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Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 3: Special Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ranma12-3a

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 3″ is a classic that every anime fan who collects anime on Blu-ray, should own! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 3: Special Edition

DURATION: Episodes 47-69 (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

RATED: TV14

Release Date: September 16, 2014

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)

Things just can’t stay quiet at the Tendo Dojo. After a morning ruckus, Ranma hits his head, falls into water, and turns completely into a girl. Now, even when Ranma transforms back into a boy, he still thinks he’s a girl! Things become even more complicated when Shampoo, still in love with Ranma, gets a surprise visit from Chinese Amazon twin sisters Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung, two of her proteges who have it in for Ranma.

Then, after Soun and Genma’s master, Happosai, uses moxibustion to weaken Ranma, Ranma must master a new legendary technique and defeat Happosai to become strong again. Everything culminates in a final battle against Happosai as Ranma fights to regain his strength!

This special edition includes a full-color art card and a 32-page booklet with episode summaries, all housed in a premium chipboard artbox!

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The hijinks continue in the third set of “Ranma 1/2″ (the third and  fourth season of episodes in Japan)!

What happens when Akane eats “super Soba noodles” that makes her powerful, what happens when a ghost is causing problems at Furinkan High School and what happens when Happosai’s magic mirror sends him, Ranma, Akane, Soun, Genma, Shampoo and Cologne back in time when Happosai and Cologne were younger in China.  And what happens when Happosai takes away Ranma’s martial arts skill?

This latest Blu-ray and DVD volume also introduces Shampoo’s sisters Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung and Principal Kuno.

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 22 episodes. And instead of going by Japanese seasons, the release will be available as collections, so you get episodes from season 2 and 3 included in “Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 2″.

“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 and others who are happy to destroy their relationship.

In season two, we are introduced to more characters from China. With Ranma defeating Shampoo in a battle, the customs of her homeland is that if a man wins, she will marry that man. And to welcome Ranma to the family is Shampoo’s grandmother, Cologne.

But with Ranma refusing to marry Shampoo, Cologne is not going to let Ranma marry any other girl. But also not wanting to support their marriage is hidden weapons master Mousse, who has always been in love with Shampoo.

Meanwhile, a panty thief is on the loose but for Genma and Soun, they worry that they may know who is responsible, their martial arts master, the lecherous Happosai.

And could it be that Genma made a promise to an Okonomiyaki owner long ago, that his daughter Ukyo would marry Ranma?

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.

VIDEO:

Having reviewed the 2014 DVD version and comparing to the original Viz Media DVD release, I definitely was anticipating the HD release of “Ranma 1/2″ because of the overall picture quality difference. And sure enough, as I was expecting, the Blu-ray release 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 is the definitive version of “Ranma 1/2″ to own!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio for “Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 3″ 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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 3: Special Edition″ comes with the following special features:

  • We Love Ranma Part 3 – Favorite Scenes – (8:16) Fans discuss the appeal of the “Ranma 1/2″ scenes.
  • Next Episode Previews
  • Clean Opening and Endings
  • Trailers – Viz Media trailers

EXTRAS:

“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 2″ comes with a 38-page booklet with episode summaries. Also, included is a slipcase featuring Akane on the cover plus a postcard featuring Ryoga.

With the third volume of the “Ranma 1/2″ anime series on Blu-ray, the third volume continues the hijinks as Happosai is determined to getting more panties, any way he can.  While Ranma must deal with Shampoo’s tough younger sisters Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung, while trying to keep cool with the strict rules of Principal Kuno.

We also see Ranma trying to adjust to losing his martial arts skill thanks to Happosai but gains a new special attack in the process.

But expect a lot of hijinks as Ukyo tries her best to get Ranma to recognize her, the group trying to search for a ghost who is causing problems at Furinkan High and what happens when Akane eats “super soba”?

Of these episodes from the third and fourth season in Japan, there are some crazy episodes that are my favorite.

From Akane eating the “Super Soba Noodles” and having to take on Shampoo in a battle of giant ping pong to the group investigate a ghost at school.

It was also great to see Mousse return, as he and Ryoga team up to take on Ranma.  Another favorite is when the group goes back in time and we can see how Happosai and Cologne looked, when they were much  younger.

There are a good number of hilarious episodes throughout the series but I like the fact that the crazy Principal Kuno makes his appearance, as well as Shampoo’s two younger sisters.

With volume three , this is is an essential volume for the “Ranma 1/2″ fans who can’t enough of watching “Ranma 1/2″ in HD.

And “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 third Blu-ray release (so you get both seasons of  “Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle” and “Ranma 1/2: Outta Control”) as opposed to the 18 episodes of season one on the older DVD set. 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” 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 3″ 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!

Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 2: Special Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ranma12-v2-a

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 2″ is a classic that every anime fan who collects anime on Blu-ray, should own! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 2: Special Edition

DURATION: Episodes 24-46 (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

RATED: TV14

Release Date: June 24, 2014

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)

The mayhem continues in Ranma 1/2!

Ranma Saotome, the boy who turns into a girl with a splash of water, always has his hands full fending off crazed admirers. One of the most fanatical is Shampoo, a girl from a tribe of Chinese Amazons who tried to kill girl Ranma, was defeated by boy Ranma, and then proposes marriage to him due to her clan s rule. Things get a little crazier when Shampoo falls into a cursed spring and turns into a cat! And even crazier when Mousse, who is in love with Shampoo, challenges Ranma to a battle over…Ranma s fiancée, Akane…? Back at the Tendo dojo, Ranma s dad, Genma, and Akane s dad, Soun, receive a visit from their former master, Happosai. Around the same time, some of the neighborhood ladies find their undies are disappearing… Is Happosai responsible, or is it just a coincidence?

