Urusei Yatsura is back on TV, and tape media is back on fans’ minds.

The brand-new Urusei Yatsura TV series debuted in Japan on Friday, and as a remake of one of the most popular anime of all time audiences were extremely excited to see hapless lech Ataru and his alien princess fiancé Lum once again.

However, the anime industry has changed a lot in the roughly 40 years since the original Urusei Yatsura anime was on TV. Whereas fans in 1981 could tune in and watch at a reasonable hour, nowadays TV anime runs almost exclusively in late-night time slots, and the new Urusei Yatsura didn’t start airing in the Tokyo area until 1:45 a.m.

The simple sleep-salvaging workaround was to record the episode and watch it later, which many people did. But just because they used technology to solve the problem doesn’t mean that their solution was an entirely modern one.

▼ “I see everybody’s getting their ancient equipment out to record Urusei Yatsura on video tape.”

See, while the new Urusei Yatsura has a different time slot from the original series, it hasn’t temporally shifted the setting. The new anime series takes place in the same late ‘70s/early ‘80s time period as the manga and original TV series (which began, respectively, in 1978 and 1981) did. The characters’ houses have a single landline corded telephone, as was the norm for Japanese homes at the time. The TVs in their living rooms are thick boxes. One of Ataru’s prized possessions is a boom box with not one but two cassette decks built into it.

▼ Another fan planning to record the first episode on Beta, but in a quandary because he doesn’t have any blank tapes and so he might have to record over something.

Really, the only 2020s-era technology to be found in the new Urusei Yatsura is during the opening theme song animation, where we see Ataru walking around a present-day Tokyo with giant video billboards and using a smartphone…

…but that turns out to be a dream of a future that’s yet to be.

▼ This hardcore historian of video technology not only recorded the episode on Beta, but watched it on a TV which, while still newer than the ones within the show, is much older than you’ll find in just about anyone’s home today.

▼ The owner of this Victor HR-7650 had to do some last-minute repairs to get it up and running in time to record Urusei Yatsura, but pulled it off.

Other fans who don’t have a Beta recorder got into the spirit recording the episode on VHS

…or with plans to record the opening theme on cassette as it played from their TV’s speakers.


With the new Urusei Yatsura set to run for a total of four TV seasons, anyone looking to record the whole thing on period-appropriate media is going to need to pick up new blank tapes. Maybe the Japanese government can help them find some.

Source: Hachima Kiko, Twitter
Top image: YouTube/【フジテレビ】アニメ公式チャンネル
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