Mendo Siblings!! A Strange New Year At The Mendo Estate
Episode 11 of Urusei Yatsura begins with Ataru and Lum traveling through the Tomobiki Shopping District and discussing how humans celebrate New Year’s Eve. A handkerchief lands on Ataru’s face, and he learns a woman dropped it.
He heads toward the woman’s ox-cart and tries heading inside. Her terrifying looks spook Ataru, Lum, and his classmates. She laughs menacingly inside. At school, Ataru and Lum tell Mendo what happened, but he’s not buying it. He ponders it over and feels he knows who they’re referring to. While our characters enjoy lunch, some men in black suits roll out a red carpet for the same girl who spooked Lum, Ataru, and the others.
The girl approaches Mendo as everyone glares at her beauty. The girl clutches onto Mendo and tells everyone that they’re engaged. Mendo’s female classmates and Shinobu attack him because they’re not happy he led them on. Mendo approaches the girl (named Ryoko) because he’s furious about what she’s starting. Mendo reveals that Ryoko’s his sister and loves pulling pranks. Ryoko explains that she took time off from school to deliver food to Mendo.
It took her about four days to travel from home to here via the ox cart. Mendo’s bewildered by this and refuses to eat the food, upsetting Ryoko. Ataru offers to eat lunch in Mendo’s stead even though his friends are against it. Ryoko and Lum get into an argument because she wants to be the one to feed Ataru the food. Mendo butts in and tells Ryoko to stay away from Ataru. Ryoko and he gets into an argument. Ataru starts putting the moves on Ryoko to spite Mendo, leading to more banter.
Ryoko orders her men to lock Mendo up in the class’s locker. He starts whining because of his mental condition. Although his male classmates think he’s a loser, the female students find him charming. Ryoko asks Ataru to visit the Mendo family estate. Mendo tells Ataru not to do it, but he’s not budging. As everyone fights, Ryoko giggles as she finds her brother’s disinterest in Ataru entertaining. Ataru arrives at the Mendo estate, and Mendo greets him.
He warns him not to lay a finger on Ryoko. Suddenly, Lum, Sakura, Shinobu, Oyuki, and Benten arrive at the party wearing Kimonos. Unlike Ataru, Mendo is happy to have them join in the festivities. As everyone looks around, Mendo informs them that this isn’t the main house. Only a tiny part of the Mendo estate serves as his room. Ryoko welcomes everyone from atop one of the roofs. She informs them that an osechi meal has been made for them inside the party room.
The gang heads inside and sits on the cushions. Benten and Ataru exit the room from the secret trap doors, startling Lum and Mendo. Everyone else gets pushed out of the room by a closing wall. Benten and Ataru find themself alone on a conveyor belt. Meanwhile, Mendo and the others wonder what’s going on. The family’s agents split them up using a forklift with needles attached. Mendo, Shinobu, and Lum find themselves trapped in a room with a bizarre man.
At the same time, Benten and Ataru escape the conveyor belt area, and one of the men in black greets them. They tell the two to follow the red arrows on the ground. Benten’s had enough and goes in the opposite direction. She gets caught with a net as one of the men places a sticker on it that reads “failure.” Ataru follows the arrows and meets up with Mendo, Shinobu, Lum, and the strange man, who we find out is his grandfather.
Mendo’s grandfather offers them some tea. After they drink it, Ataru, Shinobu, and Mendo get paralyzed. It turns out he put an anesthetic in the drink. Lum’s unaffected because she’s an alien. Despite being paralyzed, Ataru notices Ryoko wandering by. He tries to get her attention while hopping around like a monkey. The men grab Ataru and hoist him away. Lum tries chasing after him, but another agent leads her to another room with Sakura and Rei.
They must compete in a mochi-eating contest. Lum loses the game and gets hurled into the air. Lum and Shinobu go searching for them and encounter Mendo’s father. He locks them inside a dark room and hopes Mendo’s nyctophobic personality will kick in. He eventually pulls the lever and has Mendo trapped in there alone. He starts crying like a preschooler, exciting his father. He pulls it again to free him. His father jumps in glee as Shinobu pulls the lever as soon as he makes contact with the wall.
They trap his father inside the dark room and continue searching for the others. Lum returns to the Mendo estate and wonders what’s happening. Ryoko and her family appear in a room. It seems their playing a board game with their guests as their pieces. Ataru and Oyuki end up in a lottery-based game hosted by Mendo’s grandfather. He drops large weights on top of them–equal to the numbers found on their tickets. Oyuki freezes Ataru and Mendo’s grandfather because she’s upset that she didn’t receive any money.
After several games, they all arrive at the party room. Ryoko tells them to wait there as she presses a button. This sends our characters into the sky and blows them up like a firework. The episode concludes with Ryoko being mesmerized by the fireworks.
The Episode Review
This chapter of Urusei Yatsura gave some quality laughs, but it doesn’t live up to last week’s satisfying conclusion. Many fans may feel disappointed that it does nothing to push the narrative forward. It’s another episode meant to brighten people’s days with chaotic antics. On the other hand, the chapter gives us some information regarding Mendo and his family.
I adored the fact that Mendo and Ryoko act differently. While Mendo’s more collected, Ryoko’s more cunning and slightly insane. It subverts fans’ expectations with their slight behavioral differences. From Ryoko flirting with Ataru to her concocting a Mario Party-like scheme involving our protagonists, it shows that she might be the younger sibling but packs a lot of brain power.
I’m looking forward to seeing how else she plans to toy with her brother and his friends. The episode sparks some creativity. Many of the minigames are characters get involved in reflecting their personalities well. From Rei, Sakura, and Lum competing in an eating contest to Mendo’s father locking his son up in a dark room, I couldn’t help but giggle during those segments.
Overall, this was an okay chapter of Urusei Yatsura. One can look at it as being a breather from last week’s dramatic and emotional content. Unfortunately, many will feel upset that we’re reverting to the show’s typical comedy routine. Hopefully, the upcoming episodes can return to focusing more on our characters’ personal growth, relationship building, and fleshing out cast members who need it the most.