The Urusei Yatsura Viewing Project, part 42: “Drunkard’s Boogie”

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Episode 42: “Drunkard’s Boogie”

Original airdate: September 8, 1982

Corresponding manga chapter: “Pickled!”, volume 9, chapter 10 (Viz release)/volume 11, chapter 10 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapter 112

Summary: Mrs. Moroboshi has sent Ten on an errand to Tomobiki High.  He pops into a wild study hall next to Lum, who’s sitting by a window that went from closed to open between shots.  He’s brought Ataru’s chopstick box, but Ataru clearly doesn’t need it, as he’s wolfing down his lunch using a pair of pencils. (Probably just as well, as Ten was carrying it inside his diaper.) He tells Ataru off for being greedy, and after a bit of verbal sparring, asks what the red thing in the middle of Ataru’s rice is.  Ataru identifies it as an umeboshi (pickled plum).

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Ten is simultaneously attracted and repelled, and Ataru taunts him with it like a dog in obedience training until finally letting Ten grab it.  He freaks out over the salty taste and hovers limply for a moment.  When he comes to, he’s flushed, unsteady, and easily amused.  Lum chews Ataru out for picking on Ten, but he protests his innocence.  Ten is acting anything but innocent, as he’s pulling on Shinobu’s skirt, then starts to breathe fire on her and another girl. (This girl has a couple other lines in the episode but isn’t named.) Mendou interposes himself, and rashly tells Ten that if he’s going to breathe fire, to breathe it on him.  Ten pretends to comply, then sneaks around behind Mendou’s back; thanks to a warning by Lum, Mendou folds himself backwards to dodge, and Ataru takes the blast instead.  The girls realize that Ten is showing the telltale signs of the drunkard!

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After Mendou rights himself and suffers back spasms as a result, Ataru pulls out Exhibit B, Megane’s bento box, whose contents Megane has carefully catalogued.  Ataru pulls out the umeboshi (and also snags a sausage–the shots of Megane demanding Ataru’s sausage are going in my file of unintentionally suggestive scenes) and tosses it to Lum, who staggers away with his face covered.  Ataru uses this as proof that he didn’t do anything to Ten, until they see that Lum is wreathed in lightning, flushed, and cross-eyed.  She complains that it’s hot, and begins to undress, which instantly brings all the boys to the yard, who clobber Ataru unconscious when he tries to stop her.  Shinobu and the other girl rightly  point out that it’s not as exciting as all that.

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Mendou suggests that she might still be hot, and Ataru goes to check on her, only to get zapped when he suggests that she’s drunk.  Lum staggers off to find more pickled plums, advancing on the boys and electrocuting someone who objects.  The other boys rush to grab their lunches and offer her their umeboshi, which she gobbles down.  Chibi has rice without umeboshi and gets zapped, which Mendou suggests is his own fault for not having any in his lunch.  Perm is trembling because he only has sandwiches, and gets blasted as well.  Mendou tells Shinobu that he’s fine because he has onigiri, but they have things like cheese and escargot, the drawback of having a French chef.  The other boys ask if he can use his family’s finances to save them, but he insists they save themselves.

The boys wind up huddled together, and Mendou fakes passing out.  The others realize that this might be their only hope, and drop like a pack of stunned lemmings.  Lum blasts a hole in the roof in frustration, and stagger-floats into the hallway.  Megane shakes Ataru awake and demands that he track her down, and to make things worse Shinobu realizes that Ten is gone as well.  Ataru is dispatched to find Ten instead, since he’s the more dangerous of the two.  Mendou, Megane and Kakugari take off to find Lum, and Perm tries to follow but is forcibly recruited by Ataru instead.  Mendou’s group soon finds Lum, who’s upset that Darling went to find Ten rather than her, and throws an electric tantrum.

We come out of the eyecatch into the weirdest musical number yet, Lum and Ten floating through a phantasmagoria of umeboshi and margaritas.

