Sorry for the week off; over the weekend I managed to misplace the remote that changes the input on my TV, and since then it’s been a busy week.
Episode 82: “Full of Sunshine, Full of Amours”
Original airdate: August 24, 1983
Corresponding manga chapters: “A Little Bit of Sakura” and “I Want a Date By the Fickle Sea”, volume 14, chapters 9-10 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapters 144-145
Minor character introduced: Unnamed dolphin
Summary: It’s a beautiful day at the beach: seagulls circle lazily, children splash in the surf, and Sakura is sunbathing topless. (Facedown, but still. Although the umbrella’s shadow goes across the middle of her back, so it’s going to be an odd tan.) As she remarks to Shinobu, of all the beaches in Japan, the rest of the cast has to walk into hers; Mendou, Ataru and Ten aren’t complaining. Shinobu asks if she’s there alone, but seeing the boys listening in, she proclaims that it’s none of their beeswax.
Down by the shore, Ten is building a sand castle. Ataru comes over to look, and Ten tells him not to wreck it. Naturally, Ataru immediately digs a trench from the castle to the water, flooding and drowning it. An annoyed Ten says he’ll show them all, and pulls a wand out of his beach bucket, which he buries in the sand.
He quickly rebuilds the castle and challenges Ataru to a rematch. Ataru widens the trench, but the wave splashes over it without effect. A confused Ataru punches the castle, but it’s his hand that’s the worse for it. Lum explains that there’s a “Core” in the sand, which holds the sand into its shape; Ten demonstrates by turning it off, and it quickly washes away. The gears begin to turn in Ataru’s head (or the hamster runs faster on the wheel, or whatever).
Shinobu offers to pick up drinks, but the order is complicated, and Ataru suggests that Lum go as well. She accuses him of wanting to be alone to harass Sakura, but as he demonstrates, he can’t even pull on the string of her bikini top without getting a solid punch to the face, even when she’s asleep. As soon as they’re gone, he’s at work sculpting the sand into something more interesting than a castle. (Though why did he bother with the bikini?)
Ataru borrows the Core from Ten, for reasons that are fairly obvious. Mendou scoffs at the idea of an immobile sand love doll (think of the friction, man!) but Ten says that he can make it move, and furthermore it’s sold as a three-pack. Mendou immediately puts together his own, and with a third for Ten, they’re ready to go. Ten inserts the Cores, and after some pyrotechnics, there are three silent but real-looking Sakura duplicates. The boys are jubilant.
On the way back with the drinks, Shinobu and Lum have run into Tsubame, who says that Sakura invited him there because she wanted to talk about something, and he hopes it’s about their marriage. His good mood is shattered, though, when he sees Sakura with Ataru. He shoves the girls out of sight, and under the cover of an umbrella they stalk the couple. Ataru suggests they go somewhere more quiet, but when they pursue they run into Fake Sakura #2 on a rock with Mendou.
Mendou awkwardly makes a play for Fake Sakura, but gets no further than touching her hand before Shinobu brains him with a rock. (“It was a big rock!”) Back on the beach, a dejected Tsubame concludes that Sakura’s undiscriminating affections must mean that she brought him here to break up with him. Lum flies back to Ataru, sees him with Fake Sakura #1, and lets loose with the lightning. And back at the beach blanket, Sakura wakes up, puts her top back on, and sees Tsubame. She starts to go into what she wanted to tell him, but he says he already knows, pointing to Ten with Fake Sakura #3 as an example. Shinobu, Mendou and Fake Sakura #2 go by next, followed by Lum, Ataru and Fake Sakura #1.
Sakura demands of her doppelgangers what’s going on (and whether this has anything with all the Kryptonite on Earth turning into iron), and they mirror her words back at her (they can talk, apparently). The penny drops.
Ataru enthusiastically agrees, since the dolls don’t punch him when he rubs his face in their chest, as he proceeds to demonstrate. The real Sakura does, though, and a tug-of-war ensues between Ataru, Mendou, Tsubame, and the four Sakuras. Lum finally has enough, and turns off the duplicates, who vanish (but don’t appear to collapse into regular sand, oddly), leaving the real Sakura being trapped between and rubbed by the four males.
After the eyecatch, we find Ataru girlwatching on the beach. Lum asks if he’s going to swim, but he goes off to play beach ball with a group of girls instead. Lum goes to yell at him, but he puts in earplugs, and blatantly ignores her. Mendou comes along and invites her to swim, but she’d rather yell. She asks if he cares if she goes off with other boys, and he says it’s fine with him, which earns him an electrocution. From the water, a lonely pair of eyes watch.
They belong to a dolphin (which bears a strong facial resemblance to the goblin from last year’s beach episodes). It swims over (under?) to a trio of girls in the water and admires their legs. Each of them shrieks and is pulled underwater, and as they cling to their floating ring in fear, the dolphin surfaces to introduce himself.
