Episode 59: “Valentine’s Day from Hell”
Original airdate: February 16, 1983
Corresponding manga chapters: “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”/”The Ant Trap of Love”, volume 5, chapters 9-10 (Viz release)/volume 7, chapter 12-volume 8, chapter 1 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapters 69-70
Major characters introduced: Mako, Mako’s mother
Summary: It’s Valentine’s Day, and we hear the voice of a group of young girls, encouraging one of their number, Mako, who plans to confess her love to someone. The someone in question turns out to be Ten, who unsuspectingly rounds the corner and flies past without noticing her. Not to be ignored, Mako brings him down with her satchel, hands him her box of chocolate, and runs off in triumph. Ten is confused, and tracks down Lum, who’s looking for Ataru to give him her own chocolates. She explains that on Valentine’s Day, girls give chocolate to boys they like, and accepting it means that they’ve accepted her love.
Lum spots Ataru and takes off, and Ten tries to figure out how to tell Mako that he goes for older women. He doesn’t get far before she brings him down with a bamboo pole (pointing out that he does fly, after all). Ten tries to return the chocolates, but Mako tells him that since he accepted them he has to marry her–it’s the law in Japan.
Ten nervously scoffs at this, but Mako says she’ll call the police, and he’ll face his punishment:
Ataru runs past, with Lum in close pursuit. She catches him and chews him out for not wanting her chocolate, even though he’d take Shinobu or Ran’s chocolate (this is reminding me of the Dragon Ball game where they use “sandwich” to replace a reference to Bulma’s panties). Mako notes that his electrocution is the fate that awaits all men who toy with a girl’s affections. Ten desperately tries to returns the chocolates, but Mako runs (and tricycles) away, insisting that if she doesn’t take it their relationship can’t be annulled. She makes it to her front door, and Ten catches up just in time to have the door swung into his face by Mako’s glamorous mother.
Mako introduces him as her husband, and Ten goes bright red with passion.
Ataru charges into a Beefbowl restaurant, looking for an unsympathetic Megane and Perm to shelter him. He hides under a table, and Lum comes in shortly after. She spots him, speculates about whether she really wants Ataru to have her chocolate (which is coming off more and more like a euphemism as the episode goes on), and offers it to Megane and Perm. Ataru bursts out to protest, Lum calls him out, and the pursuit resumes.
Mako’s mother sits down to play hostess to Mako and Ten, offering Ten the only snack she has on hand, a plate of chocolates. Ten reaches for it, but Mako snatches it away, trying to push her chocolates on Ten instead. Mako’s mother asks Ten to have her chocolate as well, and sashays away while Ten and Mako both boggle, for different reasons. Ten picks up a candy and tosses it toward his mouth, but Ataru charges through the room and knocks it to the floor. He picks it up and tries to eat it again, but Lum runs through after Ataru and knocks it loose again, letting Mako grab it. Lum gets Ataru in a wrestling hold, giving Mako a chance to make common cause with her. While she’s distracted, Ten unwraps another chocolate and starts to eat it. Mako goes to stop him, and Ataru takes the chance to cozy up to her mother, casually unwrapping a chocolate and eating it.
Lum literally raises the roof as she electrocutes him, and Mako explains to her mother, who isn’t familiar with the law, that now she has to marry Ataru. Ten adds his flame to the mix as we go to the eyecatch/end of the chapter.
When we resume, Ataru steps out the front door to see Mako waiting to meet Ten. Ataru is not inclined to go along with his “I’m-not-here” routine, and dumps Ten at Mako’s feet. Mako says that she’s going somewhere far away, and he gives her the “well-it-could-have-worked-out-but-such-is-fate” speech, then flies off in triumph. She expresses surprise that he cared that much, but it won’t be that long until she gets back from kindergarten.
Ten flies around town, celebrating his newfound freedom to hit on every babe in town, until Lum catches up with him and points out that he’s acting just like Ataru. Ataru himself is in class, showing off Lum’s chocolates even though Valentine’s Day is past. He tries to make Mendou jealous, which backfires.
Ten flies into the room to find all the boys except Mendou in gloom, while Mendou sits in a beam of light and eats candy. Ataru asks about Mako, and when Ten says he’s never seeing her again, Ataru says that he had something to tell him, then whispers it in Ten’s ear.
Out on the street, Ten and Mako run into each other, and a lengthy chase ensues, with a lot of bamboo-pole-waving. They eventually run into Ataru’s gym class running on the street, and Ataru makes an interception and passes Ten back to Mako. Ten manages to break away, despite getting clobbered by her satchel again and hitting a telephone pole. He makes it home to see Lum serving tea to Mako, and begs Lum to help him out.
Lum sets him down by Mako, which is too much for Ten, who bolts from the room and returns with a lollipop that he had been planning to save for White Day but is giving her now instead. Mako is thrilled, and Lum explains that giving her candy means that he’s returning her affections. Ten protests that Ataru told him that giving her candy would break things off, but Lum says nope. Ten realizes that if Ataru is a fool, he’s been the fool who followed him, and that he and Mako are now officially married.
In the backyard, the couple are playing house, with Mako serving Ten a meal of dirt and grass. Ten is highly resistant, and the last straw comes when she tries to strip him for a bath. He escapes over the wall, only to be caught by Ataru, who was supposed to take him home but is happy to spend some time with Mako’s mother. Mako and Ten argue loudly about getting divorced and whether Ten can afford alimony. Lum flies in to catch Ataru with his arm around Mako’s mother, and blasts him against the wall, where he still has an unraveled thread from her sleeve wrapped around his fingers. Mako’s mother asks them to wrap things up, since her husband is coming home, and Ten tries to convince Lum to ditch the idiot and return to their home planet. She doesn’t take this well.
The electricity blows Ten into Mako’s arms and Ataru into Lum’s, and they kiss as the opening theme plays.
Changes from the manga version: In the first half, apart from the scene in the Beefbowl restaurant the two stories are identical. Likewise for the second half and the scenes in the classroom and Ten getting bad advice from Ataru.
Thoughts: I really like this episode (I always liked the corresponding chapter in the manga, as well). A lot of what I enjoy doesn’t summarize well–there’s a lot of funny dialogue and facial expressions/body language between Ten and Mako, as well as the seriousness with which Mako and the aliens take the Earth traditions, and Mako’s mother’s surreal detachment just heightens the effect. The character-driven episodes are some of my favorites, and this episode is entirely character-based, with no fantastic plot elements at all. There’s something very Calvin-and-Susie Derkins-like about Ten and Mako’s interactions (not unlike what we saw of young Shinobu and Ataru’s relationship). The giant “LAW” background bit cracks me up, too.
Next episode: Strange spheres that supposedly show you your perfect mate!