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Manga / Urusei Yatsura

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Let's put weird and weird together / and make it even weirder! / Weird, weird space is / su-u-pe-er-weird!

"Darling no BAKA!"
Lum (pretty much every time Ataru Moroboshi incurs her wrath)

The work that launched Rumiko Takahashi's long career, Urusei Yatsura is often considered the original Magical Girlfriend parody, enough that the bumbling well-meaning Magical Girlfriend has become an archetype in its own right. The show's poster girl is a cutesy alien named Lum who habitually wears a tiger-striped bikini.

The show centers around Ataru Moroboshi, an Ordinary High-School Student who happens to be both the unluckiest and most perverted man in the world, possibly the entire universe. He is chosen by lot to challenge a band of alien invaders from the planet Oni in a game of tag to decide the fate of the Earth. His opponent: the smoking hot Lum, daughter of the Oni leader. After several false starts, it takes a promise of marriage by his long-suffering girlfriend and childhood companion Shinobu to bolster him to victory. Unfortunately, after his triumphant declaration of "Now I can get married!", Lum thinks Ataru wants to marry her, falls instantly in love with him... and the rest is history. Lum moves in with her "Darling" Ataru, and before long, the district of Tomobiki has become a hotbed for intergalactic weirdness involving Lum's friends and relatives, with Ataru stuck in the middle.


Unlike most Unlucky Everydudes who are only Accidental Perverts, Ataru actually is an unrepentant pervert, and generally finds his loyal "fiancée" to be little more than a burden and hindrance to his lecherous pursuits, though even he isn't below the occasional Pet the Dog moments.

If Maison Ikkoku is the first Pretty Freeloaders-style comedy, UY is one of the earliest tongue-in-cheek harem comedies, combining its outlandish premise to spice up deceptively typical plots, as well as parody the genre nearly a decade before the fact. It even manages to invert the genre it helped create (instead of one low-key guy being chased by every girl in sight and in the end choosing one, it's about a perverted guy who chases every girl in sight... except for the one girl in the universe who can actually stand to be around him).


The manga ran in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 1978 to 1987. It spawned an anime that aired for 196 episodes from 1981 to 1986, as well as 6 theatrical movies (four produced during the anime's run, one shortly after it ended, and a tenth-anniversary movie — the oddly offbeat Always My Darling), and nearly a dozen OVA's on top of that. The anime is notable for being the first major project helmed by acclaimed director Mamoru Oshii; indeed, the second film in this franchise, Beautiful Dreamer, is considered by many fans to be one of his finest.

An anime remake called Urusei Yatsura All-Stars, that will adapt select stories from the original manga, is coming in 2022, to be shown on Fuji TV's noitaminA block. Teaser Trailer here. It will start on October 14, 2022 and will be split into two 24-episode seasons.

Urusei Yatsura provides examples of:

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    Tropes # to F 
  • The '80s: Even though the manga started in The '70s, the anime smacks of this. Just watch the second opening; it's Lum and the gang disco-dancing (while disco was falling out of favor in North America, the Japanese were still boogieing down).
  • Abusive Parents: This series has two shining examples of this:
    • Mr. Fujinami is a psychotic Politically Incorrect Villain sexist maniac who finds Ryuunosuke's gender so offensive that he has spent all of her life trying to forcibly brainwash her into believing she's a boy so that he can pass her off as a "worthy" heir to his stupid tea shop. In pursuit of this, he verbally castigates and humiliates her, exercises a complete stranglehold over her finances, and constantly beats her in an attempt to simultaneously "toughen her up" and to break her will so that she will submit to his delusional wishes.
    • Ran's mother was ridiculously strict; whenever she though Ran did something naughty (it was actually Lum most of the time), no matter how innocent (like wetting the bed), she would always punish her with a severe spanking, verbally abuse her for not being a "sweet little angel" like Lum and refusing to listen to Ran when she protested it wasn't her fault. The abuse was so bad that it was directly responsible for Ran turning out the way she did, twisting her mind and leaving her torn between her rather understandably resentful attitudes and a desperately maintained facade of a kawaiiko. Ran is still terrified of her to this day.
    • Although not as bad as either of the former two, Ataru's mother can also be seen as verbally abusive, given she has been seen lamenting having ever birthed Ataru right in front of him at times.
    • Averted, or at least downplayed, with Jari-ten's mother. He's absolutely scared to death of her, due to her passionate ranting about how much she hates arsonists and pyromaniacs and how she loves to punish them for starting fires. However, she sincerely loves her son and has no idea that she scares him. Plus, the reason he's scared of her is because he's a Spoiled Brat who shamelessly abuses his fire-breath power, so he lives in fear of getting a well-deserved scolding & spanking when she finds out that he enjoys running around spewing flames at people for giggles.
  • Accidental Proposal: The catalyst for the entire series. During a competition to determine the fate of the Earth, Ataru's girlfriend Shinobu promises to marry him if he wins. After defeating his female alien competitor Lum, he says how glad he is that he can marry [Shinobu]. Lum thinks he's talking about marrying her, falls in love with him, and accepts his "proposal".
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: A very triumphant example. Lum originally had iridescent (constantly shifting, rainbow colored) hair. It was changed to the iconic green (which was originally just Ten's) in the anime, which was so popular that it was retconned back into the later manga pages. You can see this in the color manga covers. It's also the source of the very odd highlighting in the monochrome versions. Interestingly, this anniversary image implies that (to Takahashi) Lum's hair is still meant to be rainbow-colored despite the influence of the adaptations. Compare it to Female Ranma, who's had red hair ever since the anime made it popular. In the All-Star anime, Lum's will be rainbow-color like in the manga.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Kosuke Shirai, Ataru's best friend from the manga, does not appear in the TV show or any of the movies, though he did finally make his animated debut in the 2008 OVA. Episodes based on chapters featuring him usually gave his role and lines to Lum's Stormtroopers.
    • Minor example, but because the anime often adapted manga chapters out of order, this meant that certain bit characters were omitted. For instance, the School Nurse seen in the caterpillar story was replaced by Sakura in the anime adaptation, since the show had already adapted the story where she got a job at the school.
  • Alien Invasion: The main premise of the series. At first.
  • Alien Princess: Lum set many of the standards for Alien Princesses in manga and anime. Though humanoid, Lum has bioelectricity and can fly. She also got Accidentally Engaged to Ataru Moriboshi when he grabbed her horns in a game of tag to save the Earth, and now she lives in his closet. Her relatives and other aliens frequently show up, including alien princesses Oyuki and Benten.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Downplayed, while the majority of the aliens are varying degrees of obnoxious - few of them are truly hostile and the ones who are tend to be of the Harmless Villain variety.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The chapter where Lum gets hit in the head and loses her memory of Japanese and can only speak the Oni language, then, Ataru, allowing the tears to flow freely for the first time, embraces her and begs her to remember it. Mostly averted in the early episodes (a lot of mileage was gotten from Rei's inability to communicate with Earthlings) but the problem just seems to be forgotten about later on.
  • All Just a Dream: In one episode, Kitsune watches a movie about a fox who uses magical nuts to turn the human woman he loves into a fox. Kitsune does the same to Shinobu (as well as Lum, Ataru, Cherry, and Kotatsu-Neko, by accident). In the end, however, he wakes up to finds himself in the open field where he saw the movie, revealing that the night he turned Shinobu into a fox was just a dream.
    • Played with very cleverly in the second movie.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • And if it isn't (the rare examples being Tsubame and Sakura and, eventually, Shinobu and Inaba), the rest of the craziness conspires to keep them apart. Arguably, Ataru and Lum also love each other, but analyzing that would require a separate page altogether. Even Takahashi had to do it in the last volume of the latest version of the manga.
    • Many, many stories involve a love square with Lum, Ataru, and two other characters. The two other characters are often Shinobu and Mendou or Ran and Rei. You'll NEVER take them seriously.
    • Sometimes it's also lampshaded or parodied. There's a story that involves Ataru, Lum, Shinobu, and Mendou going on a trip together and shows each of them separately being excited about spending time with the person they love (Ataru thinks about Shinobu, Lum thinks about Ataru, Shinobu thinks about Mendou, and Mendou thinks about Lum).
  • All Men Are Perverts: Ataru, in spades. In the 10th anniversary movie Always My Darling, Princess Lupika's computer pinpoints him as the most lecherous man in the universe. Hell, every teenager in the series (and Ten) is a pervert except Inaba, Rei, Tobimaro, Nagisa and certain one-shot characters.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The Oni visited the Earth a thousand years earlier, giving rise to Japan's traditional legends.
  • Animation Bump:
    • There's a noticeable bump between season one and two, especially if you look at the chase scenes. Some episodes flash back to scenes from the first season, and the difference is obvious.
    • Inverted a bit later on, as the animation quality drops somewhat after Oshii's departure and as animation production moved from Studio Pierrot to Studio DEEN. Additionally, the quality of animation in the OVA series, which utilized several animation studios, ranges from quite good to not so great.
  • Anticipatory Lipstick: During the "Magnetic Lipstick" chapter/episode, Lum creates a special magnetic lipstick that pulls whoever's wearing it towards each other in order to force Ataru to kiss her, only for him to swipe it and attempt to trick the girls in his class to use it in order to get kisses from them, and some of the girls themselves attempting to use it to steal a kiss from Mendou with everyone's attempts ending in failure.
  • Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Ryuunosuke is involuntarily this to Shutaro. Every time Shutaro brags about how many girls are in love with him and how many love letters he gets every day, Ryuunosuke shows she has gotten a lot more love letters, and Shutaro gets depressed.
  • Arranged Marriage: There's a few.
    • The Mendou clan sets Shuutaro up with Asuka Mizunokoji. Due to Asuka's... quirks... he's not happy about it.
    • Also, Ryuunosuke and Nagisa, courtesy of their fathers.
    • In Movie 5, Lum's great-grandfather promised his daughter to Rupa's great-grandfather in exchange for an antidote. Once the latter found out that there is no daughter, he vowed to wait until a girl was born in the Oni royal family. As it turns out, his great-grandson is apparently the correct age to marry Lum, and had been brought up with the idea that he would marry her.
  • Art Evolution: The early manga looks like something Monkey Punch would draw, with the characters being rather lanky and having highly exaggerated, cartoony reactions during comedic moments. By the end of the series, the art style would evolve to take on the more rounded look that most people recognize as Takahashi's style.
    • The early anime episodes are also notorious among modern fans for their Off-Model animation and variable quality. Within a year, the animation quality had improved considerably and the off-model animators had largely been replaced with more competent ones. Meanwhile, the character designs would continue to evolve as Kitty switched its subcontracting animation studios several times, first from Studio Pierrot to Studio DEEN (which many fans feel resulted in a decline in quality), then to Magic House and eventually Madhouse for the later OVA episodes and movies as Akemi Takada was replaced by other character designers. The 2008 Rumic World OVA was produced and animated by Sunrise and features rebooted character designs and animation direction by Tsukasa Dokite, who worked on the original show.
  • As Long As It Sounds Chinese: The Oni language, in which Lum's mom is monolingual, is portrayed in the manga as mah-jong tiles; in the anime it's a random gibberish complete with weird subtitles that make no sense. The first chapter also features a French announcer saying stock phrases like, "Where is the pencil?" "It is on the table." The Chinese announcer, meanwhile, is listing items from a Chinese take-out menu.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Once every blue moon, Ataru and Lum have a genuinely tender moment. Most notable in the manga chapter where Ataru thinks Lum has been transformed into a cow – he becomes legitimately grief-stricken and commits himself to keeping her (well, the cow that's not actually her) comfortable for the rest of her life. Then of course there's the chapter/episode where she saves him from being humiliated by the Stormtroopers and they walk home hand-in-hand. And at the end of Beautiful Dreamer, they are literally an inch away from kissing when everyone else wakes up and Ataru is too embarrassed to follow through.
    • Mrs. Moroboshi, despite repeatedly saying she regrets having Ataru, refused to keep a more serious version of Ataru when he split into good-Ataru and bad-Ataru, saying that no matter what, she still prefers the original.
  • Bad Future: In the "Inaba the Dreammaker" story, the characters started exploring the Room of Destiny where all their possible futures were created. They were not at all pleased with anything they saw, but the capper was when Ataru was able to check out the future he'd handcrafted where he finally had his harem... and upon learning that Lum had left him and why, he beat up his future self and threw the future away.
  • Baku: The second movie and the chapter/episode it was loosely adapted from features a baku.
  • Ballet Episode: Chapter 307 of the manga has Ryuunosuke give one-shot character Hoshikuzu an unconventional and rather intense crash course in ballet.
  • Balloon Belly: Happens to multiple characters, but Ataru and Cherry are the most prone to it. Inverted by Sakura, who literally eats a restaurant out of business and doesn't gain an ounce.
    • More accurately Sakura doesn't gain an inch. In the manga, after completing the "Full Course From Hell" (which near the end featured the cooks offering her whole roasted duck, pig, and cow, which Sakura ate without difficulty), Sakura was shown in the pool wearing a bikini and clearly with the exact same figure as before the gigantic meal. Then she decided to have a nap on the same inflated mattress she had been laying on in the opening splash page, and sank like a rock.
    • In Episode 23, Ataru, Lum, Shinobu, and Mendou – lost in a cave system that somehow led into a crashed alien spaceship – all dine on tins of alien food they found. It doesn't affect Lum, but the three humans all end up with Balloon Bellies, with Shinobu suggesting the food has expanded inside their stomachs and Lum noting that it mustn't be suited for human constitutions. When they realize they are literally ten feet from the rest of their class, they try to reach them, but fail because they're too engorged to fit through the exit tubes.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted (as is typical with Takahashi's work), most notably during Lum's initial Defeat by Modesty.
  • Baseball Episode: You can bet there will be one whenever Tobimaro shows up.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Lum and most of the other aliens.
  • Battle Cry: Shinobu always evokes her super strength by getting worked up about boys. "MEN BE DAMNED!"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ataru is constantly chasing every girl around... only to have the one girl who can keep up with him and will zap the living crap out of him if he gets out of line decide to keep him. Whoops.
    • As mentioned above, "Inaba the Dream-maker" has Ataru, Lum, and Shinobu requisition Inaba's equipment to make their own futures. Ataru of course created a future where he got a harem. Not long after, he hid in that future and discovered that not only was Lum not there, but his future self had driven her off by being a supreme jerkass. He responded by going Hammertime on his future self then smashing the future to bits.
    • Also, Beautiful Dreamer has a moment when Ataru is given the harem he's always dreamed of, and then rejects it because Lum isn't there.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: A strange case. Ataru and Lum fill the character types, but they don't really display this trope. Takahashi intended for the Official Couple to be Ataru and Shinobu... until her editor and the general public made it known to her that they preferred Lum to Shinobu. While Takahashi herself has stated her great liking for Lum since, and has no ill-feelings towards the Lum & Ataru pairing, she created the Belligerent Sexual Tension in every manga since to prevent any fan/editor hijacking of her romantic interests (ironically, though, every intended couple since has been the favorite of fans and editors anyway, so one has to wonder if there's really a need at all for her to do this, and if she just didn't realize the storytelling gold she had with Ataru and Lum at the beginning).