Rumiko Takahashi s classic martial arts romantic comedy Ranma ½ is back! This
limited-edition Blu-ray collection is presented in 1080p high definition in the original Japanese Blu-ray episode order. Also included are all-new extra features including fan interviews highlighting the Ranma ½ phenomenon, an exclusive art card and a booklet with episode summaries.

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The fight continues as Shampoo’s grandmother, Cologne wants to meet her new grandson.  Unfortunately, a weapons master from China is not so thrilled to find out that his love wants to marry Ranma.

Meanwhile, Genma and Soun’s martial arts master Happosai returns and his pupils worry about their elderly master’s high grade of perversion.

Also, another female named Ukyo, an okonomiyaki cook is engaged to Ranma but how was this possible?

Find out more about these characters in “Ranma 12/ Blu-ray Set 2: Special Edition” featuring episodes 24-46 (which are from season 2 “Ranma 1/2 Nettohen” and season 3 – “Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle”).

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 22 episodes.  And instead of going by Japanese seasons, the release will be available as collections, so you get episodes from season 2 and 3 included in “Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 2″.

“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 and others who are happy to destroy their relationship.

In season two, we are introduced to more characters from China.  With Ranma defeating Shampoo in a battle, the customs of her homeland is that if a man wins, she will marry that man.  And to welcome Ranma to the family is Shampoo’s grandmother, Cologne.

But with Ranma refusing to marry Shampoo, Cologne is not going to let Ranma marry any other girl.  But also not wanting to support their marriage is hidden weapons master Mousse, who has always been in love with Shampoo.

Meanwhile, a panty thief is on the loose but for Genma and Soun, they worry that they may know who is responsible, their martial arts master, the lecherous Happosai.

And could it be that Genma made a promise to an Okonomiyaki owner long ago, that his daughter Ukyo would marry Ranma?

All this and more in a wild and crazy 22-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.

 

ranma12-v2-c

VIDEO:

Having reviewed the 2014 DVD version and comparing to the original Viz Media DVD release, I definitely was anticipating the HD release of “Ranma 1/2″ because of the overall picture quality difference. And sure enough, as I was expecting, the Blu-ray release 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 is the definitive version of “Ranma 1/2″ to own!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio for “Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 2″ 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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 2″ comes with the following special features:

  • We Love Ranma Part 2 – Favorite Scenes – Fans discuss their favorite “Ranma 1/2″ scenes.
  • Clean Opening and Endings
  • Trailers – Viz Media trailers

EXTRAS:

“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 2″ comes with a 36-page booklet with episode summaries. Also, included is a slipcase featuring Ranma on the cover plus a postcard featuring Ranma-chan.

ranma12-v2-d

With the second volume of the “Ranma 1/2″ anime series on Blu-ray, this second volume marks another important volume of episodes that introduces key characters that will play a huge part in the series, films and video games of the “Ranma 1/2″ Rumic world.

Cologne and Mousse are characters that will play a big part in any storyline revolving around Shampoo, Happosai who is the recurring pervert and Ukyo, the other major character who will try to vye for Ranma’s feelings and no doubt, became a fan favorite.

For me, the “Romeo and Juliet” episode 39 is one of my favorites of “Ranma 1/2″ that is included in this volume.  And for Ryoga fans, episodes 28-29 are absolutely essential watching as Ryoga has a new special move.  But so does Ranma!

So, this is is an essential volume for the “Ranma 1/2″ fans or those who are new to the series.

And “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!

J!-ENT: Appreciation for “Ranma 1/2″ throughout the years!

Megumi Hayashibara autograph

J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith with Myriam Sirois (English Dub voice actress for Akane) and Venus Terzo (English voice dub actress for female Ranma)

You can never go wrong with “Ranma 1/2″ music CD’s.

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 second Blu-ray release (so you get both seasons of  “Ranma 1/2 Nettouhen” and “Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle”) as opposed to the 18 episodes of season one on the older DVD set. 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 a short “We Love Ranma” 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 36-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 2″ is a classic that every anime fan who collects anime on Blu-ray, should own! Recommended!

Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 1: Special Edition (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ranma-1

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 1″ is a classic that every anime fan who collects anime on Blu-ray, should own! Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 1: Special Edition

DURATION: 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

RATED: TV14

Release Date: March 25, 2014

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)

From the legendary oeuvre of master creator Rumiko Takahashi, the mixed-up, madcap, martial arts romantic comedy RANMA 1/2 returns! After taking a surprise dip in a cursed spring while on a training journey in China, martial artist Ranma Saotome and his father, Genma, aren’t quite themselves anymore. Now Ranma turns into a girl whenever he’s splashed with cold water, and Genma turns into a panda!

Their new forms cause nothing but confusion at the Tendo dojo, where Soun Tendo is waiting to introduce one of his three daughters to Ranma – as his fiancee! Turns out Genma and Soun arranged the match long ago, but the girl, Akane, and the boy, Ranma, aren’t exactly crazy about the idea, or each other! Or are they? Watch the gender switching, jealous rages, and martial arts battles unfold all over again!

ranma-1b

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 first season box set which features the first 18 episodes of season 1, “Ranma 1/2 Blu-ray Set 1″ will feature 23 episodes.

“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 and others who are happy to destroy their relationship.

 

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.
  • Mikado Sanzenin – One half of the Golden Pair figure skating duo.  Conceited and wanting to kiss pretty girls.
  • Azusa Shiratori – One half of the Golden Pair figure skating duo.  She believes anything cute must be owned by her and will do anything to keep it.  She badly wants Akane’s black Pig, P-Chan which she has named “Charlotte”.

