Ranma Forever Vol. #5 - 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: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     February 13, 2003
Release Date: February 04, 2003


Ranma Forever Vol. #5
© Viz Media


What They Say
It's said, if he who eats of the sakura-mochi or "cherry blossom rice-cake" is meant to be with you forever, the mark of the sakura shall appear on his forehead. But if it should be that he is not....

Happosai's always relied on his special Happo Dai-Karin or "Happo Fire-Burst" technique to get what he wants, but when the "karin" part changes to "kaBIN," Happosai's mold starts gettin' old real quick!

Then, Tatewaki (age seventeen) is in love with girl-type Ranma, while Kodachi (a.k.a. "the Black Rose") adores the boy-type. Brought to blows by jealousy, where's King Solomon when you need him?

The Review!
After some of the overly fantastical stories in the previous volume, things get a little more down to earth here, as much as can be down to earth for a series like Ranma that is.

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 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)
After the previous volume with it’s far out stories that stretch the bounds of even a show like Ranma, I started to fear that the remainder of the season would likely fall into the same routine, letting it all go out in a true shark jumping fashion. Thankfully, these three episodes actually avoid the more fantastical parts and have some good fun simple stories reminiscent of the early seasons.

Akane gets a rather fun episode after she’s given the recipe to a cherry blossom rice cake that will tell you if someone is your intended mate or not. When you prepare the meal yourself and give it to someone, if they’re you’re intended, their face will have small sakura blossoms on it. If they’re not intended, well, it’s giant black X mark. Akane’s attempts at this are rather amusing since people are automatically afraid of her culinary skills, and she does manage to screw up the food. The cakes still work though, as we’re quickly treated to some X’s, such as Happosai being force fed a cake. Her goal of getting Ranma to eat one though tends to be foiled by his stubbornness of not wanting to eat her food as well as not wanting to know the future. Add in a pleasant dash of Ryoga and him getting the sakura blossoms on his face and it’s a good romantic triangle episode once again.

Happosai gets an episode here as well, though it wasn’t as annoying as some of his other ones. The town seems to be inundated with rain and has been for days, causing quite glum moods for all. This is particularly bad for Happosai as nobody has their laundry hanging out, so he’s going into withdrawal. When he returns home empty-handed, he naturally ends up feuding with Ranma, but finds that his fire burst balls don’t work due to it being so damp and wet. Ranma takes advantage of this and basically runs him like a slave, but Happosai goes to work on creating a mold-bomb that will return him to power.

Probably the most enjoyable episode on this disc is the final one where we have Tatewaki and Kodachi going at each other for offenses each has caused, which ends up getting Ranma involved while Nabiki is truly at the heart of it all. Starting with Tatewaki using Kodachi’s poster of her loved one Ranma as target practice, she responds by stealing his book of “wow! Shocking!” photo’s of girl-type Ranma. This spills over into the public arena and the school, where Ranma gets involved and tries to get the book himself. There’s lots of back and forth, short bursts of martial arts and the usual dealings of Nabiki. The best part is actually getting to see the photos that are in the album, showing just what kind of person Tatewaki is.

This disc slightly restored some of the faith in the show that the last couple of discs have helped diminish, but I’m still just looking forward to the end, where it’ll all be over once and for all.

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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