TITLE: Urusei Yatsura: The Return of Lum Issue #1
YEAR: March 1983
COMPANY: Viz Select Comics
Story and Art by Rumiko Takahashi
Translation by Gerard Jones and Mari Morimoto
Editors: Satoru Fujii & Annette Roman
Executive Editor: Seiji Hirobuchi
Publisher: Keizo Inoue
Back in 1977, mangaka (manga artist) Rumiko Takahashi created a short story called “Those Selfish Aliens” and after that short story was nominated for Shogakukan’s “Best New comic Artist Award”, Rumiko Takahashi would create “Urusei Yatsura” at the age of 21-years-old.
The manga series appeared on Shogakukan’s “Weekly Shonen Sunday” in September 1978 and an anime series adaptation would be created in 1981.
“Urusei Yatsura” manga series would last from 1978-1987 (34 volumes were published and 374 chapters created), while the anime series would last from 1981-1986 and a total of 195 episodes were created and various OVA’s and animated films were also created.
In 1994, Rumiko Takahashi stated that she will not produce any more content and while it’s been decades since “Urusei Yatsura” was released, the character of Lum is still celebrated in Japan through cosplay, sales campaigns and commercials.
Viz Media licensed the series for release in English under the title “Lum * Urusei Yatsura” but the series was dropped after 8 issues. While the series would be featured in the magazine “Animerica”, Viz Media would release “The Return of Lum” as a monthly publication and would last through 1998 with the first 11 volumes were covered (note: the comic book version would only feature two chapters and several chapters were excluded, so a total of nine English volumes of the series were released).
For those not familiar with “Urusei Yatsura”, the series would focus on the ultimate pervert, Ataru Moroboshi. Despite having a girlfriend, Shinobu Miyake, his eyes are always on any beautiful girl.
But one day, an alien race known as Oni arrive on Earth and instead of taking over the Earth by force, they give humans a chance to fight for the rights of their planet in a competition. The challenge is a game of tag and if a human player can touch the horns on the head of the Oni player within one week, Earth would be spared.
And sure enough, Ataru Moroboshi from the city of Tomobiki was selected and the Oni player is Princess Lum, daughter of the leader of the Invasion force.
Despite his reluctance, Ataru becomes interested when he sees the scantily clad Lum but when he tries to catch her, he is unable to. But when Shinobu tells Ataru that she will marry him if he wins, on the final day of competition, the ultimate pervert steals Lum’s bikini top which distracts her and while she uses her hands to cover up, he grabs on to her horns.
As Ataru celebrates that he will be getting married and tells everyone on television, Lum and the Oni think that Ataru is talking about being engaged to Lum. So, Lum moves in with Ataru. And each time Ataru tries to get close with Shinobu or any women, Lum uses her electric shocks to attack Ataru as punishment.
In “Urusei Yatsura: The Return of Lum”, while I’m not sure what chapter this is in the Japanese version, the first issue shows Ataru going jogging for the past 13 days. Why would Ataru become so athletic as of late? Lum finds out it’s because there are girls and women he spots during his running route.
One day, while he and Shinobu are out, he sees a woman about to jump and end her life, but Ataru sees a coin in the middle of the road. When he goes to reach the Y1000, the woman jumps on top of him and he saves her life.
And for some reason, this would lead to Ataru becoming extremely lucky. But what is generating all the luck for Ataru, since he usually has bad luck.
In the second chapter, Lum watches a drama and learns about dating. So, wanting to experience what a date is, she and Ataru go on a date. But when Ataru sees his friend Kosuke on a double date, they all go out for dinner and Ataru tells Lum to emulate Kosuke’s date, not knowing that she has a bottomless stomach.
Overall, “Urusei Yatsura: The Return of Lum” is always an entertaining manga (and the anime is just as fun). But unfortunately, back then, Viz Comics were just hard to find. Most comic stores were not aware of Viz Media and anime/manga, was starting to generate interest in America.
And to make things tough, Viz Comics were more expensive than a regular comic book that was selling for $.99 to $1.25 at that time. At $2.99 per comic book (which is not surprising considering that licensing fees were expensive back then and even a Japanese animated LD with one 30 min. episode was $39.99 in the early ’90s).
While we have seen Rumiko Takahashi’s “Ranma 1/2” re-released in graphic novel format, hopefully one day, Viz Media will consider releasing the entire “Urusei Yatsura” in graphic novel in an uncut format.