Inaba the Dream Maker (夢の仕掛人、因幡くん登場!ラムの未来はどうなるっちゃ!?, Yume no shikake hito, Inaba-kun toujou! Ramu no mirai wa dou naru tcha!??, The Dream Maker, Inaba Appears! How will Lum's future be!?) is the 3rd OVA of Urusei Yatsura.
It’s summertime and Shinobu happens upon a boy wearing a rabbit costume who drops a key that leads to the room of destiny, a dimension filled with infinite doorways to various possible futures upkept by a group of sentient rabbits. Together with the bunny boy named Inaba, Shinobu, Lum and Ataru seek happy futures for themselves.
Shinobu Miyake walks through the streets of Tomobiki, musing on her lack of success in love. She watches as Lum flies by carrying and zapping Ataru Moroboshi, with the two bickering over Ataru's latest skirt-chasing. She uses on how Tomobiki never seems to change, only to be interrupted by Ataru, who glomps onto her in an attempt to seek protection from the outraged Lum. Affronted, Shinobu punches him across the district, sending Lum flying away in hot pursuit. No sooner has she done than then Shinobu fends off Sōban, her own unwanted paramour from Butsumetsu High, before lamenting on the lack of decent guys in Tomobiki and carrying on her way.
Just then, she stumbles across a handsome blonde youth in a rabbit costume, lying sprawled out amidst some trashcans. The stranger, clearly tired and hungry, begs her for food, and Shinobu quickly fishes amongst her shopping bag for something to give him. But the stranger happily makes do with a raw carrot she drops by accident, and thanks her for her generosity.
Somewhat unnerved, Shinobu politely excuses herself, but the rabbit-clad stranger refuses to let her go, instead following her and insisting on a reward. He finally suggests that they could go on a date, which is the last straw for Shinobu, who responds to him putting his arm around her shoulders by punching him high into the sky. Once he's gone, she laments meeting yet another pervert.
In the sky above, Lum watches as the rabbit-clad boy sails past her and then vanishes into thin air.
Back below, Shinobu regathers her groceries, lamenting her lack of luck with men, and then spots a strange key that the boy dropped when she punched him. Lum drops down and the two strike up a brief conversation, ending with Lum noting she saw Shinobu's would-be boyfriend vanish into subspace.
In another dimension, the rabbit-clad youth races up to a meeting of a number of giant rabbits, who are waiting for his arrival to partake in their "yearly cleaning". They reveal his name to be Inaba, and they take his lateness in stride; Inaba has a poor sense of direction, and tends to get lost. Their good humor briefly vanishes when Inaba releases that he dropped the key that they entrusted to him, but they perk up after realizing that no normal human could hope to make use of it.
Back in Tomobiki, Lum is performing some adjustments to the Moroboshi front door with some weird alien techn, which she explains will allow them to follow the rabbit-clad stranger into subspace. Once it's ready, she, Ataru and Shinobu step through the door, only to find themselves falling through an infinite void filled with floating doors.
Lum attempts to save them, but Ataru and Shinobu's combined weight is too great for her to fly with. Still, they manage to open one of the doors and step inside, finding themselves seemingly back in Tomobiki. Ataru denounces the whole experience as a flop, then spots a pretty girl and goes after her, with Lum in hot pursuit.
Shinobu, however, finds herself distracted when she spots a woman who looks just like her, only older, leading her son: Kokeru Moroboshi. At once intrigued and appalled, Shinobu spies on the pair as they wander through the streets.
Back in the door-filled void, Inaba and the rabbits are busily dusting down all the doors when the rabbits spot the open door that Shinobu, Ataru and Lum passed through earlier. Inaba quickly volunteers to enter that door and retrieve his key from Shinobu.
