This contains all liner notes for the tv series up to voulem 20.
Ep. 1, Story 1: "I'm Lum the Notorious!"
When the left fielder shouts, "Ataru zo! Ataru!" he means (and this is what the subtitles say), "It's gonna hit you!" But the character whose name is Ataru thinks that someone is calling his name, completely misunderstanding the shouting, with predictable results.
In the scene where Ataru first meets the invader (Lum's Father), Ataru's first response is to intone the phrase "Oni wa soto..." This phrase is part of the ritual incantation "Oni wa soto... fuku wa uchi," which means Oni (devil/evil) outside the house, luck inside. This phrase is typically used during Makemaki (a kind of bean-throwing ceremony intended to ward off Oni). In this case, Ataru is invoking it against real Oni, in an attempt to make them go away.
Ataru saying that he'd "rather go to Iscandar than fight and be killed by an Oni" is a reference to the highly popular Uchuu Senkan Yamato ("Space Battleship Yamato," better known in America as "Star Blazers") anime/manga series, created by Matsumoto Leiji and Nishizaki Yoshinobu. Iscandar, a planet some 148,000 light-years from Earth, in the Greater Magellanic Cloud, was the destination of the Yamato on its original voyage, a last-ditch attempt to save mankind from annihilation, much the situation that Ataru finds himself in at this point, though he thinks the trip to Iscandar would be the less risky venture.
When Shinobu calls Lum "oni no onnanoko"--"Oni-girl"--the phrase has a double meaning. There is its literal description of Lum as a girl of the Oni, and its more common slang meaning of calling a woman a "devil-girl," which roughly equates to calling a woman a "bitch" in English.
The word for Tag in Japanese is "Onigokko," which, literally translated, means "Game of the Oni." Naturally, therefore, the Oni would have it as their favorite sport.
Ataru has a number 4 on his running shirt. In Japan, "4" is actually an unlucky number, because it has two different pronunciations--"yon" and "shi," where the latter "shi" also happens to be a pronunciation for "death."
The guys interviewed on the news: Tanaka Kakuei was the Prime Minister who opened the way for normalizing relations with China (ending relations with Taiwan), and then went to jail in the Lockheed-Marubeni bribery scandal (think of Richard Nixon for an American parallel). He also provides a textbook example of pork-barrel politics: his home constituency of Niigata Prefecture still think well of him for all the good things he did for them, in spite of all the bad things he did in office--well enough to keep electing him in spite of his poor health. Again, like Nixon, he never admitted his guilt in the scandal. But unlike Nixon, he retained his popularity despite his involvement in scandal. Egawa Suguru, a high-powered high-school pitcher, became notorious for breaking the rules of the Japanese baseball draft, which require that one go to the team which drafts one, or not play at all. Instead, he cut an under-the-table deal to join the Yomiuri Giants, where he really wanted to go, by taking advantage of a loophole in the draft rules. His sneakiness, combined with a lackluster professional record, resulted in a love-hate relationship with his fans. The joke here is that, even though the fate of the Earth is at stake, he still thinks only of himself.
When Ataru grabs Lum's horns, he starts muttering, "I can get married!" Lum misinterprets his meaning, and agrees to marry him. The joke here is based on a myth that says that an Oni has to grant a wish to whoever grabs its horns. Ataru simply wasn't specific enough about his wish. This particular myth originated in Nara, where deer herds are abundant, and bucks are routinely shorn of their horns as a method of population control.
Ep. 1, Story 2: "It's Raining Oil in Our Town"
The words "Senshoo," "Tomobiki," "Sembu," "Butsumetsu," "Taian," and "Shakkoo" are known as "Rokki," a kind of "Rekichu," or diary reference, in Buddhist reckoning. They refer to how "lucky" a given day will be. These names are used to determine which days will be best for important events, especially weddings. "Taian," the luckiest day, means "great peace." "Tomobiki," which means "pulling friends" or "friends coming along," is the name of the high school and area of Tokyo (fictional) where much of the series takes place. It also means a day of no winners and no losers, wherein the early morning and late afternoon are lucky, and the rest of the day is unlucky, as opposed to "Shakkoo," which is just the opposite. People try to avoid having funerals on Tomobiki, because, as its name states, it will pull friends along, and cause them to suffer the same fate as the deceased. "Butsumetsu," which means "the death of Buddha," is considered the unluckiest day, and is also the name of the girls' school next to Tomobiki High. "Senshoo" means that the morning is lucky, and the afternoon is unlucky. It also means that one will be lucky with things which one is doing in a hurry. "Sembu" is the reverse: unlucky mornings, lucky afternoons, and luck in taking things easy. The joke about using these names for place names is that no one would normally even think of using them to name a place. Calling a school "Butsumetsu," for example, connotes a feeling of extreme unluckiness--certainly not a place where one would want to send one's daughter.
Early on, Shinobu says, "Don't call for Lum! If you do, she'll take over your life for sure!" The word she uses in Japanese, "toritsukareru," implies something evil is taking over, say, a parasite or an evil spirit. In other words, it means that Megane's plot to sacrifice Ataru in a ritual aimed at summoning Lum back to Earth will result in Lum taking possession of Ataru if it succeeds--a sort of techno-magic pun.
The term "UFO" is used in the series to refer not just to "unidentified flying objects." Lum's spacecraft is referred to as "Lum's UFO," for example. This is because UFO doesn't mean "unidentified flying object" in Japanese. It means basically any alien spacecraft.
Ep. 2, Story 3: "Mail From Space--Ten Arrives!"
In this story, Ten, Lum's cousin, arrives on Earth like Momotaro ("Peach Boy," a famous character in an old Japanese legend), encapsulated inside a peach. In the Momotaro legend, a very old, childless married couple, find the gigantic peach, talk about it for a while, then decide to "cut it up and see!" And bingo, there is a boy inside! In the story, Mrs. Moroboshi says the same thing, and then tries to slice the peach in question. The peach is very tough, and the knife doesn't go through--because Ten is doing the infamous Ninja sword-master trick! (stopping the incoming swing of a sword with bare hands above his head, which in Japan is considered one of the most difficult techniques, which can only be mastered after decades and decades of sword training!) Ten's name is also a joke. It's derived from "ten," meaning 'the place above the clouds, or heaven' where the Oni reside. Most people refer to "ten" as just that, and use "tengoku" to mean the utopia-heaven. And, on top of all this, Ten speaks in Osaka dialect.
Ten's calling Ataru's Mother "Oneechan" (dear young miss) in one scene is a blatant attempt to get on her good side.: In Japan, most women above the age of about 30, especially if they are mothers, would be called "Obasan" (auntie), especially by young children. Calling Mrs. Moroboshi "Oneesan," let alone "Oneechan," is either high praise or cheap flattery, depending on the situation. Needless to say, she eats it up with a spoon.
Propane delivery: In Japan, propane is a commonly-used fuel for stoves and heating. So propane companies deliver propane containers to homes.
Ep. 3, Story 5: "The Coming of Rei, the Handsome Shapechanger!"
This episode begins with a word play on "Ke." Unfortunately, unless you are able to read the Kanji used in the script, you can't understand it! Mrs. Moroboshi thought that Cherry said "Hair of something," though what Cherry really meant was "some evil thing." Both these words can be pronounced "Ke" in Japanese. Most likely, 99% of the original audience didn't get it as well!
Cherry follows up that pun with a somewhat more successful one on his own name. He introduces himself as "Sakuramboo," writing it with kanji that read "deranged monk." Mrs. Moroboshi misunderstands again, assuming the more familiar meaning of "cherry." Cherry then proceeds to reinforce her confusion by telling her to call him "Cherry," thus completing the pun.
The scene where Mrs. Moroboshi tries to keep her husband from leaving her after she gives Rei the eye is based on a classic Japanese melodrama called Konjikiyasha, originally a serial in the Yomiuri Times in 1897 by Ozaki Kooyoo, followed by a sequel in 1903 which was serialized in Shinshoosetsu Magazine. The story deals with the relationship between a couple, Kanichi and Omiya, who are engaged to be married. But Omiya decides to marry another man, because he offered her a diamond ring. Disappointed, Kanichi makes a famous quotation: "Tonight, I will make the moon cloud over with my tears." Eventually, Kanichi avenges himself by becoming a loan shark, and using the influence that this gives him to ruin Omiya and her husband. Mr. Moroboshi's use of a slightly modified version of this quotation in this scene, combined with the appropriately melodramatic background and music, lampoon yet another classic Japanese story.
Ep. 3, Story 6: "Die, Ladykiller!"
"Tora no Maki" (lit. "Tiger's scroll") is a nickname/synonym for "Anchoko/Anchoku" which means cheatsheet or super-easy study guide. In this case, it's a word play. Since Rei has tiger features, combined with the tiger markings on the scroll itself, his cheatsheet becomes 'Rei's Scroll,' or a literal as well as a figurative 'Tora no maki.'
Ep. 4, Story 7: "Kintaro From the Autumn Sky!"
Mr. Moroboshi's first lines in this story are a quotation from a famous letter called "ippitsu keijoo," which is considered a best shortest letter, from the Edo era. It was written by a samurai servant, and addressed to his wife. "Hi no youjin"--Literally, "Watch out for fires." Fire was the primary cause of disasters back then. "Osen nakasuna"--Lit. "Don't make the children cry." Parents wanted (they still do, of course) their kids to be peaceful and happy, and never wanted them to feel unhappy about anything. "Uma koyase"--Lit. "Let the horses eat all they want." Back then, people (esp. samurai) raised horses, and horses meant transportation. Actually, much more than that, as a Samurai's job required responsiveness and ability to move about quickly.
The letter is considered the best, because it told the basic necessities for the author at the time, using so few words. The joke here is that Mr. Moroboshi is answering Mrs. Moroboshi's question about what he thinks of his family by reciting the Ippitsu Keijoo.
"Koinobori" are carp streamers, a kind of flag shaped like carp, raised to celebrate Children's Day in the spring (May 5). The joke here is that no one raises them in the autumn.
"Mushiboshi" is what people do to dry out clothes, etc., stored up for a long time, to make sure that bugs and mold don't take up residence in them.
"Urusei" can mean Planet Uru, and is thus a homonym joke for 'loud/obnoxious' just like in the series title.
Ep. 4, Story 8: "Gonna Live Like a Man!"
When Kintaro says, "At the very least, take us to Tokyo Tower or Nijubashi!" he is referring to two famous landmarks in Tokyo. Tokyo Tower (which appears at the end of Ep. 2, Story 4, "Mrs. Swallow and Mrs. Penguin," is to Tokyo roughly what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris (except it is only half as big), and Nijubashi, or "double bridge," is one of the bridges to the Imperial Palace.
The "Nanking string balls" to which the preschool teacher refers are known as "Sudare." Sudare is a kind of meshwork, made using bamboo. It is usually used to roll sushi or futomaki (thick sushi). At many festivals, there are dealers/magicians who demonstrate the sudare by dancing with them, often doing some 'magic' tricks by folding, spreading, and twisting the sudare into many different shapes. This has been going on for many generations.
"Issun-hooshi" is the Japanese version of Tom Thumb. Only one inch tall, he nevertheless possessed tremendous strength, and eventually beat up lots of Oni.
About the string of insults Ten hurls at Kintaro near the end of this episode: "Kappa-danuki" is not an animal. Kappa is a legendary amphibian monster, which is sort of like a frog-man, with a sharp beak, and a bald spot on top of its head that holds water. Many centuries ago, people used to cut kids' hair to shoulder-length, and shave the top off. This was customary, and was called the "Kappa" hairstyle. The water allows a Kappa to come out to the land for a short time, just enough to feed on the blood of their victims. "Tanuki" literally means raccoon. In Japanese fairy tales, raccoons are often portrayed as blatant liars. So, when someone calls someone else a "tanuki," s/he means a 'liar.' By putting these two words together, you get 'bald-headed liar.' "Manjuu-hage" is similar. Manjuu is a round 'cake.' The word "Manjuu" is sometimes used in conjunction with something else, like an umbrella. Manjuu-gasa (Manjuu-umbrella) is a hemispheric umbrella, so named because Manjuu looks hemispherical when it's cut. Hage simply means bald-headed.
Lum cleaning Ataru's ears is a customary thing for a woman to do to a man she is intimately involved with, whether it be husband and wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, geisha and sponsor, etc.
At the end of this story, when the preschoolers are watching the news reports about Kintaro, they comment that Kintaro is trying to tell them that life is more about money than rank or prestige. The joke is that the kanji "Kin" on Kintaro's garment, which is "Kin" of Kintaro, also means gold and money. So his name is "Money-boy," and money is what he lives for.
Ep. 5, story 9: "Sakura, Raving Beauty of Mystery"
Ataru's mask: Japanese people wear such masks to protect against dust and pollen in the air, as well as to stop the spread of diseases--both giving and receiving. Sometimes, famous people may wear them as well to conceal their identities, much like Westerners might wear sunglasses. But one thing you can't do normally when wearing one of those masks is eat through one -- unless, of course, you're Moroboshi Ataru!
Going Wide: In Japan, missing-person shows often appear on early-morning or mid-afternoon programs called "Wideshows," which are aimed primarily at housewives. If the missing person is important, then it would be major news, worthy of headlines and real news broadcasts, but shows such as these are typically of the tearjerker variety, meant more to evoke sympathy than any real help in finding anyone. This is not meant to trivialize the very real problems of the people involved, however. But shows such as these are more likely to give air time to the average person than the bigger, more serious news programs, because they are constantly looking for any little thing they can make a feature out of.
Manjuu are little cakes made of a sort of pancake-like batter, or sometimes with a rice-cake outside, and filled with bean-jam paste. Sooshiki manjuu (Funeral bean-jam cakes) are differentiated mainly by their black-and-white color. By contrast, red-and-white manjuu represent a happy occasion, such as a wedding. The joke here is that, normally, one tries to entice a missing loved one to come home by promising something special to that person. But sooshiki manjuu are not that big a deal.
Sakura is Cherry's niece. There is also a relationship between their names: Sakura means "cherry blossom," and Sakuramboo means "cherry" (the fruit). Note also that Cherry is a Buddhist monk, and Sakura is a Shinto priestess.
Ep. 5, story 10: "Virus in Distress"
Hakama are large, baggy pants, typically worn over kimono. They are also primarily worn by men. For women to wear them typically requires that the woman be in a profession like Sakura's, or be participating in a graduation ceremony. Female students during the Meiji and Taishoo eras wore them as well.
Ep. 6, story 11: "Black Hole Love Triangle"
Stupidity Personified: When Ataru's Mother calls him "the personification of the word 'stupid,'" the word she actually uses, "ikizukuri," refers to a method of serving sashimi. The method involves taking a live fish out of a tank in the restaurant, cutting off its meat while it is still alive, and laying the cuts of meat on the still-twitching head-bones-tail of said fish. Thus, Ataru's Mother means that he is both demonstrating and decorating the very concept of stupidity.
A Yen to Chat: When Ataru says he'll fight Lum as long as his ´10 coins hold out, he could well mean to put up an extended fight, because for local calls, ´10 coins used to last three minutes apiece in Japanese telephones. For ´100, he could stay on the line for thirty minutes, or make ten separate three-minute calls.
Futagoyama is a one-time yokozuna (the top rank in sumo), who retired and became a sumo stablemaster. He is also the uncle of current talented sumo wrestler (and teen-idol) Takanohana, who, as of this writing, may be in line to become the newest yokozuna. Often, he serves as a commentator at sumo contests, much like retired football players and coaches do in the US. Mitsugoyama is a pun on Futagoyama's name (meaning, roughly, "three mountains" rather than "two mountains"). It goes without saying that he's not a scientist, nor does he have any knowledge of Lum and Ataru, so he is the last person one would expect to make a significant comment on the situation.
Ep. 6: story 12: "It's a Lovesick Little Demon!"
"This is a pen..." is the classic English phrase that all Japanese seem to learn first thing in public-school English classes. Soon followed by "This is a pencil." These phrases have become such a cliche that they're often used in anime and manga to reflect a person's lack of English knowledge. School kids have been known to accost innocent foreigners and utter this dreaded phrase.
Ep. 7, story 13: "Electric Shocks Scare Me!"
There's more than one way to shed your skin: When Cherry says he'll try to "skin that cat," what he actually says in the original is "hito hada nugu," which literally means "I'll shed a layer of skin." The idiomatic meaning is "I'll make an effort on your behalf," though Cherry manages to combine both literal and figurative images in this scene.
Ep. 7, story 14: "Voodoo Dolls of Vengeance"
3-3-7 cadence is used normally for closing ceremonies at a job or a party. Everyone on hand will usually clap together in that cadence: three times, another three times, and then seven times. A variation calls for just one large clap.
Muchi laughs: Ten has fun with homonyms on the word "muchi," which has the usual meaning of "ignorance." He starts off with this conventional meaning by saying that Ataru is ignorant, and that he who is ignorant of his stupidity is also ignorant of his shame. But then he says "Muchi muchi pudding ga suki de," which means "You like muchi muchi pudding." Here, he uses a different meaning of "muchi," or rather, "muchi muchi," to wit, kind of roly-poly, like custard. Then he returns to his previous usage of "muchi" to finish up with "You're the great king of ignorance."
Preview Pun: The yokokuhen (preview) for the next episode (as well as the story itself) contains a take-off on the opening line from Yukiguni, a book by Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972--suicide), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The line in the original work is, "Tunnel o nukeru to, soko wa yukiguni datta" (At the end of the tunnel was Snow Country). The take-off line is, "Oshiire no nagai tunnel o nukeru to, soko wa yukiguni datcha!" (At the end of a long tunnel in the closet is Snow Country!)
Ep. 8, Story 15: "Neptune is Beyond My Closet"
Kappa are mythical Japanese water-dwelling vampires, made famous in a novel of the same name by Akutagawa Ryuunosuke.
The name "Oyuki" means, appropriately enough, "Honorable Snow."
Yukionna (literally, "Snow woman"): A mythical fairy of the snow. She appears where there is an abundant snowfall, dressed all in white, very pale, and kills people.
The Eyes Have It: Me no iro ga kawaru (literally, "the color of his eyes have changed"), generally means that one is excited, angry, or worked up about something. In this case, Shinobu means that Ataru is hot for Oyuki, and his eyes have, in effect, given him away.
Ep. 9, Story 17: "Princess Kurama, Sleeping Beauty"
Kurama, the name of the new major character introduced in this episode, is the first of many references to Minamoto Yoshitsune, brother of Minamoto Yoritomo, who founded the first military government in Japan, at Kamakura, in 1192. "Kurama" is most likely derived from Kuramayama (Mt. Kurama), which is where Yoshitsune, under the name of Ushiwaka Maru (which he took in his youth, in a ceremony called "genpuku," or coming-of-age; see ep. 12, story 24), is supposed to have received training in swordsmanship from the Tengu, legendary goblin spirits. Tengu are also referred to as "Karasutengu," or "Crow goblins," because they resemble crows in appearance. The Tengu who reside on Mt. Kurama are additionally called, appropriately enough, "Kuramatengu," which is what Princess Kurama is--with an extraterrestrial twist.
