Ranma 1/2 is an anime that any worshipper of classic anime should at least know off, it was one of many anime titles that help to boost the popularity of anime in the 90's, and for fans of the harem genre, it is very important due to defining the "lovers in denial" storytelling portion of it.
The story of Ranma 1/2 revolves around a 16-year-old boy named Ranma Saotome, who is raised to be a man among men, forced into marriage with a girl of the same age named Akame Tendo, youngest daughter of Soun Tendo, by a deal shared between the fathers of both (Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo), it seems like an easy cruise for Ranma but he is faced with the burden the curse of turning into a girl when faced with cold water. It doesn't just place a burden on his relationship between Akane Tendo, it also places a burden on his martial arts training.
That's barely touching the surface of what goes on in this series, the series is very bizarre yet it's also crushingly entertaining, and creative, one of the major plot focuses in the series is a class of martial arts where anything goes and fighters of crazy, made-up styles for Ranma Saotome and co. to challenge. I'm quite amazed by the balance between the action, comedy, and romance however the plot suffers from many pitfalls. the main plotline lacks diversity, it's almost always follow like this:
Akame being a damsel in distress or a guy trying to win her heart, Ranma gets offended and tries to end it, once he does the first time, Akame sees that Ranma does hold affections for her, Ranma denies it, they bicker, Ranma insults Akame harshly, Akame gets uspet, and leaves bringing herself and even others around her in danger, Ranma goes to defeat the man while leaving time to kiss n' make up with Akame. End.
It may be endearing the first several times but it loses much of it's allure afterwards. Another problem is that there's plenty of cookie-cutter filler material like when Moose decides to go back to his hometown but doesn't, and wasting all the emotional tension for a whole episode of stupid, mean-spirited slapstick involving him getting beat up. That's not it, the series doesn't even have a real conclusion, it doesn't decide if Ranma and Akame get together or not, it just ends with Ranma hiding from his mom when she came to see his face again.
Let me start off by saying the art is very well done, I always thought Rumiko Takahashi was a talent artist and it shows here, it gives out the fun and quirkiness of the series with the bright, vibrant colors and fluff character designs however the art shows a lack of diversity, I mean just by comparing Ranma and Ryoga alone shows how really similar the characters tend to look like to each other.
The flow of animation in general isn't exactly something to brag about, although the animation looked great on the first season it declines significantly after that, and Season 3 (Hard Battle) in particular was really badly and cheaply animated; the characters were like crude, cloppy blobs with washed-out color palettes but the animation does pick up some steam though by season 4, and is near on par with season 1 by the end. This all may have been passable at the time but looking at it by today's standards, it isn't exactly the best visionary experience.
The sound is brilliant. It's amazing how the voice actors can bring out the characters' personalities in a wide range, they sound can sound happy, cool, angry, cute, and sad. With big name seyiuus like Megumi HAYASHIBARA, and Noriko HIDAKA rocking the set you can't go wrong, even the English Dub voice-acting isn't half bad either.
The musical score is mostly a mixture between Traiditional Japanese and Traiditional Chinese style OSTs with some occassional Jpop thrown in. The music is well put in places like in the comedic scenes where I helps encourage you to laugh or at least chuckle and when the action begins, it helps you get excited, and expire you to try some martial arts.
The characterization is probably one of the things that will make you overlook the plot's many pitfalls, I found all the characters to be loveable in their own way but with a small exceptions like Happosai. The characters are rather complex with the way they act, and their relationship. Personally I found the Ranma Saotome X Akame Tendo relationship to be some of the most well-written potiential couples in fiction writing, the chemistry between the two is just amazing. The only problem with the characterization is that the characters themselves barely grow, like I said before it would have been nice to say Ranma and Akame seal the deal or not.
Despite it's many issues, Ranma 1/2 is a entertaining, cute, and light-hearted series that will keep you watching all the way to the end and get totally addicted to.
Do I recommend it? If you're a lover of classic anime, the harem genre, or action/comedy shonen, definitly watch it.
Let me start off right away by saying; no, I haven't read the manga. Although I had heard about Ranma 1/2 before, it was only since very recently that I came in contact with it. And it just so happens that I prefer watching anime than reading manga.
Besides, everybody keeps saying that the manga is superior, so why would you need me to confirm it for you? And if it is true, than I must truly adore the manga should I ever read it. Though the manga may be better, I will remain ignorant of that for this review.
Story - 7/10
This is the deciding factor whether you are going to like Ranma 1/2 or not. Let me put it this way; if you were expecting your typical long-runner shounen anime with story arcs of 30 episodes (or more) each, with multiple, powerful bad-guys, then you are looking in the wrong spot. Ranma 1/2 is not like Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball or Bleach. It simply doesn't take itself serious enough for that. Basically, it's an 161 episode long, episodic romantic comedy with a good dose of action. There are no major villains, no battles to decide the fate of the world, no casualties and no story arcs. That being said, if you enjoy these collections of short, silly, light-hearted scenarios, then you'll probably enjoy Ranma 1/2. If not, I suggest you skip this one completely.
So storywise, there's not much going on here, but naturally there is a plot. It follows 16 year old Saotome Ranma, who, during a training journey through China with his father, Genma, falls into a cursed spring at Jusenkyo. It was in this spring that a young girl tragically drowned some 2000 years ago. Now, a curse rests on Ranma, and whenever he is splashed with cold water, he transforms into a red-headed girl! He transforms back when doused with warm water. I don't think I need to tell you what awkward situations this can bring. But he is not the only one. His father, Genma, fell into a spring where a panda drowned, thus causing him to turn into a panda. A little later, they both return to Japan, where Genma has made a promise with his old fellow trainee Soun Tendo that his son was to marry one of his daughters and inherit the Tendo Anything-Goes-Martial Arts Dojo. Ranma's fiancée turns out to be Akane Tendo, a tsundere prototype. And you guessed it! They don't get along at all, and constantly deny their engagement to one another.
More characters pop up as the show progresses, such as Ryoga Hibiki, the directionally challenged rival of Ranma, who transforms into a black piglett, dubbed by Akane as P-chan, and Shampoo, an Amazon sworn to kill girl-type Ranma (for a little while at least) and marry boy-type Ranma. She turns into a kitty when splashed with cold water.
For pretty much the rest of the anime, several boys fall in love with Akane, several girls fall in love with Ranma, and even girl-type Ranma (aka the pigtailed girl) gets some attention. Ranma strives to lift his curse, is challenged by a whole array of goofballs to some bizarre forms of martial arts (dining martial arts?) and struggles with his relationship with Akane. And that's pretty much all I can tell you. Really, there's not many risks for spoilers.
Animation - 7.5/10
Taking into account that this anime is relatively old (around 20 years), I really don't feel like I can complain about it. I haven't seen many anime of this age, so I can't compare it all that well. But to me, at least, the art and animation is satisfactory. I have noticed some small errors, such as Ranma's hair being colored black in certain shots while he was in girl form. These errors are fairly rare though. Lipsynching is a little sloppy most of the times, but that's not such a big bother. Animation does what it needs to do, albeit a bit on the simplistic side mostly. In short, if you like this kind of old-school style, you should appreciate it.
(Also, though it might not look like it, this anime contains nudity, so be warned)
Sound - 9/10
For an oldie, I found the sound quality to be really good compared to others like Dragon Ball. The casting and voice acting is spot on, nearly every character, period. Overacting is not an issue, since it's generally a comedy. The soundtrack consists of some very memorable, recognisable and fun tracks. Wether they're battle themes or play during the funny slapstick scenes, they will always stick to you. Then again, if you've watched 161 episodes, you are at least going to remember some music anyway.
Since this is a long-runner, there's multiple OP's and ED's. Some are very catchy, while others are rather forgettable. But no matter what, you will never in your life forget about the very first opening theme and the second season's ending. It's physically impossible!
Characters - 8/10
There is barely any character development. Yeah, since this anime is episodic, don't count on the characters' personalities changing. With the exception of Ranma and Akane growing towards eachother more, and perhaps Ranma's and Ryoga's relationship, what you see in the beginning is what you gotta deal with for the rest of the series. Akane is the perfect tsundere, and possesses all necesarry qualities, 'nuff said. Ranma's personality doesn't change when he turns into a girl, but he's not afraid to take advantage of his curse. He's just as stubborn, thick-headed and arrogant as his fiancée Akane, so they usually end up squabbling. In a way, Ranma is a tsundere too. Shampoo is a sneaky girl that wouldn't mind resorting to dirty tricks to win Ranma all for herself. Ryoga is quite resentful towards Ranma, mainly because he too has a crush on Akane. When facing Ranma, he's aggresive, but when with Akane, he turns into a major softy. Mousse is a short-sighted fighter who is in love with Shampoo, and has a few bones to pick with Ranma. Kuno has a crush on both Akane and girl-type Ranma. He's arrogant, and possibly the biggest imbecile of the show. Both Genma and Soun are birds of the same feather. They're cowards and appear to be completely useless in a real fight. And the last one I want to adress is Happosai, Soun and Genma's old master. He is the resident "ero-jiji", whose main hobby is stealing women's underwear. He's also a total jerk, and the most hated resident of the Tendo dojo.
Ranma 1/2 has a huge array of characters, and though they may be stereotypical and extreme, they are the driving force behind the anime. It's those over-the-top character traits that make the show fun to watch, and put our main hero in yet another sticky situation.
Conclusion - 8/10
I found Ranma 1/2 to be a fun ride, and I'll definitely check the OVA's and movies later. However, though it has good qualities, it will not appeal to everyone. Heck, I'm not even sure what demographic this anime tries to target, but I suppose it's largely a shounen. If you don't mind episodic, romance mixed with martial arts and overall silliness, give this one a whirl.
My favorite anime/manga of all time. I found it to be the perfect combo of Inu-Yasha action and Urusei Yatsura comedy. Best of both worlds in more ways than one. What makes Ranma 1/2 is the characters and their kooky flaws. It is bascially the anime equilvanet of looney tunes from the slapstick to the well thought out jokes (even if repeteiveitve) jokes. Its timeless and can be started at any point no mattter the situation. You'll find yourself laughing one way or another because it is a chracter driven comedy with some of the best jokes and laughs you'll have watching anime. It's a martial arts animal gender bender romantic coemdy. Highly reccomend it especially if your a Rumiko fan! It's about a 16 year old martial artist who goes to China and falls in one of the cursed Jusenkyo springs and now turns into a girl when splashed with cold water and back to a boy when splashed with warm water. During his teenage dilemma his father sets him up to marry one of his good friends Soun Tendo's three daughters. The one chosen happens to be the only one who says she despises men. Now they will have to deal with suitors from both sexes and more Jusenkyo spring victoms in order for their enagament to last. There is very little chracter development expect for the main three most enjoyable chracters Ranma, Akane and Ryouga.
Ranma and Akane's romance seems to bloom as Ranma becomes more determined to fight to protect rather than hurt. He becomes less jerky/whiney and more manly as the series goes on despite the fact that he can still turn into a girl.XD Its impressive how he does become a tad more emoitoal as a girl and more prone to tears but otherwise stays in chracter.
Akane much like Ranma becomes less jerky and more caring and motherly as the series goes on. At least we see more of it. It is hinted early on the deep down she is incredibly good natured and kind by Dr. Tofu. But as Ranma states "not yet I don't see it." He sees it little by little as the series goes on and the two become closer.
Ryouga becomes much more tame and dare I say mature as the series goes on. He is portayed as one of the most idiotic and gulliable (funny and likable) of the whole cast (similar to mouse) but his bro friendship/rivalry with Ranma helps him come to accept these things about himself. This is better shown towards the end of the manga but can still be seen here too. Unlike most ofthe cast its clear that Rumiko really liked creating and writing him and it shows whenever he is on screen.
If you are still usneure at least watch the first two or so seasons and witness the great animation. The character desgins are abolsutly perfect and help protray every moment on screen and nails even the heavier moments as well. Much like Ouran Host it show the best romantic comedy animation for its time/year. Its a shame that the better animators left after the first two seasons because otherwise the animation would be a 10/10.
The music is classic and memoable for a typical action comedy. The 1 opening is the best while the rest are ok. The song Equal Romance is a perfect song I would sing to decribe this anime. Timeless, cute and memorable. Many romanctic comedies (Nisekoi) have nothing on this.
So wow, um… as you read from the description or just by knowing this pretty well known anime, this is a gender bender harem. As such, the show has numerous amounts of fan service, awkward tension, misunderstandings, and secrets. You can’t watch the whole series without a boob popping out once in a while or the occasional pervert showing up now and again. (Kurai: “You are not going to be seeing mine!”) (Angel: “Sounding more like a girl already are we?”) (Kurai: “Shut up!”)
I have a big question, how is every freaken boy after Akane? I never see anything in her that would be the normal of a girl the boys would drool over. I guess in a way, that’s what makes this show special. She’s not the nerdy girl with glasses, the moe girl with childlike aspects, or a full adult style body. She’s just a normal girl who practices martial arts and is kind of (ok, really bad) at cooking. Sometimes she does have a sweet side but she doesn’t show it to just anyone so how they know about it would be beyond me. We can understand why everybody wants Ranma though; he’s strong, agile, and really athletic. He is also somewhat like a bad boy so it sums him up slightly. But even in the first episode, Ranma shows that he can be sweet and has a code that’s rather good. Now if only he wasn’t afraid of cats… (Kurai: “Ha! That’s the stupidest fear…”) (Angel: “Watch it or when I find out yours, your going down!”) (Kurai: *Shuts up*)
One could also wonder about a lot of characters in this show because they are really super stupid. They may have some times where they are at least a little smart but oh god that doesn’t last long at all. I can understand some of the love triangles and some of the problems with nearsightedness, directional problems, and other such things. BUT… that does not excuse more then half the stupid stuff they do. Believe me, if I go too much into the other characters, we will be here all night. That’s another problem with the series; we have the main characters; the supporting characters; the characters that come up every other episode; the ones that stay for a short time, go away and come back again in the next season; and then there are the characters we think may show up again and don’t. (Akuma: “What about the ones that turn into animals?”) (Angel: “I’m getting to that.”) The ones who turn into animals (and I talk about the ones that actually are more like main characters) are somewhat interesting and if you really get into the animals they turn into and their personalities, they pretty much all fit.
Ryoga who’s the pig, and he is pretty much as strong as a boar and a lot of times he runs head first into a situation without thinking. He gets lost easy to the point that he would get lost going to the bathroom in his own damn house! There is Mousse who turns into a duck, and he pretty much talks like one when he starts explaining things all the time. And yet, he is so nearsighted that even when standing two inches away from something, if he doesn’t have his glasses, he thinks it’s someone else. And then there is Shampoo who turns into a cat, she’s feisty and acts like a cat in how cunning she can be.
Then we get to the point where I bet every one wants me to point out, the fact the series runs to damn long! There are seven seasons, three movies, and 12 OVAs. I will get to the OVAs later on though but the seasons… this show should not of gone on as long as it did and it still didn’t end! The manga didn’t end either but I feel that most of the reason the series went on so long is they were playing it out for the end of the manga. The jokes are reused so many times that it feels stale and I hate to say it but most of the episodes aren’t really even part of the manga.
There are some inconsistencies that happen within the show, as in the first episode, Genma turns into a man after being a panda but he has clothing on. One of the big things about people who turn into animals is that they lose their clothing. It’s a major part of the story but yet at times it seems that it only happens when it inconsistencies them. Other times they turn back with clothing on. It makes it a little confusing.
The artwork is rather good for how old the show is and it aged rather well. It does get even better in its later episodes as it grew with the time although the older ones have a nice feeling that they did different animation for flashbacks to previous episodes. The female body is very sexually created and yet many of the girls do seem to have a bit of muscular body structure to show they have been working out. There is a lot of nudity and though in the earlier episodes, they luckily don’t show the nipple (Well, at least for the moving images but then they are sitting there, sometimes they do. In the later ones though, they show practically a well-detailed body.
The English voice acting… well it gets better over time. Oh come on now, you can’t tell me that after how many seasons Ranma got (and the many amounts of movies) it wouldn’t at least get better. Many times the lip sink does get out of sink but with so many characters screaming and having exaggerated mouth movements, it happens. The music can be really fun at times and then switch to a mysterious few cords. They may be annoying but since they have been used over and over, there are ones I can pick out perfectly as what the soundtrack is supposed to represent.
This show is mainly held together by the comedy for me. Its got it's cute romantic moments, and key points. But aside from the main theme being fighting, the comedy is just astounding. There are parts where you just have to laugh because some of the things said or done is just so silly. The characters are whacky, and unique, and the anime is very clever. For a harem, it really wasn't all that bad compared to others I've seen. The main love interests weren't fickle and it was clear who Ranma and Akane loved despite everyone elses' advances. This anime is a real mood lifter for those who've had a bad day.