This time for sure! It was probably premature to announce my triumphant return when I had a two week vacation coming up, but that’s over now, so away we go!
Episode 113: “The Horror of Outraged Oyuki!”
Original airdate: May 30, 1984
Corresponding manga chapters: “The Wrath of the Ice Queen, parts 1-3”, volume 21, chapters 5-7 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapters 215-217
Minor character introduced: Head of the Neptunian lemmings
Summary: It’s your standard phantasmagorical space landscape, and across it Ran is happily tisketing with her basketful of taiyaki. She’s brought up short by a sudden dusting of snow; looking up, she realizes that it’s coming from a dimensional vortex, just in time to be buffeted by falling space rodents.
She’s further brought down to discover that the lemmings are in her basket, eating her taiyaki.
Meanwhile, on Neptune, Oyuki is impassive as her speeder glides across the snow and ice fields (while the soundtrack plays an instrumental version of “Magical Mystery Tour”, which is kind of apt). When she disembarks, her attendants tell her that she has a visitor, viz an angry Ran, demanding satisfaction for her ruined date. Oyuki apologizes, but this just enrages Ran further, sending her into a tirade about how Oyuki is always distant and snobbish and can’t take care of her animals. When she’s yelled out, she turns to take her leave, but is taken aback when Oyuki agrees that the matter is unresolved. Her expression doesn’t betray her exact meaning, though.
Back in her UFO, Ran is still trembling, even though she still feels she’s in the right (and she does kind of have a point for once), and takes out her frustration by hurling her basket at the wall. A small figure drops out and locks gazes with her.
Elsewhere, we see Oyuki asking first Lum and then Benten if they’ve seen the leader of the Neptunian lemmings, which of course they haven’t. On her UFO, Ran isn’t sure how to react, but makes up her mind pretty quickly when it opens her fridge and starts gnawing on her food, spraying Coke in her face when she protests. Lum and Benten arrive to see her grab the lemming and threaten its furry little life. Benten teases her about kidnapping the lemming to get back at Oyuki. When they explain what’s going on, Ran goes kind of quiet and says she’ll take it back, to the others’ surprise. She asks Lum to come with her, and when Lum expresses surprise that anyone would be scared of Oyuki, explains her view of Oyuki’s personal flaws:
Benten lets her know that she has a call from the mean, persistent snake. Ran hides the lemming behind her back while denying that she’s seen it, but Benten helpfully asks Oyuki what she’d do if the lemming were with Ran, which is not implied to be anything good. Benten spots the lemming and expresses disappointment that they didn’t get into a quarrel, sending Ran into a frightened flashback from third grade: Oyuki protected Ran from a pursuing dinosaur, but when the dinosaur hurled its crest at her and sliced her sleeve, shit got real.
Ran can’t express the horrors that followed, intriguing Benten. Ran assures her that she couldn’t handle it, and when it starts snowing outside, matches actions to words by packing up a bundle to head for the hills. She opens the door to find Oyuki outside, apologizing for the sudden snowstorm resulting from her being in a hurry. Ran lets her in for some nervous chitchat and cheesecake, the latter of which she doses with a suspicious powder. Oyuki is about to take a bite when the head lemming jumps up, eats the piece from her fork, takes a bite from the slice on the plate, and collapses, unconscious.
Ran insists that she never saw that lemming before and anyway it’s eating all of her food, and she’s totally going to stand up to Oyuki and not run away, right before running out of the UFO. Lum explains that she’s expecting to be chastised, which Oyuki says isn’t the case. A messenger doll arrives, saying that Ran wants to apologize but can’t do it face to face; Lum thinks this is cute, right up until the doll explodes.
Lum and Oyuki are philosophical, but Benten is ticked off, both because she got exploded and because Benten isn’t angry about it (since she wasn’t hurt). The three take off at high speed on Benten’s motorcycle, with Oyuki there to keep Benten from hurting Ran (as Lum notes, inverting their roles). However, Ran isn’t exactly unprepared.
