Ranma ½ | Season 7 DVD Box Set (VIZ Media, NR)

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ranma-s7-header.jpgRanma ½ is not your typical cartoon, or even your typical Japanese anime and that's what makes this television series so unique.

 

 

5 discs, 27 episodes; approx. 625 minutes

Bilingual (English dubbed and Japanese with English subtitles)

 

I've never been a fan of comics, and probably because of that never sought out Japanese manga or anime. Part of me always figured they were for those people who never really grew out of watching Saturday morning cartoons. Imagine my surprise years ago when my cousin pushed Ranma ½ at me and insisted I watch the first few seasons. With little to defend myself, I went home, seasons in arms, and began to watch the first episode. I was surprised and amused to see a cartoon whose humor was centered around cross-dressing, the female anatomy, and both girls and boys alike kicking martial arts ass; not to mention a grandfather, Happosai, who is obsessed with women's underwear, including Ranma's - his future grandson-in-law.

Ranma ½ is ultimately the love-story between Ranma Saotome and his fiancée Akane Tendo, who both outwardly despise each other but secretly live for each other. As heir to the Tendo School of Anything Goes Martial Arts, Akane has been promised to Ranma through an arrangement set up between Ranma's father, Genma Saotome, and Akane's father, Soun Tendo. Not long into the arrangement does Akane learn about the legendary curse that has been laid upon Ranma and his father. While on one of his father's training excursions across China, Ranma and Mr. Saotome make the mistake of getting too close to one of China's most legendary springs, Jusenkyo. Legend says that anyone who falls into one of the springs will take on the form of the person or animal that drowned there. Even after repeated warnings from the Jusenkyo Guide, Ranma and Mr. Saotome continued to practice over the springs and ultimately suffered the fate of the curse. Having fell into the spring of the a drowned red-haired, pig-tailed, and well-endowed girl, Ranma must now live with the female half of his identity whenever he is doused with cold water. Coincidently, his father suffered the curse of the drowned panda and now turns into a panda when the same happens to him. Ranma ½ is not your typical cartoon, or even your typical Japanese anime and that's what makes this television series so unique.

This season seven box set is the conclusion to a brilliantly animated version of Rumiko Takahashi's original manga Ranma ½. With over 625 minutes of sarcastic pleasure, the 5-disc set gives you the option to watch each episode with its translated English voiceovers, or in its original Japanese with English subtitles. Of the 143 episodes made, this set includes the last 25 - #119-143.

While season seven never acknowledges the end of the series (it ended in 1992, four years before the manga finished its run), it still does the series justice. Sure it would have been great to see just how the rivalry between so many characters, most notably Ranma and Akane, played out - Did they get married? Did Ranma ever shake the curse from Jusenkyo? What about Mr. Saotome, Ryoga, or Mousse? - but still leaves you wanting more, the way any series finale should. The manga, which lived its anime life out for seven seasons, has played host to a hoard of various quirky, strange, and returning characters - from Hikaru Gosunkugi, the new and ghostly-looking Furinkan High student, to Maomolin (also known as Ghost Cat), who has been neurotically searching for a bride for over a century. For a complete listing of series characters, visit Rumic World at http://www.furinkan.com/ranma.

I think what attracts people of all types to Ranma ½ is its multi-faceted storyline - there's some aspect of the Japanese animated love story that makes people want more. Unlike other cartoons and comic book inspired animation, Ranma ½ draws in not only Japanese anime lovers in general but also people who have never watched any sort of anime. I suspect its ability to grab people with its adult humor and also shock the audience with such outrageous scenarios like the a boy that turns into a well-endowed female when splashed with cold water is a sharp contrast to the early morning Saturday cartoons we grew up on. A | Jennifer Manjarez
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