The Urusei Yatsura Viewing Project, part 62: “Space Cold Panic!”

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Episode 62: “Space Cold Panic!”

Original airdate: March 9, 1983

Corresponding manga chapter: “Cure for the Uncommon Cold”, volume 8, chapter 9 (Viz release)/volume 10, chapter 9 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapter 100

Summary: We open on a starscape, as a parody of the Space Battleship Yamato tells us, essentially, that space is weird.  Panning down to Earth, we see Mr. Invader sitting in Ataru’s room with Lum, sneezing.  (Lum shields herself from one sneeze with an issue of OMNI.  I wonder what He explains that there’s a flu going around, and that he’d better leave before Lum gets it.  When he’s gone, Ataru carefully slips back into the room, saying that it’s because he knows Lum is tattling on him to her father.

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Lum sneezes just as Mrs. Moroboshi calls out for dinner.  Ataru heads down without Lum, and mentions she’s not feeling well.  Mr. Moroboshi says he hopes she didn’t get sick from him; Ataru says he’d love the chance to take time off school, until his father reveals he has the mumps (!).

At school the next day, Lum is wearing a face mask and receiving sympathy from Mendou, to Ataru’s disgust.

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Ataru says that he’s surprised she got sick, since her sort are proverbial for not getting sick.  He starts to explain that idiots (baka) don’t get colds, then hastily tries to change it to “basuto” (bust) and “kawaii” (cute), meaning cute, big-breasted girls don’t get colds, which Megane points out is weak.  Perm interrupts him by whispering an idea in his ear, and the Stormtroopers pull Ataru into the hallway to ask him a favor: they want Lum’s mask.  Ataru haggles hard, until they say it would be easier to ask her themselves, and he accepts their offer of 2000 yen ($8.40).

In the classroom, a couple of the girls ask Shinobu if she’s worried about losing Mendou, but she points out in a world-weary manner that she can’t respond to Lum without appearing bullying or petty.  Mendou is still chatting her up when Ataru comes in and wishes her well, to her shock.  He tells her about the Earth “theory” that giving your cold to someone else helps you get better sooner, and takes the mask, then yells at her for coughing over his shoulder.

In the boys’ bathroom, the Stormtroopers fight over who gets an indirect kiss from Lum first, so Megane proposes dividing it up, Solomon-style.

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As the others are pounding Megane with brooms, all the other male students from 2-4 burst into the bathroom and demand the mask as well.  Megane refuses, of course, but the boys say that they’ve paid as well, and back in the classroom we see Ataru counting a pile of cash (I don’t know what Japanese money looked like at the time but one of the bills has 4 zeroes on it.) Back in the bathroom, the boys are lined up and trying on the mask for five seconds each (which is basically an indirect kiss orgy, but never mind).  Mendou bemoans what things have come to, though as Megane notes he’s also in line (or “just standing there” as Mendou puts it).

Lum feels Ataru’s forehead, but he doesn’t feel hot, and she concludes that Class is ready to begin, and Ataru goes to the bathroom to see what’s going on, and sees this:

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Ataru cracks up, until Megane hauls him before the mirror and shows him this:

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After the eyecatch, they fret over their situation, having apparently caught Lum’s cold.  Mendou chews them out for being childish, even though he has the stripes as well.  Ataru and Perm share an E.T. moment, until Mendou gets fed up and demands cold medicine of Ataru.  Ataru doesn’t have any, but they realize that Lum should have some.  They start filing back into class with masks covering their faces.  Onsen-Mark starts to yell at them for being late, but can’t really argue when they say they went to get masks for their colds.  Ataru’s situation is a little harder to swallow, though.

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Onsen-Mark rips Ataru’s glove-mask off, and runs out of the classroom in horror.  That’s when the boys notice Lum isn’t there, and Shinobu explains she left to rest in her UFO.  Mendou is overcome by the vapors; Shinobu is thrilled when he throws himself on her shoulder, until the mask comes off and reveal his visage to the girls, who run in horror.  Shinobu says they’re through, and adds “When you take away your looks, what have you got left?” Mendou just stammers, rather than giving the obvious answer, “My money?”

In the infirmary, the boys’ situation is rendering Sakura helpless with mirth.  She’s up for the challenge, though, and prepares to experiment on a poor, dumb animal, namely Cherry.  She rubs Ataru’s face on the back of Cherry’s head, and the striped handprint appears on him as well.  Analyzing the results, she brews up an antidote, but it just makes the marks more complicated rather than removing them.

Outside, the boys corner Ataru and demand he do something  He protests that he can’t fly, and inspiration strikes: they can find Jariten.  Ataru runs home to look for him.

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They comb the neighborhood, but no dice: Ataru is going to have to use the final option, putting out bait.

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Ten immediately zooms out of a clear blue sky and is trapped under the basket.

Cut to him flying up to Lum’s UFO, where she’s sleeping in a glass coffin that kind of looks like the one Kurama uses for cold sleep. Rather than wake her up, he looks through a case of medicines, finally taking something beginning with “C” more or less at random.  Back in the schoolyard, he gives the medicine to the boys, who note that it tasted funny but are glad to be on the verge of a cure.  The last to take it is Mendou, tearful that his good looks will soon return.  After taking it, he throws the bottle over his shoulder, where we see that the alien script appears to read “CAUTION!”.

Back at home, Ataru is toweling himself off in the bath.  Looking in the mirror, he takes off the glove and is thrilled to see the marks fade.  He’s less thrilled when this happens:

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At school the next day, Onsen-Mark asks Ataru why he’s completely swathed in bandages, and is told “My cold got worse, sir”.  We pull back out with another “space is weird” speech, this one a parody of the Japanese opening of Star Trek.

Changes from the manga version: The scenes at Ataru’s house (except for the opening with Lum’s father) and Shinobu and Mendou aren’t in the manga.

Thoughts: (Sorry if this is brief, I need to get to bed soon.) Another in the run of fun, inconsequential, close-to-the-manga chapters.  The additions to the story are good ones, though, since they’re well-done character bits (particularly Shinobu’s “seventeen going on forty” attitude), and the stripes are really striking in color. (I have come to accept that the characters are seventeen, since it’s been repeated a lot at this point.) The “alien stuff affects humans” theme is also back again.  We’ve jumped back a ways in the manga, without an obvious reason like the Valentine’s Day episode, apart from it being winter and thus “cold and flu season”.

Next episode: Introducing Ryuunosuke!

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