Episode 86: “Outraged! Piteous Boy Shutaro!”
Original airdate: October 12, 1983
Corresponding manga chapters: “Miserable Shuutaro”/”Kill, Shuutaro, Kill”, volume 17, chapters 10-11 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapters 178-179
Minor character introduced: Young Shutaro Mendou
Summary: On a dark and windy night, loud cries ring out across the Mendou estate. Inside the mansion, two family goons stand guard outside a door. Ryoko approaches on her Kabuki pantomime horse, asking after the source of the noise, but the guards turn her aside, saying that the Young Master won’t allow anyone inside during his special training. As she argues with them, we cut to the inside, which is full of large clay jars, some intact and some shattered. A crack appears in one jar to reveal Mendou, who shatters it as he bursts free.
He falls to his hands and knees, breathing hard, and curses himself for breaking the jar again. Outside, Ryoko bribes the guards with a massive raise, and they open the door to let her in just as Mendou limps out. She calls out to him, but he doesn’t respond, even after she hits him on the head with a mallet twice (though the second time is due more to unconsciousness).
Fade to Ataru’s room, where two of the kuroko are telling Lum and Ataru about this. They conclude from the mention of his unconsciousness that his training must be extreme, and we cut to them talking to Mendou (with a bandage on the back of his head) on his estate. They say that everyone’s worried, since he’s missed the past few days of school.
Ataru insists that he’s concerned, then charges off to shoo Cherry away from his share of the food. Lum asks what his training is, and he starts to pour his heart out; he wanted to keep it secret until it was done, but he’s been at it for 10 days to no effect. At this point he discovers that he’s talking to Kotatsu Neko and Lum has joined Ataru at the table.
Mendou leads Lum into his training room; she asks if it involves pickled vegetables, but he demonstrates by jumping into a jar and putting a rock on the lid. It’s not long before his phobias kick in, and he rises out of the jar again. Lum surmises that he’s trying to cure his phobias, and Ataru, Shinobu and Ryuunosuke pop up around him to offer various levels of pity or mockery. After they express the general opinion that this training won’t work, Lum suggests that he go back in time to address the roots of the problem. She pulls a mini-time machine out of her bra and attaches it to the jar; they’re all sucked in and expelled from the estate’s octopus fountain.
Mendou is just expressing his surprise at how easy time travel is when he’s smacked on the head with a bokken wielded by his younger self. Young Shutaro pulls out a whistle to summon the guards. Mendou’s attempt to exert his authority doesn’t go well.
The others run, Lum carrying young Shutaro in her arms. They take refuge in a clearing somewhere on the estate while Lum flies young Shutaro into the air and tries to engage him. He rejects every topic of conversation as she flies him around the estate, flying higher and higher, until suddenly she drops him from a great height. He’s just about to land on Ryuunosuke when she catches him at the last minute.
Following a quick cutaway to Mendou lying unconscious at the feet of the guards, young Shutaro angrily berates the others. Shinobu thinks he’s adorable (easy on the shotacon there, Shinobu), but Ataru is annoyed, and the two of them trade insults until Lum pops a large bell over Shutaro. Rather than freak out he continues his insults, and Lum releases him, saying that he hasn’t developed the phobias yet. Shutaro kicks Ataru in the shins, and Ataru slaps him, causing him to burst into tears. Lum chides him, and he picks up Shutaro to teach him a proper lesson.
A shadow falls across him, caused by Mendou, who has his hand on the hilt of his sword and is not amused. He confesses to playing dead to escape, and tries to cheer up young Shutaro, who refuses comfort from a commoner. Ataru smacks Shutaro again, and while Mendou argues with Ataru, Shinobu grabs him and says she’ll protect him. He vows to marry her, and when Lum steps in to protect him from Ataru’s wrath, vows to marry her as well. Ryuunosuke rolls her eyes at the ensuing bickering, and pats Shutaro on the head to commiserate about the arguing idiots. Shutaro rejects the sympathy of a man, and gets clobbered to the sound of Ryuu’s catchphrase. Ataru tries to get him to apologize, and knocks him on his face in the process. Mendou steps up to protect him, since a a soul wound can be ignored but a facial scar is forever. Shutaro looks up, smiles, and then pulls an octopus on the two of them.
