Ranma 1/2: Random Rhapsody Vol. #2 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, July 21, 2001
Release Date: Saturday, July 21, 2001



What They Say
Ranma runs into a shady man who runs a secret black market store on Furinkan High's campus! Principal Kuno wants him off the grounds, but this is one feisty merchant that won't go without a fight.
Then, Ranma, Ryoga, and Mousse travel into the mountains in search of the legendary Spring of Drowned Man in an attempt to restore their original forms.

Will the three martial artists be successful, or will paranoia tear them apart? Plus, what is Genma thinking when he names Ryoga as the inheritor of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts!?

The Review!
Working again in its favor, the episodic nature of Ranma 1/2 made sitting down to watch this on a hot evening quite a bit of fun. Heck, even our 15 month old baby girl got into it by dancing along to the opening song.

Audio:
For our primary reviewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show is mostly dialogue driven with a lot of sound effects, so the majority of it's very center channel based. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout with no noticeable dropouts or other issues.

Video:
Whereas the first volume had only a few noticeable bits of print damage, there was a few more obvious ones this time around, enough so that even my wife noticed them. The colors throughout are pretty much on target, though allowing for the softness of the image that's part of the shows style at times. There's a few edge rainbows here and there, mostly in the hair and a few other areas. The other area that proved to be somewhat bothersome is the hard subtitles, which often looked a bit fuzzier and had rainbows on them. They're using sparingly, but they're in both the opening and ending credits as well as a few sign translations

Packaging:
Yeah, I can admit it, this volume wins out better than the first volume due to girl-type Ranma being on the cover along with Ryoga. Of course, the P-chan version helps a lot too! The cover in general is much more colorful and actually fun looking than the slightly depressed looking first volume. The back cover is setup the same way as the first volume and works out well in giving you a look at each of the episodes summaries as well as a general idea of what Ranma is all about. And as expected, no volume numbering again.

Menus:
The main menu is a variant of the front cover that's static with the opening song playing along in the background. Selections are quickly accessed, and everything's laid out in a straightforward way. Language selection is easy and plainly visible for what you have selected. There's little to really say since there's not much to these menus, but they're quite functional.

Extras:
Not this time either.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Filling up on my required Ranma fix, we found ourselves enjoying this batch of episodes just as much as the first batch. If anything, it was having been reacquainted with the show again the night before with the first volume that got us all the more into the second volume of silliness.

And that's what we've got here. More Ranma silliness. The first episode reveals a long forgotten and cursed school store, wherein we learn of a creepy old guy who lives there and is the foil to our Hawaiian principal. A long standing feud between the two appears to be the problem, and the old guy ends up bringing everyone down to his store and starts selling to them older versions of current clothing and school supplies. Chaos ensues!

The middle episode was a lot of fun as well, with a Chinese artifacts peddler in town, who sells three packets of ingredients, one of which should, when mixed with water, turn the person who immediately jumps in to be turned into a man. It's basically the spring of the drowned man in a convenient packet. When it's learned that only one of the three packets works, the new owners of the packets (namely Ranma, Ryoga and Mousse), end up going at each other over it. They finally find themselves forced into working together, which proves to be one of the highlights of the episode.

The final episode was definitely my favorite though. When Ranma eats the manju that his father had safely tucked away for a special day, Genma goes completely off the rocker and decides to teach Ranma a serious lesson. He convinces Ryoga that he's going to pass over Ranma as the inheritor of the Anything-Goes school of martial arts, and has settled on Ryoga to be the successor. Ryoga eventually accepts this, and it's only after he accepts that he realizes that if he does inherit the school, he'll become Akane's fiance. Ranma doesn't find this to be anything other than a plot and just shrugs it off. Akane finds herself becoming torn, especially after seeing how hard Ryoga applies himself to Genma's teachings and training.

Much like the first volume, we found ourselves laughing out loud at a lot of the sequences and smiling a lot throughout the episodes in general. To some extent, Ranma's almost a guilty pleasure, one you don't really admit to liking since it's so repetitive. But I admit it! And this disc is feeding my need nicely.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ranma 1/2