Ranma ½ The Movie 2 - Nihao my Concubine (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, December 15, 2005
Release Date: Monday, December 05, 2005
What They Say
Based on the original and successful comics by Rumiko Takahashi (creator of the equally popular Urusei Yatsura series), Ranma ½ concerns the comedic adventures of the eponymous hero and his friends.
During a trip to China to train in the martial arts, Ranma and his father, Genma, accidentally fell into the cursed Jusenkyo Springs. Genma was transformed into a giant panda, while Ranma emerged from the springs as a girl. Fortunately, the immediate effects were not permanent, but whenever father or son was splashed with water, the transformation temporarily reoccurred. Back in Japan, Genma and Ranma visited Genma’s old friend, Soun Tendo. A long time ago, the two friends had agreed to engage one of their respective children to each other. Soun’s daughters, Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane were shocked to find one of them would be engaged to a girl, but after Ranma’s secret was revealed, the two elder daughters elected Akane to be Ranma’s fiancée. It proved to be a match made in hell…
A pleasure cruse on Tatewaki Kuno’s new luxery yacht ends in disaster when Ranma and the girls find themselves shipwrecked on the mysterious desert island of Togenkyo. Being stranded turns out to be the least of their worries, though, as one by one the girls begin to disappear. The perpetrator of the kidnappings is revealed to be Prince Toma, the ruler of the island and a man desperately seeking a suitable bride. Unsurprisingly, Toma is instantly attracted to Akane, Ranma’s irascible girlfriend. But when Ranma sets out to rescue Akane, an unfortunate turn of events and an inevitable change of gender results in Ranma becoming a bridal candidate himself!
After getting shipwrecked on a deserted island, Ranma has to rescue Akane and the other girls from Prince Toma. But is Ranma only interested in saving Akane or does he have his sights set on something else entirely?
My audio track of preference for Ranma is the Japanese track, but this time round I also listened to the English track as well for good measure. Both tracks are perfectly fine with dialogue, music and sound effects coming across well.
Thankfully this release does not have the same amount of problems as the previous Ranma movie – Big Trouble in Nekonron, China. There’s some grain evident on certain scenes but by far the worst problem is the print damage that occurs from time to time. This takes the form of scratches and huge black dots on the screen, but to a certain extent is to be expected on a print as old as this. Colours are really well represented and there are some really nice sunsets and a number of really colourful scenes. The contrast in the darker scenes is unfortunately not that great, but you can still see what’s going on, it’s just a shame that the final confrontation with Prince Toma is set in a dark underground railway.
Subtitles are in the usual clear yellow and are easy to read. I did notice a couple of grammar mistakes, and at one point in the film the subtitles were missing (when girl-type Ranma is being used as bait for the kidnappers). Also on a couple of occasions the timing on the subtitles was a little off, meaning that they flashed far too briefly on the screen.
Packaging not available as only a review disk was supplied.
A bold and colourful menu, with red being the predominant colour. On the right hand side of the menu we have a picture of boy-type Ranma with a picture of Hapossai on the left. In between them are the menu options and music from the movie plays in the background. All the sub menu’s are easily accessed and take the same form as the main menu but are silent.
A set of basic profiles for the main characters is included on the second Ranma movie. As with the previous movie, if you’ve not seen any Ranma before it might be worth quickly reading through these to familiarise yourself with the characters. As with the first movie not all of the profiles have pictures of the character they are referring to, although this is not as much of a problem as the characters are introduced a bit more sedately this time. The conceptual drawings are line drawn character sketches; unfortunately due to the red background these are not as clear as they could be. Finally there are trailers for YuYu Hakusho, R.O.D TV and Love Hina.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Summer has arrived in Furinkan, and not surprisingly everyone is suffering in the heat. When Ranma suggests a trip to the beach Akane rejects the idea as too expensive, but unknown to her they will soon end up on a beach, but not in ideal circumstances.