 

ranma-1c

VIDEO:

Having reviewed the 2014 DVD version and comparing to the original Viz Media DVD release, I definitely was anticipating the HD release of “Ranma 1/2″ because of the overall picture quality difference.  And sure enough, as I was expecting, the Blu-ray release 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 is the definitive version of “Ranma 1/2″ to own!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio 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, you have a choice between Japanese or the English dub.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 1″ comes with the following special features:

  • NYCC Highlights – Highlights of “Ranma 1/2″ cosplayers at New York Comic Con.
  • Trailers – Viz Media trailers

EXTRAS:

“Ranma 1/2 – Blu-ray Set 1″ comes with a 64-page booklet with episode summaries and the first chapter of the “Ranma 1/2″ manga.  Also, a slipcase featuring Ranma-chan on the cover.

ranma-1d

While many Americans had their first exposure of Japanese animation during the 1970′s, with “Battle of the Planets” and in the ’80s through “Robotech” and “Voltron”, for the anime fans of the early ’90s, many discovered Japanese animation (anime) through a series known as “Ranma 1/2″.

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!

J!-ENT: Appreciation for “Ranma 1/2″ throughout the years!

Megumi Hayashibara autograph

J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith with Myriam Sirois (English Dub voice actress for Akane) and Venus Terzo (English voice dub actress for female Ranma)

You can never go wrong with “Ranma 1/2″ music CD’s.

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 in the 2014 Blu-ray release (so you get both “Ranma 1/2″ and a little of season two of “Ranma 1/2 Nettouhen”) as opposed to the 18 episodes of season one on the older DVD set.  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 a short two minute NYCC highlight and trailers.  As much as I would have loved more special features, I wish the textless opening and ending themes were included.  It would have been awesome to revisit the Japanese or even the English voice talent.  But for the most part, the Blu-ray makes it up with a 60-page booklet, which the 2014 DVD release did not have.

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 1″ is a classic that every anime fan who collects anime on Blu-ray, should own!  Recommended!

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Vol. 2 (3-4) by Rumiko Takahashi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ranma-omnibus-2

Featuring a hilarious and delightful storyline written with non-stop humor, entertaining characters and crazy action, “Ranma 1/2″ is at true classic that will forever entertain many generations and will forever be remembered for its characters and wild and crazy stories. Discover this Rumiko Takahashi classic manga series today! “Ranma 1/2 Omnibus” Vol. 2 is highly recommended!

© 1988 Rumiko Takahashi. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Rumiko Takahashi (高橋 留美子)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media

RATED: OT for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2014

Being a martial artist, Ranma just can’t resist the call to combat and takes on one opponent after another: Ryoga, a lone-wolf fighter with no sense of direction; Shampoo, a Chinese Amazon who has pledged to kill him; and finally Shampoo’s suitor Mousse, a martial arts master of hidden weapons. Is there such a thing as TOO much fighting spirit?

Featuring three intense battles as Tatewaki Kuno’s sister Kodachi challenges Akane in a gymnastics battle for Ranma’s affection.  Meanwhile, the Kolkhoz High School champion freestyle skating pair, Mikado Sanzenin and Azusa Shiratori challenge Akane and Ranma for P-Chan (which Azusa refers to as “Charlotte”) and does Ranma have another wife from China named Shampoo?

Find out in an exciting “Ranma 1/2″ Omnibus vol. 2 feature graphic novel volumes 3-4!

What is “Ranma 1/2″?

In 1987, popular mangaka Rumiko Takashi (“Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “One Pound Gospel”, “Mermaid’s Forest”) began working on “Ranma 1/2″, a story that was serialized in Shogakukan’s “Weekly Shonen Sunday”.

And the series would continue until March 1996 with a total of 38 tankabon volumes released. But what made “Ranma 1/2″ internationally known was the fact that the anime adaptation was among the first fan-subtitled titles in America and when it was licensed for distribution in America by Viz Media, it was one of the first series to have an English dub.

Over 25-years later, “Ranma 1/2″ would be celebrated with a new Blu-ray release in Japan (and also in the U.S. slated for March 2014 release) and as for the manga series, the first omnibus feature the first two volumes, will be released by Viz Media in March 2014.

“Ranma 1/2″ revolves around two families, the Saotome family and the Tendo family.

For martial arts dojo owner, Soun Tendo, he and his best friend, Genma Saotome had a deal that when their children were older, they would get married with each other.

And so, as Soun Tendo and his daughters, Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane await for the arrival of Genma and his son Ranma, they are taken aback by the appearance of a panda and a teenage girl.

And eventually, the family learns that for Genma and Ranma, the two were training in China, where the two would fall in cursed lakes where a panda had died and a young teenage girl had died. And now, whenever they receive contact with cold water, Genma will turn into a panda and Ranma to a teenage girl. When they are treated with hot water, they revert to their normal selves.

As Soun explains to his daughters about the arrangement, both Kasumi and Nabiki immediately point to Akane as the person to be engaged with Ranma Saotome and immediately, both teenagers are like oil and water and don’t get along.

But because the Saotome family are invited to stay with the Tendo’s, the two must try to get along with each other. Despite how much they can’t stand one another.

Akane, a tomboy who loves to fight and practice martial arts is still the most popular girl at Furinkan High School and a rule was made by the wealthy Tatewaki Kuno that whoever can beat Akane, will be the person that will be the man who is suited to be Akane’s boyfriend. And everyday at school, he and others try to win Akane but instead are beaten by her.

But when she starts to arrive at school with Ranma Saotome and finds out that he is her fiance, things become much more complicated as Tatewaki Kuno sees Ranma as his chief rival.

But when Ranma accidentally is doused with cold water and he reverts to a teenage girl, the fact she beats Kuno, makes him not only love Akane but now makes him also love Ranma (female form).

