Ranma Forever Vol. #8 - 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: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ranma 1/2

Ranma Forever Vol. #8

By Chris Beveridge     August 17, 2003
Release Date: August 19, 2003


Ranma Forever Vol. #8
© Viz Media


What They Say
Having learned of his father’s long-ago death pact with his mother, which states that he, Ranma be either reared as a man among men or be put to the sword (along with his father!), Ranma struggles desperately to avoid a seemingly all-but-inescapable fate. Can Akane’s intervention with Ranma’s bushido-minded mama prevent the inevitable, or has Genma made his last mistake... ever!?

The Review!
The final four episodes of Ranma brings in a new character to the series at long last, though we’ve actually seen her in the OVAs already.

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 cover art goes for the family theme to some extent as it brings in Ranma, Genma as panda and his mother together, but there’s just something odd and lacking with the artwork that doesn’t really click. 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:
The extras aren’t top notch here, but I’m glad they finally included what they did. We’ve got the traditional cast listing here for both languages, but we also get multiple photos from the wrap party when this was finished with its dubbing back in September 2001. It’s great to see so much of the English cast together as well as the amusing comments made. The folks there have been doing this title for so long that a wrap party was definitely needed.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final four episodes of Ranma ˝ aren’t exactly what you’d expect a series to go out on to some extent. The final two-parter is good in that it brings in Ranma’s mother at long last, but the episodes before it are pretty weak.

The opening story gives Ryoga his final song, wherein he ends up saving a dog from drowning and the two become good friends. While Ryoga decides that he must go to Tokyo to confess his feelings to Akane, he ends up writing her a letter instead and has the dog take it to her. The dog is probably the smartest member of the entire cast and quickly does his job. But his arrival and the letter causes trouble, bringing Ranma to follow the dog back with the letter Akane sends with it as well as dealing with Kuno’s servant who gets involved in it. It plays out ok and there’s some nice stuff with the letter, but I would have rather seen Ryoga go out a bit better.

This is followed up by a worse episode that deals with the residents dealing with an incoming typhoon. The storm itself isn’t of issue, but it brings in from the outside a strange little man known as the Frog Hermit. He ends up taking residence in the Tendo’s house and is fairly well welcomed outside of Ranma. He manages to scare up people at times accidentally and just causes a little trouble, but ends up clashing with Ranma. They clash frequently over a fish that Ranma found in the street that looks like a seahorse but is actually revealed to be a dragon whose flesh can extend life…. Uh huh..

The two part finale brings Ranma’s mother to visit at long last, as she’s finally found out where Ranma and Genma have been staying all this time. When Genma finds out after receiving a postcard about it, he freaks out and insists they leave right away. Ranma and the others eventually coax it out of him as to whose visiting and they’re all eager to meet her. But Genma keeps Ranma away when she arrives, a beautiful almost traditional Japanese woman. As she explains, she talks about how Genma left with Ranma when he was young for his training to become a man among men.

To agree, eventually, she made Genma and Ranma agree to a contract that if he didn’t become such a man, she would assist them in ritual suicide. With Ranma not exactly being all that manly at times, Genma’s convinced death awaits them. The show turns into a comedy of errors as Ranma and Genma play the girl-type and panda roles so that they can be close to her but not recognizable. It plays out pretty well and there’s some good moments as Ranma aka Ranko deals with his mother and learns about her a bit while she stays at the Tendo’s.

For the end of the series, it plays out pretty much like any other episode or two part section of the past seven seasons. Nothing here screams that it’s the end of it, letting things go out on a bit of a whimper instead of a bang. After all this time, this may be the most disappointing part about it all because it simply ends (well, goes on to OVAs and movies, but they don’t really resolve anything either) as opposed to just more and more coming out forever.

I’ve enjoyed Ranma over the years, but watching all these seasons in the space of just a couple of years reminded me just how great it was to start but how weak it was to carry on. I’m definitely glad that this chapter in US anime history is finally written and closed. Until some retrospective kicks in somewhere and we get a new anniversary special or something.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Wrap Party Photos

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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