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'Ranma 1/2' is one of the greatest media franchises the world has ever seen. Rumiko Takahashi is the genius behind the show and original manga. Takahashi is also responsible for so many other outstanding manga and OAV (Original Animated Video).
Anything Takahashi publishes is golden, Ranma and my personal favourite 'Urusei Yatsura' are both classic comedy of errors whilst her other shows are all amazing and show a true range of talent and depth. I would recommend that if you watch Ranma to watch the first episode first otherwise it is difficult to understand where it is coming from.
Ranma is about a boy, about a boy and a girl or about a boy and a girl and a girl. You see Ranma isn't a typical boy, whilst training at the Jusenkyo Training Ground in China Ranma is cursed and as a result whenever he is touched by cold water he becomes a girl, hot water reverses this effect. Akane is a young woman who wants to be the best, a keen marshal artist and sportswoman who hates boys. In the first episode we learn that Soun and Genma (Akane and Ranma's fathers) have a long standing arrangement to see a marriage between their children. Akane has two older sisters but they elect Akane to be the lucky girl.
So far so crazy, things become even more insane from here on. Genma is also cursed, cold water makes him into a Panda. Shampoo's curse is turning into a cat, she has vowed to find and kill the female Ranma but is in love with and intends to marry the male Ranma. There are many other cursed characters within the series many of whom consider Ranma to be their enemy or fiancée or both.
Ranma often doesn't help matters as he has a tendency to change sex and use his feminine or masculine charm on anyone who is causing him trouble. Akane maintains that she despises Ranma even though she acts jealously whenever he receives any other female attention. Nabiki, the middle sister to Akane and Kasumi, is a great character. She is a troublemaker who is often scheming in order to make money.
In total there are 161 episodes, 11 OAV, 3 films, the manga and many other games and assorted miscellany. The first series of 18 episodes are Ranma ½, the following 143 episodes are six series of what is known in Japan as Ranma ½ Nettohen. With a non prime time slot Ranma ½ Nettohen flourished despite a significantly reduced budget, however as it was created before the Manga was finished many episodes do not follow plot from the manga and are not as well scripted as they should be. Most people believe the golden age of Ranma to be the OAV years.
Ranma is outstanding, I would heartily recommend any aspect of the Ranma-verse to anyone who is or isn't yet a fan of Japanese Animation. A great online source of information on anything by Rumiko Takahashi is www.furinkan.com. Watch the first episode of Ranma ½ on Youtube now. There is no uk release of Ranma but the individual region 1 series can be purchased at a reasonable price. Make sure if you buy it on Ebay it is the US release as there are some dodgy knock off's floating around where the subtitles are wrong.
The title dosent specify which region dvd or series of ranma 1/2 it is so i will review the first series box set which i bought in America because i am not entirely sure it is available in region 2.
Each box set comes with 4 discs each containing 4-5 episodes each lasting about 25 minutes with both an English track or Japanese with English subtitles. It also has a n interactive menu.
The plot follows the daily life of a young man (called ranma) whose father is head of a dojo, so in order to keep the family name he must marry his arranged fiance the daughter of his fathers best friend who also owns his own dojo and whom trained together as young men.
However during a trip to China both Ranma and his father fell in cursed springs. So now when ranma is hit by cold water he turns into a young woman with red hair, and his father turns into a giant panda, only a splash of hot water can return them back to normal.
However Ranma has a lot of enemies from school and home so when they where following him around the world they also fell into cursed springs, including the spring of cursed duck, cat and piglet. So as you can imagine he is not very popular.
What makes it worse is he accidentally sees his fiance naked in the bathroom, which permanently has upset her (as it would any girl) as he is a perfect stranger.
The word leeks out at his new school that ranma is the girls new fiance which earns him even more enemies as she is the most popular girl at school.
The animation for this anime has seemingly aged well considering it was released in the 80s originally and has so many series', it also strays a little away from the generic looking styles of traditional looking anime with spiky hair. In fact the majority of characters have Chinese style haircuts and clothing styles.
I like the opening and closing scenes as the music is catchy and quite popy, also the animation style is cute and comical.
The English voice acting is ok but regularly changes so i would suggest watching the subbed if your a hard core anime fan.
The music and sound effects aren't bad either and the plot consists of a lot of martial arts and slap stick comedy which never ceases to please. However the series in entirety is extremely long and maybe loses the plot towards the finish of the show as it endlessly adds more characters to keep the viewer interested.
The anime contains a lot of boob shots and bath scenes so a rating of 15+ or older teen is used which i think is fair enough.
Though it dosent contain anything overly objectionable or extreme