Up Close and Personal: When Ataru leans over Kurama's sleeping form and says "Gotaimen," it is a reference to "Punch De Date," a TV matchmaking program which was popular at about the same time as Urusei Yatsura. A given couple would come on-stage, their identities kept secret from one another by a curtain. They would talk to one another to find out if there was any mutual interest. If there was, then the MC would say "Gotaimen!" (first face-to-face meeting), the barrier would be raised, and the couple would meet face-to-face for the first time.
First Impression: Kurama's first impression of Shinobu is not at all flattering. Kurama calls Shinobu "Zashikiwarashi," which are household guardian spirits in the Toohoku ("Northeast") region of Japan, which is the area of Honshuu (the largest of the four main islands of Japan) north of Kantoo, and is known for being cold and covered in snow a lot of the time. These spirits typically have the appearance of a plain, immature, round-faced, rosy-cheeked girl with a bob haircut, which happens to describe Shinobu very nicely at this point in the series.
Anima/Animus: The "Anima Ray" that Kurama uses on Ataru to try to change his personality is a reference to a major theme of Jungian psychology: that everyone has elements of both sexes in them. Jung refers to these elements as "Anima" (female) and "Animus" (male). In oversimplified form, the degree to which these traits manifest in a given person determines that person's sexual persona.
Ep. 9, Story 18: "Athletics in Women's Hell!"
And on top of this, tons of homework: Depending on the school, students often have the responsibility of cleaning up their classrooms after school. Students may be divided into groups in a given classroom, and those groups rotate their responsibilities. High schools in particular don't hire custodians as a general rule, so the students have to clean up instead!
Old Baldy: Ataru calling the giant-size Shinobu "Dainyuudo" is a reference to a type of "Yookai," or evil spirit, typified by its baldness. The reason Ataru can apply the term to Shinobu is partly due to her size, and also because her haircut looks like the silken artificial "hair caps" that monks would wear atop their shaven heads. Taira no Kiyomori, a leader of the Heike Clan (again, see ep. 12, story 24) was called Dainyuudo because he was monstrously successful in making his clan powerful.
Ep. 10, Stories 19-20: "Pitter Patter Christmas Eve"
Shades of "Ima Trapp": The name of the girl Megane and the gang create is, no surprise, a pun. "Kumino Otoko" literally means "Men of the Class," but Ataru is so blinded by lust that he doesn't notice this obvious hint.
No Time to Write: Normally, a Japanese letter is supposed to begin with greetings appropriate to the season. However, to simplify matters, "zenryaku," which means "the beginning of a letter," is often used.
Cafˇ Pigmon: This may or may not be a reference to the creature Pigmon from Ultraman. (Given the other references to Tsuburaya Productions that appear in both the manga and the anime, it seems unlikely that this would be coincidence.)
Ep. 11, Stories 21-22: "Ataru Genji Goes to the Heian Capital"
Kadomatsu: The "New Year's Pine" is made of bamboo stems and pine leaves, used for decorating entrances of houses on the New Year, to invite the god of that particular year into that house.
Poetic Cards: The card game Ataru, Shinobu, Lum, Sakura and Cherry are playing at the beginning of this episode is based on a volume of poems, the Hyakuninisshu (100-Poets' Collection), compiled by Fujiwara no Teika, who collected one great poem from the works of each of 100 greatest Japanese poets. The game is a popular New Year's pastime, wherein one person reads the first part of a poem from that collection and the players try to be the first to find the card containing that poem. Ataru, however, is playing to lose. The full versions of the two poems Cherry quotes are as follows:
"Tago no ura ni uchiirete mireba shirotae no Fuji no takane ni yuki wa furitsutsu" --Yamabe no Akahito (dates unknown)
"From the seashore of Tago, if you ride a boat on the ocean, you will see the beautiful white snow falling atop Mt. Fuji."
"Haru sugite natsu kinikerashi shirotae no koromo hosuchoo ama no Kaguyama" --Jitoo Tennoo (Empress (later Emperor) Jitoo, AD. 645-702)
"Spring has gone, it seems to be Summer already, because I see white cloth being hung out to dry on Kagu Mountain."
Author, Author: It's not certain, but Murasaki Shikibu, author of Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) is believed to have lived between AD. 978-1014 or 1016. She wrote Genji Monogatari in the beginning of the 11th Century. She married once, to one Fujiwara Nobutaka, and had a daughter. But Fujiwara's death left her a widow. After his death, she worked for Shooshi, the daughter of Fujiwara no Michinaga, and also the luckier of the Emperor's two wives, Teishi being the name of the other. Shooshi's charmed existence seems to have rubbed off favorably on Murasaki, because she started writing Genji Monogatari to entertain the Empress Shooshi, and the more the Empress asked what would happen next, the longer the story got, until eventually the masterpiece resulted. The end of this episode says that Murasaki Shikibu never married, but that's just taking license for the sake of humor.
Genji Monogatari, commonly considered to be the world's first true novel, depicts life in the Heian Imperial Court in the 10th Century, roughly 100 years before the story was actually written. It is also considered the single greatest work of Japanese literature.
The Heian Era began in AD. 794 and ended in AD. 1192, with the establishment of the first military government at Kamakura. The Heian capital was established at Kyoto, and the Emperor resided there until the beginning of the Meiji Era (AD. 1868), when the Imperial Residence moved to Tokyo.
The Awa Odori is a type of dancing that originated in Tokushima Prefecture (Southwest Honshuu), and may not have anything to do with Kyoto at all.
Take-out: We translated "Daihanten" as "Chinese restaurant," but its original Chinese meaning seems to be "hotel." However, it seems to have been misinterpreted in Japan, and the literal reading of the Kanji (Chinese characters) was used to get the meaning of this word in Japanese.
Take-offs: Hikaru Genji, the title character of Genji Monogatari, was the son of the Emperor by a favored concubine who died soon after his birth. However, a fortuneteller told him that remaining the Emperor's son would be unlucky for him, so he changed his name to Genji, that of a servant, and lowered his status as well. One of his sons, by his mother-in-law, Fujitsubo, would eventually become Emperor, though most people believed that this child was the son of the Emperor himself. This should give the viewer an idea of why Ataru was cast as Genji, though the literary figure had much more class, and was much more successful with the ladies.
Too no Chuujoo was Genji's best friend, sharing a similar rank, and every bit the playboy that Genji was. They shared numerous escapades together, but eventually they would become rivals. Therefore, it seems fitting that Mendou Shutaro should be cast as Too no Chuujoo.
"Tsubo," as in Genji's mother-in-law, Fujitsubo, means a woman of high rank. "Tsubone" designates a lady-in-waiting, a servant, to a tsubo or other person of high status. Hence the name, "Shinobu no Tsubone."
The legend of Momotaro ("Peach Boy") says that an old childless couple, Ojiisan and Obaasan, found a large peach drifting down a stream one day, when Obaasan went to do her laundry. When they opened it, out sprang Momotaro When he grew up, he went to hunt the Oni, who had stolen all the wealth of the people years before. Along the way, he met a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, all of whom joined him when he gave them one of his "Nippon-ichi no kibidango" (Steamed shiratamako flour with white sugar on top; they taste like rice-cakes.) When they reached Oni-ga-shima ("Oni Island") in the Inland Sea, a great battle took place, and Momotaro took all the treasures back to the people from whom they had been stolen. He also ensured that Ojiichan and Obaachan would be well taken care of.
All the Oni have navels that stick out, known as "debeso" in Japanese. Calling someone "debeso" in Japanese is roughly akin to saying "Your mother wears Army boots" in English.
Double Takes: "Kakuheiki" means "nuclear weapons." But Momotaro, not knowing of such things, mistakes the "kaku" in "kakuheiki," which means "nuclear," for a different "kaku," which means "angle." With "maru" meaning "circle," and hence "maruheiki" meaning "circular weapons," we get the pun on "kakuheiki/ maruheiki:" Momotaro was actually saying "angular weapons" and "circular weapons," misunderstanding Ten's meaning entirely.
Ol' Four Eyes: Grading in Japanese schools is done all on bell curves, as opposed to the straight percentage method often used in the US. The difference is that, whereas the latter scoring method is an absolute, the former is a relative measurement, all students against each other, so that the top scorer, regardless of his actual score on a given test, is considered the A student, and everyone else is measured against him. A score of 50 on this deviation is considered average, and the 75 that Momotaro gets is very high, though it only means that he is doing better than the other students. It doesn't show how well he's learned a given subject.
Behavior reports are made by teachers. They make evaluations of the personalities of students, which seem to be little more than whether they are "good" boys and girls or not. They follow a student to the high school or college to which he applies, so students have to be careful that their teachers have a good opinion of them. These reports are kept secret from the students, and recently there have been several court cases in which students and parents have managed, after much resistance, to see them.
Koshien is where the Summer High School Baseball Tournament is held. Productivity in Japan plummets when the "Boys of Summer" go to Koshien.
The Naoki Sanjuugo Sho and the Akutagawa Ryuunosuke Sho are literary awards named for two well-known Japanese writers. The Akutagawa Sho is primarily for "serious" writing, and the Naoki Sho is aimed at more "entertainment" novels. Getting these awards confers a high status, and is often a ticket to a career in writing.
The FNS Record Contest is roughly to the Japan Music Awards as the American Music Awards are to the Grammies.
The bronze statue is a mark of glory hunting, much like some people will make a donation for the ego-boost of being recognized as having made that donation, rather than for any good that their donation will do.
First Steps: "Oni-san kochira. Te no naru hoo e. Anyoo wa joozu korobu wa heta," (Over here, Mr. Oni! To the sound of the hands! Your walk is good, falling is bad...) is a chant sometimes used by parents to encourage their children to walk. It is also sometimes used in Onigokko (the Japanese name for Tag, a.k.a. "The Game of the Oni.")
Kirk to Enterprise: "Ryuusei-go, ootooseyo" (Come in, Ryuusei) is from a popular anime series of the late 1960s called "Super Jetter." Many Japanese series have "in-joke" references to Japanese and American series (especially "Star Trek"), and recently, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" has been returning the favor.
Military Intelligence: "Heian Booeigun" (Heian Defense Force) is probably a joke at "Chikyuu Booeigun" (Terran Defense Force) from such series as "Ultra Seven" and "Uchuu Senkan Yamato" ("Space Battleship Yamato," also known as "Star Blazers." in the US.)
She'll stick it to you: The Naginata is a sort of Japanese pole arm, originally intended for use by infantry against cavalry. Later, it came into common use by monks and women, the latter especially during World War II.
Ep. 12, Story 23: "Battle Royal of Love"
When Ataru's Father says "I'M the one who always gets stuck with the bills for HIS girl chasing," the original Japanese is "Aho wa onnazuki, ore wa loanzuke da!" This is a better joke in Japanese than it is English (as so many of these are). "Onnazuki" means "hot for women," and "loanzuke" means "stuck with loans/mortgages." So a more literal translation would be "He's hot for women, and I'm stuck with the mortgages!"
What's in a Name (a regular feature of these notes!): The name Ozuno Tsubame itself contains a couple of jokes. First is his family name, Ozuno, which seems to be derived from "Oz no Mahootsukai," which is the title of the Japanese translation of The Wizard of Oz. "Oz no" (or "Ozu no," as it would be pronounced in Japanese) becomes "Ozuno." It might also reflect his having gone to the West to study. Tsubame, his given name, which literally means (the bird) "swallow" (see Ep. 2, Story 4, "Mrs. Swallow and Mrs. Penguin"), is also slang for "himo," which in this case means a man who lives off of a woman, something typically considered degrading in Japan.
Go West, Young Man: Tsubame's going to the West to study (Seioogaeri) is part of an old tradition, dating back to the early days of Japan's first push toward modernization, in the Meiji Era (1868-1912). In order to try and catch up with advanced Western countries, Japanese would travel to those countries to study things not known in Japan, and bring back what they had learned to Japan (they still do, but not nearly as much as they used to, now that Japan is an industrial leader in its own right). In Tsubame's case, he went West to study magic, because magic is supposedly more advanced there than it is in Japan. His use of the word "Seioogaeri" to describe his studies in the West is a nod to the old-fashionedness of this particular journey, reflecting the superior attitude of Japanese who made such trips in earlier times.
Cherry Green: When Megane says, "Hey, with Cherry around, you can get run down crossing the street on a green light!," he is punning on a saying that was popular in the last decade or so: "Akashingoo minna de watareba kowakunai." This phrase literally means, "You can get away with crossing at a red light if you do it with a lot of people." The underlying meaning is that if you get a lot of people together to help you break the law, you can get away with it. It's a way of justifying things one isn't supposed to do. However, what Megane means is that, if you do something with Cherry, no matter how legal and innocuous it may be--like crossing at a green light--you'll end up in a pile of hurt. Language Note: "Aoshingoo" literally means "blue light," though it is usually translated as "green light." This is because some shades of what are referred to as "green" in the West are considered "blue" in Japan, especially with regard to traffic lights and greenery. There are references in old Chinese literature to calling green plants blue, which may have had an influence in this area.
Bring out the Vote: Tsubame shouting "Ozuno Tsubame ni kiyoki ippyoo" is a take-off on a slogan commonly used by politicians campaigning for election. It literally means "Give your one pure vote to Ozuno Tsubame (in his campaign to marry Sakura)!"
Y'all come back now, heah: When Tsubame makes his summonings, he finishes them up with the phrase, Come on out, y'all!" The original, "Oidemasse!" comes from an advertising slogan for Yamaguchi Prefecture (in the Chuugoku region of Honshuu, near the Southern end of the island): "Oidemasse Yamaguchi e," or "Come on out to Yamaguchi, y'all!" which was famous at the time this episode originally aired (around Dec., 1981-Jan., 1982). The Yamaguchi accent is, roughly, to Japanese what the Southern accent is to American English, which is why we chose this particular translation.
A Story that Bears Repeating: When he first fails to summon Satan (because Japanese spirits don't understand anything but Japanese), Tsubame tries again, calling out "Akuma!" which can be translated variously as "demon," "devil," or (as in this case) "Satan." But he screws up again, turning Ataru into a bear, or "kuma," which is the Japanese word for same. Then the pun is completed when the onlookers start saying, "Aa! Kuma! (Ah! It's a bear!)" which can be (and is) confused with "Akuma."
Flying the Friendly Skies: The disc jockey calling Lum "a high-flying woman" ("Tonderu onna") comes from "Tobu no ga Kowai," the Japanese translation of Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying." This phrase became popular for referring to a woman who does her own thing, and succeeds in doing so; an independent, challenging woman, characteristics which seem to describe Lum rather well. So this phrase is both literal and figurative.
His Face is His Fortune: Tsubame saying "My face!" in the subtitles when Ataru trips him up is a shorthand way of trying to explain an idea that can be expressed in just one word in Japanese, but is not nearly so simple in English. His actual line is "Nimaime ga!" The term "Nimaime" might best be translated as "matinee idol." It usually refers to a really good-looking actor, along the lines of Robert Redford, Clark Gable, or James Dean. What Tsubame means is that his good looks have been messed up by Ataru, and they are what he is most concerned about at the moment. A related word, "Sammaime," refers to comic actors. Both terms have their origins in Kabuki.
Ep. 12, Story 24: "Father, You Were Strong"
The title of this episode comes from the title of a song, "Chichi yo, Anata wa Tsuyokatta," which was popular in Japan during World War II. It was a propaganda song used by the Government to keep up the people's morale.
Sometimes, translating is easy: When the Karasutengu says he can "stretch [his] feathers," the original Japanese phrase, "Hane o nobasu," means just that, literally. But it also has a more common, idiomatic meaning of "stretch out, take it easy," which means that the Karasutengu is speaking both literally and figuratively.
And then again, sometimes it isn't: Lum's conversation with that same Karasutengu, shortly thereafter, leads to the following exchange:
Karasutengu: To become a disciple of a certain man...
Lum: ...a disciple of a monkey?
Karasutengu: No, Her Highness's ideal man. She's going to train him like a monkey...
The joke in the original Japanese is a pun on the word "saru," which can have the meaning of "a certain..." as in the phrase "saru otoko (a certain man)," and which is the meaning the Karasutengu intended. But Lum misunderstands, thinking the Karasutengu used another meaning of "saru," which is "monkey" or "ape." Hence the confusion, and yet another example of maddening puns!
And on this one, we just gave up: When Ushiwaka Maru first sees Lum, his reaction prompts Ataru to pound him in the head. However, instead of saying "Sukiari!" (a traditional kendo term meaning that one's opponent's defenses are down, i.e., he is wide open), Ataru says "Sukimono!" (someone who likes sex) at the crucial moment. Ataru is punning on how the sight of a nearly-naked woman has caused Ushiwaka Maru to let down his guard.
And you thought learning American History was tough: The great rival of the Genji Clan (a real-life clan not to be confused with the fictional Genji of the previous episode) was the Heike Clan. The Heike Clan came to power in the late Heian Era and grew arrogant as a result of their prosperity. But they rested on their laurels, and fell into decline. Finally, they were destroyed by the Genji Clan, the final battle between the two taking place in Dannoura, in 1185, which is now Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Minamoto no Yoshitsune was commander for the Genji ("Minamoto" being the "kun," or Japanese, reading of the kanji "Gen" in "Genji," of which "Gen" is the "on," or Chinese, reading), and led them to decisive victory. But after his brother, Minamoto no Yoritomo, established the first military government at Kamakura, in 1192, he began trying to kill Yoshitsune, because Yoshitsune promoted himself without Yoritomo's permission, and this caused a rift that made it impossible for them to live together. So Yoshitsune fled, eventually traversing a large portion of Japan. It is generally believed that Yoshitsune committed suicide, but there are legends that maintain that he went to China and became Genghis Khan.
Ushiwaka Maru was the name used by Minamoto no Yoshitsune in his youth.
The full name of Benkei the monk is Musashiboo Benkei. He was fighting many warriors on a bridge (Gojoo no Hashi, in Kyoto), and taking their swords, as it was his intention to collect 1000 swords, and it was Ushiwaka Maru (later Minamoto no Yoshitsune) who defeated him. As a result, Benkei decided to serve Ushiwaka Maru, and remained faithful to him the rest of his life. When, as Yoshitsune, he ran from his brother Yoritomo's assassination attempts, Benkei went with him as well.
Often, a samurai would change his name and hairstyle upon officially entering the ranks of the samurai, to signify his coming of age, and becoming a real samurai. This ceremony was called "gempuku," and it is with this ceremony that Ushiwaka Maru confers full samurai status on Ataru, in his Karasutengu identity, by giving him the new name of "Crow Yoshitsune" (a take-off on the name that Ushiwaka Maru himself would eventually take).
