Mail from Space - Ten-chan Arrives! (宇宙ゆうびんテンちゃん到着!, Uchuu Yuubin Ten-chan Tôchaku!?) and Mrs. Swallow and Mrs. Penguin (つばめさんとペンギンさん, Tsubame-san to Pengin-san?) are the two segments of the 2nd episode of Urusei Yatsura.
A peach falls from the sky, in which Lum's cousin, Ten comes out for a visit. He is capable of breathing fire and is an instant enemy to Ataru.
Ten feeds alien candy to a swallow, making it grow massively in size such that it looks like a penguin. Its appearance in school is just the start of a full day of panic.
Amidst a thunderstorm, Cherry predicts bad luck for the Moroboshis, which arrives in the form of a giant peach that crashes through their roof in a bolt of lightning, interrupting a moment between Lum and Ataru. Mr. Moroboshi goes catatonic over the damage to the house and his remaining mortgage payments, while Mrs. Moroboshi pulls out a knife and cutting board. They break into the peach with some difficulty, only to discover that it contains a toddler who bears a family resemblance to Lum (green hair, horn, tiger-skin diaper). Lum identifies him as her cousin Ten; Ataru promptly mocks Ten’s flight skills and gets a faceful of fire breath from Ten for his trouble.
Ten recounts how he heard about Lum’s marriage and made a difficult trek to Earth (in a spaceship that looks like a duck-shaped toilet training potty, an item that Takahashi references more than once in her work). Ataru and Ten take an instant dislike to each other, but Ten plays the cute toddler thing for all it’s worth and convinces Mrs. Moroboshi that he should stay with Lum. When Ataru objects, his father says, “Well, if it becomes necessary, you can get a job too” and retreats back into his newspaper. Ataru announces that he’s going to run away from home in a funny visual gag where he runs out of the house yelling, quietly comes back to put his shoes on, and runs out yelling again.
Ataru runs in tearful slow motion through long grass, but then contrives to literally run directly into Shinobu. His come-on is interrupted by the arrival of Ten, who again plays the cute toddler card and makes Ataru profoundly jealous of Ten’s easy access to bosoms. His attempt to gain the same access to Shinobu is interrupted by Lum, who electrocutes him in order to tell him dinner is ready.
After dinner, the women go off to do the dishes, unwisely leaving Ataru and Ten alone together (with Mr. Moroboshi, who refuses to be budged from his newspaper and cigarette). Their cold war soon turns hot, and Ataru is driven to chase Ten around the house equipped with goggles, a frying pan and something that’s either a spatula or a flyswatter. This backfires when he hits the propane delivery man in the face with the frying pan. The propane delivery man retaliates by burying Ataru under what must be tens of thousands of yen’s worth of propane tanks. His mother bemoans that they can’t use up this much propane, ignoring the fact that her son’s idiocy has reaped valuable rewards for once. Ten takes this moment to take his fiery revenge on Ataru, leading to an image of a mushroom cloud (a somewhat surprising visual element in a Japanese comedy of this era). The music turns into Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as the family stands outside the burning ruin of the home. Ataru’s mind snaps at this point and he begins to laugh madly, leading Lum to say “Ten, Darling is happy. He’s laughing. All thanks to you, Ten!” “Yup, I’m a good boy!” he replies, as the house collapses amongst a shower of sparks.
Ten asks Lum to play, but she says she’s headed to school to see Darling. While flying there, Ten is impressed by a swallow that flies by. Lum is eager to ditch him, so she gives him a box of candy and flies off by herself. Ten follows the swallow to her nest, where she is feeding her babies. He isn’t impressed by their diet of bugs, and gives her a piece of the candy. The swallow eats it and goes pretty literally ballistic, shooting through the air at great speed and eventually hurtling toward the school.
Following a shot of a mysterious penguin-like creature waddling through the school, we cut to the classroom, where the physics teacher is completely failing to engage the class. Lum isn’t helping by hanging on Ataru (“Moroboshi! The school is not a Go-Go bar!”), Shinobu snaps, sobbing that Lum is deliberately ruining things for her, but fortunately the scene is interrupted by Ataru spotting a penguin. Sadly, Penguin Fight Club does not ensue. The physics teacher concludes that this is a sign of the imminent arrival of the next Ice Age, but the penguin cuts things off by stealing some students’ lunches, then running into the Home Ec room to do the same thing. As the Home Ec class chases the penguin, Ten shows up and explains he’s looking for the swallow, who took off after eating his candy. Lum realizes that an Earth creature who ate the candy would become a giant through “over-nutrition”.
Amongst the chaos, a truck full of penguins breaks open, and the students chase them as they get into various escapades around town. Meanwhile, Ataru, Lum, Ten, and all the other recognizable students have gone to the tree with the swallow’s nest, which she is unable to reach, being too large and fat to fly. They try putting the nest on the ground, but she’s still too big to feed them.
Ten’s solution is to feed the babies the candy, but Ataru objects that the (fifteen-foot-tall) babies are now larger than the mother. Ten takes the next logical step, and a 150-foot kaiju swallow is soon roaming the streets. Back in school, after a repeat use of stock establishing footage, class is again interrupted, this time by six-foot-long houseflies. The swallow smashes through the wall to catch them and feed them to her babies, who are now nesting in a radio tower. Ten explains that he figured the birds were only causing hunger because they were hungry; we end on the touching family scene and Ataru wondering what they’re going to eat from now on. The episode ends with the sallow doing a loud roar happily in piece with his chicks.
|Ataru Moroboshi||Toshio Furukawa|
|Shinobu Miyake||Saeko Shimazu|
|Ataru's Father||Kenichi Ogata|
|Ataru's Mother||Natsumi Sakuma|
|Propane Salesman||Shigeru Chiba|
- First Appearance of Ten.
- For some reason, this episode is skipped in the BBC dub.
- This is the last episode in the AnimeEgo dub.
Differences from the Manga
- Ten came along much later in the Manga, when there was a much larger supporting cast.
- He arrives in the Moroboshi’s mailbox during Happy New Year Celebration, and interferes with Ataru’s attempts to be suave.
- Sakura & Ran appear.
- The only scenes in common are Ten’s slow flight toward Lum at the beginning, and Ataru grabbing a frying pan and what’s definitely a spatula here at the end.
- The story is essentially the same until Ten feeds the candy to the babies; they wind up at the same proportional size to the mother, and the story ends there with no kaiju action in sight.
- Lum goes to school because she enrolled in already.
- Hanawa appears as the Class 2-4's teacher, the teacher in the anime episode looks identical to him.
- His official debut in the anime is Episode 33.
- Kōsuke Shirai & Shūtarō Mendō appear.