Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 5: Special Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 8, 2015 by Dennis Amith
Featuring a hilarious and delightful storyline written with non-stop humor and action, “Ranma 1/2″ is at true anime classic that will forever entertain many generations of anime fans and will forever be remembered for its characters and wild and crazy stories. “Ranma 1/2” Blu-ray set 5 is recommended!
Image courtesy of © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 5: Special Edition
DURATION: Episodes 93-115 (530 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 4×3 Native Aspect Ratio, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Viz Media
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Original Creator: Rumiko Takahashi
Series Director: Tomomi Mochizuki
Director: Junji Nishimura, Koji Sawai, Tsutomu Shibayama
Series Composition: Hiroshi Toda, Shigeru Yanagawa, Toshiki Inoue, Yoshio Ursasawa
Music by Miko Endo
Character Design: Atsuko Nakajima
Art Director: Satoshi Miura
Director of Photography: Mitsunobu Yoshida
Anime Production: Studio DEEN
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kappei Yamaguchi/Sarah Strange as Ranma Saotome(Male)
Megumi Hayashibara/Venus Terzo as Ranma Saotome(Female)
Noriko Hidaka/Myriam Sirois as Akane Tendou
Hiromi Tsuru/Kelly Sheridan as Ukyou Kuonji
Hirotaka Suzuoki/Ted Cole as Tatewaki Kunoh
Ichirô Nagai/Paul Dobson as Happousai
Kenichi Ogata/Robert O. Smith as Genma
Kikuko Inoue/Willow Johnson as Kasumi Tendou
Kouichi Yamadera/Michael Donovan as Ryouga Hibiki
Minami Takayama/Angela Costain as Nabiki Tendou
Miyoko Asou/Elan Ross Gibson as Cologne
Rei Sakuma/Cathy Weseluck as Shampoo
Ryunosuke Ohbayashi/David Kaye as Souun Tendou
Saeko Shimazu/Teryl Rothery as Kodachi Kunoh
Tatsuyuki Jinnai/Scott McNeil as Principal Kunoh
Toshihiko Seki/Brad Swaile as Mousse
Yuji Mitsuya/Ian James Corlett as Ono Toufuu-sensei (Dr. Tofu)
Sentaro, successor to Martial Arts Tea Ceremony, makes Ranma battle the grand master as his wife to break off his arranged marriage meeting. Does Ranma have what it takes to master this new form of martial arts? After that, the world of martial arts gets even bigger with the introduction of Martial Arts Shogi, Martial Arts Dining, and Martial Arts Calligraphy.
The hijinks continue as the true identity of the principal is revealed, Ranma’s friends and family are turned into frogs, and okonomiyaki master Ukyo faces hot competition from Crepe Joe! Lastly, a new student at school named Gosunkugi, who instantly falls in love with Akane, tries to use curses to eliminate Ranma so he can have her all to himself!
This special edition includes a full-color art card and a 32-page booklet with episode summaries, all housed in a premium chipboard artbox!
The hijinks continue in the fifth set of “Ranma 1/2” (which includes episodes from the fifth and sixth season)!
What happens when Sentaro Daimonji kidnaps female Ranma as his bride? What happens when Sasuke looks to reunite Kuno with his father, the principal? Meanwhile, Akane must prepare herself for battle against Temari Kaminarimon (of Old Time Martial Arts) but also a fight against male gymnasts. While Ranma must take on the frog hermit, Sotatsu of martial arts calligraphy and also his own shadow, his father Genma takes on a master of mysterious martial arts of Battle Shogi. And enter the voodoo geek, Hikaru Gosunkugi who has targeted Akane and Ranma. And what happens when Akane dares Nabiki to marry Ranma?
Find out in this latest Blu-ray and DVD volume of Rumiko Takahashi’s classic anime series, “Ranma 1/2”!
What is “Ranma 1/2”?
Mangaka Rumiko Takahashi is no doubt a legendary mangaka who has had amazing success in Japan.
Many know her from her popular series “InuYasha” but decades before, she won over manga and anime fans through her series “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, The Mermaid series and of course, her well-known series, “Ranma 1/2″.
“Ranma 1/2″ was created back in 1987 and lasted through 1996 and serialized in Shogakukan’s “Weekly Shonen Sunday” with a total of 38 tankobon volumes (graphic novels) published.