Ep. 13, Story 25: "Hawaiian Swimsuit Thief"
Cold winter nights: The "heaters" Ataru refers to are "kotatsu." A Kotatsu is essentially a short square table with a heater underneath it, over which one puts a blanket, and then another table-top. In older houses, there is often a square pit in the center of the room (normally covered by a tatami mat) where the heater can be placed. In winter, people sit around kotatsu with their legs underneath it to keep warm. Another thick blanket is often put on the floor underneath the kotatsu to keep warmth inside the room as well.
Here's mud in your eye: In the final scene, when everyone is fighting the octopus in the dark cave, it squirts ink in both Ataru and Sakura's faces. Sakura's response is to pick it up bodily and shout, "On top of everything else, you throw mud in my face?" The original expression, "Kono ue, mada watashi no kao ni doro o nuroo to iu no desu ka?" has both a literal and a figurative meaning, leading to a pun (no surprise). The idiomatic meaning of this particular line is that "your actions have caused me to lose face," which the octopus (which everyone thinks is Cherry) has done.
Ep. 13, Story 26: "Full Course From Hell"
The drink Sakura orders at the beginning of this story, which reads "lemon soda" in the subtitles, is actually called "Lemon Squash" in the original. "Lemon Squash" is essentially carbonated lemonade, and, to the best of this writer's knowledge, does not exist under that name outside of Japan.
One important note about the foods that were served: they are a deliberate mix of everyday fast-food and fancy dishes -- the all-you-can-eat restaurant is sort of a combination of a 4-star restaurant and a burger stand.
The 300-gram steak mentioned in the restaurant scene is huge for a steak in Japan. The average size for a steak in a Japanese steakhouse (for example, the Victoria Station in Shibuya, where many AnimEigo meetings have taken place) is around 150 grams, because beef is very expensive in Japan (2-3 times more than chicken or pork, and even more for grades of beef high enough in quality to be used as steak).
Cherry saying, "I haven't had steak in years!" and Sakura retorting, "Be honest. It's the first time in your life," are continuations of the above reference to how expensive beef, and especially beef steak, is in Japan. We think they are exaggerating.
The "fermented beans" that came on rice is actually called "natto." If you don't know what natto is, consider yourself extremely lucky. Foreigners either swear by natto, or swear at it -- usually the latter.
The "onion" in "liver and onion" is actually a vegetable called "nira." It's green, with a long stalk, often served in Chinese restaurants.
The "extra-large box lunch" is "Tokudai Hinomaru Bentoo". "Hinomaru Bentoo" is so-called because the main dish (which is usually the only dish) is a circle of umeboshi (pickled plums) surrounded by rice, which makes up the shape of the Japanese flag, Hinomaru. It was usually eaten when people couldn't afford anything else.
"Bonito sashimi" is actually a dish called "katsuo no tataki," a specialty of Shikoku (the third of the four Japanese home islands). Katsuo, or bonito, meat is skinned, then grilled very lightly (a few seconds or so) so that only the surface gets cooked at all. Then it is dipped in cold water, sliced, and served with a cold soup of lemon, green onions, and soy sauce.
"Rice with miso soup" is actually "miso-shiru bukkakegohan." Typically, rice and miso soup are served separately, but some people seem to like having them mixed together, though it is usually considered vulgar to do so.
"Rice-fish casserole" is actually called "nekomamma," which literally translates as "cat food," though not the kind one finds in pet shops. It's a mix of scraps and leftovers, usually not served as a dish in restaurants, often consisting of bonito flakes, rice, other small fish, etc.
"Noodles with rice cakes" are actually known as "chikara udon," or "power noodles," because rice is believed to give strength.
When this episode was originally made, whale meat was more easily available commercially than it is now, hence the "whale steak" reference.
"Steamed sweetbuns," or "ampan," are a bun filled with sweet bean-jam paste. An animation character popular with small children is called Anpanman because he looks like one.
Mentioning that Ataru, Sakura, and Cherry are at "table number four" is also a joke, because four is a bad-luck number in Japanese.
The shot of Sakura with the fork in her teeth is reminiscent of Spanish flamenco dancers with roses in their teeth.
Ep. 14, Story 27: "Mendou Brings Trouble!"
The opening of this story is a tribute to a popular, long-running historical-fiction series, or "jidaigeki," called "Mito Koomon." Mito Koomon was an actual Edo-period historical figure, whose real name was Mito no Mitsukuni, and he was a member of one of the three main Tokugawa families. The basic plot of each story is the same: Mitokoomon travels the land, his true identity concealed, rooting out evil. The jokes in this scene are that Grandfather Mendou resembles Mito Koomon in both dress and appearance, and the shot of Shutaro showing the cup with the family crest on it, the latter referring to Mito Koomon showing his crest when he reveals his true identity, namely that he is a member of one of the families of Tokugawa. Also, the decoration of the room is in the style of rooms that the shogun would have, in the best traditional style.
Episodes of Mito Koomon always have the following in common: The bad guys are rich, noble oppressors of the people, and, after the big "by the way, have you seen my family crest?" scene, the bad guys attack Mito Koomon and his assistants, whereupon the body-count becomes astronomical. The bad guys are always offed in reverse order of their importance, and the top bad guy usually gets it while trying to run away. Surprisingly, none of the bad guys ever get the bright idea of attacking the good guys en-masse; they go to their graves one at a time.
Grandfather saying "Did you remember your handkerchief? And your tissues?" is the sort of thing a typical Japanese mother would say to her children-- if they were in kindergarten, that is.
At the time this story was made (Winter 1982), ´5 trillion was worth about US$19.2 billion.
"Field Day" is actually called "Undookai" (Sports Meet, or Sports Day). It's a collection of various activities, ranging from track events to tug-o-war to "fill up the basket" (tamaire), about which see story 29, "The Great Spring War."
The pose Lum strikes when she zaps Mendou to protect Ataru is a pitching technique invented by Hoshi Hyuuma, star of the popular manga/anime series "Kyojin no Hoshi" (Star of the Giants), called "Dai-League Ball Nigoo" (Big League Pitch No. 2). The technique involves raising one's leg up in the air, thus kicking up lots of sand. When the ball is thrown through the sand, the sand creates a smoke screen effect which makes it disappear just before the batter is about to hit it.
To atone for his defeat, Shutaro prepares to commit seppuku, in truly traditional fashion.
Ep. 14, Story 28: "Constellation-Go-Round"
The computer Lum uses at the beginning of this story is a pachinko machine, a very popular form of gambling in Japan. The idea is to shoot balls up into the machine, and have them bounce off the pins and into scoring slots (which pay off with more balls). There are two basic types; "airplane" and "fever." In an airplane machine, getting balls in certain slots briefly open up "wings" that allow balls to go into a central area ; if a ball manages to go into the "V-zone" in the central area, the machine goes "uchi-dome," and the wings open repeatedly, making it easy to win several thousand balls. In a fever machine, getting balls into certain slots start a slot machine-like device working, and if the numbers line up, the machine goes "uchi-dome." Gambling is illegal in Japan, so pachinko parlors cannot give out money; players are supposed to trade in their balls for prizes like food and sundries. However, invariably, each parlor has some weird little prize like lighter flints or tiny bottles of toilet water that, purely by coincidence, can be sold at a tiny shop just around the corner for cash.
Ep. 15, Story 29: "The Great Spring War"
Setsubun, or, "The Day Before Spring," comes on February 3rd, according to the old Japanese calendar. On that day, people throw roasted soybeans to ward off Oni, in a ceremony called "Mamemaki" (see Ep. 1, Story 1, for additional information).
The list of foods Ataru asks his mother to make in celebration of what he thinks is Cherry leaving them is an assortment of Japanese holiday foods in the original:
"sekihan," literally, "red rice," made from "mochigome," a type of rice used to make "mochi" (rice cakes) and azuki beans (which give it its red color). They're steamed, and given on special occasions such as births, passing the university entrance exams, graduations, weddings, etc.
"botamochi," made of mochigome and sweet bean paste, about the size of an egg. Unlike ampan, the bean paste is on the outside, and the rice on the inside. Given on the Equinoxes, primarily the Autumnal Equinox (Sept. 21).
"chitose-ame," A special candy given on Nov. 15, the "Shichi-Go-San" (Seven-Five-Three) Day, which celebrates children reaching those ages. It's a long stick-shaped candy, in white and pink colors.
The joke about this sequence is that none of these foods have anything to do with one another. Ataru just wants to use anything and everything he can think of to celebrate Cherry's leaving.
Sukiyaki is considered a special meal in middle-class Japanese households, because it contains beef. In addition to beef, it consists of "yakidofu," lightly grilled tofu, "shirataki," noodles made of konyaku, a kind of no-cal potato, that look like jello, "negi," green onions, "shimeji," champignon mushrooms, and "shungiku" and "hakusai," a pair of vegetables that have no apparent English equivalent. It's flavored with soy sauce, sugar and sake (or sometimes cooking wine instead of sake), cooked in a deep iron pan, and eaten right out of same. More ingredients are added as it's eaten as well, and one helps oneself out of the pan and into one's bowl. Sometimes people put a raw egg into their bowls, dip their sukiyaki into said egg, and eat it that way as well.
Shichifukujin (The Seven Gods of Luck) are Buddhist Guardian Spirits, gods of warfare and the household, often placed in the kitchen. They are generally regarded as representing good fortune in the same way Oni represent misfortune.
Daikokuten: Mahaakaala in Sanskrit. In Tantric (esoteric) Buddhism, an avatar of the Hindu god Shiva, of which Daijizaiten is another name in Japanese. Symbolized by the zukin (skullcap) on his head, the large bag on his left shoulder, and the uchide-no-kozuchi (mallet of luck) in his right hand, which, when shook, rains gold and other precious objects. Also has a bag of rice underfoot.
Ebisu: Originally Hirokoonomikoto, Guardian Spirit of Nishinomiya Shrine in Hyoogo Prefecture. God of the oceans, fishing, and business. Often wears a hat called "kazaorieboshi." Carries a fishing pole with a snapper on it.
Bishamonten: Vaisravana in Sanskrit. One of the Shitennoo (Four Devas); also one of the Juuniten (Twelve Guardians). Guardian of the North Ward. Known as Tamonten when referring to the Shitennoo.
Benten: Originally Bensaiten. Sarasvatii in Sanskrit. Goddess of music, oratory, luck, wisdom, longevity, and victory. Also called Myooonten and Byonten. Together with Kichijooten (Vishnu, or Srii-mahaaderii in Sanskrit), she was the most respected goddess in India. However, the two were mixed up in Japan, and came to be regarded as a giver of fortune, thus becoming one of the seven Gods of Luck.
Fukurokuju: In China, an avatar of Nankyokusei (the Southern Cross). Known for a short body, a long head, an abundant beard, and the prayer wheel he carries. Often followed by a flock of cranes.
Juroojin: An actual person believed to have lived during the Ganyu Period. An old man with a long head, prayer wheels, a fan, and followed by deer. Said to bestow long life.
Hotei: A Zen Buddhist in China during the Too Period (AD. 618-907). He lived on a mountain called Shimeisan. Has a huge body, exposes his belly, and slings a bag over his shoulder. Wanders in search of charity. Regarded as an avatar of Miroku (Maitreya). Known also for constantly happy expression.
War Games: "Tamaire" (Fill Up the Basket) is a very common event at "undookai" (Field Days). Two teams try to fill baskets with balls of a certain color, each team trying to put in more than the other.
Ep. 15, Story 30: "The Benten Gang's Return Match"
When Shinobu says, "We're firing a shot for tomorrow!" it's yet another cultural-linguistic in-joke. The original, "Asu e mukatte ute!" (Face Tomorrow and Shoot!) is the Japanese title of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
When Cherry says, "I forecast a new high of misfortune," it was an attempt to deal with still another culture-specific reference. The original phrase, "Akamaru jooshoochuu," means "red circle rising," and is used to refer to hot songs on the Japanese music charts, which are marked with a red circle.
When Ataru says, "Purr!" to Benten, it's almost literally what he said in the original. "Boronya!" is the onomatopoeic sound of a cat nuzzling up to someone.
Name Games: The names of the daughters of the Gods of Luck are themselves derivations of the names of the Gods themselves, though at least one of those derivations comes from a somewhat unexpected direction: "Kuro" is the Japanese reading of the kanji which is read "koku" in "Daikokuten." On the Japan Railways Tokyo Yamanote Line, Ebisu and Meguro Stations are right next to one another. The "Sha" in "Shala" is the same kanji "sha" in her father's name, "Bishamonten." "Roku" is derived from "Fukurokuju" the same way. "Kotobuki" is the Japanese reading of the kanji which is read "Ju" in "Juroojin." And "Tei" is taken directly from "Hotei."
Ep. 16, Story 31: "Oh! Lone Teacher!"
The new teacher, Kuribayashi Sanjuuroo, is a takeoff on the character of Sanjuuroo created by Mifune Toshiroo in two classic films by Kurosawa Akira: "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro." Note particularly his entrance at the beginning of the episode.
The persistent references to someone or something being a "cancer" (gan) are because it was a very popular phrase at the time the episodes were produced (c. 1982).
Kuribayashi saying, "I can see her... No, I can't..." is a literal translation of the original: "Aeru... Aenai..." The reason we translated this line this way, and not as, "She loves me, she loves me not..." is because the original phrasing is not normal in Japanese either. Usually, in Japanese, one would say, "Suki, kirai..." which almost literally means, "She loves me, she loves me not..." (see Ep. 9, Story 17 for another example). But Kuribayashi uses a form that is variant even in the original, so we did the same thing here to connote that deliberate difference.
Ep. 16, Story 32: "Terrifying Visiting Day"
When parents visit their children's school in Japan, there are typically three different events. One is "open class," where parents come and actually watch a (supposedly) typical class period, so that they can see how their children are doing. Another is a PTA meeting and discussion, covering various topics, including student entrance examinations and electing PTA officers. Also, for high-school juniors and seniors, there are meetings between parents, teachers, and students, about university prospects. The fancy dress that all the mothers are wearing is unusual because they only dress up to show off in front of all the other mothers; it becomes a competition, and no one wants to be left out. It's hardly a fancy-dress occasion, but they do it anyway. The kids don't help matters by keeping an eye out to see whether their mothers are looking nice.
Ep. 17, Story 34, "Demonic Jogging"
Ataru's quotation of "A lion will exert himself to the utmost even when entering a tiger's den to throw baby rabbits off the cliff!" ( Lion wa tora no ana ni haitte usagi no ko o gake kara tsukiotosu no ni mo zenryoku o tsuksu to iu) is another example of his mangling of Japanese quotations and proverbs. The line is partially based on an old saying from China, "Koketsu ni irazumba koji o ezu," which literally means, "You can't get the tiger's cubs without entering the tiger's den," (eg: "No risk, no reward." ) Next, Ataru piles on a reference to the manner in which lions treat their young. Supposedly, because they are by nature independent, lions push their cubs off cliffs so as to foster independence, at least in the survivors. Finally, never content to leave well enough alone, Ataru (aka the Lion) attempts to use the above as a rationalization for crushing Mendou (aka the Rabbit). Despite the fact that a lion would not exert himself any more than was absolutely necessary to accomplish a task, Ataru intends to show no mercy, so he cooks up this half-baked excuse.
Ep. 18, Story 37, "Girl's Day! The Coming of Ran"
Girl's Day, March 3, is celebrated with displays of dolls in traditional Japanese dress, usually arranged in seven levels representing the various tiers of feudal Japanese society, with the Lord and his Lady on top, and their various layers of servants below. These dolls are known as "Ohinasama." Of course, Lum has her own alien versions of these dolls.
Boy's Day, March 5, is also officially called Children's Day, which has its own set of dolls, decked out in armor. Unlike Girl's Day, Children's Day is a national holiday.
Ep. 19, Story 35: "The Tearful Diary of Tomorrow"
Ataru saying "The early bird gets the worm" is an idiomatic rendering of the Japanese original, "Hayaoki wa sammon no toku," which would literally translate as, "Waking up early is worth three mon," mon being an old standard unit of Japanese currency. The meaning is that, by getting up early, one can either find three mon lying around that nobody else has noticed yet, or else find an early bargain while shopping.
When the jogger says, "Take him to the Public Health Center!" or, "Hokenjo," she is referring to a facility that has no functional equivalent in the US. The Hokenjo encompasses a number of health-related services, available to the public for free, or at reduced prices, which is possible because of Japan's national health insurance system. The Hokenjo provides such services as immunizations, AIDS and other STD tests, sheltering stray cats and dogs, and other health services.
When reading Ataru's diary, Lum mentions that the day is "Butsumetsu," which is a direct tip-off to Japanese viewers that today isn't Ataru's day. The words "Senshoo," "Tomobiki," "Sembu," "Butsumetsu," "Taian," and "Shakkoo" are known as "Rokki," a kind of "Rekichu," or diary reference, in Buddhist reckoning. They refer to how "lucky" a given day will be. For details, see Ep. 10, Stories 19-20, "Pitter Patter Xmas Eve, Parts 1-2." For Ataru, it seems, every day is "Butsumetsu."
The ramen delivery-man saying, "Mountain!" and Ataru replying, "River!" are literal translations of the original: "Yama!" "Kawa!" Used this way, these words are a password/countersign combination so common as to be stereotypical in Japan.
Ep. 19, Story 36: "Whose Kid is This?"
The "Tsurezuregusa," by Yoshida Kenko, is a collection of essays from the Kamakura Era, believed to have been written between AD. 1310-1331. It is most renowned for two essays in particular, "Sooheki" and "Makura no Sooshi," which are considered the greatest essays in the history of Japanese literature.
There is a brand of instant ramen called "U.F.O." in Japan. It's possible that Chibi's remark about the alien's spacecraft being "a ´100 UFO" is a pun on this brand-name, as it apparently existed back when this story was made (early 1982), and would probably have cost about that much a serving.
Ep. 20, Story 39: "Sleepy Springtime Classroom"
The name Shunmin, lit. "Spring Night's Sleep," comes from a Chinese saying: "Shunmin akatsuki o oboezu," which means that the Spring nights are so short and comfortable that one can easily awaken in the morning.
"Sleep! Sleep!" The original, "Nemure, nemure," are the lyrics to Schubert's Lullabye, set in Japanese.
"Acho" is a Japanese dig at Bruce Lee and other chop-socky films. It's essentially the sound made when a movie martial artist uses his art, be it karate, tai chi chuan, etc. She's basically being deliberately silly, copying and parodying Bruce Lee's moves and noises.
Manchinro and Heichinro are two famous Chinese restaurants in Yokohama Chinatown. They get used a lot as names of Chinese characters in Japan, when a writer is feeling too lazy to find anything else.
"Non-stop bullet-cloud!" The original, "Chootokkyuu!" means "Super-Express," referring to the fastest of the Japan Railways (hereinafter JR) trains, better known to most English-speakers as the "Bullet Trains." Put together with the line preceding it, in the original, "Nikyuu yori tokkyuu ga kagiru de no," which means, "No second-class; only the best," this refers not just to the grade to which Shunmin gets promoted, but also to the classes of travel on JR trains: Second-class (Nikyuu), Express, or first-class (Tokkyuu), and Super-Express, or Extra-first-class (Chootokkyuu). However, these terms also refer to grades of sake, which Manchinro has been drinking, and so it is possible that he thinks that sake is what Shunmin is talking about, not her promotion.