In "Tomobiki", Shinobu watches as the mother and son make their way to the Moroboshi household, where they are greeted as family by an aged Ataru's Mother and Ataru's Father. She realizes that this must somehow be the future, and she is appalled by the realization that she must somehow be destined to marry Ataru. As the Moroboshi-Miyake family retires inside for tea, Inaba pops out of a trashcan next to Shinobu and demands to know if this is really the future that she wants. He finally gets around to introducing himself to her as Inaba of the Destiny Production Management Bureau.
Elsewhere in the future Tomobiki, Lum pauses to admire a beautiful wedding gown, then catches up to Ataru. As they wander through the market, they spot Tsubame Ozuno, fiance of Sakura, at a stall with two young children; a little girl and a baby boy. Both immediately presume he has been cheating on Sakura, and steathily follow him to a house... where it turns out that he is actually married to Sakura. Lum realizes they must have traveled into the future, but all Ataru can think about is his raging jealousy; despite Lum's best efforts to hold him back, he confronts Sakura and demands that she break up with Tsubame... and is promptly punched halfway across town.
He ends up landing on the head of an older Shūtarō Mendō. Ironically, despite immediately falling into their traditional interaction with each other, neither recognizes the other. Lum, on the other hand, figures it out immediately.
The stand-off is interrupted when the older Ataru Moroboshi goes past, and Mendō goes racing after him. Ataru pursues Mendō, and learns that Mendō is trying to catch his older self so he can formally fire him, as Ataru works for Mendō in this future timeline. Affronted, Ataru bludgeons Mendō unconscious, but continues to pursue his older self. Lum flies ahead, completely unconcerned about future-Ataru's impending unemployment, noting that she can certainly financially support them both. She is delighted when she sees the older Ataru meet up with her older self, but is horrified to find that they are not married - rather, in this future, she is married to Rei, with an embittered Ran hating her from afar.
The two teens quickly turn down a different street, each ranting over how horribly their future has turned out. That's when they encounter Inaba and Shinobu, whilst the former attempts to flirt with the latter. Retiring to a vacant lot and ignoring the presence of Cherry and Kotatsu-neko, they are filled in on this world's status as their future, and neither Ataru nor Lum takes it gracefully.
Eventually, motivated by his desire to win Shinobu's favor, Inaba confesses that the Destiny Production Management Bureau actually creates futures, so he can lead them to more desirable futures. He sneaks them into the Bureau's locker room, dressing the other three up in official Burea costumes (a bunny costume for Ataru, bunnygirl outfits for the girls), which will give them all the ability to freely travel the Room of Destiny the way Inaba and the rabbits can. He then promises to lead them to better futures.
Whilst his attention is focused on Shinobu, Lum and Ataru are both fixated on the idea of their dream future; a happy marriage to Ataru for Lum, and his own harem for Ataru. Naturally, they can't simply wait for Inaba to lead them to a future, with Ataru instead picking a random door and diving inside, prompting the others to follow.
In this future, the first familiar faces they meet are Ran and Rei, who are happily married; Lum grabs Ataru to prevent him from trying to interfere in the relationship. She goes in search of her future incarnation, confident that she must be married to Ataru... instead, she discovers herself being pulled on a rickshaw by Ataru alongside the older Shūtarō Mendō; in this timeline, Lum married Mendō, whilst Ataru became Mendō's personal servant.
Joined by Shinobu and Inaba, they watch as an older version of Shinobu walks past, only to be assaulted by an older version of Sōban; in this future, Shinobu never married, but Sōban continues his fruitless pursuit.
Sensing the sour mood all around, Inaba suggests that they try another door.
Back in the rabbit's world, the rabbits of the Bureau are taking a tea break before the conversation turns to Inaba, who has been gone quite some time, and if he got rid of the intruders in the Room of Destiny yet. The leader of the rabbits declares that this is no time to be drinking tea.
Back in the Room of Destiny, Inaba helplessly follows the three determined teens, each swearing they will find their happy ending. Each jumps into a different future-door, leaving Inaba to follow Shinobu.