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Onsen-Mark is having his lunch in the teachers’ lounge when he sees the boys running through the halls, and steps out to investigate.  Lum and Ten have wound up the Home Ec room with a jar full of umeboshi, which they’re consuming cheerfully until Lum is reminded of Ataru.  She’s clearly at that forty-plum mean drunk stage, and blows up at Ten for Ataru loving him more than her and probably wanting to get married.  It’s compounded when Ten calls Ataru an idiot, and she chases him out of the room.

Back to Onsen-Mark, to whom Mendou’s crew are trying to explain the situation, viz. that Lum ate pickled plums, while being in too much of a hurry to clarify the key detail that she’s drunk.  Onsen-Mark refuses to let them go, and Megane’s voluble rant is cut short by Ten smacking into the back of his head.  Lum follows, and Onsen-Mark demands that everyone go into the classroom for inspection, as he can clearly recognize the marks of the Drunkard.  Mendou insists that they have to go, since there clearly isn’t any alcohol on the premises, and winds up sucked into a bet that if Onsen-Mark finds alcohol, he’ll dance naked.

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Elsewhere, Perm is annoyed that Ataru is taking it slowly.  Ataru says that, since they haven’t found them, they’ve probably left school and he could go for some ramen.  This plan goes out the window when Lum passes by, electrocuting all the boys while saying “Darling no baka!”.  Ten pops up behind Ataru and Perm and breathes fire on them.  Ataru fails to stop, drop, and roll, and elects to run down the hall like an idiot instead, catching Lum’s attention.

In the infirmary, a boy comes in to be treated for burns, only to discover that he’s #38 on the list.  Sakura gets up, grumbling about Lum, and spies Ten behind the trash can.  Ataru is narrowly in time to shove her out of the way of a burst of flame, taking it himself.  Cherry pops up out of nowhere to give Sakura a jar of sake to apply to the burns, which she does in the form of a spit-take.  Lum appears, grabs the jar, rants about how Ataru loves this stuff more than her, and flies off.

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Back in the classroom, Onsen-Mark is madly searching for hidden alcohol, with no luck (although there’s an amazing array of other stuff in students’ lockers, from a weapons cache to a pachinko machine).  Unwilling to admit he’s wrong and have to dance naked, he announces that everyone will be strip searched.  They’re saved from that fate by Lum lurching in, dangling the sake jar.  Onsen-Mark grabs it gleefully, and reminds Mendou of his promise, which the others aren’t going to let him out of.

Ataru returns to the classroom to see Mendou’s pants being pulled off, and wonders if everyone’s gotten drunk.  He sees Lum, curled up asleep on the teacher’s desk, and remarks that getting drunk on umeboshi is kind of cute.  He brushes her hair from her forehead, and she wakes up, pleased that he’s chosen her over Ten, and gives him a big ol’ electric embrace.

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Changes from the manga version: The plot spine is the same, minus the filler.

Thoughts: Another fun study-hall-gone-awry episode, if not quite to the level of episode 36 (the one with Rei).  The filler is really obvious in this one (showing the classic signs of a character traveling and a fairly long musical number), but it’s easy enough to zone out for the song and come back when the jokes start up again.  There are some good original jokes, such as the Shutaro family’s French chef (although they do have to prevent Mendou from just solving the problem through the application of money), and the scene with Lum stripping is better framed than the manga, suggesting that she might actually be naked until they pan up to show her bikini. (The combination of her bikini with the school socks and shoes is probably extra-sexy to someone out there, I’m sure.)

This is another entry in a theme that we haven’t seen for a while in the anime but was used more recently in the manga, the inverse of the “alien food has strange effects on Earth creatures” theme in the swallow/penguin segment all the way back in episode 2.

Speaking of the manga, this is the last chapter of the manga that Viz published.  The next episode, at least, jumps back again, but it shouldn’t be too long before we get into scanslations again.

We see here the continued trend of Perm being the second breakaway Stormtrooper, as he gets to share a scene with Ataru. (It’s also noteworthy that Ataru’s role in the story is relatively minor–he doesn’t do anything that’s critical to the plot after setting it off.) In the manga, the student whose sausage Ataru steals and the student who accompanies him on the search for Ten are the same guy.

Next episode: Ataru must fight cats to free a beautiful girl from a curse!

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