Ranma Forever Vol. #6 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, June 08, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2003

What They Say
It's not easy being a teenaged martial artist named Ranma Saotome, but it's even worse when your martial artist father Genma takes you from home at an early age to go on a decade-long training mission. He doesn't speak a word of Chinese, and yet he insists on bringing you to the cursed training ground known as Jusenkyo, where falling into one of many springs instantly turns you into whoever - of whatever - drowned there last. And then, the two of you have this little accident... CONTAINS THREE EPISODES: BATTLE FOR THE GOLDEN TEA SET - Once again, it's the return of Martial Arts Tea Ceremony master, Sentaro. This time, he needs Ranma and Akane's aid to rescue his kidnapped grandmother. The whole incident seems to be over some treasured tea set that rival schools have fought over for generations, and now it's Sentaro's turn to prove his worth. GOSUNKUGI'S SUMMER AFFAIR - The ever-so-morose Hikaru Gosunkugi has met the girl of his dreams. The weird thing is, she even seems to like him back! The trouble is, the girl is Kogane, the teenage ghost. What can Ranma and Akane possibly do to make this ghostly love story work? BATTLE FOR MISS BEACHSIDE - This is like no bathing-suit competition you've ever seen! The contestants are Akane, Shampoo, Ukyo, and Kodachi... plus girl-type Ranma, and Tsubasa Kurenai to boot. Knowing these girls, it's going to be one hot competition!

The Review!
The end of the season is ever closer and this installment actually provides amusement through all three episodes.

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.

With a beach episode on the disc, it’s not surprising that’s the one that got used for the front cover. It’s a bit on the soft side, but it has a nice shot of Shampoo, Ranma and Akane all in swimsuits against what looks to be a real beach photograph. 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)
Surprisingly, the three episodes here in the last season of the series were all quite enjoyable, especially having just finished watching all of season five in a couple of sittings. The characters and humor are all the same, but the execution manages to work better and the jokes actually elicit laughter.

The opening episode brings in the two clans of the Tea Ceremony flavor, the orthodox and unorthodox ones. Heir respective younger students are being readied for marriage and the two clans will end up working together. One thing that needs to be secured is the treasured golden tea set, the one item required to establish everything in the ceremony. So Ranma and Akane get dragged into help Sentaro out in his quest to get married and they all occupy a five level pagoda to defend the set overnight against someone who has said that they’ll steal it. Sentaro plays like a less qualified Kuno, but without quite the same level of idiocy. Having the two sides actually split up and work with each other on the various levels to help out was fun as well, watching them play off of each other and work against what the other is doing, even with the same goal.

Gosunkugi definitely hasn’t been a favorite character of mine by any shot, but he comes across quite well in the second episode. It’s the Obon festival, aka the Festival of the Dead in the dub, and as it would happen at the Tendo residence, the dead rise literally as Kogane has asked to spend the holiday there with them. Gosunkugi comes by to try and befriend Akane some more, but it shocked when Kogane starts showing an interest in him and his talismans. He’s blissfully unaware that she’s a ghost that he’d normally otherwise haunt, which allows him to fall completely in love with her. Their relationship is quite amusing, especially as it crescendos into trying to return her home before she turns into a zombie.

And while the beach episode plays out as expected, I couldn’t help myself. It opens appropriately with everyone taking a vacation at a beach and all the girls in their swimsuits. Kasumi, beauty that she is, attracts all of the guys. Tsubasa shows up, still completely in dress and now working cheap for Ukyo. Even Shampoo is working the area in their own stall. So when Nabiki starts up her “Miss Beachside” beauty contest, it’s no surprise that everyone gets involved to try and outshine the others. Most of the primary women end up here and it’s just a lot of fun as they briefly amusingly compete with each other.

While these don’t rise up terribly far, especially in comparison to the first season, there was just a lot more fun in the way it was all executed. The self contained aspect works well with these shows, though I still wish they had focused on something greater for their final works on it.

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: 24.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ranma 1/2