In the second volume, a rival from Ranma’s old high school has managed to follow him all the way to Furinkan High School. Troubled by his bad sense of direction, Ryouga Hibiki has made it a goal to defeat Ranma Saotome. But his thirst for revenge is even heightened after he, himself had fallen in the cursed lake which transformed Genma into a panda and Ranma to a teenage girl.

Also, a rival stands in the way of Akane Tendo and that is Tatewaki Kuno’s sister, Kodachi.

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.
  • Kodachi Tatewaki – The Black Rose.  The feared gymnast from St. Bacchus School of Girls who wins by using dirty techniques to defeat her opponents.  In love with male Ranma and despises Akane and female Ranma.
  • Shampoo – Despises female Ranma and Akane.  Despises female Ranma and has given her the kiss of death, but when male Ranma accidentally defeats, through custom, she looks at Ranma as her husband.  Also, fallen in a cursed lake and turns into a cat when touched with cold water.
  • Sanzenin Mikado and Azusa Shiratori – The champion freestyle skating duo.  Sanzenin is egotistical and wants to kiss beautiful girls while Azusa wants to own anything cute!

Another exciting and hilarious “Ranma 1/2 Omnibus”, watch as Ranma and Akane (along with Ryouga) take on all new adversaries in “Ranma 1/2 Omnibus” vol. 2.

The manga series is just as fun and delightful as it was back when I read the manga in the early ’90s.  The introduction of the “Black Rose” Kodachi and how she is crazier than her brother, the battle against Mikado and Azusa in ice skating and of course, the introduction of one of the more popular characters in the series, Shampoo.

When it comes to action and battles, vol. 3-4 was jam-packed because of the introductions of these characters and so much is going on!  And that is what I love about the early part of the series, it doesn’t drag on and the shenanigans and amount of crazy situations that Rumiko Takashi throws at the reader is entertaining and just a lot of fun!

And fans are getting a great deal as you get two volumes in the omnibus release.  This is great considering that in the past, fans were only getting a chapter each and these were in comic book format and quite expensive.

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 but also to manga. In fact, along with “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2″ was one of the few Japanese manga in comic book format that were released in America, that I would try to buy (it was very hard to find these comics during that time).

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.

Over 25-years after the manga series was created, “Ranma 1/2″ is now making its return with a Blu-ray release but also a manga release via omnibus format.

And what a great time for old and new fans to enjoy “Ranma 1/2″.  Featuring a hilarious and delightful storyline written with non-stop humor and action and along with Rumiko Takahashi’s own creative designs, “Ranma 1/2″ is at true classic that will forever entertain many generations and will forever be remembered for its characters and wild and crazy stories.

Discover this Rumiko Takahashi classic manga series today! “Ranma 1/2 Omnibus” Vol. 2 is highly recommended!

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Ranma 1/2 – Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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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!  If you can, avoid the DVD release of “Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ and go for the Blu-ray version!

Image courtesy of © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Ranma 1/2 – Set 1 (らんま1/2)

DURATION: Episodes 1-23 (450 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16×9 Widescreen, 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound, Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: March 25, 2014

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)

From the legendary oeuvre of master creator Rumiko Takahashi, the mixed-up, madcap, martial arts romantic comedy RANMA 1/2 returns! After taking a surprise dip in a cursed spring while on a training journey in China, martial artist Ranma Saotome and his father, Genma, aren’t quite themselves anymore. Now Ranma turns into a girl whenever he’s splashed with cold water, and Genma turns into a panda!

Their new forms cause nothing but confusion at the Tendo dojo, where Soun Tendo is waiting to introduce one of his three daughters to Ranma – as his fiancee! Turns out Genma and Soun arranged the match long ago, but the girl, Akane, and the boy, Ranma, aren’t exactly crazy about the idea, or each other! Or are they? Watch the gender switching, jealous rages, and martial arts battles unfold all over again!

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″ would be released on Blu-ray and DVD plus an omnibus release of the manga series in March 2014.

Unlike the first season box set which features the first 18 episodes of season 1, “Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ will feature 23 episodes.

“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 and others who are happy to destroy their relationship.

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.
  • Mikado Sanzenin – One half of the Golden Pair figure skating duo.  Conceited and wanting to kiss pretty girls.
  • Azusa Shiratori – One half of the Golden Pair figure skating duo.  She believes anything cute must be owned by her and will do anything to keep it.  She badly wants Akane’s black Pig, P-Chan which she has named “Charlotte”.

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ranma 1/2″ is presented in standard definition and English and Japanese stereo.

It’s important to remind people that the version I am reviewing is the DVD version.  So, if you owned the previous DVD set, there is not going to be a huge difference unless you purchase the Blu-ray version.

The primary difference that you will see is that “Ranma 1/2 Set 1″ has visible grain and that reds and blues are much more vibrant and colors are much more pleasing but I can only imagine how gorgeous this series would look in HD versus SD.

Having compared the original season box set and this 2014 DVD release, the differences are there but not enough for me to tell fans to throw away their older DVD box sets.  In fact, if you own the previous release, don’t even bother purchasing the DVD release, upgrade to the Blu-ray release instead.

Also, one should not come into watching “Ranma 1/2″ and expect major restoration work such as “Akira”.  This is a TV series from the late ’80s utilizing cells and is old school animation.

