A long running series based on the enormously popular manga of the same name by superstar creator Rumiko Takahashi, Ranma 1/2 is a rare combination of all the right elements.
Ranma succeeds because its characters are so believable and likable even though they do impossible things. If one was to actually encounter a young man who had numerous fiancees, lived for free with a family that is not his own and could perform amazing feats of martial arts, you would refuse to believe him yet viewers of Ranma accept these traits in their hero with nary a blink of the eye. They don't even balk at the notion that there could be a place in China that transforms people who are unlucky enough to fall in.
Followers of Ranma accept these fantasies for the same reasons that nobody questions how rabbits, ducks and pigs could talk and walk like people in the classic Warners Bros. cartoons.Takahashi's characters are both broad caricatures and richly complex. We laugh at their antics and foibles but still worry about if Ranma and Akane will ever truly express their feelings for one another. This ability is extremely rare and Takahashi has a real gift.
The stories are always entertaining and sometimes even moving and the artwork is crisp and well-drawn. Each and every aspect of the production (from incidental music to voice acting) as been thought out.In summary, Ranma 1/2 is a nearly perfect series and the preeminent example of the genre.
Volume 1: "The Digital Dojo (Disc 1)" Plot Summary:
The plot of Ranma 1/2 is simple. Ranma Saotome, a 16-year old boy, and his father, Genma, are martial artists. They run their own "school" of martial arts called the "Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts". This means that any type of combat, whether is is karate or calligraphy, can be fought in a martial arts style.
When Ranma was still just a toddler, Genma made a number of rash promises that have gotten both Ranma and Genma into a lot of trouble. The first was that Genma would raise Ranma to be a "man among men" and the second was that Ranma would marry one of the daughters of Genma's best friend and schoolmate, Soun Tendo.
The troubles springs from the fact that Genma took Ranma on a training trip to the "cursed springs of Jusenkyo" where both of them fell into the pools. Now when splashed with cold water, they transform into a giant panda (Genma) and a curvaceous, red haired girl (Ranma). Hot water changes them back. On top of this, add in the childhood betrothal (in which the youngest daughter, Akane, is nominated for bridal duty on the grounds that a tomboy like her would be best for a half man/half girl suitor) and you have the core of Ranma 1/2.
Each episode generally focuses on two main themes - Ranma trying to find a cure for his curse while keeping it hidden from the general public and Akane and Ranma trying to express their affection for each other. There are numerous other side plots and characters as well.
Languages: English VHS, Japanese w/subtitles VHS, or Multilingual DVD
Video: 4:3 NTSC Standard Aspect Ratio
Audio: Dolby Digital
American Release Status: Unavailable
(click on linked names to view a listing of all their works)
Creator: Rumiko Takahashi
Director: Tomomitsu Mochizuki
Character Designer: Atsuko Nakajima
Music: Eiji Mori
Animation Director: Unavailable
Animation Studio: Studio Deen
American Producers: Viz Video
Volume 1 Information
Title: The Digital Dojo (Disc 1)
Running Time: 125
Number of Episodes On This Volume: 5
1: The Strange Stranger From China
2: School is No Place for Horsing Around
3: A Sudden Storm of Love... Hey, Wait a Minute!
4: Ranma and...Ranma? If It's Not One Thing, It's Another
5: Love Me to the Bone! The Compound Fracture of Akane's Heart
Sorry, a synopsis of this volume is currently unavailable.