I love anime. They have the best characters and stories out there. I grew up watching anime and never knew it. Speed Racer, G Force, and others were on cable TV. Today these are crappy examples of anime, but it’s still anime. It was a different type of cartoon then what I was used to watching. I remember watching and being sucked into the stories even as a kid I knew these were good.
This was a tough choice, but I feel it’s a good choice. You either love it or hate it. With it’s love triangle upon love triangles, wacky situations, and even crazier characters this has to be one of the funniest anime I have seen. I am talking about Ranma ½. The title along isn’t the only thing that’s strange about this series. I started watching this series sometime during high school. I didn’t see it in order though, I saw parts of episodes from seasons 2 and 3, then some parts of the movies, then OAV series. So I started in the middle and worked my way to the beginning. Watching it out of order was interesting to say the least. Who is this? What is that? What just happened? Why is that funny? Even with all the questions I had I was hooked.
I would spend hours drawing the different characters, and watching the episodes over and over to get the style right. My friends and I would try to get our hands on any new episodes, or go out of town to rent more. Talk about addiction. Once we had the episodes we would do an all nighter, watch the new, then the old, then the new again. Mainly because we were recording the episodes for everyone with the VCR. The video had to be returned the next day. Ahh good time. Now on with the show.
Ranma ½ is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi with an anime adaptation. The story revolves around a 16-year old boy named Ranma Saotome who was trained from early childhood in martial arts. As a result of an accident during a training journey, he is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, but hot water will change him back into a boy.
Ranma ½ is a comedy about a young teenage boy named Ranma Soatome and his fiance Akane Tendo. Ranma and Akane are betrothed to each other by their loving fathers at a young age. The pressure of being a teenage boy and girl isn’t enough, add the pressure of other love interests always there to make sure things don’t go according to plan, plus the very strange occurrence of water changing characters into other forms adds to all the humor and mischief for the series.
Ranma and his father Genma traveled to China to become better martial artists. His father, in all his wisdom, takes them to a cursed training ground. Whoever falls into the spring take the form of whatever drown there all those many years ago. Ranma’s curse is that he turns into a girl and his father turns into a panda. Cold water turns whoever is cursed into the their alternate form and hot water changes them back to normal.
The series starts off with the introduction of Ranma and his father Genma in their alternate forms running through a city streets. Next you are introduced to the Tendo family. You find out that Soun and Genma are old friends and that they decided years ago to have their children betrothed to eachother. Soun Tendo has 3 girls, Kasumi, Nabiki, and Akane. He informs his daughters that one of them will have to marry Genma’s son Ranma. Outraged at this they ask what he looks like. Soun informs the girl he has never met Ranma.The blank stare is priceless.
Just then you hear yelling and shouting at the front door of the Tendo’s. They go to greet their guest only to see a giant panda carrying a girl on his back. The girl, Ranma, informs the Tendo’s that he is Ranma Soatome. Disappointed that Genma son is a girl he decides to let the panda and girl Ranma stay the night. Akane and Ranma become friends and do a little sparing match. Akane finds out that Ranma is very talented at martial arts. She informs him that she is glad that he is a girl, because she hates boys.
Hours later Ranma must take a bath and is surprised by Akane. Akane, thinking that girl Ranma is in there, is horrified that a boy is in the bathroom. After screaming and shouting that a pervert is in the bathroom, the boy comes downstairs. After a brief flashback, Ranma and Genma explain how their condition happened. They show that cold water changes them and hot water turns them back. Relieved, Soun states that their problem isn’t so bad, and wants Ranma to still marry one of his daughter. Nabiki and Kasumi both agree that Akane would be the wise choice as she is closest to his age and hates boys. Since Ranma is both girl and boy they figured it was perfect.
This is the start of a great series. As the story develops you meet more characters that also change into other animals. You have characters that have no idea of the curses. Such as the fun character Kuno. He is a aristocratic playboy type who has been after Akane for years. Now with the introduction of Ranma, Ranma is now his mortal enemy. Kuno has no clue of Ranma’s curse. He is so clueless in fact that he is in love with his girl side and despises the boy side, yet after several chances and blatantly being told that they are the same person he refuses to believe it. To make matters worse, Kuno’s sister Kodachi also has a similar issue of not knowing. She hates the girl side, but loves the boy side, and just like her brother, has no clue they are one in the same. So you have the brother that tries to kill the boy side and love the girl side. A sister that tries to kill the girl side, and loves the boy side. This is just one of the many, many situations that make this series great.
In Season 2 you are introduced to a lustful lecher named Happosai. He is the Master of both Soun and Genma. Once you are introduced to him you can’t wait for more episodes with him. The beginning of Season 3 the main cast members are all introduced with over 10 characters it gets a little overwhelming, but provides for interesting storylines.
I suggest watching the first 3 seasons they are really awesome. I really enjoyed those. For avid fans of the series already, if you have watched the 2 movies + OAV series, you are really missing out.
Now the series isn’t perfect. There are a few episodes that are just silly and the plot sometimes goes way south, but there are quite a few gem episodes that make up for this. Sadly I really stopped watching this series after season 4. The animation quality started to drop quiet noticeably and season 4 is when they changed the voice actors. I have seen other episodes here and there and noticed the quality in both animation and voice improved, but it will never be the same as the 1st three seasons.
For your enjoyment, Episode 1 of Ranma.
Oh and if you start to realize hey.. this look like characters from Inuyasha, you’re right. It’s the same creator.
The characters of Ranma are memorable, but sometimes keeping up with all the storylines does get confusing. I still love it.
The animation is awesome in the first few seasons, but it begins to decline about season 4. It does pick up again a few seasons later.
The stories are fun and enjoyable to watch. Some get out of hand, but I still give it 3.
I give it a low rating, because they changed most of the voices of the Ranma in season 4.
It’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t skip out on this series.
Get out there and buy the first season, you won’t be disappointed.
NOTE: If you have enjoyed this review of Ranma, then perhaps you should take a look at this releated article. Ranma Movie 1