Ranma Forever Vol. #2 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, August 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002



What They Say
A pack of magical, powerful cards has fallen into the wrong hands, and now Happosai is several times as much a pain as before! It was bad enough when there was just the one of him - now there are six!

Then, better than the construction-specific "Breaking Point" technique (which worked only on rocks), Ryoga's new move has got Ranma on the run. Can he get away fast enough?

And finally, to perfect the dangerous "Shishi Hoko-Dan" technique, one must travel to the depths of despair where Ryoga lives most of the time anyway! But why is Ranma trying to make Ryoga even more miserable?

The Review!
This installment of the 7th season provides an entertaining single episode and a two episode arc that brings Ryouga to power.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though these episodes came quite a bit after the series began, it’s held true to its original stereo mix and not gone beyond it much. Dialogue is nice and clear and we noticed no dropouts, but directionality is very minimal across the forward soundstage with only a few pieces here and there giving any real sense of space.

Video:
While the show doesn’t look to have an increased budget for the final episodes, things here do look a fair bit cleaner, even if they still use the same somewhat dull color palette from earlier in the series. Colors are a bit sharper than the previous seasons discs, cross coloration is very minimal and there’s not much in the way of aliasing in a large way. These were pretty nice looking episodes all told.

Packaging:
The front cover is rather dark for some of the Ranma covers we’ve seen with a large of black and red in the background showing Ranma getting swallowed up while Royga’s in the foreground with his yellow aura bursting with power. The back cover provides a couple of animation shots and mini summaries for each episode. Production and technical information is pretty easy to find but the disc continues to lack and kind of real numbering system to know what volume comes when.

Menu:
Definitely on the bright side, the menus here are vibrant pieces of static animation of the characters with music playing in the background, a brief portion of the new opening song. The layout is pretty standard with setup information and a separate submenu for the voice actor credits for both languages. Access times are nice and fast and in general this is a good basic menu.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There’s some good and some mediocre here, as the seventh season continues to amble on. The standalone opening episode is a rather amusing one that deals initially with Ranma and Akane selling stuff at a local fair (with Ranma amusingly trying to sell his father. It’s only right though, since Genma has sold off and promised off Ranma more than enough times over the years) and end up going with Kasumi to check out some antique stall.

The stall is actually being run by Kuno, who was getting rid of stuff that was just taking up space in one of their vast wings of their mansion. He and Ranma naturally get into things and start fighting, but get interrupted when Kasumi wants to take home a deck of cards with a pentagram on it. Being the charmer he is, Kasumi gets it for nothing, which leads to Kasumi playing with the cards at home later on, trying to determine just what use they may have been.

As luck would have it, Ranma is chasing Happosai to extract revenge from a previous incident, and Happosai goes flying across the room and lands squarely on the table, scattering the cards. They naturally land in a pentagram pattern, and come alive. Within seconds, Happosai is sent to the heavens in a burst of light. As it turns out, we’re not rid of him, but rather the evil spirits in the cards have taken on his form and are causing havoc across the city, with things like a little vampire version of him, or a fallen angel, an evil knight and so forth. Happosai’s nature comes out really well here with this warping of the situation.

The two part episode is one that focuses on Ryouga returning to town with a new Lion’s Roar power that gives him an edge over Ranma at last. This new powerful blast completely destroys Ranma’s confidence in his skills and he goes to all sorts of extremes to try and get the secret of the scroll out of Ryouga so he too can master this new move. There’s some amusing aspects to it overall, such as when Ranma goes into girl mode and flirts with Ryouga to get the scroll, but so much of it is stuff we’ve seen these two tango to before that it was hard to really get into the episodes at all.

Ryouga fans will likely enjoy these episodes more than I did, but I found the opening episode to be the only one that really got a few chuckles out of me in this volume. Things in this season continue to seem more as a retread of earlier scripts than earlier seasons ever did.

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: C
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: 24.95
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ranma 1/2