  • Belly Mouth: In one manga chapter and anime episode, a bunch of fossils, put together into the approximate shape of a weird bird by Ataru, are animated by Lum using another piece of Oni tech. The resulting creature appears to have a belly mouth, as its "body" was the skull of some ceratopsian.
  • Berserk Board Barricade: Several times. For example, in anticipation of a typhoon, the Moroboshi family board up all of the doors and windows this way. In Japan, storm shutters generally come standard on houses, making this Rule of Funny.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In the "Kotaru the haunted kotatsu" storyline, information from Mendou is required. He arrives, in full samurai garb, katana at the ready, 0.1 second after Ataru yells out, "MENDOU YOU SISSY!!!"
    • Call Ryuunosuke a "boy" at your own risk.
    • Do NOT spill the principal's tea.
  • Betty and Veronica: Shinobu and Lum, respectively. Although in this case, Betty eventually kicks Archie (Ataru) to the curb.
  • Between My Legs: The first episode of the anime has a brief shot of this during the tag competition as Ataru prepares his attempt to catch Lum.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • The only person the bitter and vindictive Ran fears is the calm, feminine and graceful Oyuki. With very, very good reason.
    • Shinobu can also count, but not nearly as much.
    • Lum is very friendly to almost everyone, but there are two things that really set her off: Harming Ataru in front of her, in which case the threat will get zapped (so will Ataru); and Ataru propositioning other girls, in which case he'll get zapped.
  • Big Bad: The movies usually have one in order to focus the sprawling cast into one plot.
    • In Only You, there is Princess Elle of... Planet Elle, whom Ataru accidentally promised himself to.
    • Beautiful Dreamer gives us Mujaki, a dream demon who puts the cast (especially Ataru) through an emotional ringer. YMMV, of course, but he is likely the most personal threat the cast ever faced.
    • Remember My Love has Ruu, who has been corrupted by a cursed orb and carries out its will to break up Ataru and Lum.
  • Big Eater:
    • Sakura, the pretty one. She managed to out-eat an entire restaurant's supply of ingredients... and still wants dessert... Her uncle Sakurambou is gluttonous as well.
    • Rei, especially when he gets big.
    • Ataru. When he's not chasing girls, his only other interest is food.
  • Big Fancy House:
    • The Mendou Estate. Complete with multiple things that go doink.
    • What little we see of the Mizunokoji Estate fits this too. Makes sense considering they're the second richest family in Japan.
  • Big Little Man: In the first episode, after being knocked down by a ball, Ataru appears to have an enormous monk towering over him; it's only when he gets to his feet again that we realize the monk is half his size.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Happens to Ataru at least once.
  • Bishōnen: Rei, Lum's former fiance, draws squees from every female who sees him (his human form anyway). Mendou also qualifies, which is basically his most obvious difference from Ataru.
  • Blunder-Correcting Impulse: In one anime episode, Ran has a bad cold, and Lum comes by to help out. Among other things, she tries to cook some food, only to have the first dish overspiced. Directed to follow a recipe from "365 Recipes for the Terminally Ill", Lum finds it way too bland and tries to "improve" it. Ran catches her, and sees that Lum is not very good at vegetable chopping either. Soon, Ran's taken the whole cooking chore over, working herself back into exhaustion.
  • Bodyguard Babes: The Mizunokoji family employs a squad of female bodyguards.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The film adaptation of the final arc ends with Ataru being surrounded by a lynch mob that is going to go to town on him if he doesn't says that he loves Lum after his stubbornness almost doomed Tomobiki from alien mushrooms that have wrecked the whole town (It Makes Sense in Context). Ataru makes clear that he won't and they can't make him, pissing them off even more. And that's it.
  • Book Ends: In the last arc, Ataru is challenged by Lum to grab her horns in the span of ten days, which is the way they got "engaged" in the first place. This time, however, it's Ataru who has to declare his love to Lum if he wants to win the race.
  • Broken Aesop: In-universe, happens twice in the "Duel of courage" story:
    • Ryuunosuke teaches Lum that the key to winning a duel is to use the brain and not just the muscles. She immediately demonstrates this by engaging her father in a mindless fistfight.
    • The reason Lum asked Ryuunosuke's advice in the first place is that she wants to inspire a junior that anyone can win without superpower if they have enough courage. As her opponent turned out to be inhumanly invincible, Lum resorted to swallowing what is basically doping in increasing quantity, and yet it is still not enough and she collapses due to withdrawal. The conclusion her junior draws is that any dirty tricks is okay to snatch a win.
  • Butt-Monkey: A significant chunk of the cast. Ataru, first and foremost. Also Ran, Tobimaro, Onsen-Mark, and the Spice Girls (Sugar, Ginger, and Pepper). To a lesser extent Mendou, Jariten, Ryuunosuke, and Cherry.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Ataru, partly because Lum would likely consider this as his submission to their "marriage".
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: Lum, to Ataru. Shinobu to pretty much everyone.
  • Catchphrase: Several, most often a variation of the following:
    Ataru: Hey, sweetie! Let's go on a date! / What's your address and phone number?
    Shinobu: MEN BE DAMNED!!!
    Mendou: Waaah! ...It's dark! It's cramped! I'm scared!!
    Ten: I'm a good boy!
    Rei: Lum! note 
    Cherry: 'Tis fate.
    Ryuunosuke: I'm a chick, dammit!!! [in a very manly manner of speech]
    Mr. Fujinami: I LOVE THE SEA!!! [accompanied by a tidal wave, no matter where he might be]
    Ran: Ran-chan is sooo happy!
    Asuka: EEEEK! A man!! [followed by a Megaton Punch]
    Mrs. Moroboshi: We never should have had him!
    Ten's Mom: FIRE!!
    Lum's Stormtroopers (particularly Megane): Lum-saaaaan!!!
  • Character Development: Ataru has the occasional bits but the manga version of him doesn't suffer from the Reset Button and, by the end, has changed considerably.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
    • Shinobu, once Lum arrives (in Movie 3, she loses her power after Lum leaves Earth). Also Asuka, though she inherited this from her mother and is able to run 100 meters in a few seconds while wearing 200 kgs worth of medieval armor.
    • Ataru, given his ability to survive crushing, severe beatings and sundry other trauma, and of course Lum's electric shocks, as well as performing some epic gymnastic feats to avoid them. To say nothing of how the first time he met Asuka while she was running all-out on her obstacle course, he succeeded in outrunning her when he spotted a hint that there was a cute girl under all the armor.
    • After a number of stories where Ataru traps Mendo in giant bells, Mendo eventually becomes able to crack said bells in half with pure arm strength.
  • Chiaroscuro: Oshii used it to achieve an otherworldly effect in the first two movies (especially Beautiful Dreamer), as well as some of his final TV episodes.
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Mendou. Most girls at school (except Lum) are utterly head over heels for him — as long as he keeps his looks, that is. Shinobu admits in one episode that without his looks, Mendou's got nothing.
    • Rei breaks up loving couples just by walking past them, and causes squees whenever anything of the female gender sees him. His being dumb as a plank and loving only food does nothing to dissuade the girls. His transforming into a giant goofy tiger-bull whenever excited might. Sometimes.
    • Ryunnosuke. Being female is evidently no obstacle in becoming the school's most desired Bishōnen.
      Girl: Gorgeous!
      Guy: Uh... you know that's a girl, right?
      Girl: Oh, we know. She's dreamy, isn't she?
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Ataru and Shinobu in the early chapters. She ceases to care roughly around the time Mendou shows up.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: The plot of the first movie, Only You, where a six year old Ataru plays shadow tag with Elle, who he later learns comes from a planet where stepping on someone's shadow is considered a marriage proposal.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Mr Hanawa, the original teacher.
    • In the manga, Lum's Stormtroopers (who never get names) disappear after Mendou is introduced.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Both Lum and Shinobu, to Ataru and Mendou, respectively, though Shinobu starts out as one to Ataru.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: Lum drifts from Alternate Universe to Alternate Universe in a particularly dramatic Filler episode. The biggest scare she gets is from an Ataru that openly adores her, and though she seems to find her way back in the end, the fact that the final Ataru doesn't reject her advances is definitely unnerving, but not enough to make her leave.
  • Closet Sublet: Lum is one of the earliest examples, although she just as often spends nights in her personal spaceship.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The kids at Tomobiki High never need to worry about getting kicked out of school for their hi-jinks, because the Principal is just as loopy as they are and he rather likes the weirdness. He even hosts the Kotatsu Cat ghost in his office, while Onsen-Mark can only gawk in incredulity.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Everybody that shows up on screen would in real-life be guilty of battery, using deadly weapons (especially a mallet from out of nowhere), theft, sexual assault, etc. Except maybe Kitsune-ko.
  • Comforting Comforter: In an episode, Lum is attempting to taking care of a bedridden Ran. However her efforts get Ran's house and kitchen wrecked and Ran – who has grown increasingly angry – tells Lum to clean up the mess and leave, and goes to bed. Lum, however, stays by Ran's bed and fall asleep on the chair. When Ran wakes up at midnight she notices Lum and covers her with a blanket.
  • Composite Character: Since Ataru's friend Kosuke doesn't appear in the anime, his role was given to Lum's Stormtroopers, with Perm in particular serving as the closest analogue.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sakura, when she feels like it. Ten seems to consider Lum his Cool Big Cousin.
  • Cool Bike: Benten's rocket cycle.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Lum nearly always carries around some kid of weird alien device useful to the situation at hand (and usually makes the trouble one hundred times worse). It is also lampshaded: during one Christmas party at the Mendou Estate, Shutaro's little sister Ryoko planted several dozen bombs around the place out of revenge for not getting invited to the party. Lum says she has an explosive detector, and Ataru asks if she always carries one around.
  • Crossdresser:
    • Ryuunosuke. She's not happy about it, but fails in her attempts to actually be girly.
    • Nagisa, as a polar opposite to Ryuunosuke.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Ataru. Seriously, this guy has groped pretty much every female character in the series, mostly against their will. Given what they can do, that's an impressive feat.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the first movie, the Oni fleet tries to give battle to the forces of Planet Elle. Elle's people are shown already to be incredibly technologically powerful, and later we even see that they have a mega-structure around their system like a Type II Civilization. The Oni are far outclassed and probably would have been slaughtered even worse than what they got if an Elle spy (shown to have chameleon like powers albeit not enough to fool the Oni crew) hadn't kidnapped Ataru off the main ship.
    • The main 4 Tomobiki High kids went up against the much-feared "ghosts" haunting an inn at Cockel Inlet. These 3 cannibalistic clam fairies got their asses kicked by Lum and Shinobu, to the point that they were begging to be allowed to flee out of Japan.
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • Ataru's curse is a Green-Haired Space Babe girlfriend who can fly, is a Clingy Jealous Girl, and has a built-in taser that she uses repeatedly on him if he so much as looks at another girl. They can't even sleep in the same bed together without him getting electrocuted every few seconds (accidentally, for once).
    • The other girls seem to regard Ryuunosuke's... peculiar... upbringing this way.
  • Custom Uniform: Mendou and Ryuunosuke – Mendou's is from his old school and Ryuu-chan wears the boys' uniform without a jacket.
  • Cute and Psycho: Ran. On the outside, she's a cute redhead who likes frilly clothing, baking, and flirting with Ataru. In reality, she's an embittered childhood rival of Lum who is out for some very violent revenge on the girl for, well, a lot of things that aren't entirely Lum's fault.
  • Cute Bruiser: Shinobu is a cute short schoolgirl, but also inhumanly strong.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Lum, although when she's upset she shows a mouth full of big pointy teeth (likewise for the other Oni, natch).
  • Cute Monster Girl: Lum, Oyuki (Yuki-no-Onna), Ran (Gaki) and arguably Benten (Fukujin), as well as the minor character Kurama (Karasu-tengu). Outside of Benten and a fully disguised Ran - none of these alien girls look fully human. But all of them had made the male population of Tomobiki town drop their collective jaws.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Ataru's family is lower-middle class and he occasionally schemes to make money. But he seems to have a blind spot to the fact that Lum effectively has infinite wealth and resources. The most blatant example is the second episode where a crooked space-taxi driver gouges him for earth's entire supply of oil. Lum comes back at the last minute and offers a couple of "power crystals" (presumably charged from her electric powers), which the driver happily accepts. The fact that she can produce something that insanely valuable on demand is never touched on again.
  • Dainty Little Ballet Dancers: Averted in chapter 307. Hoshikuzu's (admittedly unconventional) ballet teacher, Ryuunosuke, is no delicate flower, and Hoshikuzu's tryout at the end of the chapter has her make a landing that breaks the floor underneath her.
  • Dancing Theme: The first opening and a couple of the endings fit this.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The premise of the 2-parter where Lum's UFO crashes on the Mendou estate, causing her to lose her memory. Shutaro takes advantage of this by claiming her as his fiance and then isolating her from outside contact. When Lum's Stormtroopers get ready to launch a rescue mission, Megane even leaves behind his will as he does not expect to survive, and he's right as the Mendou private army is sent out to kill them!
