Ranma Forever Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • 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

Ranma Forever Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     December 11, 2002
Release Date: December 10, 2002


Ranma Forever Vol. #4
© Viz Media


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 speakia word of Chinese, and he insists on bringing you to the cursed training ground knownias Jusenkyo, where falling into one of the many springs instantly turns you into whoever- or whatever- drowned there last. And then, the two of you have this little accident...

The Cradle from Hell- In the life of every father, there must eventually come a time when the son challenges his authority, tests his own strength, declares himself a man. But is Cup Ramen worth losing your dad for?

Madame St. Paul's Cry for Help- A vat of forbidden, blue wine is having a strange effect on Picolet Chardin, that memorable, masterful monsieur of martial arts dining. Fearing for her charge, Mme. St Paul asks for help... though she may wish she hadn't.

Meet Youiin theiMilky Way- Held every year oniJuly 7th, Japan's "tanabata" festival celebrates theicelestial reunion of theiWeaver Princess andiher beau, theiCowherd. when the two descend from theisky, their story seems suddenly so much less romantic....

The Review!
The halfway mark of the final season is just another point where it’s easy to tell that the show is such a shadow of its former self, that it works hard to try and get any kind of laugh.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
The front cover is a and amusing one that goes back to the family side of the show as Genma in panda form gives Ranma a really big hug. 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Unlike past discs, al three episodes here scream out weak, weak, weak. The opening episode is particularly dull inducing one where Genma is mysteriously more powerful than his son, and the two engage back and forth over it. The only amusing part is he secret technique that Genma eventually wins with, finally showing that some good can come from being a panda.

“Madame St. Paul's Cryifor Help” brings us back to the characters of Saint Paul and Picolet. Providing you’ve seen season five I presume, as I have no clue who these people are. Ranma and Akane head off to the large castle at the request of Madame Saint Paul to see why her ward of Picolet is hiding in his tower and not coming out during the day all while women fall pray to attacks. The instant guess is that he’s a vampire, and with his mastery of the Martial Arts School of Dining, well, you know he’s going to be powerful. This episode plays a bit more as a mystery with some action thrown in and actually gives Akane a few moments to shine in both the action aspect and in the fan service way. But with not knowing who Picolet and Saint Paul are yet, it just didn’t do much.

The final episode here, “Meet Youiin theiMilky Way”, was a real eye-roller. Going into the mystical side of things, we get a tale from the past updated to present day again as theiWeaver Princess and theiCowherd make an appearance. The tale is one where she ends up being more powerful than him, so he wanders off to train. She still wants to marry him, but has been given a deadline to return home with him otherwise she goes to another. So the princess ends up meeting up with Akane and the two are quite alike, whereas Ranma ends up coming across the Cowherd, and ends up getting seriously thrashed. He’s gained some serious strength since he left, and is now challenging every dojo in town until he’s powerful enough to win over the Princess’ heart.

While there’s certainly enough fantastic aspects to the Ranma series, ones like these (and the time travel episodes previously seen) take it far too far out of its bounds and gives it a whole shark jumping feel. There were amusing moments, such as having her and Akane be alike and then the princess showing amazing speed, and the way Ranma was getting his thrashing, though quite obvious really. But it just really felt weak and only makes me happy to know that the series is almost over.

Features
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.

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