When you think of TV networks that run anime, BBC is probably fairly low on your list. But for a brief time, they ran their own dub of Urusei Yatsura, titled Lum the Invader Girl. It wasn’t particularly high on production values … or accuracy in translation … but it entertained fans and now floats around the internet as a funny project lost to time.
In this version of the series, Ataru Moroboshi (“the oversexed son of the local chiropodist”) was voiced by Matt Lucas, who is currently appearing as Nardole in Doctor Who. Back then, he was primarily known for his sketch comedy series Little Britain with David Walliams. Lum was voiced by Anna Friel, who went on to star as Chuck in Pushing Daisies.
While the plot generally holds true, a good number of liberties were taken with the translation. Lines were played for laughs as often as possible, with some bits descending into parody and local referential humor (Lum’s father, the working class Mr. Invader, is introduced as “the voice of Bert Fry in The Archers”). Much of the language and humor is decidedly not for kids, but is also decidedly hilarious.
The dub was not, however, a long-term project. Four of the show’s half-length episodes were dubbed specifically to be run during a week of Japan-themed programming in 2000 on BBC Choice, the channel that would later become BBC 3 (and then BBC 3 Online). Fortunately, a few caring fans have managed to preserve those few episodes, and they can be watched on YouTube! The quality is about what you’d expect for a show from 1981 dubbed for a fast project in 2000, but it’s still definitely watchable.
So, Urusei Yatsura fans, what do you think? Is it funny, or too over the top? Would you listen to this cast if they were to do more episodes? Let us know what you think in the comments!