    • Beautiful Dreamer involves the main cast getting trapped in a post-apocalyptic dreamscape where everyone and everything else is gone. Sort of. Incidentally, this and the above bullet point were the last entries in the series that Oshii worked on.
  • Dartboard of Hate:
    • Parodied, Kurama has one of Ataru. She throws a dart at it, however the image catches the dart in its teeth and eats it.
    • One of the Spice Girls tries to highlight Ataru as a potential "Weak point" of Lum by throwing a dart at a board with pictures of Lum, Oyuki, Benten, plus Ataru on it. The dart of course misses, forcing her to walk over to the dartboard and move it over.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 60 is about Ran's attempts to seduce Ataru and steal his youth. Lum doesn't appear in the story at all, except for the chapter cover, where she is shown Bound and Gagged in an equipment locker (explaining why Ran is able to go after Ataru without any interference).
  • Deal with the Devil: Ataru forms one entirely by accident with a repeated running pattern matching a demon's personal crest for 13 days and a V-Sign, if you'll believe that.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Lum, in the first storyline. Ataru uses a suction-cup-gun to pull her top off. She was so desperate to get it back she flew close enough for Ataru to grab her horns.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Ten. He plays it up to attract cute girls.
  • Depraved Dentist: In one chapter, Ataru dreams that Lum will "help" him get over a tooth ache with some sort of dentistry torture chair.
    Lum: This looks bad. Everything will have to go!
  • Determinator: Ataru, parodied and played straight.
  • Deus ex Machina: Used for humor. Every so often, Lum resolves a situation by simply pulling out some device or other Applied Phlebotinum that takes care of things.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Ataru is very prone to say out loud whatever he is thinking – usually something perverted – and often does not even realize it until someone else points it out. In an early manga chapter he is trying to score a girl. During one scene he wants to say "I will be your most loyal friend. I'll protect you with my life!" as he thinks "I won't stop until we are more than friends. If I don't get something it will be a disaster"... but he said aloud what he was thinking and thought what he intended to say. Another character lampshaded it.
  • Dirty Old Man: When he's not pining for his lost wife, and sometimes even when he does, Mr. Fujinami really creeps the girls out. Then again he tends to creep them out anyway, mainly because the guy is also batshit insane!
  • Disposable Fiancé: Rupa in the 5th movie, once Lum finally gives Ataru the ultimatum to say he loves her or she's staying on the World of Darkness. In a subversion, she obviously doesn't like him as anything more than a casual friend, and that's after he stops trying to force her into marriage. In a twist, Lum is actually his Disposable Fiance as well.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: While Lum did get Ran into trouble as a child (sometimes on purpose, most of the time accidentally, but never with the intent to harm her), Ran swore a vendetta against her childhood friend after she hooked up with the guy Ran liked... and then dumped him.
  • The Ditz: Tsubame and Rei.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Inaba starts out as a decidedly non-threatening version of this towards Shinobu. She eventually reciprocates. Rupa in the final story arc/5th movie is a much more aggressive version towards Lum.
  • Dork Horse Candidate: Ataru, when he beat Mendou in the race for Class President.
  • Double Standard: Really messed with in some of the Ryuunosuke/Nagisa bits. Culminating in the fight between Ryu (Girl raised as a boy, and looking really masculine) and Nagisa (Boy raised as a girl wearing a dress and looking feminine in it).
  • Drama Bomb Finale: The final story arc "Boy Meet Girl" and its anime film adaptation "The Final Chapter" is considered this: a stranger who appears on Earth named Rupa claims to be Lum's fiancé while the climax of the story arc has Lum and Ataru repeating the game of tag, where if Ataru fails then everyone's memories with Lum will be erased. Luckily, Ataru won when he shows Lum her old horns to her, to show how much he cares for her.
  • Drunk on Milk: Lum and Ten wreak havoc when they get extremely drunk on umeboshi (pickled plums, usually regarded as a hangover cure). It turns out that alcohol actually cures them of being drunk, though all this is somewhat justified by Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • Dude Magnet: The male population of Tomobiki High School would all give an arm and a leg to have a chance with Lum, not counting her various alien suitors. Repping for the humans, Sakura has to fight off the throngs of male students trying to "get medical attention" and turns the heads of guys who aren't part of the Tomobiki High crowd.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Kurama. She was going through with a tradition where she put herself in suspended animation till a prospective mate woke her up by kissing her. Not to mention how the tradition of her people even started.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Ataru may be a pervert, but the very first chapter of the manga and episode of the anime saw him saving the world from an Alien Invasion. Yet he's treated as a pest and an idiot by everyone, got dumped by his girlfriend (who was supposed to have married him right after he thwarted that alien invasion) for a rich guy who's about as perverted as him; the alien girl he defeated to thwart said invasion is now in love with him and will electrocute him every time he so much as looks at another girl; he's persecuted by a jinxing monk who is so ugly his face makes people vomit; and his mother is fond of saying she'd be better off if he was never born. Come to think of it, in the manga he wasn't that perverted in the first chapters...
  • Dysfunction Junction: Where to even start? Of course, it's all Played for Laughs.
  • Ear Cleaning: Lum can occasionally be seen cleaning Ataru's ears, at home or even at school (episode 17, for example). This is intended to be one of the signs that Ataru does care for her, but is unwilling to commit to her.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: "My name is Shutaro Mendou and I will soon become a regular character on this show."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first two volumes of the manga actually paint a very different picture of the characters than later volumes, or the anime, would:
    • Whilst Ataru does have a bit of a wandering eye, he's actually not presented as particularly perverted compared to any other healthy teenage boy of his age.
    • Shinobu's temper was always much more prominent, and she was a much less sympathetic character who seemed to have absolutely no faith in Ataru or willingness to believe him over the likes of Lum. Also, Shinobu's Super Strength is essentially absent at this early stage.
    • Lum is much more aggressive, vindictive and possessive of Ataru in these early stories, and comes off as being more villainous.
    • Ataru and Shinobu are clearly intended to be the Official Couple; Lum is treated as nothing but an obstacle in their relationship, and there is even a time-travel story where, to Lum's horror, the future has Ataru and Shinobu happily married and with a small son.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Win a game of tag against one of the invaders and the planet is saved.
  • Edible Theme Naming: The Spice Girls — Sugar, Pepper, and Ginger.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: Shinobu.
  • Epunymous Title: Takahashi replaced "urusai", which means annoying or loud, with "urusei", writing it with the kanji for "star". That makes the title mean something like "Those Obnoxious Aliens" or "The Annoying Space Guys". The former translation was used as the subtitle for AnimEigo's release.
  • Equippable Ally: It happens that Ataru grabs Ten and bops him on the head to cause him to fire-breathe, basically using him as an organic flamethrower. Ten, who dislikes Ataru to begin with, generally reacts to the mistreatment with another gout of flames in Ataru's face.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Ryunnosuke
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: One episode transports Lum, Ataru and Ten into the past, where a dinosaur mistakes Ten for its hatched egg and the egg believes Lum to be its mom.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Chapter 82/Episode 2b involves the neighborhood being overrun with them. Although the "penguin" was actually a swallow that had swallowed some of Ten's candy.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Although Lum might sometimes don winter clothes, it's more to fit in than from any need of protection. She's seen wearing her tiger bikini whatever the weather, including while flying on a windy, snowy night, with no sign of discomfort. Ten too, in fact, meaning this resistance to cold is just another trait of their alien biology.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: In one of The Movies.
  • Eye Catch: Changed several times during the TV anime series' run.
    • The first generation eyecatches played up the Ataru-Lum-Shinobu Love Triangle by having Ataru pursue either Shinobu (in the commercial intro) or a topless Lum (in the commercial outro) lustfully, only to face-fault when the girl he is pursuing changes into her "rival." The music is a piano riff of part of the chorus from "Lum no Love Song."
    • In the second generation eyecatches, Ataru is hit on the head (complete with a bump on the head) and hammered down by the series logo. The animation is the same for the intro and outro but the sound effects are different.
    • The third generation eyecatches feature a chibi Lum as a magician pulling Ataru out of a hat (commercial intro) or simply extending a hand in greeting to the viewer (commercial outro) over an excerpt of "Yume wa Love Me More" (with vocals in the intro, instrumental in the outro).
    • The animation remained the same for the fourth and fifth generation eyecatches (with a chibi Lum and a scrambled series logo) but the music and sound effects changed.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Nearly every character is in love/obsessed with one of the other characters, and their actions are usually driven by this. But no one is ever, ever allowed to get together with the object of their affections, since that would kill their motivations. Hints may be dropped, and there may even be temporary romances, but no one ever "officially" gets together, and any attempts at doing so will result in a breakup by the end of a given episode. (This shows up again in a lot of Takahashi's works...) Applies most heavily to Lum's eternal quest to get Ataru to admit he loves her. The very last story in the entire series ends with an angry mob threatening to beat Ataru senseless if he doesn't say it. Ataru chooses the beating.
  • Fake Mystery: The anime-exclusive episode, "And Then There Were None", is a spoof of the Agatha Christie novel of the same title, where the main characters are picked off one by one while they're staying at a mansion. Obviously, this being a comedy show means that none of the deaths are real, and by the end of the episode, it is revealed that the group staged the prank against Ataru as a "shock treatment" to cure him of his lechery.
  • Fake Pregnancy: Lum claimed to be pregnant with Ataru's child a few times in manga chapters/early episodes, to try to discourage Shinobu and Rei. The dialogue in the BBC's English Gag Dub is particularly humorous:
    Shinobu: You've got... [pauses for a few seconds] ...a bun in your oven?!!
    Lum: [laughing wickedly] Yes! And Ataru it was who lit my fire alight!
  • Fangirl: Mendou has a formal organization of fangirls following his every move, ready to punish Ataru for any perceived infraction against him.
  • Fanboy: Lum also has a group of fanboys called Lum's Stormtroopers. Both groups are equally horrified when it seems that Lum and Mendou are going to get together; they actually turn to Ataru for help, because (a) Lum is the one girl Mendou shows serious interest in throughout the whole story (in the Destiny Production Bureau Arc, one future shows him and Lum happily married, with Ataru as their retainer) and (b) outwardly, Mendou is close to perfection in looks, intelligence, and money, making it harder to point out how unsuitable he is for Lum. Again, this proved to be a misunderstanding.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: In a late chapter, Shutaro Mendou is trying to show his classmates why they should think that his pool – located next to the beach – is so impressive, and he shows them two cups filled with water (one of them picked from the pool). Ryuunosuke's father dips his forefinger in them, tastes each one and determines one cup is filled with Japan Sea water and the second is filled with Pacific Ocean water (hence, they are swimming in Japan Sea water while watching the Pacific Ocean, something that Shutaro thinks it is utterly and unspeakably awesome. His classmates disagree...)
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: Lum's cooking will do that to you.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Starring Lum, Oyuki, Benten, and Ran, although the trope is played with. Lum is the pretty one, Benten is the tomboy, Oyuki is the mature admirable one, but Ran only seems the ditzy/naive one at first sight but she's actually Cute and Psycho and a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The chapter 72 of the manga features an Ataru ↔ Ten swap followed by a Cherry ↔ Ten swap, done by earmuffs. This chapter was adapted into episode 24 of the anime, which diverges from the original story partway through and ends up with a dappya monster ↔ Lum swap as well as a 9-way (!) swap: Sakura → Ten → Cherry → a cat → Mr. Moroboshi → Shinobu → Ataru → Mrs. Moroboshi → Megane → Sakura (where "A → B" means "A's mind controls B's body").
  • Friendly Scheming: In "And Then There Were None" episode, the Agatha Christie-style murder mystery was staged.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Ataru's weapon of choice against Jariten. It doubles as a good shield against his fire breath.
  • Funbag Airbag: This happens in the 4th chapter/5th episode; the first time Ataru meets Sakura he's running from an angry mob trying to catch him to collect the reward money after he ran away from home. He runs face-first into her breasts and knocks her down; she complains of chest pains so her takes her with him to a safe place to outrun the mob.
  • Fur Bikini: Lum wears a tiger-striped bikini (based on the tiger-striped loincloths of mythical oni, which were made out of man's bad karma). It is her Iconic Outfit.

