paying for it.

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Lum protests that everything seems to be her fault in Ran’s version of events, and reminds Ran of the time she protected her.  The waiter returns with the drink just as Ran is raising her voice, and nervously edges away, leading to an offscreen crash.  They flash back to the two of them playing darts, where a wild throw embeds Ran’s dart in the head of a goofy robot/statue/doll thing, which spins around and crashes to the floor.  Ran’s mother runs in to see the ruin of her doll, and Lum steps up to take responsibility.  Ran’s mother recognizes the dart as Ran’s, and spanks her for not being honest and blaming others.

In the present, Ran goes into full j’accuse mode, and Lum admits that she’s responsible and goes off to think about what she’s done.  Ran follows, and the cashier stops her for the 1580 yen ($6.20), which she pays so she can keep her grudge alive.  Outside, Ran announces that tomorrow she’s going to start at Lum’s school and suck Darling’s youth.  The waiter is being loaded into an ambulance, but bolts in fear when he sees Ran.

Lum is keeping a close eye on Ataru as they go to school the next day.  She warns him that Ran’s after him just after he open his shoe locker and sees a package inside, and manages to grab it without Lum seeing.  She shocks him after he writes off the danger, showing her unique approach to protection once again.  In class, Mr. Hanawa seems to be lecturing on hot pot while some of the students eat.  Ataru opens the note that came with the package, which is signed by Ran, and showing downright Jimmy Olsen-like levels of self-preservation instinct, wolfs down the alien Turkish Delight or whatever it is.  Something catches in Ataru’s throat, and Lum volunteers to take him to the infirmary.  Along the way, he denies eating something strange, and while he’s distracted by coughing, Ran leaps in and absconds with Lum.

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In the infirmary, Cherry is making some sort of concoction with improbable ingredients like cat’s footstep and girl’s smile (although from what we see him adding, those could be the names of flowers).  Sakura tells him that he won’t be able to make whatever it is he’s trying, and is further put off when he asks for Tincture of Ringworm.  Ataru staggers in, and Sakura accuses him of trying to put on a seductive husky voice, but eventually concludes that he’s not faking.  She goes to get some medicine, but is annoyed to find Ataru in the cot when she returns.  Meanwhile, Ten is flying across the sky, bored.

Ran enters the infirmary, claiming to feel unwell and asking to lie down.  Sakura warns her that the other bed is inhabited by Ataru, and urges her to reconsider.

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Ran starts to swoon, and Sakura gives up, but pulls up a stool and sits between the two cots.  Ataru is offended that he’s being treated like a pervert, but his indignation loses something since he’s fondling Sakura’s thigh at the time.  Ran muses that she needs to get rid of Sakura, and at that moment Ten flies in.  Ran asks for water, which Ataru scrambles to get, and when he returns asks to receive it mouth to mouth.  Ataru eagerly complies, leading to him taking a stool to the back of the head and a jet of flame to his back and spewing water on Ran.  Sakura goes off to get a towel, and Ran tries to get rid of Ten by telling him that Lum’s in the equipment room.  His concern for Lum eventually overcomes his suspicion of Ataru, and he charges off.  Ataru moves in for the kiss, but is stopped by Sakura stomping his face into the floor.

In the equipment room, Ten discovers that Lum is wrapped up in a large bundle, and moves to free her.  Back in the infirmary, Cherry is finished with his concoction, puts it in an empty bottle, and heads out of the room.  Ataru says his throat is sore again, and Sakura, fed up, tells him to go get the medicine for himself.  He drains the bottle and turns blue, as the contents are clearly revolting.  Cherry calls Sakura away just as Ataru is crawling back into bed,  and Ran sees her chance.  We intercut between Lum flying back to the infirmary with all speed, while Ran goes in for the kill.

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Ran scrambles back into bed as Cherry comes over to scold Ataru for draining his nostrum.  Ataru demands that Sakura apologize, and flings himself upon her just as Lum and Ten burst into the room like the wrath of God and his younger cousin.  Repeated blasts of flame and lightning aren’t enough to dampen his libido.  Ran trembles as she realizes that her kiss doesn’t seem to have affected Darling, while Cherry muses that since Ataru’s acting the same as always, him youth-restoration potion must be a failure.

Changes from the manga version: The only change to the first half is the waiter crushing on Ran, and Ran doesn’t tell Lum she’s entering her school since she’s already a student in the manga.  The second half starts with Ran restraining Lum (in a much more bondagey way than in the anime) and proceeds in essentially the same way, except without Lum and Ten.

Thoughts: This is another set of episodes that’s been delayed by Lum not entering school until now.  The first half could have been done at any time (Ran has been shown having similar reasons for her grudge against Lum before), but it would have been hard to justify Ran’s presence in the infirmary when she wasn’t a student. (In the manga she was already a student when she first appeared.) We don’t see it directly here, but Ran is in a different class from Ataru and Lum, meaning that she’s on hand to cause trouble without being there all the time.

Even though Lum’s actions as a child aren’t malicious, it’s hard not to sympathize with Ran’s grudge, since she repeatedly got the short end of the stick through no fault of her own.  Her mother’s lousy parenting doesn’t help–Ran is the poster child for the notion that spanking can do lasting harm to a child’s psyche.  (I find myself wondering what’s up with Ran’s father, and what Ran’s mother does for a living; in my head she’s part of the same sort of motorcycle gang as Benten, even though Ran and Lum’s families appear to be peers.) Ran’s response is all out of proportion by this point, but it’s not as crazy as Lum seems to think.

There are a couple of firsts in this episode. Lum’s mother speaks intelligibly here, since it’s presumably translated from Oni language. (It’s only her second appearance, but still.) I believe this is also the first episode where Ataru gets a kiss that doesn’t immediately become awkward, since Ran didn’t turn into a bat afterwards.

A couple more observations: I didn’t note this last time, but Lum’s uniform is different from everyone else’s, having a yellow scarf rather than red–this may be Main Character Exemption, or just wearing something suggesting her hometown colors.  Also, we see Ataru changing his shoes when entering the school, but not Lum. (She does seem to be wearing inside shoes at the same time, but their shoes look different when we see them later, so it’s hard to be sure.) I realized something I hadn’t considered before: Lum doesn’t take her boots off indoors.  The Doylist explanation for this is that it’s a basic part of her character design, but I’m not sure what the Watsonian explanation is.  Is it okay for her to wear them indoors because she flies rather than walks? (Which seems unlikely, since it’s such an ingrained part of Japanese culture.)  Or is it another thing that she doesn’t have to pay attention to as a foreigner, like proper forms of address?

Next episode: Rei crashes study hall!

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