He invites them out for a Coke, and offers his calling card (“Dolphin”), but they respond by screaming and swimming toward the horizon at top speed. The saddened dolphin sheds a tear and wishes he could become human, disappearing under the waves.
On a secluded rock (which appears to be the one that everyone visits to make out), Lum vows to show Darling by having an affair. As if by fate, the dolphin appears at that moment, but dithers over how to approach her. Lum saves him the trouble by leaning over and greeting him, and he hops onto the rock to talk to her. He’s surprised to find that she doesn’t think he’s weird, and gets a little pushy in asking her for a date. Lum flies off without a word, and the dolphin curses himself for overdoing it.
He’s still sitting there feeling sorry for himself when Lum returns and announces that she’ll go out with him. She attaches a small chip to him (the subs call it a “Mighty Morphin Ear-Ring”) which will let him become a handsome man. His form wavers and changes, but his standards could use some work.
Lum refuses to go out with him unless he’s actually handsome. His next effort has red-and-green stripes like he has Oni flu, and Lum snaps at him to try harder.
Back on the beach, Ataru is handing out colas to all the pretty girls and reveling in his success. His joy is dashed, however, when he sees Lum on the arm of a bronzed god in a Speedo. She sticks her tongue out at him and walks down the beach, drawing jealous stares from all the girls. Ataru goggles after them until his attention is broken by Mendou drawing his katana. Ataru pushes it away, saying that he’s aiming it at the wrong person. Mendou is unable to accept that Lum could go after someone like that when she has an unbelievably handsome man so close to home, and he’ll go kill him once he kills Ataru (on principle, presumably). He swings the katana downwards, and red liquid sprays into the air.
He’s a bit surprised to have hit a watermelon, but recovers quickly and distributes slices to the girls. Elsewhere, Lum and her beau continue their walk. The dolphin is pleased by all the attention, but his eyes begin to slip back to their original form, and Lum quickly warns him so he can change back. Lum spies Ataru watching, and leaves to fetch ice cream, hoping that Ataru will follow. The dolphin feels abandoned, until he notices the attention the girls are giving him. Ataru, watching from nearby, is less pleased.
Ataru is happy to call the kettle black, wondering how Lum can admire a womanizer like that, and is unaware that Lum is sitting and watching behind him while eating a popsicle. He snags a stray Frisbee and hucks it at the dolphin’s head, popping his eyes back. The girls stare, and Lum tramples Ataru to run over and haul him away.
They resume their walk, Ataru crawling after them hidden under a raft. He slaps one girl’s behind after the dolphin passes, earning him a slap, then trips him onto a topless sunbather. She claws at his face, and he sinks onto the sand, feeling sorry for himself. Mendou appears with an ice cream cone; the dolphin reaches for it, but Mendou knocks him aside and gives it to Lum while lecturing about how to treat a woman. A couple of girls appear to ask Mendou for corn on the cob. He leaves, and Lum gives the cone to the dolphin, but his eating technique has a certain Lickitung-meets-Ultra Klutz quality to it.
He begins to cry, saying that men are always beaten up or have to buy stuff for women. Lum consoles him, to Ataru’s disgust, but the dolphin takes her hands, thanking her but saying he was wrong to want to be a man. He hugs her, and Ataru runs to stop them. Lum is pleased that Ataru is jealous, until the dolphin shows his change of plans: he’ll be a human woman! Ataru quickly changes course, as does Lum’s mood, and it ends in a traditional grab-and club.
Changes from the manga version: Nothing of significance.
Thoughts: A couple of amusing but undistinguished manga-based episodes, sticking very closely to the original (the only original bit I can spot offhand is the dolphin sporting stripes). It’s easy by now to recognize the final panel vignette translated into animation (especially in the second segment, with the still image).
The first segment is a bit uncomfortable these days, between the unresisting Sakura dolls and the way that it ends with Sakura being mass groped. This is the downside to animation, since that moment lasts over a measurable period of time; in the manga it’s a single image, so it’s easier to imagine that the next moment is Sakura, Shinobu and Lum clobbering everyone. This one goes a bit over the usual line where Ataru is forward but doesn’t get anywhere, but at least things don’t go too far.
The second segment is more fun; while the dolphin looks sort of like the sea goblin from last summer and has a similar desire for companionship, he’s not as maudlin, and the image of him with the big round eyes is always funny. (I’m always amused by manga scenes where characters are shown as boggling with huge, circular eyes, and this bit hits the same button.)
It’s hard to quantify exactly how, but the characters are kind of off-model in the first segment, particularly around the eyes. (The image on the left is from the first segment, the one on the right from the second.) It seems a bit early to chalk it up to the animators being busy with the next movie, since it’s still six months in the future, and in the second segment they’re fine. Without animator credits I can’t tell if different staff worked on each chapter, so I’ll just shrug and chalk it up to “one of those things”.
Next episode: Ten vs. Ataru: all-out war!