    Tropes G to L 
  • Gag Dub: The BBC made one in 1998 called Lum the Invader Girl. Only two episodes (four stories) are known to exist.
  • Gag Sub:
    • AnimEigo's DVD subtitles would often do this with characters that speak the Oni language. From about Season 2 onward, Oni dialogue — complete gibberish in Japanese — was written in the Windows "Symbol" font (i.e. Greek letters, easily decipherable). Oni subtitles tended to say things like "If you can read this, you are a true otaku." (from Movie 1) and "That Star Wars parody was pretty cool." (from an episode that had a minute-long Star Wars-themed]] [[Big-Lipped Alligator Moment crack sequence)
    • They also did it in at least one episode when Cherry's chanting got so bizarre that even the subtitler was stumped — a note at the beginning says "This is gibberish even by Cherry's standards", followed by a list of toiletry brands.
  • The Generic Guy: Ataru's friend Kosuke in the manga. Probably the reason he was Adapted Out in the anime.
  • Genius Loci: What is implied to be the mass consciousness of Tomobiki, that is, the city itself rather than the people, manifests in the fourth film Lum the Forever after the cutting of a gigantic and ancient cherry tree seems to have woken it. Tomobiki's spirit than becomes entranced with Lum's presence as a foreign entity brimming with life and substance and starts trying to draw her into it, first by extracting the memories of those who care about her, then by extracting their dreams about her. On the latter regard, every time the dreams are drawn out they manifest as gigantic, frozen structures suddenly appearing among the city. When Lum finally is drawn into Tomobiki's consciousness, Mendou and the others launch a military-grade strike against Tomobiki's physical form in order to weaken it, the city decides to let Lum go, stating it has enough memories and dreams to live on and doesn't need Lum to spend eternity with it. This, however, is all up for debate as the fourth movie was even more of a Mind Screw than Beautiful Dreamer.
  • The Glomp: Lum to Ataru. Rei to Lum. Neither like it very much.
  • Gonk: This series has a few – Cherry, especially emphasized by his sudden entrances and close-ups. Also, Sakura's mom, who looks like Cherry with hair. And of course Shinobu's highly persistent suitor, Soban from Busumetsu High.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: In a handful of early episodes, notably "Lum-chan's Class Reunion." There's one early chapter/episode featuring Sakura's fiancee Tsubame attempting exorcisms at a disco.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Lum refers to Ataru as "Darling!"
    • Onsen-Mark can often be heard reciting passages from English-language literature – usually way off from what Japanese schools actually teach (but more interesting). He quotes English songs most of the times.
    • Nearly every Opening and Ending theme after the first — "Hoshizora Cycling", "Dancing Star", "Yume wa Love Me More", "Tonogata Gomen Asobase" ("You are watching me, I am watching you"), etc. Some of the songs are sung partially or entirely in English ("Chance On Love", "Open Invitation", "Rock The Planet", "Every Day" - the singer for the latter two songs, Steffanie Borges, is actually Japanese-Hawaiian and sings in perfect, fluent English).
    • An early episode features Ataru speaking English while flirting with a beautiful blonde in Hawaii (who also responds in English). Of course, he doesn't get much farther before Lum hits him over the head with a watermelon.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "Koi no Möbius", the sixth ending theme, repeats the phrase Besame te quiero ("Kiss me; I want you").
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress:
    • In one manga chapter, Ataru rushed out of his home through the nearest exit. Two seconds later he noticed that exit was not in fact a door but a window, and he could not fly. After hitting the ground, Lum floats down to him and says, "For one second I believed you had learnt to fly."
    • When Lum (who had been gone for several days) shows up at school and hads Ataru walk with her... out the window. Ataru walks in midair for a couple seconds before he realizes where he is and crashes to the ground.
    • This also happens to Lum when she temporarily loses her powers. Unlike with Ataru, it's not Played for Laughs.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Ran, towards Lum, whom she feels has "stolen" Rei from her.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The second movie, Beautiful Dreamer, revolves around this trope. Note that it actually came out nine years before the eponymous Bill Murray flick.
  • Handsome Lech: Though rich, popular, and good looking, Mendou is just as big a pervert as Ataru.
  • Harem Anime: Sort of. Ataru wants one, but none of the girls want to be in one. Could be considered the Unbuilt Trope version where Tenchi Muyo! was the Codifier.
  • Harem Seeker: Ataru, to the horror of all women, including Lum (who wants him all to herself).
  • Heir Club for Men: This is why Ryuunosuke Fujinami was Raised as the Opposite Gender; her father was obsessed with the idea that only a boy could be a worthy heir to his family legacy of... running a ratty little beachside store. This is used for roughly equal parts comedy and to paint Mr. Fujinami as creepy and insane.
  • Head-Turning Beauty:
    • Sakura, even though she doesn't have the personality of one.
    • Lum also qualifies, though with her being (probably) underage, older men aren't shown lusting after her... most of the time anyway.
  • Hell Hotel: The kids have stayed in more than a few creepy hotels/inns, including one where a trio of ghosts wanted to cook them.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Tobimaro firmly believes that baseball is no place for women... though most of his issues with the gentler sex can be directly attributed to a childhood spent running from Ryoko Mendou.
  • Hero of Another Story: Sakura and her uncle seem to qualify. People are often shown coming to Sakura and Sakurambo with problems or jobs that Ataru, Lum, and gang then get involved in. It's easy to imagine Sakura and Sakurambo are continually getting involved in various adventures off-screen than the main cast of UY never see.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Ryuunosuke is frequently victim of this trope. Tobimaro had this too, all thanks to Ryoko.
  • Horned Humanoid: The Oni race, including Lum, have a small pair of horns on their heads. These are the source of an Oni's power and when they fall off during molting, an Oni is little more than a human with funky hair colors.
  • Hot-Blooded: Tobimaro, complete with Hot-Blooded Sideburns even. He's an utter Butt-Monkey, however.
  • Hugh Mann: A fox spirit showed up at the school and tried to pull off several impersonations... but it was always one foot tall and an obvious anthropomorphic fox. However, when it impersonated the teacher Onsen-Mark, the students (who don't like Onsen-Mark) proclaimed him the real teacher, tied up Onsen-Mark, and beat him up for "impersonating the teacher", all the while referring to Onsen-Mark as "The Hoax".
  • Human Aliens: Averted with every alien aside from the important characters. Most aliens look not-at-all humanoid – see the omiai chapter/episode and take a good look at Lum's would-be suitors aside from Uni and the Prince of the Underground.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Which apparently led to a good deal of confusion for a Starfish Alien screenwriter when he/she/it tried to bring the horror of Earth's vampire legends to an extra-terrestrial audience...
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: One episode features Lum and Ten eating umeboshi (pickled plums) and realizing too late that the brine has an effect on them that alcohol does not.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Oni get drunk on pickled plums.
  • I Hate Past Me: In one chapter/episode Mendō traveled back in time and very literally scared his younger self — the child Mendō acted like such an obnoxious brat to his future self that he provoked the latter into attacking him with a sword. The young Mendō hid in a jar until the older Mendō returned to his own time, but that experience was what gave him his claustrophobia and fear of the dark ("WAAAN! KURAI YO SEMAI YO KOWAI YO!"). And what's more, the reason he traveled back in time in the first place was to prevent himself from getting that claustrophobia and fear of the dark.
  • An Ice Person: Oyuki, the Queen of Neptune. Occasionally freezing everything around her in a huge block of ice.
  • Idiots Cannot Catch Colds: The other characters invoke it with Ataru (though he does get sick).
  • Immune to Drugs: Lum and other Oni are immune to alcohol (and probably most poisons too, as seen with some badly-prepared fugu in a manga story arc) thanks to their alien metabolism. However, eating plums will make them drunk.
  • Important Hair Accessory: In an early manga chapter, Lum decides to try visiting Ataru's class looking like a normal human girl. Part of her disguise was to use a liquid that softened her horns so they could be flattened to look like ornaments. This was also used in the Date episode.
  • Indy Escape: In one of Beach Episodes, Shinobu wants to play Smashing Watermelons, but nobody in the village is willing to sell them because of a curse from the Watermelon God over this specific holy day. Later, the gang stumble over a temple with a gigantic watermelon, which Ataru and Lum makes fun off. This result in the angry spirit within it to chase them, making the huge watermelon roll down the temple steps, and later in the streets, all the way to the beach. In this case, swerving is of no use since the watermelon does follow them. Lum could have just flown away, though, but she likely didn't want to leave her Darling.
  • Interspecies Romance: Kitsune-ko develops a very innocent crush on Shinobu after she saves him from a pack of dogs. Also Lum and Ataru, obviously.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Uber-bishonen Rei turns into an ushitora (a very large, goofy, and stupid-looking cross between a tiger and a bull) whenever excited. And that means whenever lots of food is in front of him. Or whenever Lum (his ex) is in his view. The only girl it doesn't bother at all is Ran... and even the girls who see both of his forms still aren't entirely against the prospect of romancing him.
  • Iron Butt-Monkey: Poor Ataru. He is basically the very embodiment of this trope. It's even lampshaded in one manga chapter, where he gets a broken arm and no one can believe it.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Some minor annoyances are delinquents who are too stupid to stay away from Tomobiki High.
  • Jump the Shark: Parodied through an In-Universe example. The episode where Lum enrolls in Ataru's school introduces a horde of stock high-school comedy characters in the first act, pushing Lum and Ataru to the sidelines. A new teacher is assigned to Ataru's class, and corners him during break to inquire about those odd things sticking out of Lum's head... cut to Ataru's class, with all the students howling in disbelief at the new teacher's ignorance of their world-famous classmate (their repeated attempts to clue him in prove utterly fruitless — turns out he's the one person on Earth with a functioning Weirdness Censor). None of the new students ever show up again in later episodes.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Lum's iridescent hair in the manga.
  • Kansai Regional Accent:
    • Lum refers to herself as uchi instead of the standard atashi, a feature of Kansai-ben.
    • Jariten also often displays features of Kansai-ben.
  • Kappa: An episode of the anime has Ataru being taken down to a Ryugujo inhabited entirely by kappa.
  • Karakasa: The "Minna ame naka..." (Raindrops Keep Fallin') chapter has a karakasa called Ataru that is in a feud with a raincloud that is raining only on him. Ataru comes to Sakura for counselling and she realizes that the raincloud tormenting him is its spouse. Ultimately their problems are beyond Sakura's abilities to help and she calls a divorce attorney for the two.
  • Karma Houdini: Ryoko Mendou tortures everyone (especially her brother Shutaro and his rival Tobimaro), and she is NEVER punished.
    "I am such a pitiful victim of my joy in others' suffering!"
  • Kavorka Man:
    • Mr. Fujinami apparently. He has photos of dozens of women with baby Ryuunosuke and doesn't even remember which one of them is his real wife, Masako. It then turns out that he never actually seduced them; he hired them to pose for the pictures because he wanted to "help" Ryuunosuke somehow.
    • Ataru is a borderline example, though obviously not as much as he would like. Think about it – he not only got Lum (beautiful alien princess), but was previously engaged to Shinobu (considered the prettiest girl at Tomobiki High before Lum and Ran showed up).
  • Kawaiiko: Ran, whenever her psycho-bitch state isn't taking over. When Lum mentions that she should just be herself, Ran explains that getting back to her Kawaiiko mode is difficult.
  • KidAnova: Ten charms lots of girls with his cuteness. Also, one of his dreams is marrying Sakura.
  • Kid Samurai: Mendou, who keeps a katana in his locker; and Tobimaro, who leads a hermit lifestyle in the mountains and always wears a ragged samurai robe.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Lum is very affectionate to her 'Darling', but doesn't hesitate to zap him with lightning whenever he hits on another girl, which happens a lot. In one early episode she actually throws a chair at him when she learns that he's invited Shinobu over, and once the chair hits its mark, is horrified at the damage it caused.
  • Kiss of Death: Ran has the power to suck the youth from someone by kissing them. She tries to use the power on an unsuspecting Ataru, who just thinks she liked him. She can also reverse the process with another kiss.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • In a manga chapter the Tomoboki teachers are confiscating all stuff their students are forbidden to bring to school. Ataru and their schoolmates threaten with a revolt, when their teachers flatly state whoever lifts one finger against them will get expelled. Instantly they reluctantly back off.
    • The second movie has a Continuity Nod to this as Mendou (somehow) gets a tank placed in his classroom for the school festival and taunts Onsen-Mark by practically daring him to confiscate it.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Shutaro Mendou towards Lum. But possibly subverted, since it's entirely conceivable he might want to marry Lum at least in part for the prestige of having an alien princess for a wife. Similar story with Asuka (only daughter of the second-richest family in Japan).
  • Late to the Punchline: So many Anime pros grew up with the show that comic Shoutouts can be found in hundreds of shows. You may not recognize some of them until you see the episode they took it from. (e.g. The lipstick commercial, Ryoko's "operation")
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In one episode, Ataru is seen reading an animanga version of Beautiful Dreamer. In another, they pass by a movie theater with a poster for Remember My Love. Lum even glances at it briefly.
    • In the library episode in season 2, a Freeze-Frame Bonus reveals that one of the students is reading Urusei Yatsura, with the title written in romaji. More freeze framing shows Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku on the shelves (with normal, non-romaji titles).
  • Lethal Chef: Lum cooks reasonably well... but only by Oni standards.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Benten subverts this effectively. There are only three instances where she's seen with her hair down: twice are shower scenes, the third is when she uses the chain that holds her hair in place to disarm Ran (she puts it back up seconds later).
  • Licensed Game: Quite a few over the years, the first one released as early as 1982. One partial inversion: the arcade game Momoko 120% (1986) was intended as an Urusei Yatsura game, but had to be redeveloped when the producers were unable to secure the license, even though it retained "Lum's Love Song" as the BGM. The developers finally were able to license the franchise for the Nintendo Famicom port, which was released as Urusei Yatsura: Lum no Wedding Bell.
  • Lingerie Scene: Parodied. Lum normally wears a tiger-striped bikini, but in school she often wears a school uniform. There is one scene where Lum starts taking off her uniform in the middle of class to reveal the bikini, and the guys are all drooling over her until someone says, "Isn't that what she wears anyway?"
  • Literal Split Personality: The lecherous aspect of Ataru's personality gets split off in one chapter/episode... but the remaining non-lecherous portion of his personality is so weak that it can't even wake up.
  • Love You and Everybody: Ataru loves Lum... and Shinobu, and Sakura, and Ran, and Ryunnosuke, and Benten, and Oyuki, and Ryoko...
    Ataru: ...and Kintaro's teacher. In other words, I love you all!
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Jariten, of course, although he's not a parent...
  • Love Potion: Several in the TV series. The plot of the 6th movie revolves around one.
  • Love Triangle: the relationships in this series can be summed up as Every Other Man in the Universe > Lum > Ataru > Every Other Woman in the universe.

