Ranma Saotome is a top-class martial artist and prodigy at the Saotome "Anything-Goes" school of martial arts. While training in China, he and his father meet a terrible fate when they accidentally fall into a cursed spring. Now, Ranma is cursed to turn into a girl when splashed with cold water, and only hot water can turn him back into a boy.
Things are only complicated further when Ranma discovers that his father has arranged for him to marry one of Soun Tendo's three daughters in order to secure the future of the Tendo dojo. Though Soun learns of Ranma's predicament, he is still determined to go ahead with the engagement, and chooses his youngest daughter Akane, who happens to be a skilled martial artist herself and is notorious for hating men.
Ranma ½ follows the hilarious adventures of Ranma and Akane as they encounter various opponents, meet new love interests, and find different ways to make each other angry, all while their engagement hangs over their head.
Well, I finished this series a short while ago, so now it's time to put in a review for it. If you don't know what Ranma 1/2 is about, check out the synopsis above before reading.
Story: 7 (Good)
Ranma 1/2 does have somewhat of an ongoing story, although there is no major objective in the series other than Ranma's constant failed attempts to return his body to normal. Even though Ranma can return to 'boy-type' Ranma by taking a warm bath (cold water returns him to 'girl-type' Ranma, aka Ranko Tendo for some purposes), he still desires to once again become 'all man' by ridding himself
of the Jusenkyo curse that was placed on him when he fell into the Spring of Drowned Girl. He feels as though his pride as a man has been dented by being able to turn into girl form, either willingly (for some purposes he does this for his own gain) or unwillingly (for either Happosai's entertainment or when some mishap occurs).
I gave the story a 7 because despite it not having a lot of depth, each episode usually strives to be unique and entertaining, and more often than not, does this without complaint. After about the first 120 episodes however, the episode stories do become pretty predictable, but there is still much enjoyment to be had if you've come to like the characters (which I have). So the story ends up with a 'good' rating, because it was, afterall, 'good', and not particularly bad.
Art: 9 (Great)
For the time period, Ranma 1/2's art and animation was pretty well done. No complaints really, some parts are more well-done than others, while you have the occasional background or scene where you can tell there was *some* degree of slacking off. But there is nothing really you can bash it for considering when it came out and how many episodes it ran for. I'm quite surprised the level of quality remained fairly consistent, although the animation from the start of the show did change part-way through, as you can tell if you've seen the series through to the end.
Sound: 8 (Very Good)
Most of the music in this show is fairly catchy, you might find yourself humming along with it, or when you're by yourself just doing something random. Again, nothing really to complain about here, yet nothing particularly spectacular either.
Character: 9 (Great)
While most of the characters do stay the same throughout the series and don't develop too much, Ranma 1/2 has a vast array of likable characters, ranging from minor and hardly-ever seen to major and always up to something predictable, yet hilarious. In fact, one of the strengths of this show is knowing what each character is going to try and do in certain situations, because even though you can see it coming before it happens, you find yourself rooting for your favourite character in hopes that their plan is successful. That's part of the fun in this show. And sometimes you *think* you know exactly what's going to happen, only to have a twist thrown in that you never expected that will have you laughing hysterically, only to find yourself playing back that scene a couple more times before moving on.
Ranma, Moose, and Ryoga seem to be the usual favourites of this show, and quite honestly, when these three go at it, comedy can't help but follow. Ryoga is usually getting lost when he has to walk more than a few minutes in a straight line, Moose is completely clueless of anything without his glasses, and Ranma is the glue that ties them all together with his level-headedness and arrogance. Most of the characters have one or more traits about them that make them who they are, and you come to know them by those traits. So even though none of the characters are very deep (with maybe the exception of Ranma and Akane), you learn to love them. And it's all too easy to do so.
Enjoyment: 10 (Outstanding)
I'll admit, I did start to get a bit bored by the time I got around to the episode 120-or-so mark, but overall, I'm glad I picked up this series, as it was a great watch most of the time. The fact that it ran so long may have been to it's detriment, but I'm sure if you take it in small doses and watch a little here and there, you can retain most of the comedic atmosphere and avoid some of the boredom that comes with watching this show in marathons, as I did frequently at the start.
Overall: 9 (Great)
It wasn't the best show in the world, but it's one I believe most anime fans should at least try a bit of at some point or another, because it's got something in it for everyone. It's made by the creator of Inu Yasha, which in itself might make you think it's *like* Inu Yasha, but no. I'll tell you right now, this show is not like Inu Yasha, the show where absolutely *nothing of interest* ever happens. Sure, nothing really epic happens in Ranma either, but at least it's *interesting* nothing. Sort of like Seinfeld, in a way.