But as for differences from the original first season DVD box set and the 2014 “Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ release, please look at the following (top photo version is from the original season 1 DVD box set, bottom photo is from the 2014 DVD release):

Original Season 1 DVD Release Screen Capture:

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“Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ DVD Screen Capture:

ranma12-4b

Original Season 1 DVD Release Screen Capture:

ranma12-2a

“Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ DVD Screen Capture:

ranma12-2b

Original Season 1 DVD Release Screen Capture:

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“Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ DVD Screen Capture:

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As for audio, on DVD, you get both the wonderful Japanese soundtrack and the 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 DVD, you have a choice between Japanese or the English dub unlike the VHS release which you had to choose separately.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ comes with the following special features:

  • NYCC Highlights – Highlights of “Ranma 1/2″ cosplayers at New York Comic Con.
  • Trailers – Viz Media trailers

While many Americans had their first exposure of Japanese animation during the 1970′s, with “Battle of the Planets” and in the ’80s through “Robotech” and “Voltron”, for the anime fans of the early ’90s, many discovered Japanese animation (anime) through a series known as “Ranma 1/2″.

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!

While I was not able to obtain a review copy of the Blu-ray release, I did receive a review copy of the DVD release and I’m going to be blunt about this…  Don’t buy “Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ on DVD unless you have to!

Part of the enjoyment of watching “Ranma 1/2″ in 2014 is for its HD release on Blu-ray and this is where you are going to see an improvement in picture quality.

Having compared the original Viz Media “Ranma 1/2″ DVD box set and the 2014 “Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″, what you will notice in the newer release is more grain, colors that pop but also colors that are not so dark and better color where skies are lighter blue instead of having this aqua tinge.  There is no doubt that the 2014 DVD release looks much better on DVD than its older counterpart but not a whole lot.  That’s why I can only recommend the “Ranma 1/2″ released on Blu-ray.  Sure, it would have been great to have a Blu-ray +DVD combo pack but

Also, you get 23 episodes in the 2014 DVD release (so you get both “Ranma 1/2″ and a little of season two of “Ranma 1/2 Nettouhen”) as opposed to the 18 episodes of season one.  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 audio, it’s stereo and for special features, you get a short two minute NYCC highlight and trailers.  As much as I would have loved more special features, I wish the textless opening and ending themes were included.

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.

While I do wish I can give a huge recommendation for the “Ranma 1/2 – Set 1″ DVD release, the truth is that it’s not a whole lot different from the original DVD release.   But if you want to watch “Ranma 1/2″ in the best quality possible and own the definitive version, then the Blu-ray is the way to go. The Blu-ray not only has better picture quality but Viz Media has included more swag and a better case, while the DVD is left with zilch.  I only recommend this DVD set only if you don’t own a Blu-ray player.

And assuming, you don’t have a Blu-ray player, then you are getting a great deal for one DVD set with 23 episodes.

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 Omnibus Vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ranma-omnibus-1

Featuring a hilarious and delightful storyline written with non-stop humor and action and along with Rumiko Takahashi’s own creative designs, “Ranma 1/2″ is at true classic that will forever entertain many generations and will forever be remembered for its characters and wild and crazy stories.  Discover this Rumiko Takahashi classic manga series today!  “Ranma 1/2 Omnibus” Vol. 1 is highly recommended!

© 1988 Rumiko Takahashi. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Rumiko Takahashi (高橋 留美子)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media

RATED: OT for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2014

One day, teenaged martial artist Ranma Saotome went on a training mission with his father and ended up taking a dive into some cursed springs at a legendary training ground in China. Now every time he’s splashed with cold water, he changes into a girl. His father, Genma, changes into a panda! What’s a half-guy, half-girl to do?

Years ago, Genma promised his old friend Soun Tendo that Ranma would marry one of Soun’s three daughters and carry on the family’s martial arts school. Unfortunately, the girl picked to be Ranma’s bride doesn’t seem to like him, Ranma keeps getting into fights… and did we mention that whole changing into a girl thing?

In 1987, popular mangaka Rumiko Takashi (“Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “One Pound Gospel”, “Mermaid’s Forest”) began working on “Ranma 1/2″, a story that was serialized in Shogakukan’s “Weekly Shonen Sunday”.

And the series would continue until March 1996 with a total of 38 tankabon volumes released.  But what made “Ranma 1/2″ internationally known was the fact that the anime adaptation was among the first fan-subtitled titles in America and when it was licensed for distribution in America by Viz Media, it was one of the first series to have an English dub.

Over 25-years later, “Ranma 1/2″ would be celebrated with a new Blu-ray release in Japan (and also in the U.S. slated for March 2014 release) and as for the manga series, the first omnibus feature the first two volumes, will be released by Viz Media in March 2014.

“Ranma 1/2″ revolves around two families, the Saotome family and the Tendo family.

For martial arts dojo owner, Soun Tendo, he and his best friend, Genma Saotome had a deal that when their children were older, they would get married with each other.

And so, as Soun Tendo and his daughters, Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane await for the arrival of Genma and his son Ranma, they are taken aback by the appearance of a panda and a teenage girl.

And eventually, the family learns that for Genma and Ranma, the two were training in China, where the two would fall in cursed lakes where a panda had died and a young teenage girl had died.  And now, whenever they receive contact with cold water, Genma will turn into a panda and Ranma to a teenage girl.  When they are treated with hot water, they revert to their normal selves.

As Soun explains to his daughters about the arrangement, both Kasumi and Nabiki immediately point to Akane as the person to be engaged with Ranma Saotome and immediately, both teenagers are like oil and water and don’t get along.

But because the Saotome family are invited to stay with the Tendo’s, the two must try to get along with each other.  Despite how much they can’t stand one another.

Akane, a tomboy who loves to fight and practice martial arts is still the most popular girl at Furinkan High School and a rule was made by the wealthy Tatewaki Kuno that whoever can beat Akane, will be the person that will be the man who is suited to be Akane’s boyfriend.  And everyday at school, he and others try to win Akane but instead are beaten by her.

But when she starts to arrive at school with Ranma Saotome and finds out that he is her fiance, things become much more complicated as Tatewaki Kuno sees Ranma as his chief rival.

