That Mizunokoji Boy / Love Letter Trouble
Episode 14 of Urusei Yatsura begins with all the students playing baseball for the Tomobiki High School tournament. Ataru plans to throw the match, allowing him to score ten free pool tickets when it’s concluded. Ataru pitches the ball, and Mendo hits a foul shot. The ball ends up knocking out a wandering samurai boy who happens to be spying on them in a tree.
The boy falls out of the tree, causing everyone to rush to his aid. Mendo recognizes the samurai boy, who happens to be named Tobimaro Mizunokoji (Ton). He’s the heir to the Mizunokoji Sports empire. Mendo shares intel about his and Tobimaro’s family’s cultural descendants. Tobimaro’s clan are descendants of the nobility–while Mendo’s family are descendants of the samurai. Their clans didn’t get along well, resulting in Mendo and Tobimaro treating each other as enemies when they were kids.
That all changed when Mendo proved to Ton that a bat deals more damage than a baseball. Ton says he spends his life training in baseball on the mountaintops. Once a year, he challenges Mendo to a match, and they’ve tangled in 11 matches that resulted in stalemates. Mendo’s sister Ryoko shows up and asks Ataru to let Ton join his team to fulfill his yearly battle quota with Mendo. Ataru asks why she’s willing to help Ton out, and Ryoko says that Ton’s the first man she’s ever loved.
This results in Ataru and Mendo beating on Ton, despite him saying Ryoko’s lying. Mendo says he’ll allow Ton to compete if it means Ryoko will stop pursuing him as a romantic interest. Ryoko accepts, but Ataru wishes to test Ton’s skills before they continue with the game. Although Ton is a horrible baseball player, Ataru allows him to join their team since it’ll bode well in his master plan alluded to earlier. They continue playing, and Ataru informs the audience that both teams have scored zero points.
Despite missing the first hit, Ryoko allows her guards to interfere with the game. This leads to them grabbing the ball from Mendo’s hand, having it tap Ton’s bat, and then running away to make it look like he hit a home run. Ataru chases and grabs ahold of the guard with the ball and makes a run for the home base before Ton reaches it. All three men fall into a traphole created by Ryoko’s other guard. The segment concludes with Mendo yelling at Ryoko for liking someone as foolish as Ton.
The next set piece starts with Ton hiding under the Mendo Estate’s bridge. Mendo’s family guards notice that Mendo’s late for his daily routine of walking with the octopuses. Ryoko arrives and takes the mantle in her brother’s steed. As she’s walking over their family estate’s bridge, Ton throws a dumbbell with a letter attached to it. It bonks one of the octopus heads.
Ryoko picks up the letter and reads it. Ton wanted Mendo to meet him at the Mizunokoji Athletic Land at noon. Ryoko mistakes it as a love letter from Ton, though. Mendo arrives at the scene exhausted, startling Ryoko. He explains he’s tired because Ryoko had entrapped him with a case of cement. Mendo tells Ryoko that she’s forbidden from leaving the estate after seeing Ton’s letter in her hands. Ryoko has one of the guards provide her with some TNT to blow Mendo away.
Afterward, Ryoko says she can’t wait to meet Ton again. Meanwhile, Ataru, Lum, and his family are enjoying a meal. Suddenly, Ryoko’s guard crashes the party and informs Ataru that Ryoko wants to speak with him. On the phone, Ryoko asks Ataru for some help, and Ataru says he’d be more than happy to assist. One of the guards grabs him and places him inside a larger canister. Lum chases them down and reads the letter Ryoko dropped about Ton wishing to meet at Mizunokoji Athletic Land.
In the canister, Ryoko tells Ataru she’s being hunted by her brother for no good reason. At Mizunokoji Athletic Land, Ton awaits his fight with Mendo atop large wooden cylinders. He tries getting down but is seemingly afraid of heights. Lum arrives and offers him a hand, despite Ton not wanting a girl’s help. Suddenly, Ryoko calls out to him, startling Ton. Lum drops Ton, but he’s saved by one of Ryoko’s guards. She holds on Ton tightly while he questions why Mendo didn’t show up to their showdown.
Ton’s curious about Ryoko’s flirtatious attempts as she reveals that she used Ataru to prevent her brother from not interfering with their romantic affairs. Although Ataru tries fleeing with Ryoko, the guard stops him. It turns out the guard accompanying Ryoko was Mendo as he reiterates his distaste for Ton getting romantic with his sister. After sharing how much training he went through on a daily basis, Mendo tells Ton that he’ll accept him being his sister’s boyfriend, puzzling Ton.
Before Ton can set Mendo straight, Mendo says he must defeat him in a fight to earn his sister’s hand. Before Mendo slices Ton with his sword, Ataru interferes and declares he’ll be the one to take his sister’s hand. After Mendo’s knocked out for a bit, Ataru grabs Ryoko. Lum pursues him along with Mendo and the two team up to capture Ataru before he departs. Lum lifts him and Ryoko into the air. Ryoko frees herself from Ataru’s grasp and lands on Ton’s face. Mendo grabs his sister away from Ton.
Ton gets up and tells Mendo that he’s not interested in having a romance with Ryoko. Ton tells him he wanted to have a showdown with Mendo. Even after Lum reads the letter aloud, Mendo believes Ton’s letter was a love letter. The two bicker about it and engage in combat. It’s revealed that this isn’t the first time Ryoko interfered with Ton’s attempts at fighting Mendo. After some wacky antics, Mendo stops chasing Ton and says he’ll allow him to pursue his sister.
The episode concludes with Ton pleading that he’s not interested in girls.
The Episode Review
This is another nonsensical episode of Urusei Yatsura that’ll surely get many people laughing. From its bizarre baseball game to the misunderstanding between Ton and the others, there’s something here to warrant a chuckle from folks. Comedy aside, this episode offers some value regarding giving Mendo’s family extra depth and giving Ryoko a possible love interest.
Fans will be intrigued to learn about Mendo’s family ancestry and wish it leaned more into it. Ton’s character was a breath of fresh air for the series thus far. In contrast to Ton, each character has been introduced to act romantically toward people. This not only helps Ton stand out from the cast, but it’ll make many viewers wonder how he’d interact with other cast members.
We’ll see how Ton’s character turns out by the series’s conclusion, though. Otherwise, there’s not much else to say about this episode. It gives us some depth to our current protagonists and introduces a new rival for Mendo and a love interest for Ryoko. If only the anime show focused more on introducing more drama and relationship-building between Lum and Ataru.
I can’t help but chuckle at its funny jokes and slapstick. However, I miss when the show delves into more serious situations with our cast. Hopefully, the show can steer toward a more serious angle like previous chapters though.
You can read our full season review for Urusei Yatsura season 1 here!