Ep. 20, Story 40: "Peach-blossom Poetry Contest"
"Waka" literally means "Japanese song." But the kanji for "song," "uta," which is the "ka" in "Waka," can also mean "poem." This leads to Ataru and Mendou's confusing argument about whether "Waka" is poem or song, and then to the inevitable "Waka/Baka" (poem/idiot) joke.
Ataru saying, "A peach petal got in my nose," is nowhere near as funny as the Japanese original, because that line, "Momo no hana ga hana ni haitchatta," is a pun. The words for "flower" and "nose" are pronounced the same in Japanese: "hana."
Otomo no Yakamochi was a poet from the Nara Period (AD. 710-794). He is considered one of Japan's thirty-six greatest poets. More of his poems are included in the Manyooshuu (the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry) than any other poet. He was also one of the editors of the Manyooshuu...
When the Peach Spirit shouts Ataru's name, it would appear to be in response to his persistent entreaties that she do so. But given the following situation, i.e., when Kasen hits Ataru and the ground Ataru is standing on, it takes on an added significance: "ataru" is normally an intransitive verb in Japanese, roughly meaning "to be hit." So the Peach Spirit shouting "Ataru!" is more a cry of, "You're going to get hit!" than Ataru's name. For further reference, see Ep. 1, Story 1, "I'm Lum the Notorious!" and the Inaba-kun TV Special (OVA 1).
When everyone says, "Absolutely! Moroboshi Ataru, number one!" it is a reference to a popular and extremely long-running series on NHK (Japan's public broadcasting network), NHK Nodojiman (NHK Singing Skill Contest). The show travels all over Japan, and in every city, town, and village, they find some twenty or thirty amateurs who are willing to attempt to sing on TV. If their performances are good, they get to sing all the way to the end of their chosen song. If not, they get gonged. A panel of commentators provide additional color. The joke is that, when these people get up on stage, they introduce themselves by saying what number they are (ichiban--number one, niban--number two, etc.), followed by their names, and sometimes what they are going to sing.
Kasen's line, "I'm the canary who forgot how to sing!" is originally from an old children's song, a sad lullabye that was popular in the pre-WWII Shoowa Era (c. 1925-1940).
The Peach Spirit saying, "Good-bye, good-bye!" is an in-joke. The original, "Sainara, sainara," is the trademark of Yodogawa Nagaharu, a famous movie critic. He ends each of his shows with that expression.
Ep. 21, Story 41: "The Duel! Ataru vs. Ataru"
There's an old wives' tale in Japan that certain foods, eaten together, are bad for digestion. This phenomenon is known as "tabeawase," and some examples are given in the episode itself; i.e., the mixture of eel and sour plum, or tempura and ice water. It's not entirely clear whether these notions have any basis in medical fact, though research is said to be in progress on the subject.
In the final fight scene, a horse can be seen in the background. This is a pun on the word "yajiuma," roughly equivalent to "rubbernecker" in English.
Ep. 21, Story 42: "Wake Up to a Nightmare"
This story, which originally aired in 1982, was the inspiration for the 1984 Urusei Yatsura movie, "Beautiful Dreamer," featuring as it does the first appearances of Mujaki and Baku, as well as a harem dream sequence on which Oshii Mamoru would elaborate to a truly impressive degree.
The name "Mujaki" itself is a pun with a couple of layers. The conventional reading of this word means "innocent" or "guileless." But "Mujaki" as it refers to the name of this character is written with an entirely different set of kanji, which have a similar reading, but a different meaning: in this case, the kanji that make up the name "Mujaki" mean "Dream-interference Demon," or, more colloquially, "The Demon that Interferes with Dreams." And Mujaki is, literally, "mujaki" (innocent) by his own lights. He's just doing his job.
As for Baku, there is a Japanese myth that says that Baku is the name of a monster that feeds on nightmares.
Hanafuda, the card game Lum and Ataru stayed up all night playing the night before, is similar to Bridge. The cards feature pictures of flowers, scenery (i.e., Mt. Fuji), and birds, among others, rather than numbers.
Mah Jongg is a game that originated in China, using engraved tiles as playing pieces. It is designed for four players to play, each representing one of the four directions, or "winds." Starting with the East Wind, each player takes a turn as dealer, arranging the tiles and giving out thirteen to each player. The dealer changes counterclockwise whenever a dealer loses a hand. The dealer in a given hand also gets certain advantages with certain tiles that the other players do not. The basic object is to get a better arrangement of the tiles in one's own hand than one's opponents. When the robot says, "Now we'll have enough players!" the term he uses in Japanese, "mentsu ga sorou," means a complete group (of four), which is necessary for a proper game. Then, when he says, "You should at least join in a half-game!" the term he uses, "han-chan," means the first two Winds, or half of a normal four-Wind game.
When the tiger in this scene takes off his coat, revealing the ornate tattoos on his shoulder and back, it indicates that he is a yakuza, a member of one of Japan's organized-crime syndicates. His speech patterns are also very coarse for Japanese, another trait that marks his gangster background.
Okayu is rice boiled with enough extra water to make it very sticky, often eaten in a variety of ways, such as sha-ke (salted grilled tuna), pickled plums, and pickled vegetables. In China, it's a breakfast food, in addition to being good for people with stomach problems because of its easy digestibility (this last the author can attest to personally--the last time he had stomach flu, okayu was about the only thing his stomach could tolerate).
Fugu is blowfish. Fugu liver is considered a delicacy in certain Japanese culinary circles. There are restaurants dedicated to its preparation and serving. The reason is that this particular organ is normally lethally poisonous, but if prepared properly (and one needs special certification in order to work professionally as a fugu chef, in addition to specially-manufactured utensils), there is just the merest hint of the poison in the liver, enough to tingle the taste buds. Improper preparation, however--and even the best chefs are not 100% perfect--results in a quick death. A fugu victim's last words are usually "My, that was tasty... Urk!"
Tanuki-domburi is a bowl of rice with "tanuki" (in this case, tempura batter, not a raccoon) and a soy-based sauce. Combined with things like Beefbowl and Miso soup, all of which Ataru calls "richer" than okayu, the joke that results is that these foods are not gourmet cuisine, but rather, plain, cheap food for ordinary people, along the lines of a hamburger.
In the dream sequence, when Ataru and Mendou charge one another, the statues they draw are themselves noteworthy. The one Ataru draws is called "maneki-neko," or "The Beckoning Cat," and is traditionally placed outside of stores to invite customers and ensure that the business will flourish. The one that Mendou pulls out is a Shigaraki-yaki tanuki (a raccoon made of Shigaraki-yaki pottery, about which see below), which serves much the same purpose as a maneki-neko. It was invented during the Edo period. The straw hat, or amagasa, which it wears symbolizes protection against bad luck or hazardous events. The Tokkuri, or Sakeboro (sake jug), in its right hand means sufficient food and drink to live on. The moneybag he carries represents treasures. Its big round eyes are for kikubari, or being aware of people around oneself. Its big smiling face means aisooyoku, or having good relations with others. The big belly represents a bold, decisive nature. The overall point is that having these statues in one's home or business invites good luck and virtue and all that good stuff.
When, at story's end, Mendou chases Baku for eating the great sword of his ancestors, he says, according to the subtitles, "You stupid Baku!" But in the original Japanese, he actually says, "Kono Bu-waku-mono!" This turns out to be a multilayered pun. The word is both a combination and a corruption of "Baku," "bakemono" (monster), and "bakamono" (stupid).
Spring Special, Part 1: "Urusei Yatsura All-Star All-Out Attack!"
This segment is the first part of a one-hour special that was broadcast out of the regular series continuity, and is not counted among the regular episode listing by Kitty Films, the series' producers. It is composed of out-takes from the preceding episodes, with dialogue recorded (and sometimes re-recorded) ad-lib, in the studio, and recaps the preceding first 21 weeks of the TV series.
Spring Special, Part 2: "The School Excursion! Run, Kunoichi!"
General Note: the places listed in this story are well-known tourist attractions in Nara, ancient capital of Japan. School excursions to these places, such as the one in this episode, are very common.
At the beginning of this story, when the tour-guide says, "Please enjoy your trip over the roads of the ancient capital of Nara, about which many praises have been sung," the word she uses in the original Japanese to refer to these roads, "Yamatoji," means, more literally, "the road to Yamato," which in this case is the ancient name of what is now Nara Prefecture.
Horyuji Temple in Nara is the oldest intact wooden structure in the world, having been built in AD. 607. It is reputed to have been built by a man named Shotooku Taishi, who is one of the most famous political figures in Japanese history. He established the first Constitution in Japan, as well as establishing missions to China, and building many temples to promote Buddhism. One story about his wisdom is that he supposedly once carried on seven different conversations, with seven different people, all at the same time. His face also used to be on the ´10,000 bill, before being replaced by Fukuzawa Yukichi, founder of Keio University, and author of Gakumon no Susume (A Promotion of Study) in the Meiji Era, among other things. The joke is that, even though important people are officially credited with building structures such as Horyuji, the fact is that it was the carpenters of the day who actually did the work, and this is a fairly common one-liner in Japan.
Yumedono (Dream Palace) is the central building of Too-in (East Temple), built in AD. 739 in appeasement of Shootoku Taishi's spirit on the remains of his original home. It is octagonal in shape, and is representative of the architecture of the era.
Kaede, Yatsude, Mukade, Kumade: aside from all of these names ending in "-de," all of them are actual words, with the following meanings:
Kaede: maple tree, which explains the pattern on her kimono.
Yatsude: a type of evergreen shrub.
Mukade: a centipede.
Kumade: a rake.
When Ataru shouts, "Men! Dou!" he is heaping a new layer of pun on Mendou's name. These two words, as used in this scene, are terms from kendo--Japanese fencing--referring to body locations. Men is hitting the face mask. Dou is hitting the abdominal armor.
Kaede's phone number, "007-009," is an homage to two classic fictional characters. 007 is James Bond, of course, and 009 is Cyborg 009, one of the many excellent works of Ishimori (now "Ishinomori") Shootaroo.
"Shigaraki-yaki" is a type of Japanese chinaware named for Shigaraki, the place where it originated. See Ep. 21, Story 42, "Wake Up to a Nightmare," for details.
When Lum says, "Playing with fire is the cause of bedwetting!" she is messing around with a serious statement, "Hiasobi wa kaji no moto," or "Playing with fire causes conflagration." But in this case, Lum is just trying to insult Kaede's fire trickery.
Kaede's "secret trick of hog-raising," or "yooton no jutsu," is a play on the way ninja attach the word "jutsu" (trick or technique) to almost everything that they do. It's deliberate nonsense, done for the sake of being ridiculous. (So what else is new?)
Normally, "smart" is synonymous with "intelligent" in English. Sometimes, depending on to what one is referring, it can take on a slang meaning of "sharp" or "stylish." It was this latter meaning that was assigned to this word when it was adopted into Japanese, and is what Mukade and Kumade mean when they use it just prior to their initial "attack" on Kaede.
The reason Kumade chews out the little ninja for using all their smoke, and making Ataru "disappear," is that ninja usually use smoke to make themselves disappear, not someone else. However, these little ninja have long been in the habit of using their smoke under any circumstances, and simply acted out of reflex.
Cherry's joke about "jumping from the stage of Kiyomizu" (Kiyomizu no butai kara tobioriru) is based on an idiom of the same wording, which means that one is doing something that is, in all probability, risky or dangerous in some sense to the person doing it. Such risk or danger does not have to be physical; any such personally challenging and hazardous act comes under this heading. Emotional or financial hazards are additional examples. The joke here is that, when Cherry says this line, he is standing on the real stage of Kiyomizu Temple (a very high place indeed), making the idiom a literal statement. As for Kiyomizu itself: one of Kyoto's most famous temples, Kiyomizu is the main temple of the Kyoto branch of the Hossoo sect of Buddhism, which, together with the Kegon, Sanron, Kusha, Joojitsu, and Ritsu sects, make up the six original sects of Nara-period Buddhism.
Ep. 22, Stories 43-44: "The Great Space Matchmaking Operation"
Ataru sneezes while Jariten and Lum's Father are talking about him behind his back. In Japan, the superstition goes that, if you sneeze, it means someone is doing just that.
To find out about the "Ventura" that Ataru suggests to the Gang of Four as a means to bring Lum back, see Ep. 1, Story 2, "It's Raining Oil in Our Town."
Ataru's first reaction, upon seeing Jariten's spaceship for the first time, is, in the subtitles, "Your potty?" This is because Jariten's spaceship resembles a Japanese toddler's porta-potty, or "Omaru," which is what Ataru actually says in the original Japanese.
Ep. 23, Stories 45-46: "The Big Springtime Picnic Uproar!"
"Surume" is a Japanese snack food, a sort of squid jerky.
When Shinobu refers to the "dried and impaled prey of a shrike," she is referring to the Mozu, or butcher-bird, which stores food by impaling it on thorns.
Kappa are mythical creatures, similar to vampires, which look like frog-men with sharp beaks and a set of 'head fins' that hold water. Kappa are amphibious, but can only survive on land as long as there's enough water on its head. A few shrines in Japan are said to have fragments of Kappa mummies and Kappa legends recorded on old scrolls, so perhaps the Kappa actually did exist. Kappa love cucumbers, and it is said that feeding them their favorite food will keep them from sucking blood. Ataru, apparently, doesn't like cucumbers much, which is why he isn't impressed by the delicacies given to him, which are all made of cucumbers.
Dragon Palace ("Ryuujuugoo") which the Master Kappa takes Ataru to is a reference to the legend of Urashima Taroo; this legend is also the basis for the second Urusei Yatsura movie, "Beautiful Dreamer." In the story, Taroo found a sea turtle that had washed up on a beach, and was being tormented by some cruel children. He rescued the turtle, and in return, the turtle took him to Dragon Palace, where he was wined and dined by the Princess of the Palace. This is why Ataru asks where the Princess is, and why he is disappointed by the answer he gets. When Taroo decided to leave, the Princess gave him a box as a going-away present, with a warning that he must never open it. After returning to the land, Taroo discovered that over 100 years had passed, even though he had only been away a few days. He finds that all his friends have aged and died, and that his village has changed so much as to be unrecognizable. Finally, Taroo opens the box, and the gas that was contained within released him from the magic that had retarded his aging, swiftly turning him into an extremely old man.
When Ataru torments Mendou by saying "Look! Over there!" to Lum and Shinobu, he is making a reference to a children's game ("Atchi muite hoi!") of the same name; the object of the game is to avoid looking in the direction the caller is indicating.
Mendou's speech that culminates in his saying he must "bear the unbearable, and eat" is yet another in a series of takeoffs on the famous speech the Shoowa Emperor made when Japan surrendered at the end of the Second World War. The original line is "Taegataki o tae, shinobigataki o shinobi" (bear the unbearable, conceal the unconcealable); Mendou mangles this into "shino-bigataki o tae" (conceal the unbearable).
Ep. 24, Story 47: "Beware of Earmuffs!"
The Sukiyaki which Ataru's parents are secretly feasting on when Sakuramboo (Cherry) surprises them in Ataru's body is a Japanese delicacy, all the more prized because it has a lot of meat in it, which is very expensive in Japan. Sukiyaki actually means "cooked meat that I love," so it's no wonder that Ataru's parents were trying to trick everyone into eating cheap instant noodles so they could hog the good food for themselves. For more Sukiyaki tidbits, see Ep. 15, Story 29, "The Great Spring War."
Ep. 25, Story 48: "Fly, Imo!"
"Imo," the name Ataru gives to the caterpillar, is actually a cute short form of "imomushi," which is Japanese for caterpillar.
The small wooden or plastic lunch-boxes (and the lunch within them) that everyone uses are called "Bentoo," or "Obentoo ." Inside the box is rice, pickles, and all sorts of other tidbits, all neatly packed together, as well as a few treats to eat and trade. Just as American kids lust after lunch-boxes with their favorite characters on them, Japanese kids bug their parents to get similarly adorned Bentoo.
The scene with Megane and Ataru making weird noises like "Acho!" is an homage to the king of martial-arts films, the late, great, Bruce Lee. See Ep. 20, Story 39, "Sleepy Springtime Classroom," for more details.
Ep. 26, Story 49: "Ten's Love"
The Carp Streamers, or "Koinobori," which are fluttering in the Spring breeze at the start of this episode, are traditionally flown on May 5th, Children's Day (formerly Boy's Day). They are also a pun on the episode title; depending on the Kanji character used, "Koi" can mean "carp" or "love." The name of the coffee shop where Ten and Sakura meet, "Pigmon," is most likely a reference to a spiny red monster of the same name who appeared in Tsuburaya Productions classic series, "Ultraman."
"Ocharaka," the game Kintaro and his bear play while they are waiting for Lum to talk to Sakura, is a Japanese kids' game; it is sort of a cross between Patty-cake and Rock-Scissors-Paper.
After Ten's phone conversation with Sakura, Kintaro says, "All right, Ten! Tomorrow, a homerun!" This is a play on a famous commercial for a Gyuudon (Beefbowl) fast-food restaurant chain named Yoshinoya. In the commercial, a father comes home bearing a gift for his little-league son, a baseball promotional item he got when he ate at Yoshinoya. Upon seeing the gimmick, the son is so inspired that he exclaims, "All right, Dad! Tomorrow, a homerun!"
When Kintaro sees Ten off on his date, the subtitle reads "You look great." The original Japanese is "Otokomae," a compliment to men that means he looks neat, handsome, and generally good-looking. However, it is an old term not currently used by the current generation, but rather by their parents or grandparents.
At Pigmon, Ataru orders "Two extra-large American coffees." American coffee is just that: coffee that Americans drink. It is weaker than normal, Japanese coffee, which it itself weaker than European coffee. Also, the word Ataru uses to mean "extra-large," "oomori," is usually used to refer to extra-large portions of food, not drink.
Finally, in the next episode preview, mention is made of Dracula's assistant, Koomori. This is the Japanese word for "bat." However, since the word is used twice in the sentence, as a name and a description, we subtitled it as "Koomori the Bat."
The episode title itself has a great pun in it that we couldn't translate. The original Japanese line was "Tonda Dracula." "Tonda" can either mean "flying" or it can mean "ridiculous" or "stupid." Both of these meanings are quite accurate, as we shall see next time.
Ep. 27, Story 50: "What a Dracula"
The title of this episode is a joke. "Tonda," the past tense of the verb "Tobu" (to fly), normally means "flew." But when used as it is here, it is an adjective, with the added meaning of "What a..."--usually meaning "What an idiot." Therefore, it has both a literal and figurative meaning in this case: Dracula both flies, and is also a "flying" (flipping) lunatic.
"Koomori" is Japanese for "bat," but it is also the name of Dracula's bat servant.
