Ranma 1/2: Random Rhapsody Vol. #5 (of 8) (Mania.com)

Review Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2001

What They Say
As the Tendo family prepares for Christmas, Ranma goes missing. A routine search brings in the usual troublemakers, but still no Ranma. Will Akane find Ranma in time to spend Christmas with him?

Then, the cold weather brings an unnatural snowfall and unnatural enemies. When a mysterious creature attacks Ryoga, Ranma and Akane head into the cold to find out what happened only to find a little girl and some very large footprints. What could the connection be?

The Review!
Ah, this is the Ranma I loved from later seasons. These three episodes are all about Akane and Ranma's relationship, with both of them buying a clue. Yay!

Audio: No problems here. The audio was very similar to earlier volumes, with some directionality but not much.

As for the dub, there were fewer script changes, and the overall tone was strongly preserved. This gives me hope for dubs in the future.

Video: Everything is similar to previous disks, except for some lines and artifacting in the dark colors (especially character's hair) in the second episode. This is unfortunate, since the overall quality of the transfer looked nice enough. As usual, the colors were fairly clear. There were a few night skies, which looked okay, but most of the colors were bright. I saw a little rainbowing, but only when I was way too close to the TV.

Packaging: Better than the last one, if only for the choice of pictures, since the layout is the same. The front cover has girl-type Ranma dressed for cold weather. The back has a dark, almost invisible pic of Akane in the background, then a screen shot from each episode. The insert has the same pic of Akane with an extra screen shot from each episode and chapter listings on one side, while the reverse is that pic of Ranma from the cover again. The disk is pink, with girl-type Ranma from the cover and a much clearer Akane from the back. Basically, with these setups, if you like the covers, you'll like the rest of the packaging, and vice versa.

Menus: The same as on previous disks. The cover pic is on the main menu, Akane from the back on the setup screen, and P-chan/Ryouga helps us out with changing the language settings.

Extras: There are no extras.

Content: Sappy and happy, these episodes let humor take a slight backseat to relationships, but for those of you who have been grumbling about Akane and Ranma never getting together, the proper end is in sight! (Though I'm sure it will disappear the next time they get into a fight.)

Akane and Ranma drew the short end of the stick and set out to do the last-minute Christmas shopping for the Tendou family. Unfortunately, Ranma is always bumping into old friends, and when he goes running off, Akane begins to wonder if he's planning to spend Christmas with her after all. It doesn't help that Shampoo, Kodachi, and Ukyo each insists that Ranma spend the evening with her instead....

It goes on from there. Gratuitous flying bras and Kuno's twitiness aside, this is a more serious and sappy episode than most Ranma fare.

In "A Cold Day in Furinkan", Ryouga wakes up to snow. Rather a lot of it. While he is contemplating this fact with some amazement, he encounters an overgrown snowman and barely makes it to the Tendou house alive. Meanwhile, the whole city is slowly freezing, starting with the little girl Ranma and Akane find outside when they investigate Ryouga's garbled monster-talk. Ranma isn't going to sit still for this, but without the information Ryouga knows, will he survive his own encounter with the beast that's responsible?

Ranma spends most of this episode in girl-form, which lets Ryouga show his softer side. You P-chan fans are in for a treat. Other than that, though the plot isn't much, there are enough cute scenes to get you through.

The funniest episode is definitely the third one. While it is accepted practice in anime to take pictures of people you like, Ranma finally takes exception to Gosunkugi continuously shooting Akane in a leotard and tries to stop him. In typical Ranma fashion, he sets off a chain of events that lead to Akane falling off the balance beam and breaking her ankle. Now Ranma feels terrible.

While Akane spends a couple of days in the hospital with Dr. Tofu, Ranma spends a couple of days in the tree outside her window trying to figure out a way to apologize to her. Each time he's just about ready to, either he fantasizes that he ends up kissing Akane, or a troupe of classmates shows up to say hello to her. Ranma, never one for apologies anyway, gets completely flustered, which is very funny to watch.

This is the "Ranma buys a clue" episode, the companion to the first one on this disk. Cute and funny.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
25" Samsung Stereo TV, code-free Pioneer 333, Sony STR-SE391 receiver, Sony speakers, and the cables that came with the set.

Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B-
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