Another thing I liked about it is that this show does not try to be ecchi. Far from it. Sure, someone will walk in on Ranma as a girl the odd time and you might catch a glimpse of some (uncensored) boobs, but it's not meant to be a big deal, there is no big eccentric close-up like in the ecchi series of today, there is no "WHOOA! Nosebleed!" effect (none that I can recall), and there is no 'kawaii' exclamation from someone every couple of minutes. It's simply a moment for the character, and it passes, and it's not a big deal.
An example: Ranma goes to a public bath. Ranma gets splashed with cold water by Happosai. Oh noes, boobs (because of the situation), but no one seems to care (and why should anyone? It's just boobs.) Ranma fights with Happosai. Ranma is eventually done and turns back into a guy, having gotten his revenge by punching Happy out through the ceiling or something. And that's it. These days series make a big deal of boobs on 'kawaii' girls and panty shots at unexpected times, and make them out to be a big deal. Ranma does not attempt to do this (maybe because of the time when it came out). It assumes more maturity on the part of the viewer, and I commend the PG rating on this show and the fact that no one felt it needed to be censored. There exist some otaku out there that love this show because it's down to Earth, and there also exist some otaku out there who may not like it because of that as well.
SO IS RANMA 1/2 FOR YOU?
If you're looking for a comedy series with a lot of laughs, interesting characters, and some memorable moments that you can share with other anime fans, then go for Ranma 1/2. Martial arts fans, you get a lot of that in this show as well, but it's not taken very seriously, and in fact, sometimes it's taken to a ridiculous (yet humourous) extent (ie. Martial Arts Tea Ceremony, Martial Arts Gymnastics, Good Ole Days Martial Arts, etc).
If you're looking for boobs or panty shots, well, you'll get boobs, but they won't be a big deal (nor should they really unless childish ecchi is your thing). If you're an ecchi fan, sorry, this won't do it for you.
Are you a rather mature anime fan who likes that classic aged animation, comedy, anything-goes humour, and a wide array of likable characters? If so, then Ranma 1/2 IS for you.
A comedy/romance based on the manga by Rumiko Takahashi, Ranma 1/2 revolves around the arranged marriage of Ranma Saotome, a boy who has been trained by his father in martial arts since childhood and Akane Tendo, an average girl who is also a martial artist, living with her father and two sisters. Although their relationship starts off rocky at first, over time they begin to grow close to each other, but not without complications brought about by many of the other characters.
Story: The premise of Ranma 1/2, that makes it unique to other comedy/romance anime, are the many Jusenkyo springs which, if fallen into cause
the person to be cursed. Ranma is cursed and turns into a girl whenever he is splashed with cold water, and is changed back to a boy when splashed with warm water. The story focuses on the many love webs between the numerous characters, with most of them being in love with either Ranma or Akane. This leads to various conflicts which are usually resolved through martial arts or other supernatural elements. Although the first few seasons introduce new characters and elements, the latter few become stale and repetitive and fail to rap up many of the plotlines. You could almost say that nothing much drastically changed from season 3-4 to season 7
Animation: Hard to comment on the animation of an anime from the late 80's early 90's. However I have to say that it seems very well done for its time, The character's appearence are consistant and the fighting scenes, like I said, for its time, seems well done. Although in some instances they seem to come off a little choppy or with recycled animation.
Sound: The sound is fitting to the tone of the show, music for battles scenes come off as both serious and silly at the same time, which many of the battles are. The opening's and ending's also fit the show very well and were enjoyable. I watched the show in japanese, and although the voice acting was average, it gets extra points for having the great Kappei Yamaguchi as male Ranma, and Megumi Hayashibara as female Ranma.
Character: The anime feature various characters, alot of which have feelings for either Akane or Ranma, and spend alot of their time trying to wedge them apart and win the favor of the one they love. Like Ranma, many of the characters also have Jusenkyo curses and change their form, some curses include a cat, duck, pig and panda. There are also many minor characters who appear only a few times, usually they present some type of martial arts, or perhaps supernatural challenge.
Enjoyment: I was disapointed with the way the repetitive plot and shallow ending, but overall I did enjoy it. Many of the situations were very humorous as well as the over the top personalities of alot of the characters. If you are a Rumiko Takahashi fan (although if you are you have probably seen this already) or just like overly silly comedy/romances with quite a bit of action then I would have to recommend this to you.
Ranma 1/2 is something that is difficult to pin a single description on. At times there are lots of action scenes, explosions, and various attacks flying around. At other times it is side splitting humor due to an awkward time and place for Ranma to transform, or situations he gets roped into, and still other times where Akane's explosive temper or jealousy takes us by surprise. Scattered here and there are some genuinely sweet and tender moments as well.