This episode brings up the Japanese writing system, in the form of Dracula's love letter to Lum. A serious dissertation on the subject is beyond the scope of these notes, but in brief, there are three different writing systems used in modern Japanese: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. The first two are syllabaries (i.e., one symbol for each sound used in Japanese), and the third is pictograms, originally taken from the Chinese writing system. The main difference between hiragana and katakana is in usage: the former is used mainly for Japanese words, and the latter for words borrowed from other languages, such as English, German, and French. Not using kanji in one's writing makes it seem childish and unsophisticated; this is why Koomori chides Dracula for not using kanji in his letter. Another problem with not using kanji is that Japanese has a lot of homonyms, and very often one can tell which of several words with similar pronunciation is meant only by seeing the kanji itself. Dracula's retort that "you can't write the word 'date' in kanji" refers to the word "date" being a foreign word, and thus cannot be written in kanji: that's what katakana is for.
Koomori and Lum talking about Dracula's "misspelling" was an attempt to deal with a concept that doesn't exist in English: that of "Ateji," or substitution, whether arbitrarily or incorrectly, of kanji, usually ones that have readings similar to those which one wants to write, but that one either doesn't know or can't remember. Ateji is also used when a writer wants specifically to have a reading for a given set of kanji that is not its normal reading. The title of this series is an example of that.
Dracula saying that "Tonight is awfully bad" is a reference to a type of fortune telling which was popular around the time this story was made, based on calendar calculations about an individual--birthdate, age, etc. The word he uses in the original, "Tenchuusatsu," means, in this fortune telling style, that one is having, or is going to have, a bad time--day or year, usually. It soon passed into common use, being used whenever one was having a bad time: "Today is my Tenchuusatsu," "This year is my Tenchuusatsu," etc., and Dracula uses it in this latter manner.
Ep. 28, Story 51: "Lum's Boy's Education Lecture Course"
The caption on one of Ataru's childhood photographs reads, according to Lum, as "The embarrassment of 7-5-3 Day." The original, "Shichigosan," is a festival for girls of 7 and 3 years of age, and boys of 5 years of age, intended to celebrate the attainment of these ages, which takes place on Nov. 15. Their parents take them to Shinto shrines to receive blessings from the gods for their children's health. The children themselves are dressed in their very best, and parents often spend large amounts of money buying or renting traditional costumes. In modern times, it has become standard practice to mark the occasion with a formal photograph.
The sound effect Lum makes when she dives into the teacup, "Shuwachi!" is the sound which Ultraman made when taking off into the sky.
The songs that Ataru was trying to sing and couldn't remember are songs about pigeons and rain, songs which preschoolers learn and normally can memorize before entering grade school. That Ataru, as a first-grader, not only cannot remember them but also gets them mixed up only serves to emphasize that, even as a little kid, he was a moron.
Ataru's Father saying (in the subtitles) that "It's that new house state of mind" was another attempt to deal with a difficult pun in Japanese: the word "shinkyoo," used by Ataru's parents, is a homonym, in that it can be written in two different ways, each with a different meaning. When Ataru's Mother says "shinkyoo," she means "new house," as in "Let's take a commemorative photo in front of our new house." When Ataru's Father says "shinkyoo," he is using its other meaning, "state of mind." But because of the way he says it, "Soo iu shinkyoo da na" (It's that sort of shinkyoo), the word ends up having both of the above meanings, creating a pun which would come out more literally in English as something like "It's that kind of new house state of mind." Not nearly as eloquent or as funny in English as in the original Japanese.
Ep. 29, Story 52: "From the Gardenia, With Love"
The central pun of this story is the name of the flower itself. Kuchinashi (Japanese for "Gardenia") can also be written with kanji that mean "without mouth," or "without speech." This joke crops up several times in the course of this episode, in various forms. First is when Ataru tries to ask the flower-shop girl for her name and phone number. Her reply is that "Gardenias don't make phone calls!" In the original, she says "Kuchinashi," giving it the double meaning of both the flower, and those (people and things alike) that cannot speak. Naturally, neither is capable of using the phone. Later, when the giant gardenia appears, it clearly has a mouth, even though it is "Kuchinashi." It also proves to be quite garrulous, again in contradiction of its "name." Finally, there is Ten's line, "Die! Die! Dead men tell no tales." This line in the original, "Shinin ni wa kuchinashi da," is normally the Japanese equivalent of the idiom, "Dead men tell no tales." But in this case, because of the double meaning of the word "kuchinashi," it ends up meaning much more... and less.
Ataru's Father saying "Well, it might work..." is a reference to a phrase, "Ataru mo hakke, ataranu mo hakke," which means that things like fortune telling, weather forecasting, etc. have a 50/50 chance of being right. However, used in reference to Moroboshi Ataru, it becomes a pun on his name as well.
Ataru telling Ten that he's "not Mito Komon" is a reference to the hero of a popular, long-running "jidaigeki" (Samurai Drama), which are roughly the Japanese equivalent of American Westerns. For more information, see Ep. 13, Story 25, "Mendou Brings Trouble!" (Mendou wa Trouble to Tomo ni!)
At traditional omiai (matchmaking meetings between prospective marriage partners), where both interviewees kneel on tatami, in front of a low table, it is common for the woman to seem very shy and unsure of herself, and typically she will trace the hiragana character "no" on the tatami, as a sign of her shyness and embarrassment. It is this action to which Ten is referring when he points out that the Gardenia is doing the same thing. It indicates the Gardenia's bashfulness.
There is a joke in the flower-shop girl's choice of flower to which she chooses to dedicate her life. Japanese quince, in Japanese, is called "boke," which can also mean "a senile person," or "a person who is stupid in a senile fashion."
Ep. 30, Story 53: "A Beautiful Girl Brings Rain"
Amamori Tsuyuko's name is a couple of jokes in itself. Literally translated, it means "Rain-forest Dew-girl."
Tsuyuko calling herself "a rain woman" has a larger meaning in the original Japanese. The word "ameonna" (or the male equivalent, "ameotoko") refers to a person who seemingly attracts rain wherever he or she goes. If one is having some sort of outdoor activity and invites this person, one can expect that outing to be rained out, or so the story goes.
Some of the ways in which Tsuyuko's Father mangles Ataru's name are actual words themselves. "Morokoshi" means "corn," "Monohoshi" means "clothesline," and "Morodashi" means "totally exposed," particularly of something embarrassing.
"Daruma-san koronda" is a Japanese children's game. One person, the Oni, stands at one end of the playing area, facing away from the other players, who are at the other end. The Oni chants "Daruma-san koronda," during which time the other players advance on the Oni, and when the Oni finishes, he turns around, and catches anyone he finds still moving. Those people have to link hands with the Oni, while those who are still free try to reach the Oni and touch the hands that are holding the other players, to set them free. The specific rules for a given game are often negotiated by the players at that time, and thus can differ from one game to the next.
Ep. 31, Story 54: "Gimme Back My Horn!"
In the opening fight scene, some of the thrown objects include Shoonen Sunday magazines (the Shoogakkan manga magazine in which Urusei Yatsura was serialized) and early collected volumes of Maison Ikkoku, another excellent Takahashi creation, which began serialization at about this time in Big Comic Spirits, another Shoogakkan weekly manga magazine. Ms. Takahashi was, for several years, doing two weekly manga serials at the same time!
After Ten belittles Ataru for being so dumb as to throw burnable things at him, Ataru responds by throwing a bag of unburnable trash. The reference behind this joke is that for a number of years, some parts of Japan (most notably Tokyo) have required that garbage be separated into burnable (things which can safely be burned) and unburnable (those which cannot).
"Deer Brand Rice Crackers," or Shika Sembei, are a type of rice cracker sold to tourists in Nara Park, so that they can feed the resident deer population. Of course, Ataru is just cracking wise about the horn of Ten's dilemma.
In the scene where Ran calls up Lum to come outside, a fleet of hearses (Japanese style, of course) goes by. One suggested explanation for this scene comes from a superstition which says that it's a bad omen to stick out one's fingers when one comes across something having to do with the dead. Ran is sticking out her finger to dial the phone while the hearses go by.
An additional point about "crane, turtle:" images of these supposedly lucky creatures are often displayed at weddings and other events where one wishes to bring good luck. But one doesn't normally say the words themselves for that purpose.
Ep. 32, Story 55: "Shocking Library--Quiet, Please!"
Organized sex education in Japanese schools is practically nonexistent. Most young people, boys and girls alike, get their initial information from videos and photo collections such as the one Ataru and the Gang of Four are reading at the beginning of this story.
The "Chirico Collection" on the librarian's desk refers to Georgio di Chirico (1888-1978), a pioneer of the surrealist movement in art.
Lum shouting "Week after week!" as she chases Ataru and "the assistant" refers to the series originally being a weekly one on Japanese TV.
The character who asks Ataru how to get to Takadanobaba (a real area in what is now central Tokyo) is an actual figure from Japanese history, Horibei Yasubei (1673-1703). He was one of the Akoorooshi, the people featured in the Edo-Period revenge epic, "Chuushingura" (The tale of the 47 Roonin). Supposedly a master of archery, he and his fellows waited many years to avenge their master (who had been trapped into committing seppuku) and then killed themselves. Known to be good-looking and aggressive, Horibei Yasubei was a central figure in this story, with side stories of his own. The story has become a classic piece of Japanese literature, with numerous Kabuki plays and puppet shows written concerning it. A TV drama about the incident airs annually in Japan at year's end, and movies about it have been made and remade. Takadanobaba was where Horibei supposedly killed a number of samurai at one time in the course of the Akoorooshi, but historically, he is supposed to have killed only one or two people in Nara. That may not have been thought interesting enough to write an epic about, thus causing the Takadanobaba story to come about.
There are lots of visual jokes at the end of the episode, featuring popular characters from Japanese and American TV and comic books. The dancing peasants, however, are a reference to the peasants' revolt at the end of the Edo Period, c. 1867. It was based on the rural custom of visiting Ise Shrine, in Kinki (Western Japan). Over a wide area, including Kinki, Shikoku, Tookaido and Kooshu, mass frenzy overtook the peasants, who chanted "Ee ja nai ka" (What's wrong with it), and danced like crazy. But so long as they danced on their way to Ise Shrine, saying this phrase, the samurai couldn't do anything to them. Since the event took place during the overthrow of the Tokugawa Military Government, the phrase has taken on a sense of reform, especially political.
Ep. 33, Story 56: "Mr. Hanawa Arrives! It's the Springtime of Youth"
Like some American schools, Japanese schools, in general, assign homeroom numbers. These numbers are usually of the form "Year-X Group-Y," where X is the year that the students are in, in their school, and Y is an arbitrary number. Unlike the American system, Japanese schools do not number their grades 1-12 straight through. Instead, it goes 1-6, 1-3, 1-3. The years 1-6 are spent in Shoogakkoo ("little school"). The next 3 years are spent in Chuugakko ("middle school"). The last 3 years before college are in Kookoo ("high school"). In each grade, the student body is randomly divided into several groups, depending on the number of students enrolled. Each "group" is then assigned a number or letter code, just to differentiate them from one another. Ataru's homeroom is thus 2-nen 4-kumi (2nd year in high school, 11th US-grade, group 4).
Okamoto Taroo, a leading modern artist who achieved his greatest fame in the 1970's, made the phrase "Geijutsu wa bakuhatsu da!" (Art is explosive!) famous. In the scene where Mr. Hanawa runs the students' gauntlet, the class puns on that line, saying, "Geijutsu da! Bakuhatsu da!" (Artistic! Explosive!).
When Mr.Hanawa tries to ask Ataru about Lum's horns, he tries to come up with a proverb that will get his point across, scanning through a couple of bad examples:
"Tonbi ga taka..." -> "Tobi ga taka o umu" (A black-eared kite gives birth to a hawk). The tobi (tonbi) is considered a very average bird in Japan, and the taka, conversely, a very rare and special one. So when average parents give birth to exceptionally talented children, this expression is used to describe it.
"Shusse no himitsu..." (The Secret of One's Birth) is something similar, referring to something hidden concerning one's birth or upbringing.
The net result is nonsense, as Mr. Hanawa tries to approach with delicacy what he thinks is a delicate issue.
Japanese girls would probably name Buruma (Bloomers) the number one most hated apparel, as they are short pumpkin-shaped trainer-pants that were (in general) required to be worn during gym classes. They're considered just plain ugly. There are many nicknames that exist for these generally regarded as hideous pieces of clothing. One which Ataru mentions is "Chouchin buruma." Chouchin is a round lantern made of paper, which is typically displayed during festivals. They were much more common 30-50 years ago then they are now (they began disappearing some twenty years ago, and are now practically nonexistent). That Mr. Hanawa would spring them on Lum just goes to show how old-fashioned he is.
When Perm refers to Ataru as "...the boys' volleyball team's sixth man..." he is making a pun on the title of Graham Greene's "The Third Man."
Ep. 34, Story 57: "Goblin in Distress, Yearning for People"
Green tea over steamed rice is called "Ochazuke," and is popular when one doesn't feel like cooking anything elaborate, as it is easy to make, or when one doesn't have much of an appetite, as it is easy to swallow (though it isn't very good for digestion, as one doesn't chew it very much). The time most popular for eating such food is summer, which gets very hot, and even more humid, taking away most people's appetites and energy. This phenomenon is so standard in Japan that it has its own name: "natsubate." All of this added together with the Goblin's statement that he does have an appetite is an outright contradiction in terms.
Mendou saying, "Good thing I didn't take that trip to Florida," is another seemingly offhand sign of his being a really rich kid. Going to Florida is considered more like a rich man's trip than the usual Guam or Hawaii, for Japanese, if only because of the greater distance.
Tsubame saying "Come on over" is another line that's funnier in the original. "Oidemasse" is from a famous advertising slogan of the time, "Oidemasse Yamaguchi e!" (Come on out to Yamaguchi, y'all!) The slogan was invented to drum up interest in visiting Yamaguchi Prefecture, and is done in the dialect of the area, which is roughly to Tokyo-style Japanese as a Southern accent in the US. would be to the accent of a big Northern or West-Coast city. For more information, see, Ep. 12, Story 23, "Battle Royal of Love."
The Dappya Monster crying, "Help me, please!" when the kids beat it up is a reference to the story of Urashima Taroo, who saved a turtle when some kids were torturing it on a beach. For more information, see Ep. 23, Stories 45-46, "The Big Picnic Uproar."
Ep. 35, Story 58, "Darling's had it this time!"
Mama's Boy: When the waiter says, "To my dearest mother, she is pretty," there are some additional nuances in the original. Normally, when writing a letter to one's mother (as he is mentally doing here), someone of his age would say "hahauesama," (most honorable mother) as a salutation. But instead, he says "mamauesama," which, being the sort of thing that only someone much younger would say, and even then, not in a letter, makes him out to be something of a mama's boy. Also, words such as "hahaue" are not modern colloquial Japanese. They date back to the Edo Period, and were primarily used by samurai and other nobility, not the common people. Such words largely went out of fashion during the Meiji Period. On top of which, "mamaue" isn't even a real word. All the speaker did was substitute "mama" for "haha," making a word which sounds strange to native Japanese speakers.
The Terrible Fields: "Hidoiwagahara" is a strange, made-up name based on the occasional practice of naming fields in Japan using the words "ga hara," meaning, roughly, "field" or "fields." Normally, such names would be one or at most two kanji, followed by "gahara," as in "Sekigahara." So "Hidoiwagahara" is an extreme example. On top of which, it seems likely that the name itself derives from the monster running around saying, "Hidoi wa!" which is a feminine way of saying "How Terrible!"
The Price is Right: In the scene afterward, where Lum and Ran buy ice creams, the robot says the price is "20 Torajima." "Torajima" literally means "tigerstripes," which would seem to be a perfectly logical name for the Oni monetary unit.
Being Sat Upon: Later, Ran says, "Lum, you've been living your life at the expense of mine!" The original, "Agura o kaku," literally means "to sit cross-legged," but also has an additional idiomatic meaning of taking advantage of someone, as if by sitting on them.
Fish paste: "Chikuwa" are straw-shaped pieces of fish, about an inch in diameter, with a hole through the center about a centimeter wide. The edge portions are white, and the middle part is baked. It's typically cut into segments and used in oden (explained below).
Put a lid on it: "Seeing as how I'm sick, your treating me like a pervert is just too much!" The original has an idiomatic expression, "Mi mo futa mo nai." Literally, it means "there is neither jar nor lid," idiomatically meaning that what one says lacks subtlety or sympathy, in other words, that one's words are too direct.
Ep. 36, Story 59: "Rei Returns! The Great Study Hall Panic!!"
Historical note: this episode marks the first appearance of Onsen-mark.
Winter Soup: "I'll bet a bowl of Kotobuki-oden on Mendou." Kotobuki is the name of an oden shop (possibly fictional). Oden is a sort of shoyu (soy sauce) "soup," with seaweed, egg, potatoes, various types of processed fish, konyaku (a kind of processed potato), radish, and various other things mixed in. Sometimes it's served in special sets in shops, or from traveling carts, together with sake, where you pay by the item. It's especially popular in winter.
Tune In, Turn On, Eat Out: "Channel 8, 9, Ten." "Channel 3, 2, 1, Rei." These are bilingual puns on the names of these characters. "Ten" is used here as both Ten's name and as the English number 10. When written with a certain kanji, "Rei" is the Japanese word for "zero," which sets up the pun on Rei's name in this instance.
Translator's Excedrin Headache #3276541: Chibi's response to Ataru saying that Rei's coming, is, in the subtitles, "Ah! Rei!" But in the original, he puns on the expression "Are?" which roughly means "Huh?" or "What?" by saying, "A-Rei?!"
Sneaky Snacking: "Boys who haven't eaten their lunches yet, fork them over." In Japanese high schools, there are typically four morning classes, and then lunch. Normally, one isn't supposed to eat lunch before lunch time, but some students eat the lunches (bentoo) that they've brought from home during the five-to-ten-minute breaks between classes. Others, like Ataru, prop up their books on their desks and actually eat during class. These two activities are known as "hayaben," which is what Ataru is referring to when he talks to those students who haven't yet eaten their lunches. It isn't lunch time yet.
We're not here, and you never saw us: "Young Master. Young Master! Can't you hear me? Young Master!" "Waka," or "Young Master," and "Wakaran," "don't understand," are juxtaposed here, for another pun. The black-garbed servants are "kuroko." In certain types of Japanese theater, such as Bunraku puppet theater, they are "officially" invisible helpers. Since Mendou made a point that the Beefbowl delivery should be discreet, it isn't surprising that the family kuroko squad would deliver the food. This episode marks their first appearance, and they will soon become known as the willing servants and co-conspirators of Mendou Shutaro's dangerous little sister, Ryoko, who will soon appear to make her big-brother's life hell.
Ep. 37, Story 60: "The Coming of the Mysterious Red Mantle!"
The Hell of Study: Mendou mentioning preparation for college entrance exams refers to "Exam Hell," perhaps the most trying period in a typical Japanese student's life. Exam Hell is the period of preparation for the college entrance exams, the outcome of which largely determines one's future. Mendou saying that he doesn't have to worry about it understandably infuriates Ataru.
