Ranma 1/2: Random Rhapsody Vol. #7 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2002
What They Say
It's not easy being a teenaged marital artist named Ranma Saotome, but it's even worse when your martial artist father Genama takes you from home at an early age to go on a decade-long training misssion. Episodes: "Ukyo's Secret Sauce Part I", "Ukyo's Secret Sauce Part II", "A Teenage Ghost Story".
The seventh installment of the Random Rhapsody series takes a two episode focus on Ukyo and her past with Ranma and then provides one completely forgettable episode.
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.
The transfer here is pretty decent with accurate colors and hardly any cross coloration throughout it. There's some jaggies during camera panning sequences but otherwise a decent transfer. The source material and the way the show was made doesn't really give it a striking look to begin with, so things tend to look a little dull and slightly washed out and soft, but that's by design. If there's any kind of annoying problem it's with the old hard subtitles that just look fuzzy and incomplete at times. They do however show just how good DVD subtitles are.
The cover provides a nice shot of Ranma and Ukyo as well as Happosai in a jar. Oddly, I don't remember seeing Happosai in the show at all, but hey, what's continuity. The back cover gives a nice washed out picture of Ukyo in her chef's outfit in the background while providing several animation shots and episode summaries as well as features and production credits. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while the back uses the artwork from the back cover and gives the episodes chapter listings.
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.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The penultimate volume of the Random Rhapsody series gives us a couple of episodes with one of my favorite characters in the Ranma universe, Ukyo. For some reason, I end up liking this particular girl from the series more than any of the others. But, much like almost every other girl in the series, she's got a past that involves her ending up betrothed in some way to Ranma, which means present day situations are just even more insane.
The story here deals with Ukyo finally pulling out the special sauce that she made (secretly) ten years prior since it's aged just right. This sauce, made from her fathers special secret recipe, will prove just how good of a cook she is, so there's a lot to it. But there's even more to it. When she was making it, Ranma was with her, and made him promise that if the sauce was good, he'd protect and watch out for her for the rest of his life.
Ranma, blockhead that he can be, doesn't remember this part at all. What he does remember is that after Ukyo left the sauce ten years ago, he couldn't wait and had to try it. His skills were fairly poor back then and he ended up knocking the entire thing over, causing it to all spill out. But using the mind of a six year old, he takes all the various ingredients, tosses them together, and reseals the container.
So you can easily imagine the horror when Ukyo unseals the container and takes a taste and promptly falls ill. She's ready to toss her career aside as well as her pursuit of Ranma after all of this and ends up living with the Tendo's while she recovers. But as you can expect, this leads to all kinds of things with Ranma's guilt and everyone trying to figure out why he's being so nice and so forth.
It's really fairly predictable if you've seen any amount of Ranma, but I was really happy to see a couple of decent Ukyo episodes that didn't involve a cast of hundreds with her.
The final episode on the disc is a typical Takahashi ghost story involving the ghost of a former student of Furinkan High who died without getting a particular item she wanted, so she's taken up residence with the Tendo's after Akane purchases a notebook from the "haunted" school store downstairs. There's little very memorable or noteworthy about this filler episode.
For the most part, it's really easy to see that the series has been running out of steam as it's moved along this season when even the good episodes are mediocre at best. There's little to really fault this disc on a technical level though, so if you're still a big Ranma fan, it's an easy purchase.
Japanese Langnuage,English Language,English Subtitles
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: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ranma 1/2