He runs as they give chase, agreeing that the brat needs to be taught a lesson, although Mendou doesn’t agree that he should be killed for the good of society. Their chase is cut short when they disappear into a pit trap, to Shutaro’s glee. The girls go to look for the boys, only to find them surrounded by family guards. Rather than beat them up, though, the guards just put a garbage can over him and let him freak out. Ryuunosuke is about to intervene, but Lum counsels patience; she wants to observe further.
Back in the present, the Stormtroopers are running around the mansion, trying to find Lum and Ataru. Megane tries to figure out what those five being missing means (while deflecting numerous distractions from Cherry), and finally concludes they’re up to…something. They set out to search really thoroughly this time. Perm and Megane discover the training room (thinking that it might be for brewing sake) and Megane is accidentally sucked into the time portal, pulling Perm in with him. They find themselves in the octopus fountain, discussing the weather and that it’s supposed to be a lucky day.
Inside the mansion, young Shutaro rides a rocking horse and threatens to cut Ataru and Mendou into pieces.
Young Shutaro fires a series of flaming arrows at Mendou, but he manages to catch them all, and laughs triumphantly. Shutaro isn’t having this, and is egged on by Ataru, who’s effected a Roger Rabbit-like escape and is lounging next to him. (“How did you get out?” *handwave* “Oh, don’t sweat the small stuff.”) He says that he won’t get anywhere that way, and they start hurling larger, harder objects instead.
Outside, three guards sit around a table, finishing a meal. Abruptly one is pulled into the bushes, one is hit with a table, and one is electrocuted by Lum. The girls dress themselves in the guards’ outfits, confirming for Perm and Megane (watching from the bushes) that this is indeed a lucky day.
The three are making their disguised way through the mansion when another guard calls them over for a job. Meanwhile, Shutaro takes aim at Mendou with a rifle (which fires suction cup darts, followed by a bazooka that fires a toilet plunger). Mendou curses out Ataru for being a turncoat, but he whispers that he’s just playing along so they can escape, and swats him with the plunger for emphasis. Mendou isn’t buying, even when Ataru distracts Shutaro, hits him on the head, and blames it on Mendou.
The guards wheel in an enormous bell (pushed by Lum and company) and drop it over Mendou, Everyone laughs, which sends Shinobu into a fantasy of rescuing him.
Their cover blown, the girls pound holy hell out of the guards. Shutaro yells at Ataru to join the fray, but he can’t be bothered, and casually admits to having switched sides. Angrily, Shutaro pulls out a stick of dynamite and threatens to light it if he doesn’t back off. Behind him, a crack appears in the bell, and Mendou emerges as it breaks in half. They reflect that the benefit of his training was to make him very strong (“sounds plausible”).
Mendou advances on Ataru, who grabs Shutaro. Shutaro tosses the dynamite at Mendou, who catches it and throws it away, into the arms of Megane. Ataru runs away with Shutaro in his arms, while Mendou chases with a mace. They take refuge in the room of jars, hiding in one while Mendou plays Whack-a-mole. Ataru jumps out to lure him away, while Shutaro is left huddling in a jar. Mendou chases Ataru, but begins threatening Shutaro, and tracks him to his jar.
Fortunately, Ataru KOs him with a jar, and the group decides it’s time to leave. In the present, Mendou comes to, and when Ataru drops a bell on him it’s demonstrated that he still has his phobias. Everyone shrugs as they realized they didn’t figure out the roots of his issues. Meanwhile, in the past, the guards call out that they’ve found the Young Master–who’s pulled out of the jar, weeping and shouting “It’s dark! It’s confined!”
Changes from the manga version: When the guards have Ataru and Mendou trapped in a hole, they start to fill it in rather than put a garbage can over Mendou. The subplot (such as it is) with the Stormtroopers is new, of course. The shot of Mendou breaking out of the bell is surprisingly non-dramatic compared to the manga:
(There is a closer shot of Mendou splitting the bell, but it goes by in a fraction of a second.)
Thoughts: We haven’t had a character-driven episode in a while, and this one’s a lot of fun. We’ve seen most of the other characters in their youth before (Lum and her friends several times, and Ataru and Shinobu when Lum traveled back in time to condition Ataru), but this is the first time we’ve seen young Mendou. (She’s not in the manga, but in the anime there’s a brief shot of young Ryoko as well.)
The image of Mendou splitting the bell is an iconic one, to the point that it’s the pose they used for the blind-box figures released several years ago, albeit in his more familiar white uniform.
Next episode: Mushrooms lead to a show of talents!