So, I’m now moving on to one of the longest running romantic-comedy action series in the history of anime – Ranma 1/2. Specifically, the series first season, before the love triangle became became a Cat’s Cradle, and you could tell what the character relationships were without a wiki.

Cast, Crew & Other Info

Kappei Yamaguchi as Ranma Saotome (Male)
Megumi Hayashibara as Ranma Saotome (Female)
Noriko Hidaka as Akane Tendou
Hirotaka Suzuoki as Tatewaki Kunoh
Kenichi Ogata as Genma Saotome
Kikuko Inoue as Kasumi Tendou
Kouichi Yamadera as Ryouga Hibiki
Minami Takayama as Nabiki Tendou
Rei Sakuma as Shampoo
Ryunosuke Ohbayashi as Souun Tendou
Saeko Shimazu as Kodachi Kunoh
Yuji Mitsuya as Dr. Tofu.

Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki & Tsutomu Shibayama
Based on a manga by Rumiko Takahashi
Animation by Studio DEEN

The Premise

Ranma Saotome is a martial artist, who has been traveling China with his father, Genma, who has betrothed him (without his knowledge) to his friend Soun Tendo’s daughter, Akane (without her knowledge as well). Unfortunately, in the course of training in China, they decided to spar at the legendary training ground of Jusenkyo, filled with thousands of springs – all cursed by various creatures that died in them, with whoever falls into that spring turning into that creature when cold water is splashed on them, and changing back when hot water is poured on them. Genma lands in Spring of Drowned Panda. Ranma lands in Spring of Drowned Girl. Upon their return to Japan, Hilarity Ensues.

High Points

The Kuno siblings, Tatewaki Kuno “The Blue Thunder of Furikan High” (formerly the “Shooting Star” before deciding to change his title), Kodachi Kuno “The Black Rose” of whatever girl’s school she goes to. So, alike, yet so very dissemilar, and hilarity ensues whenever they show up.

The Low Points

The pelvic-fortune telling episode.

Nudity & Violence

No graphic violence this time, but there are a lot of female topless shots, and near-male nudity. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a problem with female nudity or near-nudity, you should not be watching Ranma 1/2, because it’s going to stay this way in every season of the show and every volume of the manga.

The Scores

Originality: It’s based on a manga, one with a concept I have to admit I’d never heard of before the manga, though it’s had its imitators since. 4 out of 6.

Animation: Pretty good, it’s a hand-animated television series, so it’s good towards the start and end of the season, and kind of iffy in the middle. 4 out of 6.

Story: It’s not pretty deep, and it’ll require a lot of suspension of disbelief for people who aren’t used to Harem Comedies, and really-bizarre wacky hyjinks. Oh, and a lot of the humor is slapstick, with a few puns. I found it funny though. Note – the martial arts get weirder as series goes on, from Rhythmic Gymnastic Wrestling this season, to Battle Figure Skating next season, and Tea Ceremony fighting in a later season – consider yourself warned. 3 out of 6.

Voice Acting: The acting is generally good all around, with the standouts being Megumi Hayshibara (unsurprising), Ryunosuke Ohbayshi as Soun Tendo (not surprising – I’d seen him in Patlabor), and Hirotaka Suzouki as Tatewaki Kuno (he did the voice of Bright Noah in the Mobile Suit Gundam UC series until he passed away from lung cancer a few years ago). 5 out of 6.

Emotional Respone: It’s a comedy, it’s supposed to be funny, and I laughed. I didn’t get as many “Aww” moments as I suspect they were going for though. 4 out of 6.

Production: The sound design is pretty good, without much that really sticks out as being out of place… or standing out in any other regard for that matter. 3 out of 6.

Overall: It’s an enjoyable series, and it’s probably one anyone trying to get into anime should watch at least once (and at least the first season) – either this or Urusei Yatsura anyway. 5 out of 6.

In total, Ranma 1/2 – Season 1 gets a 28 out of 42.

Addendum:

This series is one of the series that I consider part of the “Canon” of anime – series that will be referenced, either with visual gags or plot references in other anime series. I’m planning on working on a list of editorials covering some of these series in the canon, and expanding on this further.