Ranma 1/2 OVA Series Box Set

UK Distributor:  N/A (US release reviewed)

BBFC Certificate:  N/A

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  $119.98 (around £80)

Running Time:  300mins (approx.)

Audio Options:  English 2.0, Japanese 2.0

Subtitles:  English

Reviewer:  Tom (Webmaster)


If you have never read or seen Ranma ½ before, then this is anime not a great place to start as the majority of episodes are just mad and deal with the established relationships and rivalries that fans know and love.  There’s no doubt newcomers will still find a lot to laugh about, but they will be left a bit bewildered at times.  Fans will be find plenty to love about this though as the animation is excellent and the DVD lets you watch the superior original Japanese dub, the English dub is not recommended as the voices just don’t match the character’s personalities.  The soundtrack is the usual anime 80’s style cheese, so in other words it’s great!  The DVD contains loads of original Japanese opening sequences, so more songs then you could hope for.

The first four episodes are pure, brilliant anime comedy and it’s finest. The first episode (Curse of the Contrary Jewel) has the excellent Shampoo coming across the ‘reversal jewel’.  An heirloom which Cologne uses to turn Shampoo’s feelings for Ranma to hatred, in an attempt to make Ranma’s pride get the better of him so he will tell Shampoo that he loves her.  All this is going on while Akane and Mousse work together to try and stop Cologne in her scheme.  This episode reminds you what made you get into Ranma in the first place, no not cross-dressing, the fast-paced anything goes laugh-a-minute genius of Takahashi.

Second episode (Tendo Family Christmas Scramble) is one of the best Christmas specials you’ll ever see.  The Tendos wish to celebrate Christmas by inviting literally everyone in the history of Ranma round their place and partying (how does Tendo afford this?) and fans will no doubt recognise the karaoke half way through being from the first series.  This episode not only as the insane comedy but also the warm-hearted innocence of Ranma ½ shines through.

Third episode (Akane Vs Ranma! I’ll Be the One to Inherit Mother’s Recipes!) sees Kasumi coming across the late Mrs Tendo’s recipe book and Akane trying hard to fulfil her dream of being able to cook something.  As usual Ranma does his best to interfere by wanting to out cook Akane.  This may sound well boring but remember that anything that sounds dull is great when Ranma ½ does it as the madness once again make this great.

Fourth episode (Stormy weather comes to school! Growing up with Miss Hinako) has Ranma up against the new teacher - Miss Hinako – which is an adult trapped in a girl’s body but takes her adult form when she absorbs battle auras with a five yen piece.  Confused?  Of course I was, but the laughing more then made up for trying to work out what the hell was going on.  My favourite episode.

Then it all goes downhill as two two-parters grace the series with their presence.  The One to Carry On and Reawakening Memories.

The one to carry on involves two girls claiming Tendo is their father and then beating Akane and Ranma for ownership of dojo.  And so Ranma and Akane have to win back the dojo.  And that’s basically it.  God knows why this was stretched out into two parts as it just drags on and although it has the odd moment, it isn’t that great.  Disappointing.

The second two parter – Reawakening Memories – is even more dull.  Akane comes across an absent-minded loner who lives with his Grandfather (ok, not technically a loner but you know what I mean) in a forest populated by giant animals.  It turns out he helped out Akane when she injured herself as a little girl.  And that’s it.  No madness, no humour, and drags on far too much.  Avoid.

Things pick up greatly with the ninth episode – Team Ranma Vs the Legendary Phoenix – however which sees the fantastic Upperclassman Kuno with a phoenix hatching on his head making him invincible.  Tonnes of fighting and great running through water coupled with Kuno’s general ignorance make this one of the best.

Episode ten – Oh Cursed Tunnel of Lost Love! Let My Love Be Forever – shows all the characters going into the tunnel of lost love, in which couples will always split up at the end.  As you can guess they change couples constantly (there’s a lot of water in the tunnel) to try and reach their goal.  Plenty of humour in this one but it doesn’t really focus on the characters much and as everyone is in it you feel a little overwhelmed.

Episode eleven – Hell Hath No Fury Like Kasumi Scorned! – is a great episode inspired by The Thing in which an Oni is released by Ranma and Genma (they burst through a wall fighting) and enters peoples heads making them do it’s bidding.  It ends up in Kasumi and of course, Kasumi can’t act evil she just does evil things like ordering expensive ramen to the house.  The monk in this episode is great and there is plenty of action.

The final episode – The Two Akanes, “Ranma Look At Me! – sees Akane changing places with an evil wooden doll who has her eyes on Ranma.  Akane must stop her without the power of speech and P-chan’s help before tragedy strikes.  A questionable episode as Akane seems a little too eager then normal to help then she usually does (she seems more concerned about Ranma kissing her possessed self then changing back), but still good fun.

If you’re a fan no doubt you’ve already bought this and have been enjoying it’s great humour.  If you haven’t bought it then it’s worth checking out but you have been warned about those two-parters.


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