Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Viz Media
- MSRP: 119.98
- Running time: 375
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Ranma 1/2
Ranma 1/2 OVA Box Set
By Chris Beveridge
May 09, 2000
Release Date: May 09, 2000
Ranma 1/2 OVA Box Set
What They Say
© Viz Media
Includes 12 original video episodes on 3 DVDs. Romance, comedy, martial arts mayhem, multiple personality changes, devilish dolls, haunted caves, magical phoenixes, evil ogres, legendary monsters and more!The Review!
After a long drought of any kind of Ranma on DVD since the second movie was released back in 1998, Pioneer and Viz have gotten together to release the entire OVA series in one handy package. Get a big dose of Ranma in one fell swoop.
The three discs are presented in both it's original Japanese language and the English language version produced by Viz. Both tracks are in a Dolby Digital stereo format and sound clean and clear. We couldn't detect any hint of distortion, though at a few times the Japanese track seemed a bit low briefly. There have been several comments about the audio being inverted on the disc from the left to right channels, which you can tell easily by watching the images on the screen. If someone on the left is yelling, but you hear the sound come out of the right, there's a problem. We paid extremely close attention to this as we got to our set after the problem was being reported, but could find no trace of it on our set. Others have said the same, so we're not sure where the issue is.
The video was a surprise though. While these aren't exactly old OVA episodes, and OVA's generally mean a higher level of quality, these looked fantastic. Colors are vibrant and with the amount of fluidity in some of these episodes, it was a real pleasure to watch. A few sequences looked a bit soft and I'm sure during the swamp episodes some older players may have a bit of trouble with the fog, but we saw only the faintest amounts of pixellation and the occasional moire lines in some of the more tightly drawn sequences. The quality of the video in this set is definitely a step up from my expectations.
As with any Pioneer box set, there's bound to be controversy about it's release in terms of the packaging. Similar to the Tenchi Muyo Ultimate Edition and Fushigi Yugi box sets, it's the cardboard foldout with the three discs inside. Personally, as with the previously mentioned box sets, I like them. I would prefer overall a more standard box set with keepcases, but this isn't something that will keep me from buying it. The cover artwork is nice, but not hugely eye-catching. The back cover has the fan favorite picture of Ranma in female form in the tiger striped bikini with ears. Each of the discs is brightly colored with a picture behind it on the box of various Ranma characters. The only downside to the packaging is the real lack of information about the show on the back. There's one little blurb about it, but nothing that will definitely sell the set to someone who hasn't seen any Ranma before. Of course, that's what the TV series is for.
The menus are pretty simple overall. The first two discs have three selections over an animated bubble floating sequence. While not flashy, they work and are functional. The third disc however has extra "bubble" selections and the movement of the cursor around the screen becomes more difficult. If you move up and then want to go back down, down takes you somewhere completely different. Getting to a particular area wasn't the easiest. But that's really the only complaint about the menus.
There's a bunch of extras on the third disc as well, which is dual layered (the first two were single layered). There are the twelve original opening sequences which are fun to watch, a section of character information, some sketches and a trailer for the English language editions. If you go into the Viz section and select their anime proper, there are a couple dozen trailers for other titles in their overall catalog. Since they have a few titles coming up I haven't seen anything on before (such as Key), this was definitely a good way to check them out.
After a couple of years of not seeing any new Ranma, it was a real treat to see the OVA's. My previous experience with the OVA's was the poorly done laserdiscs from many years back. They were originally released dubtitled, and only the first four OVA's made it out. So while some had been seen before, the majority of them were new and made me even more eager to see the great first season of the TV series again.
The episodes themselves overall are good, though there were a few I didn't care for. Thankfully the original episode titles have been restored to this set (I never cared for the localized titles). The first disc had some good episodes, especially Tendo Family Christmas Scramble. Kasumi has always been my favorite, so the ones she's highlighted in always rate higher. The only one on the first disc I didn't care for much was the one with Miss Hinako. I thought it was a poor episode when I saw it several years ago and still feel that way today.
The second disc contains two two-parter episodes. The first set has a very good story about Soun Tendo's potential infidelity as two girls who claim to be his daughters show up and end up taking the dojo away from rightful inheritor Akane. Much training and angst is gone through by her and Ranma as they try to take back the dojo. Very good episodes. The second set was definitely much weaker, focusing on a long lost meeting between Akane and a boy in a swamp. The episodes were interesting and the side characters had some good lines, but it was fairly dull overall.
The third disc had four unconnected episodes. The first one was actually a short movie and one I really didn't care for. I generally like episodes with Kuno, but this was just very weak in my eyes. The story had even less meat to it than the others. The plus side to it was that it was letterboxed in it's original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and has some great animation. The love tunnel episode was definitely much better, though the animation seemed more off in it. The last two episodes though made up for the rest of the disc. OVA 11 wasn't entirely Kasumi focused, but she was possessed by a demon and had evil urges. Perfectly scripted and wonderfully acted by the Japanese VA. The last episode had some great sequences as well, especially the ones with Akane trying to get around as the tiny doll. Both of these episodes had very good animation and was a great way to end out the OVA run.
If you're a Ranma fan, this is an easy purchase. Compared to the six tapes that were originally released, storage alone is a huge selling point. Getting these already wonderful looking episodes in a high quality durable format with soft subtitles and having the option to check out the original opening sequences, it's highly recommended.
English Language,Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Music Videos,Trailers,Character Info,Sketch Gallery
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.