Time passes, and the exhausted teens take a break. Ataru bitterly notes they have yet to find a single good future. Lum picks this moment to demand an explanation from Ataru as to why they have yet to see a future in which he and she are wed. Ataru insists he has no idea, and tries to change the topic by claiming he's hurt too. Lum sourly comments on his failure to find a harem-filled future yet, but Ataru corrects her that he gave up that "foolish dream" ages ago, as he isn't stupid and is now in pursuit of a humbler one. Lum is initially hopeful when he describes it as a single-room apartment with her... but then he amends that he also wants to share it with Shinobu, Sakura, Ran, Ryūnosuke Fujinami, Ryōko Mendō, Asuka Mizunokōji, Benten, Oyuki and Kurama. She angrily demands to know what is supposed to be "humble" about that dream, since it's literally the same harem dream he's been pursuing the whole time.
Inaba interjects, but it is Shinobu's bursting into tears that truly stops the argument. As she weeps on how she hasn't seen any good futures for herself yet, Inaba promises he will take care of it.
He leads them through subspace to the most special part of the rabbits' workspace; the Destiny Factory. The place where he and the other rabbits custom-build destinies for human. Here, they can make their dream futures, and he offers all three of them the chance to do just that.
No sooner have they finished creating the enchanted doorknobs that are the first half of the process than the rabbits show up and capture them, charging them with trespassing and breaking the two most sacred laws of the Bureau: that none may see their future, and none may try to change their destiny. Inaba speaks up in the defense of the teens (mostly Shinobu), but is shot down when the rabbits point out that it was his mistakes that gave the trio the chance to fall afoul of these lores in the first place. He is thus charged with treason, and the rabbits prepare to boil him in oil for his crimes.
Shinobu interrupts them, pleading with them to spare Inaba and shouldering the blame for everything. Inaba reassures her that it is alright, and that he is happy to die, because all he wanted was to show her a happy future, which he's certain that she will get. Though he can't resist noting in an aside that he has no idea what fate has in store for Ataru and Lum, who are less than pleased to hear this.
This romantic speech is the last straw for Shinobu. In a tear-soaked fury, she rips open the bars of the cage she is imprisoned with alongside Lum and Ataru, then uproots a nearby tree and tries to crush the rabbits with it, sending them scampering for safety and giving Lum and Ataru a chance to rescue Inaba and the magic doorknobs in the process. Whilst the rabbits regroup, Shinobu slings Inaba over her shoulder and takes off, with Lum and Ataru hot on her heels as she escapes back into the Room of Destiny.
Once there, Inaba leads them deep into the Room, where the nascent future doors are waiting; all they need do is attach the knobs, and they will have their dream futures. Before they can do this, however, the rabbits catch up and knock Inaba unconscious, sending him plunging into the depths of the void, with Shinobu diving to his rescue. Undaunted, the rabbits demand that Lum and Ataru return their knobs, only to quickly back down in the face of an enraged Lum and her arcing electricity.
Only for this to be a feint, as they use their control over the dimension to knock Lum's doorknob from her grip and send it spiraling into the abyss. And of course Ataru tries to "comfort" Lum by noting that his doorknob is still safe and secure. An enraged Lum declares that a future in a harem is no "good future" for her, and she quickly turns her wrath on Ataru, who escapes her by fleeing and hiding. As she sails away looking for him, he finally applies the knob to a nascent door and slips inside.
Inside, he finds himself in a single room full of all the girls he's lusted after regularly throughout the series. He watches in delight, until he realizes there is no sign of Lum, and one of the harem-girls informs his future counterpart that she has quit the harem that very morning. Future-Ataru leaves the harem and his present self follows him to a remote seat, where he learns exactly how his future self acquired the harem: by selling everything Lum owned, forcing Lum to work like a slave, and forcing her to find her own food and sleep on the roof. Future-Ataru is enraged that Lum would leave him over these "trifles", whilst the present Ataru literally starts trembling with rage before hammering his future-self unconscious.
