Ranma 1/2: Anything Goes Martial Arts Box Set - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 119.98
  • Running time: 572
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ranma 1/2

Ranma 1/2: Anything Goes Martial Arts Box Set

By Chris Beveridge     May 27, 2002
Release Date: April 09, 2002


Ranma 1/2: Anything Goes Martial Arts Box Set
© Viz Media


What They Say
This 22 episode, 5 DVD box set continues in its second season to develop the on-going storylines of Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo, their families and introduces even more of the series’ zany cast of characters.

Get to know the infamous Golden Pair of the high school combat figure skating world; Mikado "Emperor" Sanzenin; Azusa Shiratori, the girl who gives anything "cute" a bad name (before taking it home); Sasuke, loyal ninja manservant to high school swordsman Tatewaki "Blue Thunder" Kuno; Cologne, the hundreds-of-years-old-leader of the same Chinese Amazon tribe that introduced the sassy Shampoo; Mousse, the nearsighted master of hidden weapons and all things avian; Happosai, lecherous master of both Ranma and Akane’s fathers; plus a host of others!

The Review!
The second season of Ranma is all new to me, with the exception of the opening arc. As such, having new early material made it pretty enjoyable, and a relatively well done set made it all the more so.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to these five discs in their English dubbed format. The audio track is a pretty basic stereo mix with most of the dialogue going through the center channels with little in the way of directionality. Dialogue was pretty clean and clear and we noticed no dropouts or distortions. Spot checking the Japanese track proved it to be pretty much the same thing.

Video:
When mixed in with more current shows, it becomes obvious just how flat the color palette used for this show is. The transfer overall seems to be decent, but just won’t look great because of the way it was created. Colors look good without any bleeding or over saturation and we noticed hardly any cross coloration and some instances of aliasing. The transfer does on the downside feature a number of hard subtitles as the masters used to create the dub transfer was used here, although the inserts provided say, “Obtained from the original source in Japan, the video masters used to make these DVDs are the best available”. Best available? If these are the same masters as six or seven years ago, then these are the best masters from six or seven years ago. I’d love to hear a comparison between these and the recently released region 2 volumes.

Packaging:
Using the same style as the first box set, but going with an orange/yellow/gold color combination, the box set looks good with Akane featured prominently on it. The back gives a rundown on the series premise and lists the basic features and number of episodes included. Each of the individual discs uses the same color scheme and features a different character along with prominent volume numbering. The back cover lists the episodes (numbered within the group presented, not their overall number in the series) and the episode titles and a brief summary of the disc in total. The inserts provide a shadowed version of the cover on one side with the note mentioned above while the reverse side lists the episode numbers, titles and chapter stops. Overall, a pretty good looking box and layout with only a few things that bother me.

Menu:
With all the discs except for the last one being the same, just stuffed with episodes, the menus are pretty basic but nicely done. The main menu is a nice piece of static animation with each one having a different cast member. Selections are quick to access and moving between menus is a breeze. Again, while not flashy, these are solid nicely designed menus that get the job done with a minimal of fuss.

Extras:
There’s a few extras included on the final volume of this release, but Ranma extras in general tend to be pretty minimal. We get clean openings and endings that were used in these episodes as well as several pages of good black and white line art. There’s also some lightly detailed cast profiles of the English cast and a main listing of the actors for both languages.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first box set, we got introduced to the basic who’s and why’s of the series, such as Ranma’s ability to change gender, his fathers ability to turn into a panda and the whole messy relationship between Ranma and Akane and the apparently hundreds of women that his father has promised him to for things as small as a bowl of rice.

This set pretty much follows up on the relationship angle of things by making it even messier. Things kick off with my favorite arc in the series to date, that being the one with the skating competition to see who gets to keep P-Chan after Akane accidentally loses him to the childish half of a very well known and dysfunctional skating team. To make it worse, the male half of the team has designated Akane as his 1000th girl to kiss, which only infuriates Ranma. This is one of those very well done early episodes that’s still fresh even after seeing it several times and works well because the cast is still small.

The main introduction in this box is the character of Happosai, the super midget sized martial arts master of both Soun and Genma. We learn that Soun and Genma has taken out the master years ago and tried to off him in their own incapable way, as Happosai is the kind of person you try to keep out of your life, as he’s only thinking of himself and his endless pursuit of women’s underwear. And at his stage of life, he’s not going to change one bit. He’s finally made his way to the Tendo dojo and has decided to hang out around there for awhile.

This naturally leads to a series of predictable yet amusing situations with Happosai trying to swipe some particular undergarment, Ranma getting the blame and hilarity ensues. That’s not to say they’re bad though, because the way it all plays out is good, especially with Soun and Genma pushing Ranma off as the new student for Happosai to teach. Happosai himself is pretty well done and has a lot of good moments, especially one when his ability to go after women is taken away, which is like his ability to breathe.

Also introduced to the series of “the old hag”, Shampoo’s grandmother. She comes along to get things finalized with the wedding plans between the two and ends up issuing a variety of challenges to Ranma, including toying with him about ways to stay a man and freeing himself from his curse. This area also introduces Mousse to the audience, the guy who does really love Shampoo, but it’s pretty minimal overall for him.

While there’s a number of good sized character arcs, there’s also a good deal of individual episodes that play out well interspersed throughout. The individual episodes play as you’d expect with no long term impact but do help to flesh out the characters. The Romeo and Juliet episode in particular was a good spot of fun. While I find myself burning out on the final seasons of the series, it’s refreshing to see these early ones and rediscover why I liked it the first time and why they still feel like good entertaining episodes. This second season of Ranma is definitely a good one.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Line art,Textless opening and ending credits,Cast profiles

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.

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