Ranma Forever Vol. #3 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, October 21, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002

What They Say
Love hopeful...

Shampoo's CursÚd Kiss:
"Be my bri-i-i-i-i-de--!!" It's been a while, but at last the "Ghost Cat" from episodes past has come back... and he won't release Shampoo until she agrees to marry him! Can Ranma prevent her from becoming the "cat's trophy"?

love revisited...

Run Away With Me!:
A recurring dream... a romantic couple... their destiny, somehow tied to the blooming of cherry blossoms. Ranma gets roped into helping a ghost to "have no regrets" before shuffling off this mortal coil. But the ties that bind can be stubborn...

love digested.

Let's Go to the Mushroom Temple:
"The soul of the mushroom is the soul of the earth," or so it's said by those in the know. Love mushrooms... poison mushrooms... can a relationship based on fungus possibly survive among us?

The Review!
Another three episodes brings us closer to the end, but there’s actually some rather entertaining episodes here, almost to the point where you can’t feel the series being crushed under its own weight.

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.

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.

The front cover is a lighter one than what we’ve seen recently, with a shot of Ranma and Shampoo trading tongues in front of a bell. 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.

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.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’ll say it again, the methods used by Viz are annoying. Since they’re still producing a dub tape of this series, they continue to use the master for that for the DVD release, which means we get a mixed set of subtitles, where the majority of them are DVD soft subtitles, but the songs and things like Genma’s Panda signs are hard subtitled. And those hard subtitles within the show itself tend to look really bad, as they’re thinner than the DVD subtitles and are more prone to cross coloration. Frankly, they just look awful.

On the plus side, there’s some rather fun stories on this disc. Two in particular really stand out among ones we’ve seen recently. The opening take, which the cover is the basis of, deals with Shampoo getting stuck in a residence where she was delivering an order for the restaurant. The residence is “owned” by Mao Mo Lin, the giant “ghost cat” that showed up earlier in the series. He’s tricked Shampoo into the area to be his bride and placed a cat hex on her, making it so that she cannot leave the area.

But Shampoo is crafty and cunning, so she makes a deal with Mao about her prince coming to rescue her and kiss her, with the kiss being able to break the spell. The prince of course turns out to be Ranma, and this is her way of getting herself kissed. To complicate things, if Ranma doesn’t kiss her by a certain time, Shampoo will turn completely into a cat and the marriage will commence with Mao. There’s a lot of fun with this episode since the cast is kept small and I tend to enjoy the ones that deal with Ranma’s cat phobia. Having a ten foot tall cat with a massive tongue give Ranma a face lick just cracks me up.

One of the more entertaining relationship based episodes so far is the final episode here, where Soun takes everyone on a little adventure/vacation to a temple that specializes in mushrooms. There’s all kinds of mushrooms to be eaten there, but they must be picked by an expert picker as there are also a lot of poisonous ones mixed into them. So with the master arriving there, everyone digs into a really scrumptious dinner of mushrooms. And then everyone promptly keels over from poisoning just about. While the master is immune, and Ranma and Akane seem to be immune as well, everyone else is on the out and out.

So the master sends them off to a temple far up the trail that will have a sacred antidote that will cure everyone. And when they go, the master picker awakens and realizes what happened, and pulls out his sacred antidote and starts curing everyone. This leads to some confusion about Ranma and Akane, to which the master picker realizes that they ate the Love Mushrooms. If the two of them don’t take the antidote by sunset, they’ll be forever in love with each other.

The reactions are mixed, with the parents being ecstatic to Ryouga and Kuno being outraged and plenty inbetween with everyone else. While you know how it’s going to turn out, it was rather fun to see Ranma and Akane espousing feelings of love for each other, holding hands and risking their lives.

While not the worst Ranma episodes I’ve seen, they’re still not on the level as the original season and a half of shows. But these are showing more promise than most of what was in season six, so I’m not complaining. Too much.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 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
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