Retreating to the Room of Destiny, a bitter Ataru yanks his doorknob from its mooring and flings it into the void: he doesn't want to give up Lum just to get his harem. Initially, he wallows in guilt, but he quickly tries to find some way to soothe his guilty conscience, declaring that Lum is "also to blame", since she had to have consented to the presence of the other women in the first place. Desperate to make excuses, he finally tries to put the blame on the oni girl, screaming into the void that she's a bitch.
Which, of course, she hears. Livid, Lum declares that this is exactly the reason why she can't find a future in which they're married, before erupting in a cascade of lightning bolts. Ataru goes fleeing for his life through the door-infested void as a wrathful Lum follows, declaring she will no longer make excuses for him.
Even as he flees, Ataru can't stop thinking about the idea that there really isn't any future where he and Lum are wed.
Elsewhere in the Room of Destiny, Shinobu has managed to catch Inaba and is trying to carry him to safety, but the rabbits are catching up. Shinobu decides they can hide in the future that Inaba helped her to make, and applies her knob to a nearby unused door.
No sooner have they disappeared than Ataru and Lum blow through the ranks of the rabbits, with Lum indifferently blasting the rabbits in her efforts to zap her faithless boyfriend.
In Shinobu's dream future, Inaba finally regains consciousness. He thanks Shinobu for saving him, and then asks where they are. She explains and they watch a brief glimpse of life in this future, with an older Ataru trying to flirt with the aged Shinobu and Sakura, fighting with Mendō, and being driven off by an enraged, lightning-blasting Lum. A dumbstruck Inaba asks if this is really Shinobu's ideal future, and she confesses that it's not so much "ideal" as it is "comforting" in its familiarity, although she notes that even then, it's not really what she thought it would be.
Shinobu thanks Inaba for all that he's done for her, noting that even outside everything he's tried to make her happy, he's made her think more about her life than she's ever done before. Inaba is happy to have helped her, which becomes ecstasy when the grateful Shinobu gives him a demure kiss on the cheek. That's still romantic enough to have him leaping for joy, and he promptly slips off the roof, though he takes it in stride and jokes about it.
Back in the Room of Destiny, Lum is still trying to blast Ataru. Ataru demands to know what good this tantrum of hers serves, and Lum fires back that it's no less than Ataru deserves, declaring that everything is his fault and accusing him that he has never intended to marry her. She finally manages to zap him, which gives her a chance to grab hold. Mustering his own rage, Ataru shoots back that he never takes her seriously because she always acts like this.
Whilst there might be a grain of truth in this, Lum readily realizes that this is just Ataru justifying his actions to himself, and she declares that unless he changes, then the two of them can never be married. This strikes home, enough to bring out Ataru's guilt... but it's quickly snuffed when a frustrated Lum inadvertently catches Ataru in a wild discharge of electricity. He demands to know why she won't try not zapping him for a change, but she retorts that he insists on acting in ways that deserve a zap.
Their argument is cut off by the rabbits, who have caught up with them at last. Truly enraged, the rabbits make use of their ultimate weapon: the total reset, which will erase all of the futures that Lum, Ataru and Shinobu have so the rabbits can create new futures according to their wishes. Ataru considers this an empty threat, since none of them liked the futures they saw anywy.
...Until he accidentally falls into one of the doors being sucked down to the deletion point. A door containing a future where he and Lum get married.
Ataru struggles to try and save this door, a sight that fills Lum with joy and makes her forgive him. But the rabbits interfere, and stomp Ataru and the door down into the deletion zone. Whilst Lum blasts them for this, it is too little, too late. Still, as far as Lum is concerned, the fact Ataru cared enough to try and save it is all that matters, as it proves to her that he cares enough that they can make a new such future for themselves.