Quoth the Teacher: "No, not that! Like a mystery man with 20 faces, and also a mystery man with 40 faces, and a mystery man with 100 faces and a mystery man with a 1000 faces, and 10,000 faces..." This line is a reference to "Kaijin nijuumenso" (The Mystery Man With 20 Faces), a popular mystery-suspense novel by an author who wrote under the penname of Edogawa Rampoo, which is a made-up Japanese reading of "Edgar Allen Poe." Since 1954, Edogawa's contributions to the Japanese mystery-novel genre have been remembered in an award for new mystery writers bearing his name. As a side note, the award is currently worth a whopping ´10,000,000 (about US$100,000 as of this writing (1994)), in addition to the winning work(s) being published by Kodansha, one of Japan's biggest publishing houses, and royalties from said publication.
"Bon" appetit: "Yes, we also held cool of the evening "bon" dances sponsored by the student council." Bon dancing is a type of traditonal outdoor dancing, in which the participants wear yukata (cotton kimono), and make large circles. This type of dancing happens during the festival of Obon, the time when people return to their homelands to visit the graves of their ancestors, which takes place in either mid-July or mid-August depending on the region.
Not a pushover: "Last ditch! Crashing wave push! Heave!" "Dosukoi" is an expression used in Sumo when one is making a serious push, which is why it fits this scene.
That woman again: Megane saying, "Am I that pretty?" is a reference to an urban legend which circulated among Japanese children in the mid-to-late 1970's, about a woman known as "kuchisake onna," which roughly translates as "the woman with a slashed mouth." Supposedly, this woman, who wore a veil over her face, would walk up to schoolchildren (up to and including high-schoolers) and say, "Atashi kirei?" (Am I pretty?) No matter what answer she got, she would keep asking it over and over again. Eventually she would take off her veil, revealing a mouth the corners of which were slashed back to her ears. She also supposedly carried a kama, or grain sickle, which might have been used as a weapon. No confirmation has ever surfaced as to this woman's existence.
Cameos: In the final dance scene, several interesting figures show up, most notably the two original Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) super heroes, Tiger Mask, and a batter for the Hanshin Tigers baseball team.
Ep. 38, Story 61: "Steal Darling! The Copy Operation!!"
A Fishy Compliment: "Ran, you're so cute, pretty, fantastic, oh, you tease." "Hamachikko" is a pun. "Burikko," the word normally associated with Ran (see Spring Special Part 1 for Ataru's Mother's explanation), refers to being too cute for words. But Buri and Hamachi are both types of fish, so what Ran has done here is, in an act of especial cuteness, switch one fish for another, thus making "Burikko" into "Hamachikko."
Perhaps a Summit meeting would help: "What will you do with that mountain of Darlings?" "Kuroyama no hitodakari" refers to having a crowd of people so large that they look like a black mountain, or "kuroyama." In that expression, Lum substitutes Darling for "hito" (person or people), resulting in the phrase "kuroyama no Darlingdakari."
"I've got a good idea. If we cut them off at the source, like an odor, it'll be OK." "The source?" "Let's snuff the real one." "Are you saying Darling's a stink?!"
The above lines are based on a Japanese commercial for a chemical used to treat odors in septic tanks and traditional Japanese toilets, which are basically just holes in the ground. The original line translates as follows:
"Kusai! Kusai! Kusai nioi wa moto kara tatanakya dame." (It stinks! It stinks! You have to stop stinky odors at the source.)
Episode 39, Story 62: "Thrilling Summer Date"
"And the batter for Pierrot Academy..." This school name is a pun on PL Gakuen (PL Academy), a school renowned for its baseball. "PL" comes out as "Pieru" in Japanese pronounciation, and it's not far from that to "Pierrot." And, of course, Studio Pierrot did the animation for this episode of Urusei Yatsura.
"The whole Ookanei High School team is crying." In Japan, it's common knowledge that players in the summer national high school baseball festival all cry like babies. Supposedly, teenagers crying their hearts out takes on an almost religious significance.
"I guess I'll have to make do with Tamiko." Kojima Tamiko, one of the series's main directors, is also a disciple of chief director Oshii Mamoru.
"Come on, Darling, let's go on a date! Come on, let's go on a date! Hey!" The LP Ataru is cleaning here says "YMC." In all probability, this is a pun on YMO--Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto Ryuuichi's legendary technopop band.
"Yes, this is Moroboshi. Is this Iyo? Huh? Your tastes have changed?" Iyo is most likely meant to be Matsumoto Iyo, a well-known TV talent.
"Let's go have a bite. I know a great Beefbowl place!" It goes without saying that Beefbowl joints are not the sort of place one normally takes a girl on a date!
The Restaurant Sign: "Ikakuchoo Restaurant": The characters used in the sign are ateji (Chinese characters substituted, arbitrarily in this case, for proper ones) for a word which in Japanese means "gastric dilation." The joke is that Lum and Miki are eating enough to cause themselves just such a condition.
"Episode 40, Story 63, "So Long, Goodbye, Summer Days"
Mr. Tebasaki Yoshinori, the character actor who was hospitalized for an enlarged appendix which is said to have been 7.5 times normal size, left the hospital yesterday in good health." "Tebasaki" is Japanese for "chicken wing," so a guy with that name having an abnormal appendix is a pun.
"...that boy was plagued by a terrible stomachache for ten days!" "Oh! A stomachache!" "And he only had ten watermelons of about this size!" "Ten!" "I usually have twenty!" "I can handle eighteen." "Ah, indeed, so can I." This sequence is simply a reference to what monstrous appetites Sakura and Cherry have. For the definitive reference, see TV set 4, episode 13, story 26, "Full Course From Hell."
"So "goblin," what do you want to be "gobbling?"" This was an attempt (made by one of us whose name is being withheld to protect the guilty) to deal with one of the most outrageously untranslatable puns yet seen in the series. The original line reads: "Yookai, nani ga yookai?" The pun is that the first "Yookai" means "goblin," and the second, together with the "nani ga," means, "What do you want?"
Episode 41, Story 64, "Panic in a Typhoon!"
"...potato chips, Nichibei Caramel, and Umauma Chocolate!" These are brandnames--made up for the story, in all likelihood.
"Oh! Hold it! You thieving cat!" The word Ataru uses in the original, "dorobooneko," is equivalent to the English "cat-burglar"--when applied to humans, that is.
"The splashing of the oars is like flowers..." This line is from a song called Hana, by Taki Rentaroo, one of Japan's great composers.
Episode 42, Story 65, "Drunkard's Boogie"
This episode marks the earliest Urusei Yatsura screenplay penned by Komparu Tomoko, who went on to script three of the movies (Only You, Remember My Love, and The Final Chapter) and co-script a fourth (Always My Darling).
Umeboshi (pickled plums) have a preservative effect on rice, due to being soaked in vinegar. Also, the single red circle in the field of white rice gave rise to the term "Hinomaru Bentoo" (Hinomaru Box Lunch), because of its similarity in appearance to Hinomaru, the Japanese flag. For more about Hinomaru Bentoo, see TV Set 4, Episode 13, Story 26, "Full Course From Hell."
"They really hit the spot! Want to have them with hot water?" This is a nod to a relatively recent trend in alcoholic drinks. "Mizuwari" means adding water to a drink, as in whiskey and water. "Oyuwari" means adding hot water instead.
"Here, spray some of this alcohol on them, and they should be OK!" The spirits which Cherry is carrying around are "shochu," or fermented potato liquor.
"Alcohol! Alcohol!" The word "sake" is often used to mean alcohol in general, as well as the specific fermented-rice liquor.
Episode 43, Story 66, "The Terror of Meow"
This episode is a signature piece, in that Chief Director Oshii Mamoru performed the three main functions of screenplay, storyboarding, and direction by himself.
"I gotta go to the bathroom first!" When hearing scary stories, people don't want to go to the bathroom alone.
"If this follows the usual pattern then I'd call the Creature Police..." The original line, "Yookai 110-ban," refers to "110," the emergency telephone number set aside for the police in Japan.
"Oh, very well!" "Huh? What is it?" Cherry is receiving a bribe in a very traditional Japanese fashion, known as "sodenoshita," or "under the sleeve." It comes from the receiver of the bribe inserting it within the sleeve of his kimono.
"Looks like the ones who ought to have survived have indeed survived." From here on, Ataru takes on the appearance and style of Joe, the star of "Ashita no Joe" (Tomorrow's Joe), a classic manga series about a budding boxer (later made into an equally classic anime series). Note also Cherry's impression of Joe's manager.
Episode 44, Story 67, "After You've Gone"
At the end of the series's original broadcast run (March, 1986), the viewers voted this episode as their favorite.
"Menko, I've always loved you..." "Shiruo!" Shiruo, when written out in kanji is the same as "Soup Man," while Menko is "Noodle Girl." Soup and noodles, of course, are the key ingredients in Ramen. In fact, it's sometimes said that the relationship between soup and noodles in Ramen is like marriage!
"MENDOU!" This line is a pun. Although he's saying "Mendou's here," Mendou is also a homonym for "bother," "trouble," or "nuisance." For more details, see TV Set 4, Episode 14, Story 25, "Mendou Brings Trouble!"
"Allow me to say it straight... Your husband is a buffoon!" Mendou is speaking in Osaka dialect in Ataru's imagination, because it supposedly makes him look and sound stupid.
"But it'd be a crying shame if she really is gone." "Moto mo ko mo nai" is an idiom. At times it can be taken to mean "one's efforts going down the drain," but generally equates to "it'd be too bad."
"...I don't care if you have to go down to the grass roots, but find Lum!" "Kusa no ne wo waketemo..." literally, "even if you have to part grass roots..." It actually means, "no matter what you have to go through, find whatever you're looking for."
"Sir, there was no sign of her on Dream Island!" Dream Island is actually a landfill in Tokyo Bay, in other words, a garbage dump, with a name meant to make it sound nicer than it is.
"I hope she's not at another matchmaking session!" For details on this reference, see TV Set 6, Episode 22, Story 43, "The Great Space Matchmaking Operation."
This episode marks the earliest animation work on Urusei Yatsura by Yamazaki Kazuo, who would take over as Chief Director on the latter part of the TV series, as well as direct two Urusei Yatsura movies ("Remember My Love" and "Lum the Forever," the latter of which he also co-scripted). Yamazaki made the storyboards, as well as working as Animation Director and on the key animation.
Episode 45, Story 68: "Lum's Class Reunion"
English classes are a required part of education in Japan, usually starting in intermediate school (equivalent to 7th grade in the US).
"We mustn't interfere with class... Here! It's heavy." That big white thing Ten's holding is a Japanese radish, or "Daikon." He's grating it. One of the most popular ways of consuming grated Daikon is to put some on grilled fish, which Cherry is apparently preparing on his Hibachi.
"She hasn't been here since Setsubun, right?" Setsubun is the last day of Winter in the traditional Japanese calendar, which falls on Feb. 3. To understand what Ataru is referring to in this scene, see TV Set 4, Episode 15, Story 29, "The Great Spring War," and Story 30, "The Benten Gang's Return Match."
"In that moment, a dark memory crossed the minds of the Gang of Four. It was a painful memory of their trip to Neptune via a Dimensional Tunnel." For details of this experience, see TV Set 2, Episode 8, Story 15, "Neptune is Beyond My Closet."
"It was a painful memory of the time he first met Rei, when he lost a contest over their looks." For details, see TV Set 10, Episode 36, "Rei Returns! The Big Study Hall Panic!!" For details of his reaction to Shinobu in this scene, refer to TV Set 7, Episode 23, "The Big Springtime Picnic Uproar!"
"Hold on a second!" The little green man Lum sees Ran talking with right before the commercial break is the Space Taxi driver from TV Set 1, Episode 1, Story 2, "It's Raining Oil in Our Town." Later, he is being carried around by Prim, from TV Set 6, Episode 22, "The Great Space Matchmaking Operation."
"My name is the Prince of the Underground!" For more about the Prince, and many of the guest stars in this episode (most notably Diana and Uni), see TV Set 6, Episode 22, "The Great Space Matchmaking Operation."
Episode 46, Story 69, "Lunchtime Eat-Out'ers, Gather Around!"
Eating out of school during lunch breaks, or at any time in school uniform, is known as "kaigui," and is against school rules in Japan.
"Baked goods and ice cream at 'Akamaru...'" "Pan" normally translates as bread, but in this case, it's more likely that Onsen is referring to baked goods or pastries in addition.
"...Okonomiyaki at 'Zipangu...'" Okonomiyaki are basically Japanese-style pancakes. Zipangu is an ancient term for Japan.
"...the Taiyaki joint, 'Ebiya...'" Taiyaki is a fish-shaped "pastry," with Anko (sweet bean paste) inside and a little dough on the outside. It contains no fish whatsoever, despite its name. It's served very hot (see Mr. Hanawa's expression later on).
"...Ramen and Takoyaki at 'Neko Restaurant...'" Takoyaki is a dough puff, the size of a golf ball. Its ingredients are mainly eggs and flour, plus some vegetables. There's also a tiny piece of octopus (tako) in the center, hence the name. Takoyaki is perhaps the most popular snack during festivals, eaten using a little plate and toothpicks.
"...the Oden joint, 'Kotobuki...'" Oden is hotchpotch, consisting of all kinds of boiled stuff. Aside from potatoes and daikon, there is baked tofu and other goodies, including Konnyaku, a jello-like substance made of a certain kind of potato.
"Lum, what's going on? Is this the School Olympics?" Every fall, grade schools hold a major sports event called Undoukai. Essentially, it's a combination of miniaturized Olympics and athletics exhibition.
"I'll have Tanuki Ramen and a half-serving of rice!" Tanuki-Udon is literally, "Raccoon Wheat Noodles." Despite its name, it has no raccoons in it. It's Wheat noodles immersed in a thick soup, topped with Tenkasu (Deep-fried egg-flour droplets, left over from cooking Tempura). Related to this is something called Kitsune-Udon (lit., "Fox Wheat Noodles"), which doesn't have fox in it either. Instead of Tenkasu, it's got what's called Age, which is something like a thin deep-fried tofu.
"At Taian Store's Yakisoba Corner, two male students were reprimanded." Yakisoba is cooked buckwheat noodles.
The spiderweb weapon which Onsen-Mark wields has its origins in kabuki theater, and is the secret weapon which the villain typically uses to trap and manipulate his enemies.
"Let's hang in there, Megane!" Posters in this scene are for three Rumic World manga features published around this time (1980-1982): The ChooJo (SuperGal), Seito Kaichoo (Student Body President), and DustSpart.
Knighted Pawn, read you loud and clear." " Honarinotokin" (Knighted Pawn) is a term from Shoogi, which will be considered a Japanese form of Chess for simplicity's sake. It refers to a pawn reaching the opposite side of the board from where it started. When this happens, it can be turned over, revealing a more powerful piece on the other side, typically a knight. Sakura being the traditional Japanese that she is (mostly), she would use a Shoogi term as her codename rather than one from Chess.
"One enemy motorcycle and two private cars are heading toward Mrs. Donut's." No surprise that this is a takeoff on Mr. Donut, which, like McDonalds, is very successful in Japan.
"Excuse us." "Excuse us." In the background are characters are from another Takahashi Rumiko classic, Maison Ikkoku (which was starting up at this time in the manga weekly Big Comic Spirits). They are the grandfather-in-law and niece-in-law of the heroine, Otonashi Kyooko, by her late husband, Note also the Wonder Woman and Supergirl knockoffs who run past.
The girl jumping out of the dumpster and Megane running out of Zipangu both say "Shuwacchi!" This is the sound effect made by Ultraman when he flew. Also, the poster next to the dumpster is from the legendary opening animation to Daicon IV. In another scene, note also the Mach-Go, (the car from Maha GoGoGo, aka "Speed Racer") with a red paint job.
"Cherry, let's make a deal for some Modanyaki!" Modanyaki is a sort of combination of yakisoba and okonomiyaki.
"Uncle, this is for the sake of my job. I won't go easy on you!" Cherry is striking a pose from sumo, namely the stance taken for warming up, or just before starting the match.
"Youth can't be explained away as simply as that!" This speech by Megane is reminiscent of a uniquely Japanese narrative form: "Seishun (youth) Drama." The stories typically revolve around a high-school student and the teacher who does everything he can to show him the glory that is youth. Megane's lines deliberately point up just how maudlin these shows can (and usually do) get.
"Everyone rush immediately to Tomobiki-Ginza..." Attaching "Ginza" to a placename is a common device used for naming shopping districts in Japan.
Episode 47, Story 70: "Terror! The Deserted Fossil Grounds Mystery"
"Gori, set the light on it and make a good shadow, would you?" "Gori," in this case, may be short for "Gorilla," a possible nickname for the lighting man on this crew.
"We got any straw festoon ropes?" Shimenawa is a type of rope (festoon) which is sacred to Shinto.
"Terror! A do-or-die invasion of the mysterious mountain which is protected by weird Jizo statues." This is an example of a practice used in some Japanese TV documentary shows called "yarase" or "detarame," which means fabrication or elaboration on the truth. It's used typically when a director or producer decides that reality won't be interesting enough to get ratings. The staff simply makes up something that they think will sell. "Jizo" are stone statues of Buddha, which makes stringing them together with shimenawa, a sacred Shinto rope, all the more amusing.
"You've got a sports newspaper that you bought this morning, right?" Sports newspapers are one of the major classes of tabloid dailies in Japan. In addition to sports coverage, they also contain large doses of salacious gossip and numerous pinups.
"How long have you been an Assistant Director?" In the Japanese entertainment businesses, esp. TV and movies, Assistant Directors (ADs) are legendary for the abuse they have to take, from higher-up staffers and performers alike. One anecdote tells of a TV show being filmed at the beach. The director thought the waves were too small, so he told the AD, "Make the waves bigger."
"Testing, 1, 2, 3..." "Amemboakainaaieuo" is a phrase commonly used in Japanese broadcasting to check that the audio is working properly.
"Here, on 'Low-Ratings Special...'" "Uraban," short for "urabangumi," which refers to the lowest-rated show in a given timeslot.
"If it doesn't go as I want, I'll make it the way I want." "Nakanai hototogisu o nakaseteyaru" (If the nightingale won't sing, I'll make it sing) is part of a classic anecdote from Japan's Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Period), in which numerous warlords battled for control of Japan in the 16th Century. The entire story is a depiction of the personality types of the three greatest warlords of the time: Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu (who would eventually defeat his two rivals and unite Japan into one nation as the first Tokugawa Shogun). These examples represent the attitudes and personalities of the three warlords. Oda's attitude would be, "If it won't sing, I'll kill it." Toyotomi's would be, "If it won't sing, I'll make it sing," which is the portion borrowed here. Tokugawa, on the other hand, would be of the opinion, "If it doesn't sing, I'll wait until it does." The fictional character Yoshi Toranaga, from James Clavell's "Shogun," is based on Tokugawa Ieyasu.