    Tropes M to R 
  • Magical Accessory: Early on, Ataru forces Cherry to give him a set of yellow ribbons that, if tied around Lum's horns, make her lose her powers.
  • Masquerade Ball: Parodied, as the Japanese words can be read in different ways.
  • Meaningful Name: Plenty.
    • Jariten, for example, has been translated into Naughty Ten in some languages.
    • Ataru Moroboshi ("hit by a falling star"), Ran ("chaos"), Rei ("zero"), Shinobu ("Patience")
  • Mega Meal Challenge: In a anime-original episode, One restaurant challenged diners to finish an expensive and huge meal, and anyone who succeeds gets the meal for free. Look at the Characters page and see how many members of this cast are listed as Big Eaters. Yeah, it didn't work out well for the restaurant.
  • The Men in Black: Pretty much everyone at the Mendou estate aside from the family themselves. (Shutaro's agents and Ryoko's kuroko).
  • Middle-of-Nowhere Street: Tomobiki, a (previously) boring suburb of Tokyo.
  • Miko: Sakura. She acts as an priestess as she and Cherry are seen many times trying to exorcise evil spirits.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: In one manga story, Ran remembers how in their youth, Benten had ruined Lum's Cosmos Box and told her not to tell. She promptly starts trying to use this old memory to try and hurt Lum by disrupting her friendship with Benten. Instead when it's finally revealed, Lum is relieved because as it turned out, she had accidentally wrecked Benten's Cosmos box at the same time. And then the two of them start confessing and forgiving all sorts of past wrongdoings while Ran accepts that both of them are simply too forgiving for her to ever understand.
  • Mind Screw: Probably the thing the series is best known for aside from Lum herself. Especially while Oshii was still chief director.
    • "Miserable! A Loving and Roving Mother!", where Mrs Moroboshi daydreams of her world falling apart.
    • The second and fourth movies, which go off the wall and pull off "What is going on?"-style plot twists to an extreme degree.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Cherry and Sakura's mom. Also Mujaki, the Big Bad of the second film: though he isn't nearly as harmless as he looks...
  • Missing Mom: No one can actually figure out if Ryuunosuke's mother Masako is dead, or alive and just left Mr. Fujinami.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • After Ataru is grossed out by seeing some female kappa, the kappa princess assumes that it must be because they're women. She then sends some young kappa men to entertain him, with one asking Ataru if he likes cute boys.
    • Using time travel, Kurama sends Ataru to study under a young version of Yoshitsune Minamoto. Yoshitsune tells the boy (in reference to combat) to come at him if he ever sees an opening, and a confused Ataru responds by saying Yoshitsune really isn't his type.
    • During a vacation, Cherry accuses Mendou of plotting to seduce him after seeing his reflection in the boy's eyes (It Makes Sense in Context). Mendou's bodyguards inform him they'll have to tell his dad... after saying that he could do a lot better than Cherry.
    • During Parents' Day at school, Mrs. Mendou challenges Lum's mother to a duel by throwing a glove at her. Since Lum's mother has no knowledge of Earth customs, she assumes the glove was meant as a marriage proposal.
  • Moment Killer:
    • Sakura and Tsubame would probably be already married if the rest of the cast would keep their noses out of the couple's business and perhaps let them have some private time.
    • This happened to Ataru and Lum on at least one occasion.
  • Monster Roommate: Zigzagged with Lum. She switches from living in Ataru's closet to staying in her spaceship, seemingly at random.
  • Mood Whiplash: Dramatic moments, whether or not they're Played for Laughs often fall into this.
    • After giving Ataru a Ten Little Indians-style scare in a rather dark anime-original episode, the group believes he was Driven to Suicide after hearing a gunshot from his hospital room, only to find he had a Western on TV while chasing his nurse around.
    • When Ataru eats some food Ran had made for Rei and gets seriously ill, Lum travels to a Wonderland-style world to find an antidote. Hijinks ensue but when Ataru's monitor flatlines, Lum suffers a massive Heroic BSoD and nearly crosses the Despair Event Horizon. She later finds Ataru snacking in his room and that Cherry had fallen asleep and unplugged the monitor by accident.
    • Lum has amnesia from crashing onto the Mendou estate and is convinced she is Shutarou's fiancee. The Stormtroopers and Ataru mount a rescue mission, but not before Megane leaves behind a last will and testament, fully expecting to go to his death. The normal slapstick resumes immediately.
  • Morphic Resonance: Kitsune transforms into the other characters by essentially becoming slightly more human-like, putting on the same outfit and hairstyle as the person he wants to turn into. It never fools anyone (since he often doesn't lose the tail), but everyone plays along since he's so cute.
  • The Movie: Six of them (the most of any Takahashi series to date).
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Lum wears a tiger-striped bikini. Lampshaded a bit in the chapter/episode where Lum wound up getting drunk on pickled plums. Her first response is to start taking off her school uniform, then the camera cut away to the guys staring and drooling over the view they are getting, and only cut back to Lum when Shinobu reminds everyone that Lum is just wearing her usual tiger-striped bikini.
    • Sakura, the School Nurse. She is the object of affection for the male students of Tomobiki High School, especially Ataru (the boys hurt themselves to have an excuse to go to her for help).
    • Most of the alien girls have outfits that are very swimsuit-like: Benten with the Chainmail Bikini, Ran occasionally dons a pink bikini outfit, Oyuki has a crystal-surfaced one (though she usually wears a kimono over it), and Kurama a black one-piece front-laced corset-type outfit.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Ran's default reaction to anyone who gets within ten feet of Rei. This includes Lum, who doesn't even want the big lug.
  • Musical Pastiche:
    • Shinsuke Kazato composed music for both UY (1981) and Kinnikuman (1983), so it's not really a surprise that they share a BGM track. Don't believe us? Click here for the Kinnikuman version, and here for the UY version, take a listen and tell us those two BGM's don't sound almost exactly the same.
    • One musical cue used in mood-establishing shots beginning around halfway through the series is pretty much a slow piano rendition of The Beatles' "Fool On The Hill". Unsurprisingly, it's about the only track missing from the otherwise-exhaustive Complete Music Box CD anthology.
    • Another musical cue for the series resembles the chorus of The Beatles' "Your Mother Should Know" quite closely.
    • The beginning of "Koukyoukyoku 'Douran' Dai'san Gakushou" was later reused as the 3rd section of "Mobile Suit" from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, shouldn't be too surprising as Shigeaki Saegusa composed both tracks.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Kuruma's 'spiritual make up' machine was supposed to reveal what made Ataru's personality so rotten but it inadverently ended up doing this. Out of all the women he obviously lusts after, the machine says that he loves Lum the most. Then it said he loved Shinobu the most. Then it blew up. Apparently, who Ataru wanted to tap the most created a Logic Bomb.
  • Naked Freak-Out: Happen to Sakura in Chapter 43/episode 13. The girls' swimsuits are stolen during a Hawaiian vacation, and everyone suspects Cherry (the actual culprit was an octopus). Also, Sakura's swimsuit is being pulled off while she is in the sea. Ataru, Megane, and Perm nobly swim out to help, but she swims away from them, crying as she stands like Venus in the waves. Ataru remarks that this is the first time they’ve seen her feminine side, which earns him a pounding.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline:
    • Some of Sakura's off-duty outfits have deep v-shaped necklines that reach her stomach, such as her swimsuit and her purple dress.
    • The red outfit Oyuki wears under her winter Kimono plunges all the way down to her navel.
  • Negative Continuity: In the anime, for the most part. Exceptions being that Ran does patch things up somewhat with Lum and Rei, and Shinobu does move on from Ataru after awhile.
  • Nice Guy: Inaba. Possibly the only truly nice guy in the series.
  • Ninja:
    • In addition to the Kyoto story arc featuring a run in with an actual Ninja clan; during Mendo's introduction, Ataru not only used a Ninja style bare handed sword catch, but he also pulled the Ninja Log trick.
    • Eventually Ataru would catch Mendou's sword bare-handed Once an Episode. Later examples include using his feet, teeth, and even a pillow.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Ataru's parents and both of his girlfriends. To be fair, he does have his Pet the Dog moments.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Ryoko does a more subdued and ladylike version of this at times. She even does it as a baby.
  • No Fourth Wall: The characters break the fourth wall very frequently. A few examples:
    • In the manga, when a classmate asks Ataru if he knows Sakura, he replies, "Go read the first volume!" And when Ataru turns green, Lum comments that at least they aren't published in color.
    • In the anime, the infamous, "I'm Shutaro Mendou and I will soon be a main character in this show".
    • The New Year's special and final episode special where the audience is directly addressed.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Of course, Lum considers them married, so...
  • No Name Given:
    • We never learn Mr Fujinami's given name. Or the first names of Ataru's parents. Or Lum's mother.
    • Lum's Stormtroopers. Never named in the manga at all; known in the anime only as:
      • "Megane" ("Glasses")
      • "Chibi" ("Tiny")
      • "Paama" ("Perm")
      • "Kakugari" ("Crew Cut")
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Big Bad of the second film, Mujaki. Once revealed about three-quarters of the way through the movie, he comes across as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who is only trying to do good (his character design reflects this, as he's drawn as a shrunken old man). However, he tricks Sakura and Mendou through this act (trapping them in an aquarium), though he ends up cornered by Ataru of all people. He proceeds to put Ataru through a series of increasingly cruel Mind Rape scenarios, culminating in a threat that he will never allow him to leave the dream world. He's only defeated when he decides that keeping up with Lum and Ataru is too much trouble, and leaves of his own accord.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several. One of the most memorable being Megane when he sees Oyuki's yeti friend in episode 8.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Lum virtually always refers to Ataru as "Darling." Although she does call him by his given name on occasion in the BBC English Gag Dub.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Big Bad of the second movie, Beautiful Dreamer(who first appeared in Chapter 31/Episode 21b), is explicitly stated to be a demon (and it's implied by Sakura that he might be The Devil himself), though his powers and attitude are more reminiscent of The Fair Folk.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They have the same drink-blood mentality, powers, and weaknesses, but they are far more pathetic than most people are used to. Ran and Dracula each peg the other as an ideal unsuspecting victim; when they both choose the same moment to strike, it gets... awkward.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ataru's parents wish they could invoke this trope, but really the best example would have to be Jariten, whose mother briefly shows up in just one early episode and then is never seen again.
  • Playboy Bunny:
    • In the manga and in the TV special/OVA Inaba the Dreammaker, this is actually the official uniform of the Destiny Management Bureau — at least for women. Men get stupid Easter Bunny outfits. This causes problems: one cannot bend her waist when wearing a Bunny Girl outfit, and the Easter Bunny outfits are about as hot and sweaty as you would imagine. Without uniforms, however, the (mostly female) cast would not have been able to pursue the Designated Hero into the Bureau's high security areas, where the dork could possibly do serious damage to the universe itself. The Chase Scene which follows is patently ridiculous.
    • Lum also wears one in an episode of the anime. Amazingly, this is actually much more conservative than her normal outfit.
  • The Pollyanna: Mr Hanawa. Perhaps because of this, he doesn't last long.
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Certainly not the first or last series to do this, but one of the best examples. Ataru is the main character, but note how he's only somewhat prominent on that poster at the top of this page. Lum was originally intended to be the antagonist but ended up becoming the Deuteragonist and the face of the franchise.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime had to clean up a lot of the manga's Early-Installment Weirdness – certain characters (particularly Lum and Ataru) had very different personalities at first, and some very popular characters didn't show up until much later in the comic's run – so it changed the order of many of the chapters to introduce major characters much earlier and used the more settled/iconic versions of characters' personalities.
  • The Prankster: Ryoko Mendou enjoys pulling pranks, causing mayhem, and setting people up against each other for motives that boil down to "it was funny" or "just because". And she does it the whole time. Antics she deems amusing, nay, hilarious, include... pushing someone who cannot swim into the water, removing the ladder someone had used to go up a tree, putting firecrackers in the mouth of someone who is sleeping, burying someone in a block of concrete, locking her claustrophobic brother into a locker, planting bombs in a building where people are throwing a Christmas party she was not invited to, goading people into climbing a giant tree and then launching it into space (in reality it was a rocket disguised like a tree) because they were not climbing it quick enough to her liking but mostly because it looked like they were having fun without her...
  • Princess Protagonist: Lum, although her status as Oni royalty is rarely brought up.
  • Prophetic Names: Metaphorical; Ataru's full name translates to "struck by a falling star" (which happens to him in several of the openings). One of the readings for Mendou is "trouble". Shinobu means "to endure". And Lum, well... Agnes Lum, after whom she is named, was a bikini model...
  • Public Bathhouse Scene
    • An chapter/episode has Ataru finds the perfect part-time job — a washing attendant at a bathhouse — which he excitedly anticipates as being an opportunity to ogle and grope naked women. However, it doesn't turn out the way he expected.
    • Another episode has Ataru and friends try to peep the girls in an old bathhouse. Turns out at the end that all the girls wore swimsuits (and the guys didn't).
  • Public Execution: Averted in episode one, as it is reported on the TV news that a lynch mob is coming for Ataru and his family after his early attempts to beat Lum at tag and save the planet end in failure.
  • Public Service Announcement: In 1982, the UY gang appeared in PSAs for Kansai Electric (serving the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe and surrounding areas) illustrating the dangers of flying kites and koinobori (carp streamers) too close to power lines. These spots are viewable on YouTube ( and also were released as extras on one of the Japanese DVD releases.
  • Puny Earthlings: Lum, a teenage female Oni, easily beats Mendou's private army twice, unarmed. Jariten, a toddler, can fight a large gang of human high-school punks to a draw. Earth's armed forces are completely routed by an irate mob of alien taxi drivers, who proceed to confiscate all of Earth's fossil fuels, which, on the Galactic market, are altogether worth just enough to cover one single unpaid cab fare.
  • Rain of Something Unusual: In chapter 3/episode 1b, an alien accepts "all of the oil on Earth" as payment for driving Ataru from school to his home. When Lum's family agrees to pay for the trip instead, the alien returns the oil by making it rain oil all over the entire Earth for a week. (Being a comedy, the ecological damage this would cause is simply ignored.)
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: There's both a girl raised as a boy (Ryuunosuke) and a boy raised as a girl (Nagisa).
  • Reaching Between the Lines: At one time, Ataru is talking to Shinobu on the phone, when Lum attempts to disrupt the conversation by shouting that she is pregnant from Ataru. In a jealous rage, Shinobu manages to reach through the phone and scratch Ataru's face.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The resident uber-studly man-amongst-men is not only female, but dreams of the day when she can wear a frilly dress and high heels. Ryuunosuke certainly doesn't think that Real Women Never Wear Dresses.
  • Reality Warper: Subverted. Mujaki, the Big Bad of the second film, was originally thought to be this. It turns out that he can only manipulate your dreams, which is just as bad if you're the one sleeping.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ten delivers one to Ataru in the first movie, "Only You".
    Ten: Tomorrow you're going to get married to that woman [Elle], but it's more like a condemned man's last night, isn't it? Even an idiot like you can understand that. Well, good riddance. This is your own punishment for mistreating Lum, the inevitable consequences for your prior misdeeds. It's good that for the rest of your life you'll be chained to that girl — better for Lum, better yet for the entire universe. I hope you're miserable! I hope you're suffering! I hope you're sad! Poor Lum felt the same way about you, you disgusting slimeball! That's all I have to say. Good night.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ataru and Mendou; Benten and Oyuki.
  • Red String of Fate: Ataru has one on each of his fingers.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Non-lethal variant. Ryuunosuke goes missing after agreeing to take femininity lessons with Onsen-Mark. Her father gives an elaborate, detailed story (mostly parodying Moby-Dick) about how Ryuunosuke moved to the west to become a sailor, and subsequently became embroiled in a hunt for a white whale. Ryuunosuke then bursts through the floor and reveals she was Bound and Gagged under there the entire time.
  • Remake Cameo: Toshio Furukawa and Fumi Hirano, Ataru and Lum in the original anime, now play Ataru's father and Lum's mother in the All Stars remake.
  • Reunion Revenge: Lum and Ran are reunited at Tomobiki High after a long time apart. This trope starts when Ran finally remembers that she didn't come for a friendly chitchat.
  • The Rival: Mendou to both Ataru and Tobimaro.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Though he has no hat, Tsubame always wears his wizard cape.
  • Royal Brat: Oh Ryoko, how we love you and your kabuki stagehands.