The series like most of Rumiko’s work received an anime adaptation and in 1989, a total of 18 episodes were created and aired in Fuji TV before being canceled.
But unlike most cancellations, “Ranma 1/2″ would get a second life on television a month later with a new name titled “Ranma 1/2 Nettouhen” which was based on the manga but featured also a lot of filler episodes and characters not featured in the manga series.
While “Ranma 1/2″ was popular and would help jumpstart the careers for voice talents such as Megumi Hayashibara (“Video Girl Ai”, “Meitantei Conan”, “Slayers”, “Pokemon”), Kappei Yamaguchi (“Meitantei Conan”, “InuYasha”, “One Piece”), Noriko Hidaka (“InuYasha”, “Gunbuster”, “Nadia – The Secret of Blue Water”), Hiromi Tsuru (“Dragon Ball Z”, “Anpanman”), Kikuko Inoue (“Ah! My Goddess”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”), Minami Takayama (“Meitantei Conan”, “Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko”) and Rei Sakuma (“Mobile Suit Gundam 0083″, “Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ”).
The series would become popular overseas as it was one of the first anime series to receive a fan sub and because it would help jumpstart the anime and manga craze during the early 1990′s including “Ranma 1/2″ released in comic book format. Viz Media would then bring an English dub of the anime series to the United States.
And while the anime series was released little by little with two episodes on VHS and then later with season box sets on DVD, in America, “Ranma 1/2″ has always been a fan favorite.
But when it was announced that Rumiko Takahashi’s earlier hit series “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku” and “Ranma 1/2″ would be remastered and released in Japan on Blu-ray as part of Shogakukan’s 90th anniversary, suffice to say, fans became very excited and wondered if the series in HD would be released in America.
And sure enough, Viz Media surprised fans with the announcement that “Ranma 1/2″ was released on Blu-ray and DVD plus an omnibus release of the manga series in March 2014.
Unlike the original season box sets which features 18 episodes, “Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 2″ will feature 23 episodes. And instead of going by Japanese seasons, the release will be available as collections, so you get episodes from season 5 and 6 included in “Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 5”.
“Ranma 1/2″ is a story about a teenage boy named Ranma Saotome. His father Genma Saotome and his good friend Soun Tendo have made a deal that Ranma can marry one of Soun’s daughters and so both are headed to Japan after training in China.
But because both Ranma and Genma have fallen into cursed lakes, whenever they come into contact with cold water, Ranma turns into a girl, while Genma turns into a panda.
And because Akane hates boys and Ranma is half boy/half girl, her older sisters Kusumi and Nabiki volunteer Akane to be Ranma’s betrothed.
But both Ranma and Akane are like oil and water and don’t get along. Both often tease each other and Akane tends to beat Ranma up. And as the two are to try and be a happy couple, also in school, both must put up with a cast of fascinating characters including Tatewaki Kuno and his sister Kodachi, Ranma’s eternal rival Ryouga Hibiki, the Chinese fighter named Shampoo, an okonomiyaki restaurant owner named Ukyo and many others who are happy to destroy their relationship.
All this and more in a wild and crazy 23-episodes of the popular “Ranma 1/2”.
The main characters of “Ranma 1/2″ are:
- Ranma Saotome – The series protagonist and martial artist who is often training with his father. He and Akane tend to not get along and he often says things bad to her, which leads her to beat him up or get him into trouble. Because he fell into a cursed lake where a teenage girl had died, he transforms into a teenage girl when he comes into contact with cold water and reverts back to a male when he comes into contact with hot water. Due to his father’s arrangement with Soun Tendo, he is the fiance of Akane Tendo.
- Genma Saotome – The father of Ranma Saotome and is often training with his son. He is the childhood best friend of Soun Tendo and together, they made a promise that their children will marry. Because he fell into a cursed lake where a panda had died, he transforms into a panda when he comes into contact with cold water and reverts back to a male when he comes into contact with hot water. He and Genma were trained by their master, Happosai.
- Akane Tendo – The female protagonist who is a tomboy that loves martial arts. She is popular at school and many guys want her to be their girlfriend. Due to her father’s arrangement with Genma Saotome, she is engaged to Ranma Saotome. She also has a hot temper and is often arguing and beating up on Ranma.
- Soun Tendo – The owner of the Tendo Dojo, he is the father of Kusumi, Nabiki and Akane. He and his childhood friend Genma had an arrangement that their children will marry. He and Genma were trained by their master, Happosai.