"A mysterious monk who isn't seaweed, not even Kombu or Wakame seaweed!" The word "kaisoo," written with one set of kanji, can mean "mysterious monk." Written another way, it can mean "seaweed." An awful pun, but not as bad as...
"By 'mysterious bird,' I don't mean 'the head of a community association...'" Again, with one writing, "kaichoo" can mean "mysterious bird." Written another way, it can mean "president of a community association."
"Momoe!" This is probably a reference to Yamaguchi Momoe, who was Japan's most popular singer when she retired around this time period to get married, at the ripe old age of 21.
Episode 48, Story 71: "Princess Kurama--A New Challenge!"
"Why are they so interested in an old woman in a box?" "Hakoiri-toshima" (Old Woman in a Box) is a pun. The original phrase, "Hakoiri-musume" (Young Girl in a Box) means a girl sheltered by her family, believing that protectiveness is the best way to raise her. Thus, she doesn't know much about the outside world.
"It's a nightmare. Today is evidently a bad day." Butsumetsu, the day Buddha died, is the unluckiest day in "Rokki," the six-day Buddhist nomenclature. For details, see TV Set 3, Episode 10, Stories 19-20, "Pitter Patter Christmas Eve."
"Princess Kurama and I are destined to be united in marriage!" "Unmei no akai ito" (the red string of fate) is an invisible thread which supposedly ties destined lovers together. For details, see Urusei Yatsura Movie 3, "Remember My Love."
"It's your favorite deep-fried saurel dinner!" "Teishoku" is a combination meal set, comprised of fixed meal items for ease of both the customer (when ordering) and the restaurant (when preparing).
"With the very best rice." "Sasanishiki" is a particular brand of rice, originally from Miyagi Prefecture. Together with Kooshihikari brand, from Niigata Prefecture, it is considered one of the top brands of Japanese rice.
"The guy with the swept-back hair is so-and-so, and the idiot is such-and-such!" "Kakugaku" and "shikajika" more or less mean the equivalent of "so-and-so" and "such-and-such."
"One day, when I was taking a walk in the forest..." "Ippo, niho, sampo to sampo shiteita" is a pun. With one writing, the word "sampo" by itself means "to take a walk." With the variant writing used in the phrase "Ippo, niho, sampo" (one step, two steps, three steps), it means "three steps," and the entire phrase means "to stroll."
Episode 49, Story 72: "The Terrifying Cavity Wars!"
"I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't stop eating sweets before bed. Ow..." "Yookan" are sticks of anko, or bean jam.
"Wanna go for it?" In this scene, Ataru's poses and noises are reminiscent of Bruce Lee.
"So-and-so, such-and-such, thus-and-such!" The Dappya Kaijuu is using the same words as the Karasutengu in the previous episode.
Episode 50, Story 73: "The Mendou Siblings!"
This episode marks Mendou Ryooko's first appearance in the Urusei Yatsura TV series.
"I will interfere any way I can!" "But I'm going!" This exchange is a pun on "jama suru," which normally means "to interfere." But it is also a polite way of saying that one is entering someone else's home.
"Intruder in World's Dumbest Son District!" "Sangokuichi no Hanayome" means "Number One Bride in the Three Kingdoms," referring to Japan, China and India. It was a common saying in the Muromachi Period (1392-1572).
Episode 51, Story 74: "There's a Cat on the Stairs"
The original Japanese title of this episode, "Kaidan ni Neko ga Onnen," is a pun. "Onnen" is a dialectical way of saying "oru," which is one way of saying "to be." But written with a different set of kanji, "onnen" can also mean "to curse" or "haunt." So the full meaning would be something like, "There's a Cat Cursing on the Stairs."
"Legsweep!" The Dappya Kaijuu is dressed as a Sumo referee in this scene because he is describing Kotatsu Neko's maneuver against Ataru as a Sumo technique, namely, "komata sukui," of which legsweep is a convenient if somewhat unsatisfactory translation.
"We came to chase evil spirits from this house." "Are you sure? The only thing I want to have chased away is our mortgage!" This exchange is a pun on the word "harau," which can be used to mean either "to pay, " as in a bill, or in this case, a loan or mortgage, or "to chase away," as in to exorcise evil spirits.
"A scary stairy ghost!" Written one way, "kaidan" can mean "horror story, but with different kanji, it can mean "stairs," hence the pun. The original also makes reference to the horror story being out of season. This is because summer, particularly June/July, is the traditional horror season in Japan, and this episode takes place in December.
"Two eels, please." Unajuu is, essentially, sliced eel in a box over rice. Other such meals include katsujuu, which is breaded pork slices, also in a box over rice.
"We'd like the most expensive kind. Can we pay in installments?" Foods such as eel typically come in three grades: Nami (Ordinary), Joo (Good), and Tokujoo (Special, or the Highest Grade). Grade also determines price.
"My head isn't for pounding on!" A Mokugyo is a type of drum used by Buddhist priests during their meditations.
Episode 52, Story 75: "Can a Raccoon Repay a Favor?!"
"Going is fine, returning is cold." The original version of this line, "Going is fine, returning is hazardous," is a famous Japanese proverb, orginating in a children's song, the specifics of which can be found in the next episode, "The Do-or-Die Subspace Part-time Job."
"I'm O-shima!" A raccoon of the same name appears in Urusei Yatsura Movie #3, "Remember My Love," which was made in 1985, some three years after this episode. Both of the O-shima's are played by the same voice actress, Sugaya Masako, and both O-shima raccoons are absolutely good for nothing, but the similarities between the two end there. For all intents and purposes, they are not the same character.
Episode 53, Story 76: "The Do-or-Die Subspace Part-time Job"
"Miss, I'll have a Sunday Part-time Jobs Weekly." Shuukan Arbaito Sunday is a pun on Shuukan Shoonen Sunday, the magazine in which Urusei Yatsura was originally serialized.
"Yochinoya Beef-bowls is hiring a few. ´500 per hour..." Yochinoya is a take-off on Yoshinoya, a major Japanese gyuudon (beef-bowl) chain.
"Bath? Bath... Hazels!" "Hazels? Sacred!" "Uh... I'm not here to play games. Do you know where it is?" Shiritori is a word game wherein the object is to make a word beginning with the last character used in the previous word given. Ataru makes an indavertent pun on "shiritori" when he asks, "Shirimasen ka?" (Do you know where it is?) The pun is that the "shiri" is "shiritori" means "rear," and the "shiri" in "shirimasen" is the -masu form of the verb "shiru," which means "to know."
"Asura, according to Buddhism, was one of Tenryu's eight clans..." Tenryuu hachibushu are eight different beings who protect Buddhism. They consist of Ten, Ryuu, Yasha, Kendasuba, Asura, Karura, Kinnara, and Magoraga.
"Wait! Do you want menko? How about Rooseki? Or Biidama?" Menko is round thick cardboard card, used in a traditional kids' game, the like of which hardly exists today, in the age of Nintendo. One card is placed on the ground, and players take turns trying to flip it over by throwing their own cards at it. Flipping it over earns points. Rooseki are stones cut into long sticks, used for drawing lines and circles on the ground for children to play in. Biidama are marbles, and used in much the same way in Japan as in the US.
"Hey, you, over there... YOU! What's your name?" This character is in the style of manga artist Tsujino Taroo, creator of "Kyoofu Shimbun" (Terror Times) and other horror stories. For more information, see Urusei Yatsura OVA set 3, "Goat and Cheese."
"What's this, Jariten? You're old enough to be in the men's bath?!" Young children often go to the women's baths, with their mothers.
Episode 54, Story 77: "The Big Year-End Party That Lum Organized!"
Everything in this episode points fairly obviously to the tale of Urashima Taroo, with the joke being that nobody figures it out, no matter how obvious it gets.
"I'm the protector of justice, Zenigata Heiji!" Zenigata Heiji was a legendary Edo-period detective, whose special technique for capturing criminals was (as shown in this episode) to throw a handful of zeni (a type of old Japanese coin, of fairly low value) at them.
"Come, Kojiroo!" "Here I come, Sashi!" This scene is a parody of the duel between Miyamoto Musashi and Ganryuu Sasaki Kojiroo. Unlike the actual event, Kojiroo wins. For more information, see TV Set 15.
"A traveling takoyaki seller!" Takoyaki are pieces of baked octopus, rolled into balls and wrapped in seaweed.
"Where's Garapachi?" Garapachi was Zenigata Heiji's actual assistant.
"OK, then, how about this?" Yoiko no Ehon (A Good Child's Picture Book) is a typical title or slogan for a book for children. "Yoiko no..." is often attached to the names of merchandise intended for children, as if to say, reading or using such products will make your children into good children.
"Hey! Y...You look familiar!" "Don't be shocked, but I'm the thief Lupin!" This exchange between the original Zenigata Heiji and Arsene Lupin is an in-joke directed towards the popular manga/anime series "Lupin III," which had finished its smash-hit second series run in 1980, only about a year before Urusei Yatsura began what would become an even more successful TV run. To be precise, the descendants of both Zenigata and Lupin are two of the five regular stars of "Lupin III."
"Good place to meet! Does this mean anything to you?" "Not really. Why?" "Me ni hairu" can mean to recognize something, or to literally get something in one's eye. "Me ni ireru," on the other hand, means to put something into one's eye, which Lupin says is impossible.
Visual jokes: Chase scene one: Leaning Tower of Pisa and Pyramids of Egypt in background, the Invaders' saucer, Kazama Shin's F-20 Tigershark, from "Area 88." Chase scene two: Ultraman, Tetsujin 28-goo.
"Come in!" The pun here is that turtle, in Japanese, is "kame," and this turtle says "kam-in," playing on the sound similarity of "kame," and "come in."
"Was it a dream? Or was it real?" The music in this sequence is from a song about Urashima Taroo. Also, note the various women seated around Onsen-mark when he sits at the banquet table. The Macross (a.k.a. Star Blazers) bridge crew are directly behind him.
"I want to have a good poke with all the girls in the world!" Written one way, "tsuki au" means to go out with, or date, someone. Written another way, it means to poke, or stab, one another.
"What? Treasure? As a hero I can't let this go by!" This is the legendary "Gekkoo Kamen" (Moonlight Mask), perhaps the original mysterious masked motorcycle-driving superhero in Japan. An awful lot of similar Japanese heroes over the last twenty or thirty years more or less owe their existence to Gekkoo Kamen.
Note also the various cameos by famous heroes and monsters in the last part of this episode, including Frankenstein's Monster, Wolfman, Batman and Robin (albeit with slightly different color schemes), Wonder Woman (same), Spock (ditto), and Tinkerbell.
Episode 55, Story 78: "Bad Boy Musashi: A Success Story"
Miyamoto Musashi, inventor of the "Nito" (two-sword) fighting style, was made famous in Japan by an author named Yoshioka Eiji, in a newspaper serial called "Miyamoto Musashi," which began serialization in 1935. The novel, while based on historical fact, contains considerable amounts of fiction as well.
Miyamoto Musashi (1584?-1645?) was born in what is now present-day Ooaza Miyamoto, Sanumomura, Aida-gun, Okayama Prefecture. It was called Yoshino-gun, Mimasaka-no-kuni (Country of Mimasaka) in his time. His given name at birth was Bennosuke, a name which he himself later changed to Musashi. He also had the title of "Niten." His father, Munisai, died when he was seven. When he was seventeen, he took part in the famous Battle of Sekigahara, on the losing side.
At the age of twenty-one, he fought a duel in Kyoto with the Yoshiokas: Seijuuroo, Denshichiroo (brothers), and Matashichiroo (son of Seijuuroo). Yoshioka Kempoo, father of Seijuuroo and Denshichiroo, founded the Yoshioka-ryuu (Yoshioka School of Kenjutsu [fencing]) toward the end of the Muromachi Period (1333-1572). Some people feel that Miyamoto was being excessively cruel, because he not only killed the two elder Yoshiokas, but also the young Matashichiroo, who wanted to avenge his father and uncle. But the Yoshioka clan themselves did not see any particular unfairness, and not only supported Matashichiroo's attempt at revenge, but also provided him with a musket for the purpose.
During that same year, he also took part in a competition with the famous Nara Hoozooin school of spear-fighting.
Between his twenty-second and twenty-eighth years, Miyamoto had a battle with Shishidoo Baiken(?), wielder of the kusari-gama (chain-and-sickle) at Iga, took part in a competition at Edo against Musoo Gonnosuke, who invented the Musoo style of staff fighting, and visited many Zen temples, including Daitokuji (whose master was Takuan Soohoo), to improve himself mentally.
In April, 1612, when Miyamoto was 29, he fought another duel, this time at Funajima, against Ganryruu Sasaki Kojiroo, killing him (see below). The name of the island was later changed to Ganryuujima to honor the name of the fallen swordsman.
In the later years of his life, he became more interested in cultural matters, developing his skills as an artist and writer. In the latter field, he wrote a book on his "Niten-ichi-ryuu" (two-swords fighting style, also known as "Enmei-ryuu" and "Nitoo-ryuu"), as well as the legendary "Gorin no Sho" (The Book of Five Rings), which he finished in 1645, at the age of 62, not long before he died. His most famous work of art is the black-and-white brush painting, "Kosui Kigezu."
Takuan: full name: Takuan Soohoo (1573-1645). Like Miyamoto, he was born in Mimasaka. Historically, he crossed paths with Musashi many times. Apparently, he assisted Muasashi's mental training while Musashi stayed in his temple, Daitokuji. He had an important role in Yoshikawa's book, but it is unclear whether he was really all that close to Miyamoto. It is possible that a radish of the same name took its name from this monk, but it cannot be said for certain that this is so.
Sasaki Kojiroo (?-1612). He developed the Kempoo Tsubame-gaeshi (Swallow Swoop Style) of Kenjutsu. In 1612, for historically unclear reasons, he would fight Miyamoto Musashi, at what would become known as the Duel of Ganryuujima. According to Yoshikawa, Musashi used a number of strategies, the first of which was to arrive three hours late for the duel. It was set for eight o'clock, and he didn't arrive until eleven. He used this strategy routinely, because it would offend and upset his opponents. Next, instead of regular swords, he fashioned a long, flat heavy sword out of one of the oars of his boat. Then he fought in shallow water, with the sun deliberately behind him. He chose this time of day because the sun would be high, and would also reflect well off the water, thus adding to the strain on Kojiroo's eyes. Finally, waiting for the moment when Kojiroo dropped his scabbard, Musashi said, "Kojiroo, you lose!" Kojiroo, startled, was caught completely unprepared when Musashi brought the boat oar squarely down on his head, killing him.
Supposedly, Musashi was a sneaky fighter, always choosing opponents that he knew he could defeat, and then applying strategies that would make his victory even more inevitable. But according to Yoshikawa, he had numerous ups and downs in his life as well, and in Yoshikawa's novel various (fictional) acquaintances appear in order to dramatize this. Chief among these was Matahachi, a childhood friend of Musashi's, his grandmother, Osugibabaa, and Matahachi's fiancee, Otsuu, who was later abandoned by Matahachi. Osugi held a grudge against Musashi, because she believed Matahachi left Otsuu and never came back home after the Battle of Sekigahara because of Musashi. But the truth was that Matahachi simply found himself another woman, and didn't want to go back. But that didn't stop Osugi from laying all sorts of traps for Musashi throughout the course of the novel. Yoshikawa went to great lengths to make all the events in his novel, both real and fictional, as dramatic as possible.
Musashi was also considered something of a wild man, traveling alone from place to place, with little regard for what was considered good grooming and dress among the bushi (the warrior caste), and also engaged in conflict with various authority figures, including the Yoshiokas and the Hosokawas, all of which combined to make him a popular figure.
Another noteworthy point in this episode is the multitude of anachronisms. See how many you can spot.
Episode 56, Story 79: "We'll Risk Our Lives During Classtime!"
"If you do something like that, your folks will be saddened!" This line is reminiscent of a typical episode of "Taiyoo ni Hoero (Howl at the Sun)," a Japanese detective series. This sort of comment is typical of old-fashioned persuasion techniques on the part of police, trying to convince criminals to give up their evil ways. In
"Do you make your customers eat soba so old that it's swelled up like udon?" Soba are thin buckwheat ramen, and udon are thick egg-flour ramen. When soba is left to sit too long in the broth, it absorbs the liquid content, swelling up. This indicates that it's fairly old.
"It was as if Friday the 13th, Butsumetsu, Sanrinbo, Tenchuusatsu, the Grand Cross, and the Seventh Month of 1999 had all come together at once, and congealed!" Butsumetsu is bad luck because it is the day Buddha died, according to the Rokki, or Buddhist diary, which foretells days of good and bad luck based on certain events in the life of Buddha. See TV Set 3, Episode 10, Stories 19-20, "Pitter Patter Christmas Eve" for more details. If something is built on the day of Sanrinbo, it will catch fire, and not only burn down itself, but also three other houses in the neighborhood. Tenchuusatsu is from a method of foretune-telling introduced a decade or so ago, based on determining what days or years will be bad luck for one. We weren't able to determine what the Grand Cross means, but the Seventh Month of 1999 is from the prophecies of Nostradamus, who supposedly foretold some great disaster for Earth at that time.
"Come on, Tentaman!" This sort of gattai (combination) robot is one of the most abundant themes in anime.
Episode 57, Story 80: "Domestic Quarrel--To Eat or to Be Eaten?!"
"Ran...?" "...Away...?" "...From home?" This is an attempt to deal with the exaggerated repetition of "I." "E." "DE." (Run Away From Home) that the Moroboshis use in reply to Lum's statement of same.
"The way of men!" "The way of men!" "The way of men!" The visual following this scene is a parody of the Toei Movie Logo. It is also a parody of Otoko Wa Tsurai Yo (It's Tough to Be a Man), the longest-running film series in the world, about the life and times of Tora-san, a ne'er-do-well travelling salesman.
Episode 58, Story 81: "Steal the Kiss of Miss Snow Queen!"
"What induced you to treat me to okonomiyaki all of a sudden?" Okonomiyaki is a pancake-like snack food, with many combinations of ingredients.
"And now, here she is, Miss Snow Queen!" As the Queen struts down the stage, look for Minky Momo in the crowd.
"I don't know, but I do know this: 'V for VICTORY!'" "Sign wa V" (The Sign is V) was a TV drama popular around 20 years ago, about a girl's volleyball team. Very soap-opera-like.
"I love your manliness, Shiruo!" "Menko..." Shiruo means soup-guy, and Menko means noodle-girl. The reason these characters are here is for no reason at all. Really.
Volume 16 - Episodes 59-62, Stories 82-85 - info temporarily unavailable
Episode 63, Story 86: Introducing Ryuunosuke - We Love the Sea!
The training that Ryuunosuke receives from his father is a parody of the method used in the famous anime series "Ashita no Joe," which revolved around an aspiring boxer, Joe, a loner who is taken under the wing of a grizzled old trainer. Just think of a younger and much more melodramatic version of "Rocky" and you'll have the idea.