    Tropes S to Z 
  • Sailor Fuku: The uniforms for Tomobiki High are the classic navy blue sailor fuku for the girls and black gakuran for the boys.
  • Salaryman: Mr. Moroboshi (even though we never see him working).
  • Sarashi: Ryuunosuke. Whether she actually has anything worth wrapping in it seems to vary by animator. Takahashi tended to depict her as rather flat, as did the anime when Oshii was chief director. She got a significant bust upgrade when Kazuo Yamazaki took over; one of the first episodes made on his watch has Ryuu-chan lose her sarashi and the other girls marvel in awe at just how big her breasts are.
  • Say My Name:
    • Played for laughs in the second movie where the only way for Ataru to escape Mujaki's dream worlds is to shout the name of the person he most wants to see before he hits the ground while falling from the sky. He proceeds to shout a dozen or so of the female character's name before finally shouting out for Lum, breaking the cycle
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Parodied twice:
    • In an early story, Ataru was worried because Lum had apparently disappeared. Since Shutaro seemed smug on seeing him alone, Ataru began daydreaming with Shutaro blackmailing Lum in leaving Ataru for him, in exchange for landing Ataru in a fist-rate college. Then Ataru yelled "And with that garbage you talked Lum into it, didn't you? Give back her now!" loudly to an angry and puzzled Shutaro genuinely had no idea of what Ataru was talking about.
    • In another story, Tomobiki's principal got knocked out while several students were cleaning his office. Onsen-Mark suspected them and started to imagine possible motives to each one of them. Lum's alleged motive was the principal had threatened with getting Ataru expelled from school, unless she slept with him. Everyone – including Lum – said that story was stupid and ridiculous.
  • Scenery Gorn: The fourth movie, in spades. It starts with a lovingly-detailed junkyard full of rats, then there are all the natural disasters that follow the death of the cherry tree, an underwater skeletonized corpse, and the pointless civil war that's devastating Tomobiki at the end. Oh, and the film the characters are making starts like a slasher movie complete with creepy masks.
  • School Festival: The events of Beautiful Dreamer are framed by one.
  • Science Fantasy: The series technically may be a sci-fi, but essentially all of the aliens are some form of Youkai from Japanese Mythology: Lum is from the Planet Oni, Oyuki the Yuki Onna is from Neptune, etc. In practice, anything from Science Fiction or Fantasy can happen from Time Travel to Onmyōdō exorcisms, so long as it's funny.
  • Screw Destiny: In what is possibly the greatest example of this trope ever, the characters physically destroyed the Doors of Fate and wrecked the place that creates them, thus unfixing the future. Doubles as Author's Saving Throw: Early in the manga a time travel chapter had shown that Ataru was destined to marry Shinobu, but by the time the manga actually got to that point, Ataru/Lum was the alpha coupling and Shinobu had given up on him.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Shutaro Mendou, plus his sister Ryoko on occasion.
  • Secondary Character Title: Not the original title, but in some foreign adaptations, the series is named after Lum, even if she is the Deuteragonist.
  • Secret Test of Character: The crow-tengu set a few for Ryuunosuke, since they're looking for a groom for Kurama who has good character in addition to looks. She passes. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Seen It All: In time, everyone becomes this due the sheer randomness of the events, making it even funnier when something still surprises them.
  • Series Continuity Error: It's established early on that Lum's mother cannot speak Japanese, leading to a misunderstanding where she thinks Mendou's mother is hitting on her and wants to marry her. There's at least one episode from later in the show's run that shows her both speaking and understanding Japanese without any difficulty.
  • Serious Business:
    • Playing tag (literally in Japanese, "the game of the oni")
    • For Tobimaro, playing baseball is serious business, seeing as he lives in the mountains and practices... to no avail... well, he gains the ability to eat plenty of balls, but that's it.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat:
    • Both Mendou kids.
    • The Mizunokoji kids even more so.
  • Shock and Awe: Lum (and her mom) can generate electricity, shocking whoever they touch and launching lightning bolts from their fingers. Lum routinely uses this to punish Ataru for angering her, but she can't entirely control it, resulting in the obvious implication that Ataru's hesitance to get near her is partially due to her tendency to shock him accidentally when she hugs him or tries to sleep in his bed.
  • Shout-Out: Has this page.
  • Show Within a Show: The fourth film Lum the Forever features the film the students of Tomobiki are making on school grounds. It seems to be a mythology-inspired fantasy film... that starts like a slasher movie.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: What Ataru does to Lum at the end of the seventh ending theme.
  • Slapstick Knows no Gender: Ataru may get it the most, followed by Mendou, but Ran gets it just as bad when she appears. Even Shinobu and Lum are not immune.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun:
    • Benten. She can uses her bazooka, machine gun and explosives to cause massive destruction.
    • Ran on rare occasions. When she gets ahold of Benten's missile launcher.
  • Snap Back: What do you expect from a long-running Takahashi romantic comedy?
  • Snow Means Cold: Oyuki's mere presence will always cool a room down.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: This is the only explanation for why Mr. Fujinami hasn't been arrested and/or committed for the psychological torture he has inflicted upon his daughter.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: The dub outtakes have used Lum's catchphrase to censor profanity from any voice actor who had just slipped the [DARLING!] up.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears: Lum does this when she catches Ataru in her arms and flies away with him.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • Mendo/Mendou (pronounced like the former, official subs consistently use the latter).
    • Ran/Lan (subtitles always use "Ran", but official merch in Japan often used "Lan" for some reason)
    • Lum. Some background shots in the anime show the Romanized katakana: "Ramu" or "Lamu" or even "Rum". Studio Pierrot, the show's animation studio from 1981 to 1984, spells her name "Lam." She is in fact called Lamu in the French and Italian dubs of the anime, as well as in Animax's English dub (where it's pronounced "Lamoo"), although she's still Lum in Spanish.
  • Spoiled Brat: Mendou, TEN, and most of all, Ryoko.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Lum, both In-Universe (as far as the other girls are concerned) and in real life. Played straight with Megane in the anime.
  • Squeaky Eyes: Lum and Ataru do this at least once.
  • Stable Time Loop: When the gang tries to go back in time to cure Mendou's claustrophobia and nyctophobia, the bratty younger Mendou enrages his future self so much that he chases him into a dark room filled with large vases with a katana in hand and a rather maniacal expression in his eyes. Present-time Mendou begins smashing the vases while snarling out various threats at his child self. By the time the others get him out of there and The Men in Black find the child, little Mendou is practically hysterical in his vase.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Played for laughs with Rei, who, despite apparently loving only food (and whatever else can be considered food) still has feelings for Lum, much to Ran's chagrin and rage. How Lum managed to get him to fall in love with her remains a mystery. With a few exceptions, the girls Ataru pursues consider him this.
    • Also, played straight with Soban, the highly Gonk boss of Busumetsu High, who does little beyond charge at Shinobu yelling: "Shinobu-saaaan! I LOVE YOUUUU!!!!" Fortunately, Shinobu is stronger than him.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Parodied with Tsubame and Sakura, who never get the chance to kiss because of the constant presence of Date Peepers from Tomobiki High.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Sakura. Her height is never stated, but she is one of the tallest (human) characters in the series. And once she's cured of her diseases, it becomes obvious just how beautiful she is.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Many stories end with the town in total chaos, or with Ataru having caused some sort of seemingly irrevocible disaster. But things are always back to normal in the next story, usually without explanation. The only meaningful change in the status-quo was Shinobu breaking up with Ataru, and that change happened in the beginning and it was forced on Takahashi by her editors.
    • This was lampshaded in a story arc where several characters have the chance to make a future tailored to her needs. Shinobu is unsure of what's going on, and thus she decides nothing changes. Shortly after, she got to see that future and realized it was a dumb idea.
    • Even the final chapter adhered to this trope, with Ataru refusing to confess his feelings to Lum, even at the very end of the series.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver:
    • Subversion, the resident Casanovas Ataru and Mendou suspect Nagisa might not be a girl since they feel nothing towards "her".
    • The straight example is Ryunnosuke — Crossdresser or no, Ataru's happy to grope her as much as he is with any other girl.
  • Take That!: Ryuunosuke and Mr. Fujinami are a merciless deconstruction of The Rose of Versailles.
  • Talking Animal: Kitsune
  • The Television Talks Back: Parodied in a story where the TV announcer tells the viewers that there'll be a party at Mendo's place. He yells at the television that he didn't say anything about a party, and the woman on TV cheerfully replies that "Televisions can't talk back to you, fool!"
  • Tempting Fate: One example in the "Obstacle Course Swim Meet" manga storyline/OVA: one of said obstacles turns out to be Ryuunosuke and her father throwing furniture at each other. Ataru figures that since Ryuu and her dad are so poor, sooner or later they'll run out of things to throw and it will be safe to proceed. Just when it seems to be over and Ataru thinks it's safe to continue, he gets nailed by a silk screen, followed by Ryuu announcing that was the last item they could throw, and snarkily apologizing to Ataru for being so poor.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: There is an anime only episode "And Then There Were None" where the group was killed off one by one till only Ataru was left. In the end, it turned out the murders and complicated reveal of a killer with Ataru's face were a complicated plan by the perfectly unharmed victims to "Fix" Ataru's personality. The ending makes it pretty clear that Ataru saw through it at some point and proved to be a better actor than they had realized.
  • Terrible Trio: The "Spice Girls" — three alien girls, Sugar, Ginger and Pepper — are an especially inept example. Sugar tends to be the leader, but they're all equally dumb. They considers Lum, Benten and Oyuki their rivals, but are ignored by them.
  • Theme Naming: The Spice Girls. Pretty much any Oni, for that matter. Also, Lum's Stormtroopers.
  • Through His Stomach: Ran is extremely happy when Rei snarfs down her lunch with a little more dignity than those of the other girls, even saying her name reverently and responding with an enthusiastic yes when she asks if the food is good. Then Cherry shows up with a bigger bento... and Rei's reaction is exactly the same.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Ataru is unlucky but he wins the presidency of his class against Mendou, and once he is kissed by Ran (the kiss is supposed to be bad for him, but it doesn't work).
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Benten and Oyuki. Also Ryuunosuke and Shinobu in one episode.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub:
    • The series is packed to the gills with wordplay and cultural references that are dealt with differently by the various translations from different companies. Most either ignore them or resort to Woolseyisms, but AnimEigo's releases of the TV series and movies supplement their translations with comprehensive note sheets inside the video/DVD case (and later on, on-disc translator's notes), explaining in detail the gags and references for the viewer to read at their leisure.