As everyone sits round complaining about the heat wave Kuno Tatewaki arrives and announces that his luxury yacht is ready for it’s maiden voyage. Kuno invites Akane and the pigtailed girl (girl-type Ranma) along, but soon finds that he has unwittingly extended his invitation to the majority of the Ranma gang, who all decide that a sailing trip on a luxury yacht would be just the thing to escape the heat! Therefore Kuno finds himself playing host to not only Akane and girl-type Ranma but also to Genma, Soun, Nabiki, Kasumi, Ukyo, Shampoo, Mousse, Cologne, Happosai and Ryoga (it’s a good job it’s a big yacht really!).
Of course the trip doesn’t exactly go as planned, and when a storm damages the yacht they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. Everyone soon sets about enjoying themselves, apart from Kuno, Akane and Ryoga who end up building shelters and fixing the boat. All is not what it appears to be on the island, however, as Kasumi soon disappears closely followed by Ukyo, Shampoo and Nabiki. The only clue that the girls have been taken by the same person is a peach left behind each time one of the girls disappears.
Everyone is determined to find the missing girls and the kidnappers, and they hatch a plot to use girl-type Ranma as bait to lure the kidnappers back to the island. Their plan doesn’t quite work however, as the kidnappers decide to take Akane instead. Luckily for Akane, Ryoga manages to attack the mysterious shadow that’s targeted Akane, and the gang find out who’s behind the sudden spate of disappearances.
The person masterminding these kidnappings is Prince Toma of the nearby island Togenkyo. Of course this being Ranma the island is under a mysterious curse that results in only men populating the island. As a result of this, Prince Toma (who’s also a master of illusion) has been kidnapping women from the nearby islands and he hopes to make one of these women his wife! The island is also home to a magical spring whose water will turn anything it touches into a man. In order to make Akane go with him Prince Toma demonstrates the magical properties of the water and threatens to turn Akane into a man if she does not go with him to the island to become yet another prospective marriage candidate.
Of course faced with the miraculous properties of this water, Ranma, Genma, Mousse and Ryoga all decide to go to Togenkyo not only to rescue Akane and the others, but also to get their hands on this water that will turn then back into men. Of course their rescue attempt does not quite go according to plan, what with Happosai going on a panty raid and girl-type Ranma being mistaken for one of the potential marriage candidates! However, Ranma decides to try and use this mistaken identity to his advantage and when Toma declares that his bride will be the winner of a Martial Arts Marriage Contest Ranma is determined to defeat all the other candidates.
As with the previous movie, most of the comedy in Nihao my Concubine comes from character traits already set up in the TV series, although this does not prevent newcomers to the franchise finding the set-up amusing. No one can fail to notice that Nabiki will do almost anything for money and her face when presented with a bill for her brief stay in Prince Toma’s palace is priceless. It’s also a lot more obvious where the characters relationships lie in this movie than in Big Trouble in Neonron, China as time is devoted to the other characters instead of focusing solely on Akane and Ranma. This gives the movie a much more rounded feel and it feels as if all the characters have something to contribute to the overall plot instead of just being there for the sake of appearances.
We also get to see the fighting abilities of both Ryoga and Mousse as they help to free Ukyo and Shampoo from the men of Prince Toma’s court who’ve claimed them. Kuno also gets a look in, although Nabiki is much more on the ball and knows exactly how to deal with the dog-man that wants to take her for his wife. Of course the movie ends with the big showdown between Prince Toma and Ranma, although this also holds a surprise when Ranma makes an unexpected decision.
After watching this movie I can only say that it’s a shame that the TV series of Ranma hasn’t made it to the UK yet, as this movie is certainly up to the comedy and story highs of the first few series. While Nihao my Concubine is shorter in length than the previous Ranma movie it has much tighter pacing and gives all the characters a good amount of screen time, which works in its favour. All in all as a long time Ranma fan it’s hard not to recommend this movie and if you’ve not seen any Ranma before this movie is a good place to start.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Conceptual Drawings
Panasonic 42” Plasma, Sony 335 DVD Player, Kef Egg 7.1 Speaker system with a Ruark log sub. Denon 3802 amplifier.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: MVM Entertainment
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ranma 1/2