Hamajaya literally means "Beach-side Cafe." It goes without saying that real beach-side Cafes don't stay open during the winter. Mr. Fujinami is claiming his family invented the concept.
"Cross-Counter Punches" is a reference to a famous "Ashita no Joe" fight. Both Joe and his opponent, Rikishi, landed simultaneous punches with all their strength behind them. Joe was seriously injured, and Rikishi eventually died. This episode was so famous that it has been endlessly copied and parodied by many other shows. The phrase "Cross-Counter" is about as well-known in Japan as "Where's the Beef?" is in the United States.
Episode 64, Story 87: The Season for Goodbyes
"The sound of the bells of Gion Shouja..." "...carries the haunting tune of impermanence." is a poem from the famous "Tale of Heikei." It is a reference to the fact that power and prosperity never last, that they are always destroyed by pride.
"Tomorrow, hurry! Hurry, hurry...! I'm Megane, who has just begun to walk..." is a parody of a famous old song called "Spring, hurry!"
"Who knows what love lurks in the hearts of men?" The actual line is "Who knows the heart of the water, 100 feet below?" It's weird, it's untranslateable, and it's the perfect starting point for a certain un-named pun-obsessed staff member...
Episode 65, Story 88: Date:Impossible for Ran!
The title of this episode, "Ran-chan no Deeto Daisakusen" is a play on the popular TV show, "Spy Daisakusen," better know by it's US title, "Mission:Impossible."
"Antonio's Special Destruction Hold" is the special finishing technique of Antonio Inoki, one-time king of Japanese pro-wrestling, and more recently the one and only Diet member of the Sports Peace Party. During the Gulf War, Inoki flew to Iraq in an attempt to get the hostages freed. He didn't.
"The world is one family... We're all brothers! Prosperity for all! Pray for the national safety!" is a parody of a famous telephone commercial.
Episode 66, Story 89: Happy Birthday My Darling
The names of the students being roll-called are all members of the production staff of the series. Nunokawa, for example, is the president of Kitty Films.
In the scene where Ataru tries to hint that his birthday is coming up, he is reading the film-comic of the first Urusei Yatsura movie, "Only You."
Ne-Ne Time: "Ne Ne Shiyoo..." is kid's language. "Ne Ne" is a kids word for sleep, so "Ne Ne Shiyoo" means "let's go to sleep." Why is this in the liner notes? Because AnimEigo Chairman James Ueki (currently aged 3) does a fair Ten-imitation most nights, and his long-suffering parents, in an attempt at long time-delay revenge, wish to embarrass him in a few years when he reads this...
"April 13th." April is the 4th month, and 4 is an unlucky number in Japan because it can be pronounced the same as "death." The 13th needs no explanation, it goes without saying that Ataru was born on a Friday. Even more dire, he was born on "Butsumetsu," the unluckiest day in the Buddist calendar.
"Laughing Target" is the name of another Rumiko Takahashi story, part of her "Rumic World" series.
Ataru's sniping at the calendar is probably a parody of "Golgo 13"
Episode 67, Story 90: "Found: The Valley of Peaches in the Camp-from-Hell!"
It is an Anime tradition that the cooking of strange female characters often redefines the term "dreadful." Lum is no exception, and may well be the worst offender in this regard.
Note the continuity error: the hare is in Ataru's hands, then suddenly he is on the ground.
Rainbowman: Rainbowman was the hero of a popular live-action special-effects SF show, one of the many in the same genre as "Power Rangers." As recounted in the theme song Rainbowman trains in the mountains of India, thus the reference by Ataru.
The Legend of Momotaro ("Peach Boy") tells of an old childless couple, Ojiisan and Obaasan, who found a large peach drifting down a stream one day, when Obaasan went to do her laundry. When they opened it, out sprang Momotaro When he grew up, he went to hunt the Oni, who had stolen all the wealth of the people years before. Along the way, he met a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, all of whom joined him when he gave them one of his "Nippon-ichi no kibidango" (Steamed shiratamako flour with white sugar on top; they taste like rice-cakes.) When they reached Oni-ga-shima ("Oni Island") in the Inland Sea, a great battle took place, and Momotaro took all the treasures back to the people from whom they had been stolen. He also ensured that Ojiichan and Obaachan would be well taken care of in their old(er) age. Tougenkyou is apparently where Momotaro got put in the peach in the first place.
'Is it the famous "Peach Boy picked a peck of pickled peaches" peach?': The original phrase "Sumomo mo momo mo momo no uchi" is just a tongue-twister. It just means "Pickled peaches, peaches... they are all peaches."
The sword, Peach-Petal: The name of the sword, "Momotaro-maru," literally means "a valued object of Momotaro's"
Ataru's number is of course 4, considered to be very unlucky since it can be pronounced the same as "death" in Japanese.
Episode 68, Story 91: The Groom's Name is Ryuunosuke
All the gifts the Tengu bring are traditional engagement gifts.
"That bouncy feeling..." is a parody of a detergent commercial.
The Sex Change Cannon (Improved Version): Fans of Uchuu-senkan Yamato (or Star Blazers) know that the Yamato's most powerful weapon was the so-called "Wave-Motion Cannon," a giant particle-accelerator-like device that was capable of releasing an enormous burst of particle plasma. It required so much energy and time to charge the cannon during the process. In "Yamato", these scenes were always shown in great detail (can you say "reusing footage? We knew you could...).
Multiple exposure effect: Ryuunosuke and her father seem to blur because they move so fast. This Anime effect, called Electronic Acceleration, was first made popular by the anime/manga "Cyborg 009". Cyborg 009 & Co. were able to engage in this mode, where they moved at speeds so fast that they were unable to be seen by ordinary people.
Episode 69, Story 92: A Message in a Bottle: Seaside Spookiness!
Kasu & Boozu are terms from the card game of Hanafuda, which is what Lum and Shinobu are playing.
Episode 70, Story 93: The Sensational Debut of Mizunokouji Ton!
Koushien Stadium is very prestigious baseball stadium where annual high school tournaments take place. It's the ultimate goal for aspiring players, and the process to get there is highly selective. Winners will certainly be called heroes in their home towns, and may even be scouted by many professional teams who shop around for their future members there. On the other hand, Losers are known to pack home a bagful of treasured Koushien dirt!
"Hey, kids! Unhand that turtle!" is yet another reference to the legend of Urashima Taro. In the legend, Taro finds a sea turtle that had washed up on a beach, and was being tormented by some cruel children. He rescued the turtle, and in return, the turtle took him to Dragon Palace, where he was wined and dined by the Princess of the Palace. When Taro decided to leave, the Princess gave him a box as a going-away present, with a warning that he must never open it. After returning to the land, Taro discovered that over 100 years had passed, even though he had only been away a few days. He finds that all his friends have aged and died, and that his village has changed so much as to be unrecognizable. Finally, Taro opens the box, and the gas that was contained within released him from the magic that had retarded his aging, swiftly turning him into an extremely old man.
Dominance and Submission: "Shiyuu" can mean 2 things in different context: 1) male & female 2) victory. Tobimaro is talking about the latter, but while trying to make sure that he's not talking about the former, he himself gets it mixed up. Needless to say, this is an Excedrin headache for translators, but we think our version comes close to preserving the puns.
Mizonokouji Tobimaro's family name is a play on "Mizuno", a famous sporting-goods company.
Buke & Kuge: During the Kamakura Era, there were two opposing groups of people. Buke were the soldiers, and the Kuge were mostly 'bureaucrats'. Mendou's family are Buke, and Mizunokouji's are Kuge, and the rivalry is still going strong!
Tobimaro's training: This is all a parody of "Kyojin no Hoshi", a serious anime/manga drama from the early 70's or late 60's, whose main character, Hoshi Hyuuma, is a boy who trains hard, thanks to his No-Mercy father, to become the pitcher for Yomiuri Giants [the most popular team in Japanese Baseball]. Hyuuma's father was perhaps the least lenient man in the entire universe, as well a semi-alcoholic, who'd beat his son into training hard for baseball. Tobimaro is portrayed as a Hoshi Hyuuma-like character here. The "in" drawing-style of that era made the eyes 'sparkle' to dramatize many characters, although it eventually became so passe that newer non-serious anime/manga made mockery out of it. Thus the outrageous sparkles in Tobimaro's eyes.
The entire baseball game is a parody of every sports-related Anime show ever done, past, present and future.
The burly sportscaster is a caricature of Nagashima Shigeo, "Mr. Baseball," one of the most popular Japanese baseball stars of all time.
Episode 71, Story 94: Shinobu's Cinderella Story
Inspector Torii and his coat: The inspector is based upon a character from "Taiyou ni Hoero", a classic 70's TV show about a police department in Tokyo. This character was most often seen wearing a long coat, Columbo-style --- so often that it was very rare to see him without the coat --- hence the inseparable association (and the "Damn, it's hot!" joke - because he rarely took it off).
Episode 72, Story 95: Lum: Rebel Without A Clue
Utagoe Cafe: Before karaoke machines were invented and spread locust-like across the Land of the Rising Sun, those who wished to down a few belts and belt out a few tunes went to "Utagoe" sing-along bars, where they could sing, accompanied by live musicians.
Watching movies is bad enough: The joke here is that Ryuunosuke's father, who has been teaching (and forcing) her to be a male, has also been instilling many bizarre (and almost always wrong) ideas into her head. For example, in one instance, young Ryuunosuke was shown a Matsutake Mushroom (an expensive delicacy), but told by her father that it was an "Evil Mushroom". He told her to duck and to look away while he chased it away; this was his excuse to enjoy it all by himself, of course. Ryuunosuke finally gets to taste Matsutake at Tomobiki High, in an act of rebellion against her father's teachings.
A... A An Electronic Acceleration Device!: A reference to the classic manga and TV anime series, "Cyborg 009". The device allowed teleportation.
"Let us get rid of our old clothes and head for that mountain together!" This phrase (and the song that accompanies it) is based on an old, classic movie series called "Aoi Sanmyaku", which portrayed the lives of youths and their struggles before getting married.
"Who the hell gave me the geese?!" This sequence starts out with Unbaba calling the Tomobiki students "'fraidycat losers" or more literally "goosebumped-losers". A pun is completed when geese come flying out, bumping into Unbaba.
Episode 73, Story 96: The Ultimate Match: Sakura vs. Cherry!
"The gods will be upset if you waste your food!" The idea behind this old saying is that one should respect the food and its makers; wasting food is thus an act of disrespect.
The Goldfish Man: Like ice-cream trucks, goldfish dealers roam about the town streets in the summertime selling the bagged pets. They are not as common today as they were decades ago. Other seasonal pet-dealers of this sort sell fireflies and crickets.
Temples: Before their spirits were called upon, Cherry and Sakura recite names of temples (which also include shrines and cemetaries). They are among the oldest in a region that is collectively known as Musashino, which now covers pretty much the entire Tokyo area.
Nakano. Kouenji. Asagaya. Ogikubo. Nishiogi. Kichijouji. Mitaka. Musashi-sakai. Higashi-koganei. Musashi-koganei. Kokubunji. Nishi-kokubunji. Kunitachi. Tachikawa. Hino. Toyoda. Hachiouji.
Or Maybe Train Stations
The names that Cherry and Sakura intone also happen to be the names of stations on one of the more heavily travelled JR mass-transit commuter lines.
Tentoji-Udon is Tempura Udon, consisting of thick buckwheat noodles with Egg-Batter-Fried goodies in an Eggdrop-in-broth soup.
Episode 74, Story 97: The Old Man of The Willow Tree
This episode is based on a chapter from the UY manga, "Ryouseiou no Kyoufu" (The Terror of The Old Willow Tree Fairy).
Willow trees have long been a favorite subject in ghost stories. Many classic tales associate these trees with ghosts and other creatures.
Ataru's graffiti on the willow tree: The image is an octopus face, and captioned "idiot/jerk". Mendou keeps octopi as pets; they are in fact emblazoned on his family crest. In the comic version, the familiar "Waaan, semaiyo! Kuraiyo! Kowaiyo!" (Arrrgh! It's cramped! It's dark! I'm scared!) is also captioned in large letters surrounding the face of the octopus.
Waidan vs. Kaidan: "Waidan" are stories that are sensational in nature, e.g. "smut". "Kaidan" include "ghost" and other frightening stories. The closest we could come in English is "gross" and "ghost" stories.
Tomobiki High's 7 Legends: As Ataru mentions, legends like these do indeed exist in virtually every school. Many times they are used by upperclassmen to frighten younger students. Several of the seven legends have been mentioned before in the series.
The Solingen Knife: Solingen is a city in Germany that is famous for producing cutlery of high quality (and price).
"After being moused around... it was only a cat!" - Onsen-Mark actually says "Taizan meidou shite neko ippiki". This line is based on a proverb, "taizan meidou shite nezumi ippiki", which literally means, "after all the commotion, only a mouse", somewhat similar to an English expression, "much ado about nothing". Here, Onsen improvised a pun by substituting "neko" (cat) for "nezumi" (mouse).
Tsukune University's Professor Kusaya: The jokes here are: "Kusaya" sounds like "Kusaiya", which means "it stinks". Tsukune-Age and Tsukune-Yaki are ground fish meat, which are mixed with other ingredients (such as egg) before made into little balls. These are then fried (-Age) or baked (-Yaki). They look like, well, little turds, though we are told they taste much better than they look!
"The Holy Wine, with which to bless the sword": In the days of samurai, the warriors used to spit out wine to cleanse and to bless their swords.
"A drop of wine... is like a sacred grain of rice... One must not commit such a sin.": It is said that a grain of rice takes an entire year to grow, and thus the wasting of rice is a sinful act. Rice is also the key component in Sake (rice-wine), hence the equation.
Personal-belongings inspections: It may seem awfully strange, but many grade- and high-schools hold these inspections regularly, the idea being that no "illicit" items be brought to school. Other common regulations and restrictions include dress and personal-appearance codes.
"It's Educational" Alibi Establishment Notes
Episode 75, Story 98: "And Then There Were None."
"How does the rest of the rhyme go?" - Ataru
"Two parts have been skipped, so there are four remaining. But the last line doesn't apply, so only three are really left." - Onsen
Onsen is referring to a variation of the famous Mother Goose rhyme.
Who saw him die?
"I," said the Fly,
"With my little eye, I saw him die."
Who caught his blood?
"I," said the Fish,
"With my little dish, I caught his blood."
Who'll make his shroud?
"I," said the Beetle,
"With my thread and needle, I'll make his shroud."
Who'll dig his grave?
"I," said the Owl,
"With my spade and trowel, I'll dig his grave."
Who'll be the parson?
"I," said the Rook,
"With my little book. I'll be the parson."
Who'll be the clerk?
"I," said the Lark,
"I'll say Amen in the dark; I'll be the clerk."
Who'll be chief mourner?
"I," said the Dove,
"I mourn for my love; I'll be chief mourner."
Who'll bear the torch?
"I," said the Linnet,
"I'll come in a minute, I'll bear the torch."
Who'll sing his dirge?
"I," said the thrush,
"As I sing in the bush I'll sing his dirge."
Who'll bear the pall?
"We," said the Wren,
"Both the cock and the hen; We'll bear the pall."
Who'll carry his coffin?
"I," said the Kite,
"If it be in the night, I'll carry his coffin."
Who'll toll the bell?
"I," said the Bull,
"Because I can pull, I'll toll the bell."
All the birds of the air fell to sighing and sobbing
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.
Episode 76, Story 99: "The Fire-Fightin' Mama Arrives!"
"Carrying her fire target in one hand, Ten's mother has travelled a long way..." - Lum
Ten's mother's "fire target," or "matoi," is what the firefighters during the Edo Period used to carry around to identify themselves. In the decades prior to that, it functioned as a kind of status symbol used by warlords, especially during combat.
"Ma'am! Melon-bread for me! The melon-bread, I said!"
The so-called "melon-bread" ("Meron-pan") often pops up in anime because it is such a common snack-food. It is a kind of a pastry, about 5 inches in diameter, a pale citron in color. The name comes from the fact that the original recipe called for melon extract. As everyone knows, melons are painfully expensive in Japan, so generally there's no melon in melon-bread these days!
Episode 77, Story 100: Darling's Gonna Die?!
"Elohim essaim!" - Ran
Ran's chant is based on passages from Black Magic books and Hebrew texts, some of which were made popular in Japan through such manga titles as "Akuma-kun" ("Li'l Devil") whose main character often used the phrase.
"Darling, here... Your mother asked me to give them to you." - Lum "For me?! I see... even she can act like a mother!" - Ataru
Lum flashes two 1000-yen bills (each roughly equivalent to ten US dollars.)
"Poison?! Can you save him?!" - Lum
"Don't worry, miss. We're completely prepared." - Doctor
Here, the joke is that Cherry has made a typical Buddhist funeral arrangement.
"New Year's Cards should be mailed by December 20th!" - Mr. Postbox
The postbox, as seen here, is the traditional type found throughout Japan.
The New Year's phrase comes from the Japanese postal service, which runs massive ad campaigns each year to make sure that the New Year's Cards (called "nengajou") are mailed on time. There is another reason for this - the Cards bought at post offices are also lottery tickets, which is a huge money spinner.
"P...Pardon me... Have you seen a girl who looks like this?" - Lum "I am looking upon one right now." - Man
"No! I said, have you seen a girl who looks like THIS!" - Lum
This sequence is a twisted parody of the samurai-movie classic, "Lone Wolf and Cub," (available through our Samurai Cinema label, of course!) whose main character, Ogami Itto, along with his son, Daigoro, are presented here UY-style!
"We're leaving, Kyodaigoro." - Ogami
Here "Kyodaigoro" works as an in-joke. It's based on "Daigoro", the name of Ogami Itto's son, and "Kyodai," or "gigantic," as in Kyodaigoro's large head!
"If you play a round of golf with me and win, then I won't mind telling you!" - The Queen
In this "Alice in Wonderland" parody, the Queen is drawn like a sumo wrestler in drag!
Episode 78, Story 101: Miserable! A Loving and Roving Mother!
"Good day, Ma'am... I'm with the Diefast Life Insurance..." - Salesman
The salesman is a representative of "Hayajini Seimei Co." whose name can be rendered as "Quickdeath" or "Diefast"!
"...a turtle and a crane slipped... in the eve before this sunset... Who's facing behind you?"
These lines come from "Kagome Kagome," a song from a children's game that is a few centuries old. It is partly nonsense, although there are scholars who believe that the song was actually created as a secret coded message during the Edo Period! Whatever the case, the game is still played by Japanese children to this day.
"I am a psychoanalyst, specializing in middle-aged women. My name is Jigolo. Have you forgotten?"
Yet another very subtle pun. While conventions suggest that the name be spelled out "Jigoro",we changed "r" to "l" for obvious reasons!
"Tis a pool of laughter!" - Mrs.Moroboshi
This is a pun on "Ooara Kaisuiyokujo," a name of a maritime park, and "oowarai," which means a "big laugh!"