Urusei Yatsura Vol.2 – Manga Review

Story and Art By: Rumiko Takahashi
Published By: Viz Media


The electric comedy manga returns in its second volume! Urusei Yatsura Vol.2 will get you swept away through 19 wild chapters. The story goes through the everyday life of the libido with legs, Ataru Moroboshi. The delirious love triangle with earthling Shinobu and the super charged alien, Princess Lum, gets an added layer of complexity all while being a great reintroduction to the cacophony of characters that stole our hearts in parts 1 & 2.

The biggest change to the story is Chapter 5: Trouble Rains Down. In it, a new student arrives to Ataru’s high school. Shutaro Mendo, the wealthy heir of the Mendo family, makes his way onto the scene the only way someone of his ego can. His dive off of a private helicopter sets the tone for the majority of parts 3 and 4! Shutaro could be considered Ataru’s womanizer rival. In other words, the love triangle mentioned earlier evolves into a square.

Complexity of the story aside, the most enjoyable part for me in Urusei Yatsura Vol.2 is the pure energy Rumiko Takahashi puts into every panel. When the scene isn’t so serious, the lines are a bit looser, the style more easy going and feathery. When the scene commands attention, there is a clear example of added care and skill in the drawings. The technique and shape of the characters’ faces, very much typical and nostalgic for the years these chapters were first published. Urusei Yastura had its first publication in Weekly Shonen Sunday, September 1978 and ran for 8 years and pushed out 374 chapters in that time! We are only about 40 chapters in, so we got a while to go, Volume wise! 

Speaking of time, these series of chapters in Urusei Yatsura Vol.2 likes to play around with time travel. In the first chapter of Part 3, we are taken back in time to a different kind of Japan. In it, we see nods to old Japanese folklore and a different perspective of a historical figure. Even the art style seems to draw inspiration from the early works of Japan’s past. Urusei Yatsura is a series aware of its audience, aware of its audience’s history, as well as able to look forward to greater things. It may feel that I’m looking a bit too much into a comedy manga. But, underneath the silliness, there’s a real sense of development among these characters. Shinobu is starting to question her loyalty to the most obtuse high-school student. Ataru, although still a hopeless pervert, does begin to see the true beauty of those around him. As for Lum herself, in her attempts to impress and win the affection of Ataru, she manages to succeed at least twice in this volume.

Urusei Yatsura Vol.2 also features the return of Character Data Files that have been seen in previous renditions, including tankōbon publications. Unsurprisingly, these Volume publications are simple re-prints of the original Viz Media publications. Although despite having good reception,  a little digging reveals that several chapters were never covered in tankōbon publications. So to this date, we still do not have a complete official translation of Urusei Yatsura. If you had a reason to start collecting this lovable series, this would be it! The new volumes of the series is freshly translated and with any luck, we could be getting 2 whole volumes worth of new official translated material. What a fantastic way to start a new series from the start! 

Know that Urusei Yatsura Vol.2 is one volume in a ground-breaking effort to give U.S. fans a reintroduction to the world they fell in love with in the 90’s. Its humor is timeless, and even some of the jokes that were clearly meant to be puns seem to carry over well regardless. It takes a lot of work to translate play-on words. If its one overlooked aspect of this new omnibus, it’s that Viz Media has a wonderful translation team and we look forward to seeing everything they can do. The title of the series itself, Urusei Yatsura, is a play on words; a testament to what has to be dealt with within the actual pages. Whether it be because you are looking for a new series, or are excited at the prospect of a true complete volume set, know that a world full of magic, coincidence and the worst luck in the world awaits. Have fun experiencing the electrifying world only Rumiko Takahashi herself is capable of creating.