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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Ranma 1/2 - Anything-Goes Martial Arts - The Complete Second Season Boxed Set
Ranma 1/2 - Anything-Goes Martial Arts - The Complete Second Season Boxed Set
VIZ // Unrated // July 31, 2007
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted August 21, 2007 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

One of the first anime shows I had ever seen was Ranma 1/2. I was new to the world of Japanese animation and didn't know what to expect. When my friend brought some VHS tapes over and told me I simply had to watch the show I was naturally intrigued. After a couple of episodes I fell in love despite a sub-par English dubbing and it drew me into the world of anime; a place that still firmly has its claws rooted in me.

Over the years Ranma 1/2 has been released at numerous times. Recently VIZ has taken a look at their catalog once again to bring the classic out on DVD. In case you're not knowledgeable about the world of Ranma 1/2 you're missing out on one of the most unique and entertaining shows ever to come from Japan. Created by Rumiko Takahashi (Inuyasha, Urusei Yatsura) the show stems from a manga and has a lofty 161 episodes under its belt. That number climbs even higher when you toss the OVA and movies into the mix but for the purposes of this review we're just looking at the first season

Originally airing in Japan during 1989 the first season of Ranma 1/2 introduced the whacky concept and adorable characters to the anime fan. On the surface this is a fighting show with a gratuitous amount of fanservice and a wild sense of humor. Each of these facets comes together to make a show that is a barrel of laughs the entire way through and the very definition of endearing.

In the first season we were introduced to Ranma, shown his world, and given a look at the bizarre fate that has befallen him. You see, Ranma is a master of kung fu. With strong dedication and a father who turns out to be a fantastic, if not unorthodox, teacher, Ranma has become a martial arts force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately during one particular training exercise Ranma fell into a cursed pool and emerged with the body of a teenage girl. If that doesn't tip you off then I'll just come right out and tell you that's the gimmick for the series.

Whomever falls into one of these cursed pools gains the form of the being that died there. This is triggered by cold water and in order to revert back into their natural body the person in question has to pour hot water on themselves. So Ranma turns into a girl, his father turns into a panda, another character named Ryoga morphs into a piglet, and so on. To be honest the series only gets sillier in this regard as it goes on but that's really just part of Ranma 1/2's charm; just when you think you've seen it all it springs something new upon you.

The first DVD boxed set offered 18 episodes of slapstick episodes, kung fu mishaps, hilarious writing, and awkward situations. It's nice to see that the second season brings the same dishes to the dinner table.

This time around things begin with Ranma and Akane being challenged by a duo of figure skaters who are battling for ownership of P-Chan (Ryoga's piglet form). The girl that appears here tries to steal P-Chan and takes to calling him Charlotte which leads to several laugh out loud moments that involve Ryoga wearing a pink collar with a heart on it. At any rate during one particular scene things heat up as Ranma tries to skate as a girl, hoping that it will allow him to balance properly. Well, he/she falls into the arms of the male figure skater who promptly plants a big smooch on his lips. I'm sure you can imagine what happens next.

The next big thing to happen in this season is the revelation of Ranma's fear of cats. This all leads into a batch of episodes that deal strongly with Shampoo who you'll be seeing a lot of. Considering she is betrothed to Ranma thanks to her Amazonian customs she's not going to give up that easily. Unfortunately for Ranma and Shampoo she has fallen into the cursed pool of a cat and thusly transforms into a kitty whenever she gets splashed with cold water. Compound this fact with his fear of cats and you can see why this is a problem.

This season still offers many more episodes, arcs, and introductions that made Ranma 1/2 a great show. With Mousse appearing to confront Ranma for Shampoo's love things get a little out of hand but Ranma view it as an opportunity to weasel out of the whole engagement thing. Genma and Soun's martial arts master Happosai stops by in this season as well. If you have ever seen the show then you'll remember Happosai as the crazy old man who has a penchant for women's underwear. He's a charming fellow to be sure.

Throughout each of the 22 episodes Ranma 1/2 never once skimps on the quality. The program is rich and charming from start to finish and each of the characters add a layer of depth to the Ranma world. Everyone here is so well-developed and likeable that it's easy to see why the series was so gosh darned popular in Japan. Hopefully otaku of a new generation will be able to check it out thanks to VIZ's new releases because, quite honestly, this is a classic among classics. That's right you young whippersnappers, Ranma 1/2 is a "must have" if you're in the market for an example of anime at its best.

The DVD:

Video:

Originally released between 1989 and 1990 Ranma 1/2 is ancient by today's standards. I mean the show is eighteen years old but that's not to say it is horrible looking; just dated. The video quality is soft with grain, compression, and the occasional bit of dirt making its way into the transfer. There was no aliasing time and to be honest considering the age I was kind of expecting the aforementioned flaws. The look of the show is still intact though and you can expect to see some fantastic character designs mixed with some abrupt animation.

Audio:

Ranma 1/2 receives an audio presentation that like the video is in step with its date of production. The dubbing quality for both the English and Japanese languages is decent though I found the Japanese one to hold more appeal. The English dub was ok but it didn't convey the humor and emotion as much as the original language did. As far as the technical quality is concerned both tracks are presented like you'd expect and offer little diversity on the soundstage. Music and sound effects are fairly dynamic and fortunately do not drown out the dialogue. Balance is otherwise fine and there is no distortion to complain about.

Extras:

On the fifth disc of this collection there are some textless animations, a line art gallery, and profiles for the American voice actors (updated to 2000).

Final Thoughts:

Ranma 1/2 is one of those classic shows that has been overlooked in recent years by many otaku. It's a fun-loving series that stays entertaining from start to finish and the second season of 22 episodes is proof of that quality. Throughout this collection the episodes entertaining on just about every level. The show is engaging, light, energetic, and funny all at the same time. It's easy to see why Ranma ran for as long as it did in Japan and if you have never seen it you're missing out on one of the best and most iconic shows of its time. Highly Recommended.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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