But when Ranma accidentally is doused with cold water and he reverts to a teenage girl, the fact she beats Kuno, makes him not only love Akane but now makes him also love Ranma (female form).

In the second volume, a rival from Ranma’s old high school has managed to follow him all the way to Furinkan High School.  Troubled by his bad sense of direction, Ryouga Hibiki has made it a goal to defeat Ranma Saotome. But his thirst for revenge is even heightened after he, himself had fallen in the cursed lake which transformed Genma into a panda and Ranma to a teenage girl.

Also, a rival stands in the way of Akane Tendo and that is Tatewaki Kuno’s sister, Kodachi.

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.

While many Americans had their first exposure of Japanese animation during the 1970’s, with “Battle of the Planets” and in the ’80s through “Robotech” and “Voltron”, for the anime fans of the early ’90s, many discovered Japanese animation (anime) through a series known as “Ranma 1/2″.

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 but also to manga.  In fact, along with “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2″ was one of the few Japanese manga in comic book format that were released in America, that I would try to buy (it was very hard to find these comics during that time).

And while “Ranma 1/2″ would eventually receive a graphic novel release in the U.S. and continue to entertain fans well-after the manga and anime adaptation had ended.

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.

Over 25-years after the manga series was created, “Ranma 1/2″ is now making its return with a Blu-ray release but also a manga release via omnibus format.

Featuring the first two volumes, the manga series has the size of a three volume omnibus as it introduces us to the Saotome and Tendo families but also the rivalries which include Tatewaki Kuno, Ryouga Hibiki and Kodachi Kuno.

The manga series is just as fun and delightful as it was back when I read the manga in the early ’90s.  The constant bickering between Ranma and Akane, the shenanigans that both Ranma and Genma experience when doused with cold water, Kuno falling in love with both Akane and female Ranma, Dr. Tofu’s change when Kasumi is around and Kunou’s bad sense of direction are stories that I will remember forever.

And this series was a big part of my childhood 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 stories that has had a worldwide impact for longtime readers.

Featuring a hilarious and delightful storyline written with non-stop humor and action and along with Rumiko Takahashi’s own creative designs, “Ranma 1/2″ is at true classic that will forever entertain many generations and will forever be remembered for its characters and wild and crazy stories.

Discover this Rumiko Takahashi classic manga series today!  “Ranma 1/2 Omnibus” Vol. 1 is highly recommended!

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InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

For eight years, anime fans have waited for the conclusion of “InuYasha” which last aired back in 2004. Here we are now in 2013 and the final 13 episodes of the series is here!  The conclusion to Rumiko Takahashi’s “InuYasha” and the confrontation and battle that many have been waiting for!  “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″ is highly recommended!

© Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000

DVD TITLE: InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2

DURATION: 315 minutes (13 Episodes on 2 discs)

DVD INFORMATION: Original Uncut Episodes, Stereo, Bilingual (Japanese and English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media

RELEASE DATE: February 12, 2013

Originally created by Rumiko Takahashi

Director: Yasunao Aoiki

Series Composition by Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Music by Kaoru Wada

Character Design: Yoshihito Hishinuma

Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Anime Production: Sunrise

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kappei Yamaguchi/Richard Ian Cox (Inuyasha)

Satsuki Yukino/Kira Tozer (Kagome Higurashi)

Kouji Tsujitani/Kirby Morrow (Miroku)

Ken Narita/David Kaye (Sesshoumaru)

Houko Kwashima/Kelly Sheridan (Sango)

Kumiko Watanabe/Jillian Michaels (Shippo)

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Paul Dobson (Naraku)

Noriko Hidaka/Willow Johnson (Kikyo)

Taiki Matsuno/Scott McNeil (Koga)

Izumi Oogami/Janyse Jaud (Kagura)

 

Kagome finds her worlds colliding as she struggles to both fight alongside Inuyasha in the past and pass the exam to get into her high school of choice in the present. But with her spiritual powers sealed away, how will she purify the Shikon Jewel before Naraku can absorb it forever? As the battle enters its final stages, Inuyasha and his friends find their strength, loyalties and will to live pushed to impossible limits. And in the end, the final key to Naraku’s and the Jewel’s destruction may lie in nothing more-and nothing less-than the trust between a half demon and a girl from the future.

It’s the final 13 episodes of “InuYasha”.  For over a decade, many fans have been waiting for the final battle between InuYasha and friends versus Naraku, but also the long awaited battle between the brothers, InuYasha and Sesshomaru and more!

The thrilling conclusion that fans have been waiting for is featured in “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″!

What is “InuYasha”?

There are not many long running anime series that I find wonderful but for “InuYasha”” is one of those special titles that is what you can call a total package. Cool characters, cool storyline, cool animation, cool art background… A good balance of everything that you can want in an anime.

But it’s something that I expected no less coming from a manga series from Rumiko Takahashi, one of my favorite manga-ka’s in Japan known for anime TV series hits such as “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2″ and “InuYasha”.

In Japan, Takahashi has written 56 volumes for “InuYasha” (which began in 1996 and concluded in 2008) and the first 167 episodes aired on Yomiuri TV from 2000-2004. As many long anime series go on break in order for the mangaka to work on the manga series or the animators create a story on their own that is different from the manga, fortunately the anime series was put on hold for several years in order to have Takahashi finish the series.

By 2009, the second series “InuYasha: The Final Act” (26-episodes) began airing on Yomiuri TV from Oct. 2009 through March 2010 and now will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Viz Media with the first 13 episodes slated for release in November 2012.

“InuYasha: The Final Act” is based on the last 21 volumes of the manga series. The original staff and cast of the series returned for this final season and would feature the continuing storyline of InuYasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango, Shippo and Kirara searching for the final fragments of the shattered shikon jewel and prepare for their final battle against Naraku.

