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Reviewby Christopher Macdonald
Ranma ½ OAV
DVD Box Set
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 speak a word of Chinese and yet he insists on bringing you to the cursed training ground known as Jusenkyo, where falling into one of the many springs instantly turns into whoever - or whatever - drowned there last. And then the two of you have this little accident...
From now on, a splash of cold water will turn your father into a giant panda, while you... well, you turn into a red-haired (and incredibly well-built) female version of yourself. Hot water will reverse the effect, but only until the next time. What's a half-guy, half-girl to do?
The Ranma 1/2 OAV Series includes 3 DVDs with four episodes each. The OAVs included are "Curse of the Contrary Jewel", "Tendo Family Christmas Scramble", "Akane vs. Ranma! I'll be the One to Inherit Mother's Recipes!", "Stormy Weather comes to School! Growing Up With Miss Hinako", "The One to Carry On" (2 parts), "Reawakening Memories" (2 parts), "Team Ranma vs. the Legendary Phoenix", "Oh Cursed Tunnel of Lost Love! Let My Love Be Forever", "Hell Hath No Fury Like Kasumi Scorned!" and "The Two Akanes, "Ranma, Look At Me!""
While the TV series was based directly on the Manga by Rumiko Takahashi the OAVs are original stories which, while based on Takahashi's Ranma world, are not based on her scripts. Many would state that this makes the OAVs inferior, non-canon work when compared to the TV series. On the other hand, the OAVs do benefit from higher production values as a result of the larger budget generally allocated to the production of OAVs.
The 10 stories presented vary significantly despite being written by the same person, Ryota Yamagushi, who also wrote the screenplays for the Ranma ½ TV series. Some are touching stories that further develop Akane and Ranma's relation ship, interspaced with typical Ranma comedy and action, others are not quite as deep or touching but remain absolutely hilarious, Ranma at his zaniest. Others yet seem to be nothing more than filler material re-using the same old over used jokes and not contributing to the ongoing story in any way. Fortunately the latter are the minority.
The DVD image is, as always, much crisper than VHS and no major instances of any DVD related problems such as pixelation. On the audio side of things, both audio tracks are clear and error free. Unfortunately this DVD set does not feature Dolby 5.1 or DTS, just good old Dolby 2.0. Special features include character bios for all the main characters as well as some supporting characters, an interview with Rumiko Takahashi from Animerica, 14 music videos (all the opening and ending themes without credits) and a map of the Tendo family home.
Despite being cardboard, the DVD case is actually very nice, folding out into 4 sections with 3 sections holding the DVDs (in plastic DVD-holders) and one for the insert. The front of the case features a picture of Ranma, Ryoga, Ukyo and Mousse, while the back features one of the most popular Ranma pictures of all time, female Ranma in a cat suit. The insert itself contains the general Ranma synopsis (as above) on one side, and the episode list on the other, as well as the two pictures from the front and back of the case. The inside of the case also features two very nice pictures, one of female Ranma in a swimsuit, and the other of Ranma's mother. Each DVD is brightly colored, featuring a picture of a different "Tendo family pet" on the DVD and under the transparent DVD holder. A plastic slipcase is included to protect the cardboard box from damage.
It is highly agreed upon that the best Ranma videos remain the first season of the TV series, anyone looking to make their first foray into the crazy world of Ranma ½ should start with the TV series. The OAVs are a great alternative for the rest of us who are getting tired of the later episodes in the TV series. This boxed set is a must buy for any Ranma ½ collector and definitely worth looking into for all Ranma fans.
The OVA episodes themselves will be reviewed individually at a later time.
Overall : B
+ Nice extras, nice box.
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