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.