In the first half of the series, InuYasha and friends to all they can to find the remaining final shards but so is Naraku. The fight against Naraku continues as one character is killed and another uses power to the maximum to the point of nearly killing themselves. Meanwhile, one confesses their love and in the process, their power grows.

In the second half of the series, it has all come down to the battle that fans have waited over a decade for…InuYasha and friends vs. the evil Naraku, who has gathered and reunited shards of the Shikon Jewel and is about to make his wish for ultimate power.

But before then, we get to see the battle between InuYasha vs. Sesshomaru to see which is worthy of wielding their father’s fang of destruction. Meanwhile, Naraku enables Magatsuhi to manifest as a demon and create havoc on the group.  And the real true nature of the Shinkon Jewel is explained!

And one final battle in which Kagome must make the correct decision to make things right!

“InuYasha: The Final Act” features the following characters:

InuYasha – The half demon/half human who drawn a liking towards the human Priestess Kikyo and has some feelings for Kagome but his ego prevents him from saying anything about his emotions. Has the ability to leap far distances, has quite a few special attacks including claws that can cut through anything. Also, wields his father’s sword, Tetsusaiga. His goal is to take control of the Jewel of Four Souls to turn into a demon. Wears a necklace that forces him to listen to a single command from Kagome. When Kagome says “sit”, he drops or literally is thrown down to the ground harshly. He and Kagome are constantly bickering. In the first day of each month, he resorts back to human form. Later in the series, Kikoyo has been awakened and thus his feelings are split for both Kikyo and Kagome. Meanwhile, he does not get along with his brother Sesshomaru because he is half demon and because he possesses the family heirloom.

Kagome Higurashi - A high school student who is a reincarnation of Kikyo. Carries a bow and arrow as a weapon but a human who has the ability to go back to her time period through a well in her home and a well in the feudal period. Has conflicted emotions towards InuYasha but always caring for other people. Has the ability to control InuYasha by a special bead necklace on InuYasha that forces him to listen. She has the ability to sense and see the jewels and the shards from long distances or on a monster. She cares a lot for InuYasha.

Shippo – A young orphan fox. Human in appearance with a big fox tail. His father was killed by a demon and eventually gets himself into trouble while trying to obtain the crystal shards to become powerful and get revenge on the demons that killed his father. He has nowhere to go and is eventually taken in by InuYasha and Kagome.

Miroku – A Buddhist monk who travels the countryside and performs exorcisms. He’s a bit lecherous and likes to take people’s belongings and sell them for a profit. But his goal is to find the evil Naruku who has taken Miroku’s right hand and given him the power of “wind tunnel”, a powerful ability that can suck anything into a black hole like void in his hand. The hole is growing and eventually he will be sucked into it unless he finds the person who cursed him with it and gets his life back. He eventually travels with Kagome, InuYasha and Shippo in search of Naraku. Later in the series, Miroku and Sango fall in love with each other and in “Final Act”, Miroku will do all he can to protect her.

Sango – Sango is a demon slayer who’s family was slayed by demons. The person responsible is Naraku, thus joins Kagome, InuYasha, Shippo and Miroku to go after him. Her main weapon is a large boomerang that is powerful and able to cut monsters in half. In the beginning, she was always being hit on by Miroku but eventually, she begins to fall for him. Sango is often seen accompanying her faithful demon-cat companion, Kirara.

Sesshoumaru – The brother of InuYasha. A demon who can’t stand InuYasha because he’s half demon and half human and blames their father for being so weak and trying to protect a human. The two despise each other and twice in season one, he and InuYasha fight to the death. Has the ability to turn into a white wolf and much stronger and ruthless than InuYasha.

Kikyo – The Priestess who used to wear the Jewel of Four Souls. Cared for InuYasha but believed he is the one that fatally injured her. In season 1, she is brought back to life as an undead and wants her revenge against InuYasha.

Kaede - The sister of Kikyo, she is shown in past clips of Kikyo as a young little girl but currently she is 50+ years older, wears an eye patch and assists InuYasha and Kagome with information in their missions when they need her.

Naraku – The main evil antagonist who has manipulated everyone in order to get his hands on the crystal shards. Very evil demon who is responsible for Kikyo’s death, Miroku’s curse and the death of Sango’s faily. He is driven to become a full demon, possessing a fully corrupted Shikon jewel and possessing Kikyo.:

Kikyo: Continuing from the first season, we learn that Kikyo was brought back to life and driven by her hatred towards InuYasha for deceiving her. Eventually she finds out the true facts about what took place the night she passed away and learns that it was Naraku’s evil work in play to deceive both of them. She vows to get her revenge on Naraku. But to do that, she must stay close with him and thus she pretends to be on Naraku’s side.

Koga: The other important character we are introduced to is Koga, the wolf-demon (episode 36). Koga is the leader of the southern yokai-wolf tribe and has three shards that give him incredible speed and power. He develops a crush on Kagome (especially since she can sense the jewel shards) and thus he and InuYasha are often fighting with each other. Koga wants revenge on Naraku because his tribe was nearly all wiped out because of his deception. Although he is there to help Kagome and even InuYasha, he is on no one side but is their ally.

Kohaku: The younger brother of Sango brought back to life by Naraku (episode 29). Has an impure jewel shard given to him by Naraku that keeps him alive but he has lost all memories of his sister and can easily be used by Naraku to fight against InuYasha and friends. He was eventually freed from Narku’s grasps and became good friends with Rin.

