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Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 4

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We’re finally used to Ranma’s new voice

 

It’s been a while since we’ve visited the world of Ranma 1/2. It was my favorite anime growing up, though I never came close to seeing all that the series had to offer. Like many people out there, I’ve tried to pick up the out-of-print DVD sets in recent years, but Viz Media recently came to the rescue with a re-issue of the entire series on both DVD and limited edition Blu-ray.
I noted after reviewing set 3 that it was time to hunker down now that all of the main characters had been established, and it would be interesting to see if the series was able to maintain momentum into later sets. For those who don't remember, Ranma 1/2 follows our martial artist protagonist, Ranma, who's fallen under a Chinese curse that causes him to turn into a woman when splashed with cold water. There's what I'll call a love hexagon (or several?) as various characters fall in love with his male and female forms as well as each other.

Set 4 marks the half-way point in the series, and while there isn't anything that takes the series forward in terms of an overarching storyline, the majority of what's here is highly entertaining.

 

Ranma 1/2 DVD Set 4

Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: December 9, 2014
MSRP: $44.82 DVD (reviewed) / $54.97 limited-edition Blu-Ray

I admit I was nervous when the second episode of this set was a recap episode featuring Ranma's rival, Ryoga Hibiki. It obviously felt way too early to be relying on these kinds of episodes, but fortunately it's the only episode of its kind in this set. There are some returning minor characters, including Ling Ling and Lung Lung, Shampoo's Amazon sisters from China, who are comically defeated time and time again in their plot to force Ranma to marry Shampoo. Azusa, the ice skating martial artist, also makes a return appearance, bringing our characters back to the skating rink. There're also two episodes featuring the ghost cat, the second of which features this ethereal being possessing Ryoga's body and proposing to Ranma's love interest, Akane Tendo.

There are two multi-episode stories featured this time around. The first centers on Ryoga becoming invincible when a silly marking is tattooed on his stomach that he desperately wants to have removed out of embarrassment. In the second, we learn that Ranma's pigtail is actually tied with a powerful Chinese relic known as the dragon whisker, which can be used to grow hair in bald men, leading to some hilarity when Ranma's father, Genma Saotome, and even their master, Happosai, want the whisker for their own gain.



From there, we get a series of one-off episodes. There's an inspirational teacher who begins work at the high school that the characters attend who encourages Ranma and Akane to express their feelings for one another, a disciple that Happosai starts training to help him in his underwear-stealing hi-jinx, and some interesting backstory about Kasumi as a childhood friends returns to town. It was interesting seeing more light on her as a character. Some of the more comical episodes center around a love story between Happosai and a young woman teacher that leads to Happosai giving up his underwear collection, Kuno acquiring a magical sword that grants him three wishes which he promptly wastes in order to woo female Ranma, Shampoo's red thread of fate that attempts to magically seal a loving relationship between Ranma and Shampoo, an episode featuring the "Gambling King," who flips Ranma off and is exposed as a cheater who preys on children, and the final episode that features a rift between longtime comrades Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo.

There's nothing really new to report in terms of visuals that I haven't noted several times in reviews of the past sets: Ranma's visual appeal has remained surprisingly intact. We get a new opening an ending theme about halfway through this set, with the "Earth Orchestra" opening that doesn't do much for me, and the melancholy "Hinageshi" closing theme which is fantastic.

We reviewed the DVD set, which didn't sport any extras this time around except some Viz Media trailers. Past releases have featured footage from various conventions and such. We didn't get our hands on the Blu-ray this time, but the limited edition sets come with a character portrait card and a booklet with a episode summaries.



In all, I had a great time with set 4, but as with set 3, this is the point at which you really need to be invested in the series if you want to continue on. Nothing groundbreaking happens in this set, although the episodes are highly entertaining. In an industry where everything seems so broody and serious with a lot of recent anime series I've seen, having access to the upbeat and comical Ranma 1/2 series has been a real treat. 


8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.

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Ranma 1/2 Set 4 reviewed by Jayson Napolitano

8

GREAT

Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide

 
 
 

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Jayson Napolitano
Jayson NapolitanoContributor   gamer profile

Jayson Napolitano was Destructoid's Music Editor, specializing in coverage of game music, chiptunes, and more. After driving both friends and family insane by humming his favorite melodies from v... more + disclosures


 


 


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