The classic anime series Ranma ½ (らんま½) based on the manga series written and illustrated by Takahashi Rumiko arrives freshly restored and remastered from Viz Media in this first set of 23 episodes for the first time ever in high definition. A romantic comedy filled with action, martial arts, and plenty of slapstick, the story follows the growing relationship between teens Saotome Ranma and Tendo Akane, whose parents have arranged their engagement upon Ranma’s return to Japan after time away in China training in his “Anything Goes” style of martial arts with his father. Ranma has a problem, however, he’s been cursed! After falling into the Spring of the Drowned Maiden, whenever Ranma is touched by cold water, he turns into a girl. And his father is cursed too. Whenever he is touched by water, he turns into a panda! Ranma’s problem may be the perfect thing for Akane though, because the rough and tumble, tomboy martial arts expert just hates boys. So, it’s a good thing her new fiancé is only half-boy half the time, right?
In the previously reviewed Set 1, which covered the series first 23 episodes, the gag of Ranma being splashed with water and switching genders was used in an overabundance that quickly wore thin. It seems by episode 93 of the previously reviewed Set 5, the writers got the message that the joke was stale. It was far less often, which actually made it more effective. And just as the relationship continued to grown between boy Ranma and Akane in Set 5, albeit slowly, so to has it grown again somewhat here in Set 6. Covering episodes 116-138, the pair of teens still seem eternally determined to prove to the world, and to each other, that they can’t they can’t stand each other. Truth be told, it has become quite clear that they have taken a liking to each other. Akane seethes with jealously whenever another girl tries to romance Ranma, such as in episodes 131-132, “Ukyo’s Secret Sauce – Part 1 &2” wherein Ukyo reveals a promise Ranma made from their childhood and tries to make him her husband. As one may imagine, this does not sit well with Akane.
The 23 episodes in this set also include the usual over-the-top martial arts challenges faced by Ranma, such as a young martial arts expert who uses pantyhose as a weapon, a masked stalker claiming to be Ranma, a group of scribbles that escape from a scroll that end up causing chaos around town, incuding a young female panda smitten with Ranma, and much more.
It’s another extremely funny collection of episodes in what is the penultimate season of this beloved anime series.
Ranma ½ continues to be a pleasing restoration on Blu-ray. Originally done on film, which itself is a wonderful diversion from the beautiful but now all to common world of digitally created anime, this set looks organic, with a textured layer of grain, only some small hints of source damage remaining, and the slightest issue with some washout in the darker areas on occasion. Colors are well saturated and no problems with aliasing, ghosting, or combing can be seen.
There really is no point in listening to the English voice cast for this series as they sound awfully canned, but even the English subtitles aren’t really that great, but it’s all a compromise and better than nothing. The Japanese track is offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) Mono, and the English in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) Stereo. The stereo on the English soundtrack really only applies to the opening and closing songs and the sound effects on the English dialogue, which spread across the stereo channels. All other sounds are monaural, and they sound quite buried and thin as compared to the Japanese track which sounds fuller overall, even as everything is strictly mono.
- “We Love Ranma” Part 6 – We Love working on Ranma ½ (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:01)
- “We Love Ranma” Part 7 – We Love Bloopers (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:28)
- Next Episode Previews w/ English or Japanese Audio and Subs. (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:26)
- Clean Opening w/ optional English or Romaji subtitles
- Clean Ending w/ optional English or Romaji subtitles
- Viz Media Trailers
- 32-page booklet featuring artwork and episode guide
- Full color art card featuring Akane
The Definitive Word
Viz Media continues the good work on this fun and unusual classic anime series. The much beloved Ranma ½ continues to be given the careful and high quality treatment it deserves in this sixth set.
Additional Screen Captures