Anime Meta-Review


Ranma 1/2, Super & Special OAVs.


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-6 of 6
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • people: Takahashi
  • made: 1994
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

With Viz re-naming and re-numbering everything it can be difficult to connect this with the Japanese originals. So here's some navigation information to start with. No guarantee's as to the accuracy however. In Japan there was a 6 episode OAV series. This makes up the first 3 OAV volumes, or 2 volumes of the subtitled collectors edition. Then there was a OAV special which is called "re-awakening memories" in Japan and "an Akane to remember" in America and is volume 4 (volume 3 in subtitle?). Then there was a short movie and three super-OVA's. These make up volume 5 and 6 in the Viz releases. All the American volumes have invented (and fairly corny) titles. So this review, old as it is, covers the special and super OAV's, along with the short movie.

For those (tiny handful) who know nothing about Ranma i'll begin by saying it is a sprawling epic with an immense number of characters (who are great), strange happenings, romantic comedy and a lot of martial arts action. The martial arts, and the characters, are more fantasy than reality, but given the rich source that is Takahashi Rumiko's Manga (28 volumes) it all works. Oh, and to give extra spice half of the characters change into `cursed forms' when exposed to cold water. This greatly hampers the lead character, Ranma, as he is often forced to get in touch with his feminine side in a rather direct fashion. Another charm of this series is how the domestics of a contemporary Japanese family (admittedly not an entirely ordinary one) combine with Japanese myth and super powered martial arts.

It is also worth noting that the TV anime did not reach the end of the manga, thus some of these stories are drawn from late volume manga. Thus these OAV episodes seem to be far more `true' to the manga than the movies were, and do capture some of the character driven craziness of Ranma. On the other hand almost all the anime versions of Ranma lose a lot of the subtlety from the manga. This makes it feel even more lightweight than it already was. Still, some of these stories (with "An Akane to remember" being a common favourite) are fairly good, and at worst the anime is good fun to watch. For myself I find the manga richer, but if you have a strong preference for anime over manga then these are much better experiences than the fairly lame Ranma movies.

Certainly the animation is nothing special. While it is relatively smooth the action is less `inventive' than that found in the manga. Character design is good, and dialog fine, but the over-all style is pretty `cartoony' rather than attempting any sort of reality. This can be an advantage when the, rather frequent, comedy aspects come to the fore. Most of these stories have involved a wide spread of characters, so fan's of a particular character may get to see their favourite, although probably not for very long. The opening song is very cute, but I strongly prefer the Japanese voices over the English dub.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:23 WST 2009