- Kusumi Tendo – She is the most ladylike of the Tendo family, the eldest sister who is always kind, she is often seen taking care of her sisters and cooking for the entire family and also cleaning the house.
- Nabiki Tendo – The middle child, Nabiki likes to make money and spend it! Often trying to find ways to make money.
- Tatewaki Kuno – From a wealthy family and has a cocky attitude and because of his inflated ego, calls himself “Blue Thunder”. He is in love with Akane and female Ranma. He is an expert with a wooden sword.
- Ryoga Hibiki – Ranma’s rival . Ryoga is terrible with directions and whenever he is planning to fight with Ranma, it would take him days or weeks, because he walked hundreds of miles in another direction. One day he followed Ranma and Genma all the way to China and was kicked by a girl and landed in a cursed lake where a small black pig had died. Whenever he comes in contact with cold water, he will turn into a black pig and whenever he comes in contact with hot water, he reverts back to his normal self. As a pig, named P-chan, he is taken in as a pet by Akane Tendo.
- Kodachi Kuno – The captain of the St. Hebereke School for Girls Gymnastic team and while a great gymnast, she also uses poison and other methods in combat which has earned her the nickname “The Black Rose”.
- Dr. Tofu Ono – A very good doctor, it’s that people worry when Kasumi is around because Tofu is in love with Kasumi and he begins behaving unusually towards everyone.
- Shampoo – The hero of her village in China. She despises female Ranma and loves male Ranma. She also fell in a cursed lake in Jusenkyou and turns into a pink cat. Whenever she comes into contact with cold water, she turns into a cat. When in contact with hot water, she reverts back to normal. She runs the Neko Hanten Chinese restaurant.
- Cologne – The leader of the Chinese Amazons and grandmother of Shampoo. Around 300-years-old, she has a history with Happosai.
- Mousse – A male Chinese Amazon and master of hidden weapons. He also happens to have terrible eye sight and is deeply in love with Shampoo. He also fell into the cursed Jusenkyo and turns into a duck.
- Happosai – The founder and grandmaster of “Anything Goes Martial Arts” (Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu) and the master of Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo.
- Ukyo Kuonji – An Okonomiyaki chef. Ukyo’s father and Ranma’s father made a deal that their children would marry.
- Tsubasa Kurenai – A male who is in love with Ukyo and happens to be a cross-dresser.
- Principal Kuno – Tatewaki and Kodachi’s father who is the principal at Furinkan High School that causes problems for Ranma.
- Ling-Ling/Lung-Lung – Shampoo’s younger sisters who come to Japan searching for the person who beat Shampoo.
- Hikaru Gosunkugi – An unpopular student who practices vodoo and is desperately in love with Akane and tries to do all he can to get rid of Ranma.
“Ranma 1/2” is presented in 1080p Hig Definition. The series is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio and the series utilizes the cleaned up remastering that was released in Japan in 2014. The Blu-ray release easily surpasses the DVD releases in picture quality, sharpness and colors.
While grain is visible in the remastered HD release, the main difference is much better colors. Reds absolutely pop but instead of a smeary look of its original DVD release, line art to overall colors are simply much better in HD and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding.
Personally, this Blu-ray release version is the definitive version of “Ranma 1/2” to own!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
Lossless audio for “Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 5” is featured in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with English subtitles. You get both the wonderful Japanese soundtrack with fine performances by Kappei Yamaguchi, Megumi Hayashibara and Noriko Hidaka, Minami Takayama, Hiromi Tsuru, Kikuo Inoue, Kouchi Yamadera to name a few. And the original ’90s English dub.
It’s important to note that the English dub back in the ’90s were a much different style than the English dubs that people are accustomed to today. At the time, Viz Media and other companies were entering a new field for English dubs after many people have seen the Japanese version (due to fan subs).
So, back in 1995, Viz Media was criticized for its English dub soundtrack. The dub was no doubt subjective to the listener. Some didn’t mind, some were very vocal about it but the good news is that on this Blu-ray release, you have a choice between Japanese or the English dub.
“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 5: Special Edition″ comes with the following special features:
- We Love Ranma Part 5 – We Love Collecting – (9:14) Fans discuss what is in their “Ranma 1/2” collection.