    • AnimEigo also played this a bit more literally. For their original VHS/LD release in the '90s, they commissioned a dub for the first few episodes as a test. Unlike the BBC's later Gag Dub, this one hewed very close to the Japanese. Unfortunately, sales were not enough to justify dubbing 196 episodes worth of material (and it was poorly received), so AE dropped the dub.
    • Central Park Media's dub of movie 2 (Beautiful Dreamer) was the only piece of UY animation commercially available in English dub form in the U.S. until AnimEigo decided to take a second chance and dubbed the other five movies. The movie dubs featured a completely different voice cast from the abortive TV series dub. It was mentioned that if the dubs were well received, they would go back and start over with redubbing the TV series, but that apparently never happened.
    • One AnimEigo episode took this a step further by simply giving up and putting "(Completely untranslatable bad puns)" underneath a newsman's report that is filled with them.
    • In subversions of this trope, an English dub of the TV series titled Alien Musibat was aired in Asia on the Animax satellite channel, although it's unknown how much of the series was dubbed. Also, dubs of the TV series in other languages, including French, Italian and Spanish, exist.
  • Tsundere:
    • Lum is a Type B. She's very sweet and affectionate, but Ataru chasing other girls brings out her hot-tempered and possessive side.
    • Shinobu "MEN BE DAMNED!!!" Miyake, idem. Like Lum, she's normally nice and sweet, but she's also short-tempered and violent. Ataru sure knows how to pick 'em.
  • Tunnel King: The Prince of the Underworld.
  • Two-Teacher School: The only teacher we regularly see is Onsen-Mark. Beyond him, the only school staff we see are the headmaster and Sakura. There was an additional female teacher who showed up in the early chapters of the manga, but she was mostly phased out as time went on.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Lum's parents, although in one flashback it was shown that before they were married, her daddy wasn't bad-looking. Ataru's mom seems to think this about her marriage, with her melodramatic soliloquy about her wasting her life on "an idiot son and a good-for-nothing husband" when Rei came along...
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: The huge, monstrous king of the alien Oni looks nothing like his green-haired bombshell of a daughter, Lum, who definitely takes after her mother.
  • Unbuilt Trope: Particularly for Magical Girlfriend (and maybe for Harem Anime if you think the show counts as one).
  • Unfazed Everyman:
    • Ataru, though this might be a bit of a subversion, considering his superior running-away skills and indestructibility.
    • Mr. Hanawa is an inversion — he's the only person in the world with a functioning Weirdness Censor.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Ataru, taking it to epic proportions — he was actually born in the middle of an earthquake on a date that is considered extremely unlucky in both Western (Friday, April 13th) and Japanese (Butsumetsu) calendars.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Ataru was actually attracted to Lum the first time he meets her, while Lum was indifferent to Ataru's shameless flirting. Lum falls for Ataru only after he defeats her in the game and, due to a misunderstanding, assumes he wants to marry her. From that point on, Lum is madly in love with him, while Ataru finds her annoying and only wants to avoid her.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Ataru, most of the time.
  • Unwanted Harem:
    • Inverted. Ataru wants a harem, to the horror of every other female in the cast.
    • Played straight with Lum's other suitors, but subverted with her reaction to them. She treats most of them, particularly those from Tomobiki, as her friends. A good example of that is how she calls Shuutaro Mendou by his first name without any honorific (she's the only one outside his family who does this), which is pretty intimate for Japan. But then again, she's not Japanese — though she does use honorifics for other characters at times.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Lum ends most of her sentences with "dat'cha!"
    • Cherry ends most of his with "-ja", which is pretty stereotypical of old men in Japan.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Where Lum usually keeps all her useful alien gizmos.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ataru and Mendou have a very destructive relationship despite being the closest thing to best guy friends the other has.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • In the 2008 OVA, The Spice Girls' voices are much more raspier than they were originally, though in Sugar's case this was expected since TARAKO's voice has been raspy since the '90s, especially after voicing Maruko-chan.
    • Naturally having been so long since movie 6 and the 2008 OVA, there was gonna be some characters sounding not quite the same due to the actors aging, and while everyone else note  more or less sounds the same as they did before, age really affected Sakura and Oyuki's voices, granted they don't have that many lines anyway in this OVA anyway, but it's still very noticeable.
  • Waif-Fu:
    • Shinobu, of course. Especially when Soban is concerned.
    • Also, one story revolves around Lum trying to convince a younger girl that courage is all one needs to defeat her enemies. Said girl then asks Lum to defeat Soban ("Shinobu-saaan! I love yooouuu!") without using her powers. She even sends the challenge letter herself. Fortunately, Shinobu turns up before Lum loses all her super-strength pills.
    • An interesting example is Nagisa, Ryuunosuke's "fiancée", who is actually a guy reared as a girl, and seems to fight like one when you first see him fight, but he's actually a beach sumo champion.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Ataru, supposedly due to the circumstances of his birth.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Happens each time Ataru gets a better personality.
    • When Ataru ends up getting split into his good and evil halves (the latter being pretty much identical to his usual self), Mrs. Moroboshi refuses to keep the good one, saying she prefers her flawed real son.
    • At one point, Lum ends up accidentally slipping into a series of parallel universes. In the last one, she meets an Ataru who is kind and devoted to only her. She immediately leaves him, making it clear the only "Darling" she'll accept is the one who's lecherous and treats her like dirt.
  • What Does She See in Him?: No-one seems to understand why Lum is in love with Ataru, particularly her many admirers. For the record, Ataru has no idea either.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The alien girls Sugar, Ginger and Pepper. Sugar has the power to blend with the background like a chameleon; Ginger can feign death at will; Pepper can shed her whole skin (while still wearing a set of cloth underneath) to escape grapples. Said capabilities could sometimes be handy, but the trio has a much-inflated opinion of their usefulness. Especially compared to the powers of those they consider their "rivals": Lum (who can fly and shoot lightning bolts), Oyuki (an Ice Maiden) and Benten (a Super Strong Action Girl fond of BFGs). The fact that Sugar, Ginger and Pepper are morons doesn't help.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Ataru and Ryuunosuke, though in the latter case her father chooses to completely ignore the fact she's a girl instead of openly evoking this trope. Well, during the episode where the Tengus want to blast Ryu with a sex change ray and the episode where the bluebird is granting wishes, he stops pretending Ryuunosuke is a boy in favor of aggressively making it real.
  • Winter Royal Lady: Oyuki literally.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Jariten. Sometimes.
  • World of Pun: The show is filled to the brim with puns—its name, for example, can be read half a dozen ways depending on Kanji, Kana, and the use of spaces, each one of them a pun or joke. There's also a lot of Punny Names.
  • World Pillars: In the movie Beautiful Dreamer, the world to which the cast have become confined is revealed to be flat and standing upon caryatids.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Mr Fujinami, but only his "boy" Ryuunosuke.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: Ataru, Shutaro Mendou, and Nagisa.
    • In the anime, well really Movie 4, Ataru really doesn't want to hit anybody. In the manga and its equivalent anime episode, he somehow managed to KO himself to prevent himself from hitting Lum.
  • Written-In Absence:
    • Lum does not appear in the second manga story, because she was originally supposed to be a one-shot in the first story and that Ataru and Shinobu were originally the Official Couple but because she became so popular, Takahashi decided to bring her back.
    • She also doesn't appear in Chapter 60, save for the cover, which reveals that Ran Bound and Gagged her and stuffed her in a closet somewhere. Averted with the anime episode adapted from it, which expands Lum's role by showing how Ran captures her and what happens after she breaks free.
  • Yandere:
    • Lum has shades of this.
    • Ran is willing to do anything to keep love from blossoming between Lum and Rei again (never mind that Lum dumped him years ago and does not want him back).
    • Carla did NOT take Rupa's engagement to another girl well. Since then, she has spent most of her life chasing him and trying to kill him.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Mendou's fangirls were cheering a bit too much at the Ho Yay entry situation.
  • You All Look Familiar:
    • The series as a whole loves to introduce several characters that are only the focus of one episode, but those characters often make token cameos in large crowd scenes in later episodes. This even includes characters from the first three movies appearing in TV episodes.
    • Several characters from popular series at the time are also snuck in from time-to-time: Kenshiro, Kei and Yuri, Ultraman's lobster rival, and Kyoko — and that's just in one episode! A couple of those are voice actor jokes — Akira Kamiya (Shuutaro) voiced Kenshiro and Saeko Shimazu (Shinobu) voiced Yuri. Episode 82 also has a reference to another Studio Pierrot production with cameos from Yuu Morisawa and Creamy Mami.
    • The 2008 OVA continues the tradition as, at the end, Ataru is hitting on Kagome and Akane. He goes after female Ranma in the "It's a Rumic World" introductory short as well.
  • You Already Changed the Past: Happens at least once.
  • You Didn't Ask: In one chapter/episode, Ataru, Lum and several of their friends go camping. Lum is making lunch and everyone is happy... except Ataru, who adamantly refuses to eat. Keep in mind this is a guy who usually eats ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he can get his hands on. His friends nag him about rudely rejecting Lum's food... and then they try it. Right away they drag Ataru away and ask him why he hadn't warned them Lum's food is very spicy. His answer? They didn't ask (and he didn't want to warn them). Jariten seems totally unfazed by it, which suggests Lum's tastes are normal for Oni, which makes sense, really, considering Jariten can breathe fire.
  • You Know What You Did: Subversion. Since Rei talks very little aside from exclaiming "Lum!" whenever he sees her, Ran is very quick to assume that whatever situation involves the two is an attempt by Lum to get back together with Rei, much to Lum's horror.
  • Youkai: Many of the aliens in the series take inspiration from various youkai, with Lum most notably being based on the oni.
  • Yuppie Couple: Miss Soup and Mr. Noodle.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel:
    • Sakura sometimes uses an Ohnusa to perform exorcisms.
    • Episode 47 featured a television crew that was recording a pseudo-documentary in the forest. They set up a shimenawa across the footpath to make it look more interesting.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Alien tooth aches can be eased by biting others. A rather thorough deconstruction.

More than anyone else, I love you, love you, love you the best!

Video Example(s):


Lum Invader

During the tag game between Ataru and Lum to decide on Earth's fate, Lum reveals that she can fly which makes it very hard for Ataru who's stuck to the ground.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Flight

Media sources: