OAV 1 - Desperately Seeking Shampoo
In "Curse of the Contrary Jewel," Ranma's life gets a lot more interesting when usually-so-in-love Shampoo suddenly turns frosty. He can't know a cursed piece of jewelry is to blame, but will it matter after pride drives Ranma to try any tactic to win back her heart?
This is probably one of the funniest Ranma OVAs produced; in fact it is probably the funniest Ranma episode produced since the first season of the TV series. Watching Ranma constantly try, and fail, to win back Shampoo's heart is outrageously funny. Without any slow down in the humor, there is also some very decent development of the relationship between Akane and Ranma towards the end of the OVA.
The production team is mostly the same as that of the TV series, and Ryota Yamaguchi is the same person who wrote the script adaptations for the TV series. So while the script for this OVA may not have been written by Takahashi herself, it is faithful to her style.
The Ranma Animes have never been the beneficiary of cutting edge animation, and while the OVAs do benefit from a slightly higher production budget, they are no different. Factor in the age of this production and it is understandable that this production won't win any accolades from fps junkies. As with all or Rumiko Takahashi's Manga and all Anime based on her work, there is no attempt at any sort of photo-realism here. In fact, part of the beauty is the simplicity of the art. This is still a very nice animation to watch, with very vibrant colors and acceptably detailed backgrounds and acceptable although not stellar animation.
The dubbing of Ranma ½ by Viz and Ocean studios has long been a subject of great contempt amongst many fans, while others found it to be well done. While I have never been a big fan or the Ranma dubbing, I must say that they have improved from when they first dubbed the TV series, to when they dubbed the OVAs and on to the current season 5 dubs. Fortunately, if you get this OVA as part of the DVD boxed set you have the choice of watching it dubbed or subbed. All in all though, the dubbing is acceptable and those who prefer dubs will not be let down.
The opening theme "Love Panic" by Yawmin is a beautiful piece of up-beat music that and is accompanied by a great piece of animation that any Ranma fan should appreciate. On the other hand, the ending theme, "The Ballad of Ranma and Akane," is a sappy, Disney-esque piece of music that will force any but the most romantic at heart to gag.
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 zany 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 and are available on VHS in sets of two (dubbed or subbed) as well as in VHS and DVD boxed sets.
Overall : B
+ Very nice colors and Artwork, very funny.
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