Thursday, October 20, 2011

Princess Lum

In Japanese folklore, oni are giant, ugly, humanoid monsters or demons with large horns who wear animal skins.  While in the original myths they brought misfortune, over time they came to assume a more benign, protecting function.  Japanese parades often begin with an oni to bring good fortune; and these are recurrent decorations on buildings much like the gargoyles in Western architecture.  When the Japenese play tag, the one who serves as "it" is called an "oni."

Anime artist Rumiko Takahashi adapted the traditional oni into her character Princess Lum, recasting her as a space alien with special powers such as flight.  In this case, she assumes the form of a tiny-horned teen dressed in a tigerskin bikini who is sent to Earth to compete at tag over ten days with a randomly chosen Earthling, Ataru Morobishi.  The stakes of the game: if Ataru does not capture Lum, the Oni aliens achieve total domination of the Earth.  So the stakes are large!

 Ataru is unsuccessful for nine of the ten days; but he succeeds in stealing Lum's bikini top, giving Lum the choice: she can use her arms for modesty's sake, or use them to be able to fly.  She opts for modesty, being a nice oni; so Ataru grabs her horns, and saves the Earth in the process.

However, in the process Lum got the impression that Ataru proposed marriage, and she accepted.  Therefore the Morobishis got a new daughter: Ataru's live-in space alien girlfriend!  Strangely enough, the parents are happy with this, finding Lum a daughter they they both secretly preferred anyway, and enjoyed photographing her and dressing her in beautiful kimonos!  With the recurrent theme of Ataru's roving eye for other girls, Lum's alarming culinary skills, her unding love for Ataru, and her strange friends, the series settles into a kind of domestic comedy. 

There's a curious additional take-off on the Oni/Lum story: the Japanese sometimes refer to a child that does not resemble either parent as 'the child of an oni."  The Morobishis apparently had one, literally!



Lum, beloved of the lecherous Ataru, is one of the most appealing of Japanese anime characters.  I just posted this for fun. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. She's cute.

Big Sky Heidi said...

I wasn't aware of that anime's storyline. Thanks.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

A cute cartoon; but you in your Lum costume was sublime!

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thank you!

Bilbo said...

So, let me get this straight ... the fate of the earth depends upon "a tiny-horned teen dressed in a tigerskin bikini?" I think our armed services are seeking the wrong kind of recruits and spending too much money on things like tanks and body armor. Teens work more cheaply, although I have observed over the years that the price of female bathing suits is inversely proportional to the square footage (inchage?) they cover. Perhaps we are on to something here...

eViL pOp TaRt said...

It was the lecherous Ataru who saved the Earth by tagging Lum. Lum by herself was no threat: Lum's fearsome father and his aliens in spaceships played a part.

I've noticed that relationship in female bathing suits also. Does this mean that modesty becomes an exonomic issue?

Anonymous said...

She's hot!