Benten dodges the incoming fire and prepares to repay the favor with a grenade. Oyuki feels that she shouldn’t bomb her friends, but when Lum points out that it’ll go off soon, agrees that it’s okay to discard it. It lands near Ran, leaving her disinclined to believe that they really come in peace. After several more shots, Lum flies down to explain that it’s okay, since Benten’s the one who loses her temper. With a flash of glee, Ran realizes that she can win, and draws the others down by waving a white flag. Benten hops off the motorcycle, and Ran immediately draws a sword out of her umbrella and holds it to her throat.
Ran disarms her with her hair chain (as an aside, Benten is pretty smokin’ with her hair down). Ran tries to back, but only as a ruse to pull a grenade out of her garter. (While this goes on, things near Oyuki are starting to freeze.) Lum tosses the grenade away, where in accord with the laws of universal humor it explodes near Ran and Benten. They scuffle (including Ran distracting Benten with a kiss), and wind up in the woods, where Ran tries to ambush Benten with a hammer bomb (also kept in her garter). Benten fetches her a slap across the face, and starts to feel a bit silly when Ran gets upset. Oyuki steps up to say that Ran needs to apologize or she’ll get upset, and as the snowy winds begin to swirl, Ran apologizes.
They fly back to Ran’s UFO, which has been left a mess by the lemming. Oyuki steps up to it, and despite Ran’s attempts to de-escalate, insists that it needs to be punished right away to learn its lesson. Benten ties up Ran so she can watch Oyuki get angry, and as she lectures the lemming on its lack of consideration, the winds begin to swirl. Benten isn’t impressed, even as the room starts to ice up, since she’s just being stern. Things pick up a little when she fills the room with a web of spiky ice spears, though.
The lemming tries to take refuge, first on Ran’s shoulder and then Benten’s boob, but that doesn’t stop Oyuki from sending ice spears at them, her anger at the lemming increasing as it tries to dodge responsibility.
Benten breaks her way out and bolts, joining the others as they all remember urgent appointments elsewhere. Their exit is cut off by a series of spikes that block the door and then nearly impale Ran and Benten. Her eyes glowing, Oyuki advances, grabs the lemming, and…gives it a long, boring talk about how disappointed she is that it’s not living up to its responsibilities.
Changes from the manga version: Benten sends Oyuki a letter with a photo of Ran with the lemming, rather than Oyuki just showing up. When she arrives, Ran tries to hit her on the head with a mallet, but hits a yeti instead. Lum gets involved in the scuffle in the woods, bringing in the second hammer bomb. Apart from that they’re the same.
Thoughts: I love this episode: it’s my favorite type of episode (character-driven story that starts small and builds), and takes it further by focusing on someone who usually doesn’t get the spotlight and extending her character in a new but believable direction, capping it with a classic Takahashi anticlimax. This is a case of a good adaptation of a good story rather than the animators bringing much new to it, but it pays off well. The animation is spot-on in capturing the character designs and expressions, as well, which really helps sell it.
More so than usual, Lum plays the role of the sensible one in the middle in this episode, since Oyuki is part of the mix rather than being imperturbable. The threat of her anger hangs over the situation more than her actual actions (it’s mostly apprehension on Ran’s part, since it’s not Ran she’s angry with) but since a) we’ve never seen her break her calm before and b) she’s the most powerful member of the regular cast, the threat by itself is pretty potent. Ran and Benten just have to act like themselves to keep things going.
This is one of the shortest gaps between the manga and the anime adaptation; the manga chapters ran in March 1984, and the episode aired at the end of May. I don’t know what the turnaround in making an episode was at this point, but they must have started on this one pretty soon after it ran to have it out this quickly. (Shifting the time from early spring to early summer gives Oyuki’s snowy winds more impact.)
Next episode: Ten falls in love with a ghost!