Something stranger than usual is happening at Tomobiki High School. While setting up their café for the school festival, Ataru, Lum, Mendou and the rest of the gang discover that they have been reliving the same day repeatedly. To make matters worse, everything seems to be going downhill fast as their world begins to turn upside-down.
summary by Eek
Highs: Wonderful and imaginative; Japanese folktale woven into story; hilarious in between the seriousness
Lows: Anyone unfamiliar with Urusei Yatsura may miss out; fluctuating animation levels
Let me get this out of the way first: with exception for watching a few stray episodes of Urusei Yatsura, I had never been exposed to this franchise. Upon watching Urusei Yatsura Movie II: Beautiful Dreamer, I instantly knew that I had been missing out on a classic series that offers far more than what it lets itself on to be.
Although the beginning of Beautiful Dreamer is filled with the usual hilarity and chaos that is characteristic of the series, what follows quickly turns into one of the most imaginative rides that anime has to offer. Partially based upon the story of Urashima Taro, the movie successfully combines a Japanese folktale with Urusei Yatsura‘s chemistry to create an original and awe-inspiring story. While you are not being impressed by the attention-grabbing story, you will be laughing at just about everything else, including parodies of early 1980s movies, poking fun at Japanese mythology and the usual mayhem that the franchise is well-known for.
However, anyone who is unfamiliar with the television series will probably end up not getting a lot of the humor and puns that are built into the series. Granted, this is the same for many series, but for such an old franchise, a lot of the humor may be lost on younger audiences. One slight quirk that does not go over well: the animation levels were shifting quite a lot. For a movie, animation that is smooth as glass is expected, and although this is the case a lot of the time, one too many scenes reverted to animation styles used in television series. For instance, panning a single cel, looping multiple cels and stills.
Despite being my awkward introduction to an older series, Beautiful Dreamer still possesses what is needed to compete with newer series like El-Hazard that push the bounds of imagination in anime.