(8) Ranma 1/2 is episodic. It has no overarching plot other than to perhaps reverse the curse placed on Ranma and several others we meet along the
way. We have our core group of Ranma and friends, and a number of other characters that come and go.
(8) The art is generally very good. Age is no qualm here as an excuse for sloppy art. The animation quality is a bit simple at times. But at others, especially during fight scenes, is very good. Quality overall is still very good though. Although in rare occasions, the art quality drops significantly.
(9) The sound quality suffers a little bit due to age. Especially having been on VHS for over half of the series lifetime. But otherwise the sound quality is still very good to great. Surprisingly enough the core group of characters have very good English dubs. Even a lot of the supporting and background characters have good voice overs. Occasionally we run into a bad voice over, but by far that is in the minority.
( 10) The characters here all have a healthy dose of insanity. With few exceptions most of the characters have some unique personality traits that either put Ranma and crew in massive trouble, or cause such an awkward scene that you can't help but burst out laughing. Also with few exceptions most of the characters are so tenacious that they just cannot give up. ever. It doesn't matter how many times they get pounded into the ground, or launched into the sky, or made a total fool of, they just keep coming back for more. But it fits with those characters personalities and makes them what they are. We do have a number of one or two shot characters that appear for a scene or two and are never seen again.
(9) Ranma 1/2 is a very long series, 161 Episodes, 12 (now 13) OVA's and two movies are a lot to watch. This series is no exception to getting a bit burnt out on itself. I won't lie and say I enjoyed every single one of the stories, but I'm willing to forgive them in light of the insane fun of the majority of the set.
(9) Overall I loved Ranma 1/2 and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of insane fun mixed with various action bits and a romance plot that is extremely warped due to the number of opposing parties involved. Not to mention that Ranma is both a boy and a girl, and with the plentiful insanity, various people either love him or hate him depending on which he is at the time.
The only bad things I can say about the series is that sometimes enough is enough. Ranma's immaturity, and Akane's explosive temper can get a little old
9/10 without a doubt. Bias included.
*This could easily be a solid 10, but the series was never finished. The anime cuts off roughly in volume 22 (out of 38) of the manga. The OVA's only take on a few more stories but leave a substantial number untouched.
There are still a lot of interesting characters that we never see, and a lot of fights, plots, and other bits that I would have loved to see animated. Not to mention the resolution of the series as a whole.*
A person needs good taste and a sense of humor to enjoy Ranma ½.
If you possess these attributes then Ranma ½ should appeal to you.
Don't expect it to be like Akira or Death Note because this is a true comedy.
If you enjoy Monty Python then Ranma ½ will entertain you.
If you aren't amused by it then you have no sense of humor.
The episodic format often prevents a long story arc from developing
but most of the story arcs that occur throughout the series develope
the overall plot with the character learning new techniques
although some of the story arcs bring the story back to square one.
The main form
of plot developement that happens is cast expansion
which means more and more characters are introduced that can later be
used in subsequent episodes.
This massive cast of characters eventually developes a complicated web of relationships that change very little but the web does continue to get larger.
In other words the situation grows more than it actually progresses.
The art quality was magnificent early on in Seasons 1 and 2
and later on in Seasons 6 and 7 but Seasons 3, 4, and 5 were inconsistent.
This inconsistency is because different animators with varying levels of skill
animated different episodes throughout these middle seasons.
Asami Endo worked on way too many episodes and her style detracts from the quality of the seasons that she worked on extensively.
Atsuko Nakajima was the greatest animator and every episode she made
was entertaining and her style of art and animation was perfect in every way.
Yuka Kudo and Chi Isono were also excellent animators.
The sounds effects and music are perfect and they fit the series well.
Above all else the characters are hilarious, charming, and unusual.
The characters are actually extremely deep and most of them have extensive
back stories that provide extensive information about their past.
Whoever said they're not deep is completely wrong and obviously didn't pay any attention to the comprehensive background information that was given to tell about the events that led up to the ongoing circumstances of
the series and give depth to the characters by telling parts of their life story.
The characters are extremely eccentric but they have believable personalities
because they almost always act in character.
The characters have consistent personalities that make them believable and insanely hilarious. The characters are this anime's best characteristic.
Enjoyment is what this anime is all about.
You should chill out and make sure you have a sense of humor before you watch this anime.
Martial arts are an expression of power, showcasing the potential of the human body when pushed to its physical limit. It also makes for exciting anime, and allows animators and directors to showcase their prowess as things get heated.
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