Star Trek: The Next Generation Referenced an Anime Classic

People often ponder what the anime community will look like in ten, fifteen or even one hundred years. Will it still be popular? Or will it have vanished like so many other communities have? Thankfully, Star Trek gives us hope that some anime will always be popular, even in the 22nd Century.

The universe of Star Trek is full of many different ships. These ships are usually named after something, be it a human virtue such as the USS Enterprise, famous human scientists such as the USS Albert Einstein, or even places on Earth, like the USS Constantinople. However, if viewers paid attention during the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Up The Long Ladder," they would have seen a screen on Picard's desk that lists the ships which undertook expeditions to or around the Ficus sector, launching from Earth between the years 2123 and 2190. And after, the VK Yuri Gagarin and the HMS Lord Nelson, they would have spotted the DY-Class starship called the SS Urusei Yatsura.

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Star Trek TNG Screen

Urusei Yatsura was a manga written by Rumiko Takahashi that was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1978 until 1987. It was then turned into a very successful anime series that lasted 195 episodes. The franchise also spawned 12 OVAs and six feature films. Fittingly, the series focuses on an alien invasion. A group of aliens called the Oni land on Earth and declare that they will leave the planet alone if a randomly selected human can beat one an Oni in a game of Oni tag. Ataru Moroboshi is chosen to represent humanity, which is unfortunate as he is an unlucky pervert.

However, his interest is piqued when he finds out he'll be competing against a very attractive alien. This alien, Lum, turns out to be the daughter of the Oni leader. When Ataru wins the contest by yanking off Lum's bikini top, she takes it as a proposal. And with the Earth now safe, she decides to move in with Ataru, forcing him to deal with a possessive alien who doesn't understand humanity and won't take no for an answer as she causes chaos wherever she goes. Hopefully, the ship didn't encounter any aliens who could translate Japanese, as the title loosely translates to Those Obnoxious Aliens, which might cause some offense and make galactic negotiations much harder than originally planned.

Lum from Urusei Yatsura

This is a charming Easter egg that also doubles as a fun example of how technology has advanced. In the original airing of the episode, it would have been nearly impossible to make out this name in the list of ships. In fact, viewers would have only spotted the reference if they purchased the book Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, which included many behind-the-scenes pictures of the various sets and props used in the series. However, in the remastered version of the episode, the screen is much clearer. This allows viewers to easily make out the reference (and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension reference directly above it).

While we might not be sure what the future holds, it is comforting to think that one day, in the far reaches of space, someone may take a break from exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilizations to kick back with some classic anime.

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