- Next Episode Previews
- Clean Opening and Endings
- Trailers – Viz Media trailers
“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 5” comes with a 38-page booklet with episode summaries. Also, included is a slipcase featuring Shampoo on the cover plus a postcard featuring Ukyo.
With the fifth volume of the “Ranma 1/2” anime series on Blu-ray, the hijinks continue as Kuno searches for his father who he hasn’t seen for three years, meanwhile the principal is trying to find his son that he lost three years ago…but can the principal be Kuno’s real father?
Meanwhile, Ranma and Akane are put to the test as they must compete in various battles against other martial artists and also must beware of voodoo practicing Hikaru Gosunkugi.
We also get a few fun episodes as Akane tells Nabiki to marry Ranma and Nabiki intends in doing just that. Also, when Akane is the class rep for the upcoming swim meet, what happens when she reveals that she can’t swim.
Meanwhile, the gang tries to figure out who stole the takoyaki that Kusumi had just bought. And what happens when Ryoga ends up in another location and is taken in by a farmer and his granddaughter Anna who is convinced he is the legendary hero, Joe.
Having watched these episodes long ago, it’s fantastic to watch “Ranma 1/2” again over 20-years later.
“Ranma 1/2” was a big part of my life growing up. I was among those who grew up with “Ranma 1/2″ and discovered the series back in 1992. I credit this series for introducing me to Japanese animation and while the series has not been forgotten, a new generation of anime and manga fans would grow up with another Rumiko Takahashi series titled “InuYasha” in the late ’90s and early 2000′s, while those of us who were fortunate to have grown up with “Ranma 1/2″, “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku” and other Takahashi titles, will always remember that moment of time when anime and manga was fresh and new in the United States.
For me, being a long time “Ranma 1/2″ fan, from watching “Ranma 1/2″ in original Japanese when it first came out on LaserDisc and watching it at a local club viewing back in the early ’90s, purchasing nearly every “Ranma 1/2″ CD soundtrack to meeting Megumi Hayashibara (voice of female Ranma) and also meeting Venus Terzo (English dub voice actress for female Ranma) and Myriam Sirois (voice of Akane) and literally purchasing nearly everything or anything “Ranma 1/2″ related in LD and VHS… What a great time to see “Ranma 1/2″ released for a new generation of anime fans but also for those who have wished for more old school anime to be released on Blu-ray!
Having watched “Ranma 1/2” in VHS, LD, DVD, 2014 DVD and now on Blu-ray, I can easily say that this Blu-ray release is the definitive version to own. The colors and overall picture quality is fantastic, the lossless 2.0 soundtrack is also crystal clear and just watching it on Blu-ray made me feel so happy because I can see the big difference from the DVD in terms of colors, sharpness and overall detail.
Also, you get 23 episodes for this fifth Blu-ray release (so you get both seasons of “Ranma 1/2: Outta Control” and “Ranma 1/2: Martial Mayhem”) as opposed to the 18 episodes on the older “Ranma 1/2” DVD sets.
While in Japan, our counterparts are getting 54-episodes on Blu-ray but they are also paying over $350 per box set. So, considering that 23 episodes are being sold for under $50, the price is great, considering the VHS and LD for “Ranma 1/2″ for a few episodes was quite expensive back then.
As for special features, you get the third part of the short, “We Love Ranma” cosplay featurette and trailers. And also, the clean opening and ending themes are included. It would have been awesome to revisit the Japanese or even the English voice talent as special features, but for the most part, you get a 38-page booklet and for me, watching these episodes in HD, remastered is a major plus!
The “Ranma 1/2″ series was a big part of my older teenage years and I feel it’s a wonderful experience for today’s readers to discover or re-discover one of the more well-known Rumiko Takahashi series that has had a worldwide impact for longtime fans. And to finally watch it on Blu-ray, I’m amazed of the difference in picture quality. Trust me on this one, if you owned the VHS, LD and DVD release, this Blu-ray does blow all of them away.
Featuring a hilarious and delightful storyline written with non-stop humor and action, “Ranma 1/2″ is at true anime classic that will forever entertain many generations of anime fans and will forever be remembered for its characters and wild and crazy stories. And it’s a Rumiko Takahashi anime series that I highly recommend!
“Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 5” is recommended for Ranma 1/2 fans and those who intend to stay in the long run and follow this series on Blu-ray. Recommended!
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