Led by Inaba, the trio from Tomobiki flee for the door by which they originally entered the Room of Destiny. But Inaba declares he can't come with them, as he belongs here in the Room of Destiny. Though Shinobu tries to talk him into coming with her, and then volunteers to stay with him, he refuses, and instead the three teens are sent back to whence they came. As the rabbits charge ahead, Inaba shoves them through the door, promising to seal it behind them and asking Shinobu to go out for tea with him if they ever meet again.
The door vanishes into nothingness, and they can only wonder what will happen to Inaba.
The next day, Ataru and Jariten eat some watermelon whilst talking about Ataru and Lum's adventures in the Room of Destiny. Ataru offers Lum some watermelon, but she has other things on her mind: why was her hand-crafted future the only one that they didn't get to see? Ataru's noncommittal answers only make her angrier, and he ends up fleeing the offended oni girl.
Elsewhere, Shinobu wanders through the streets, wondering if Inaba is okay, when he suddenly falls out of the sky and lands next to her. Shinobu is relieved to find out he's okay, although Inaba explains he has been punished and must now recreate the various futures that were destroyed during yesterday's escapades. He admits that this will probably keep him from being able to see her for a while.
Their conversation is momentarily disrupted as Ataru, Lum and Ten run past, but Inaba rallies and asks Shinobu if maybe they can get some tea. When she agrees, he pushes his luck and suggests a movie afterwards, and to his delight, she agrees to that as well.
The OAV ends with Inaba busily building new doors inside the Room of Destiny, when he spots something floating in the void. It's Lum's handcrafted destiny doorknob, and he promptly places it into a door, thus ensuring that Lum's dream future has the chance to come true.
- Shinobu Miyake
- Ataru Moroboshi
- Kokeru Moroboshi
- Ataru's Mother
- Ataru's Father
- Tsubame Ozuno
- Shūtarō Mendō
- Ryūnosuke Fujinami
- Ryōko Mendō
- Asuka Mizunokōji
- Tomobiki High School Principal
- Ryūnosuke's Father
- Prince of the Underground
- Lum's Mother
- Lum's Father
- Tobimaro Mizunokōji
- First Appearance of Inaba.
- Sōichiro of Maison Ikkoku makes a cameo appearance.
- Sakura and Tsubame in the first future appear like Kyōko Otonashi and Yūsaku Godai of Maison Ikkoku.
- The fifth movie was released after that OVA.
- This is the second and final episode of the anime to be a five chapter adaptation.
- This is the last episode to be animated by Studio Deen.
- Ten is shown as still an infant having not aged in the future in which Lum and Ataru get married.
Differences from the Manga
The plot is essentially the same, except:
- It begins with Shinobu reading a letter from Taichiro from the previous chapter which angers her and hitting Sōban then she asks Sakura at the nurse office if she is not cursed due to all the boys attracted to her being monsters or perverts but Sakura gets no spiritual reaction from her and tries to ensure her that she will meet a better man someday.
- Ten doesn't appear at all.
- It is Shinobu and Inaba who cause Ataru to hit his face on the window and thus get spotted and hit by Sakura, and both see him against Mendō together with Lum.
- The rabbits capture Inaba, Shinobu, Lum and Ataru in the first future they witnessed in the spot where Cherry and Kotatsu-Neko are.
- Shinobu, Lum and Ataru don't wear their bunny costumes in their cage, and the rabbits let them out and offer some tea to hit them with mallets from behind in hope of making them forget what they saw, but are unsuccessful and as Inaba asks them to stop and the rabbits hit him, the three seize the chance to hit them and flee with Inaba who takes them to the locker room where they get their bunny costumes.
- After the three make their doorknobs, they just flee when the rabbits show up.
- In the future in which Lum and Ataru get married, many protest and throw things at Ataru's face. The guests are not seen.
- Following Shinobu breaking down over losing Inaba, the final panel shows the next day with Inaba enjoying tea together with Shinobu, Lum and Ataru, where he reveals he just had to make all new futures as punishment to which Shinobu answers she can't believe she spent all night crying, and Ataru asks him if he could make another future with a harem for him much to the annoyance of Lum who hits him.