The Urusei Yatsura Viewing Project, part 103: “Video Mail of Revenge!”

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Episode 103: “Video Mail of Revenge!”

Original airdate: March 7, 1984

Corresponding manga chapters: Recap episode; same as original segments

Summary: Ran sits in her UFO, alone in the dark, and a tear drips into her wineglass.  From nowhere, a voice calls “Crybaby!”.  Ran looks around and traces the voice to a collection of stuffed animals.

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The Rei doll jumps up and offers her a bouquet of flowers.  Ran blinks, and the doll is immobile again.  She crawls into bed, and has a dream recalling her past with Rei and Lum [Episode 18b, “Ran’s Invitation].  A single tear gleams on her cheek.  The next day, her mail robot has a delivery for her.

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She’d rather wallow in self-pity, so she shoves the robot away multiple times until it finally snaps at her, and she scolds it for talking out of turn.  Inside, the package contains what appears to be a Betamax tape.  It has a greeting from Rei, and then plays a litany of Ran’s childhood interactions with Lum (interspersed with Rei’s greeting each time):

  • They’re sharing a bath.  Lum breaks the faucet and it overflows.  Ran blames Lum but gets spanked for spreading blame.
  • Ran’s dart destroys her mother’s robot doll.  Lum takes the blame on herself but Ran is spanked for lack of honesty.
  • Lum throws a rock at a giant lizard; it chases them and she flies them up to a cliff.  She makes Ran pay for half the ice cream that she said was going to be her treat.
  • Lum sleeps over at Ran’s house and wets the bed during the night.  She switches spots with Ran, but when confronted denies it, and Ran is spanked for spreading blame again. [Episode 31, “Gimme Back My Horn”; episode 35, “Darling’s Gonna Get It This Time!”]

Ran is understandably upset, and wonders aloud who could have sent it, although she’s temporarily taken out of it by Rei’s greeting playing again.  After the eyecatch, we see her walking down the street with a similar-looking wrapped parcel, which she takes to the post office.  Her mail robot catches a glimpse of her as she returns, skipping through the flowers in a way that suggests she’s on drugs.

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The mail robot launches himself to the full extent of the telescoping device he’s attached to, and gives her another parcel.  He’s pleased that he didn’t get smacked, until he notices that his hat fell off and it starts to rain. (Why someone would build a robot with a combover is a mystery for the ages.)

Inside, Ran unwraps the parcel (using the same footage as the previous scene).  No Rei this time: it goes straight into a replay of her first Earth encounter with Lum and Ataru (episode 18a, “Girls’ Day!  The Coming of Ran”).  It goes from Ran’s threat against Ataru to the conflict in the infirmary from episode 35, implying that they’re from the same story.  She discovers from this that Ataru resisted her youth-draining kiss due to Cherry’s youth potion.  From there it replays the conclusion of episode 38, “Steal Darling!  The Copy Operation!!”

Ran smashes the TV in a rage, and amidst her angry rampage through her furniture explains the source of the videos.

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The mail robot calls out that there are more tapes for her.  A hatch opens in the wall and buries her under videotapes, but she digs herself out and swears not to give up.

Thoughts: Well, it’s a recap episode, so there’s not a lot to say.  The combination of making the movie and being near the end of the season means that a recap isn’t too surprising.  There aren’t a lot of Ran-centric episodes to draw from, and since she’s not in Lum’s class she’s not in the background as much as some characters, so we get relatively lengthy sequences from a few episodes rather than a bunch of quick cuts.

How did Ran only find out about the youth potion from watching the video when she was the one who made it?  Or is she just really good at compartmentalizing?

Next episode: Another recap episode, this time about Sakura!

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