Kagura: Naraku’s creation and second “detachment”. She is a wind sorceress (introduced in episode 40) that is lethal and deadly and has killed many innocents but at the same time, she hates Naraku and wishes to be free of him. Thus she tries to play the hands of InuYasha and possibly use him to kill Naraku.

Rin: An orphan girl who helps nurse Sesshomaru in the woods after he was badly injured in a fight against InuYasha (episode 34). Rin’s family was killed by bandits and so, she has been living alone by having to steal food. She’s mute and but communicates via hand gestures or facial emotions. Because Sesshomaru wields the Tenseiga (which heals), he returns the favor back to the girl after she was killed by wolves. Despite Sesshomaru’s uncaring attitude towards humans, he appears to tolerate her for some reason. Rin shows a loyalty towards him and eventually becomes part of Sesshomaru’s group.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“InuYasha: The Final Act” definitely shows the animated differences from the previous seasons created nearly a decade ago. With today’s use of computers and better utilization of CG and more detailed artwork, “InuYasha: The Final Act” looks better. Not only are art backgrounds much more detailed but you can tell that Sunrise didn’t lax on this TV series, they did a wonderful job in animation and with the art backgrounds and making Rumiko Takashi’s manga series come alive!

As for the audio, audio is presented in 2.0 and both languages are done quite well. The English dubbed seems a bit more clearer and a little louder coming through my front speakers over the Japanese track but overall, it’s a purely dialogue driven anime and there are no 5.1ch tracks, so it’s pretty much a front-channel driven soundtrack. For “Ranma 1/2″ fans, you will see the reunion of Ranma 1/2 voice actor Kappei Yamaguchi (Ranma) return as the voice for InuYasha which was pretty cool and also Noriko Hidaka (“Ranma 1/2″ character Akane) as Kikyo.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“InuYasha: The Final Act” comes with:

  • ORIGINAL JAPANESE TRAILER – The Japanese trailer for “InuYasha: The Final Act”
  • ORIGINAL CAST CREDITS IN ENGLISH

The final episodes of “InuYasha” have finally been released in America and for many anime fans, the series provided a wonderful conclusion but also an end of a chapter of a series which many people in America have pretty much grown up with for a very long time.

In my case, I discovered “Inu Yasha” not long after it was released in Japan in the mid-90’s via “Weekly Shonen Sunday”.  And like many other American fans, watched it when it was broadcast on Adult Swim back in 2002.  I can easily remember people dressing up as characters of “Inuyasha”, I still have the first “Inuyasha” PlayStation video game and to keep interest in the series, Viz Media have released the volume sets, the movie collection on Blu-ray and now “The Final Act” both on Blu-ray and DVD.

Having grown up with this series, without spoiling any of the storyline, I will say that the final episodes provide closure to fans.  The final battle with Naraku, the explanation of the Shinkon Jewel, the final confrontation between Naruto and his brother Sesshomaru.  But most importantly, what happens to these characters afterward.  Do the live?  Do they die?  Do characters hook up?

The finality of the series is explained in “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″ and I will leave it at that.  Longtime fans of the series will not be disappointed!

I have always felt that when it comes to an anime television series based on a Rumiko Takahashi manga, you really can’t go wrong. May it be “Urusei Yatsura”, “Ranma 1/2″, “Maison Ikkoku”, “One Pound Gospel”, “Mermaid’s Forest”, etc., all are classics in their own right and “InuYasha” will surely join the others as not only as a popular hit manga series but also on of Japan’s popular anime TV series of all time.

There are not too many manga creators who have a lot of their works get the anime adaptation that spawn many films, CD drama series and soundtracks and also a lot of merchandise. For Rumiko Takahashi, she’s had four decades worth of series that have lasted for a long time and even today, fans still crave her works because they can be watched any time and they are good now as they were then.

But when it comes to “InuYasha”, where I’ve had such a strong affinity towards her previous releases and even “Ranma 1/2″, I have to admit, “InuYasha” is a solid series and there was not many episodes that were bland or “OK”, they were all very good and again, there are not many TV series where I want to continue watching nearly every episode in one sitting.

So, everything is fantastic about this series but are there any negatives with this DVD release? Well, I’m sure one can argue that they wish all 26-episodes were released as one volume and some can wish that there were more special features included. But it’s hard to argue since Viz Media has always broken up their DVD’s into volumes and rarely release full collections. And as for special features, while past “InuYasha” collections had some rare swag included in the limited edition releases, pretty much all you’re going to get is a Japanese trailer. Yes, Japan’s DVD release of “InuYasha: The Final Act” received a bonus DVD, a calendar and a DJ CD but Viz Media has not really released limited edition DVD releases for many years now.

But as for the series itself, “InuYasha: The Final Act” is what many people have been waiting for and wanting to see. Characters risking their lives to take down Naraku and a lot of sacrifices that are being made.

These final 13 episodes are it for “InuYasha” and fans will be happy with receiving closure to the series that they had followed for so many years!  Trust me, you will enjoy this final half of “The Final Act”.

Overall, If you are an “InuYasha” fan… “InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 2″ is highly recommended!

InuYasha: The Movie the Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

inuyashamovies

Four “InuYasha” films for $21 on Blu-ray?  You better believe it!   Not only is it cheaper than the older DVD box set but all four films are presented with better picture and audio quality. You are definitely getting your money’s worth with this Blu-ray release!  “InuYasha: The Movie the Complete Collection” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1988 Akiyuki Nosaka/Shinchosa. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: InuYasha: The Movie the Complete Collection

YEAR OF RELEASE: InuYasha the Movie 1 (2001), InuYasha the Movie 2 (2002), InuYasha the Movie 3 (2003), InuYasha the Movie 4 (2004)

DURATION: InuYasha the Movie (100 Minutes), InuYasha the Movie 2 (100 Minutes), InuYasha the Movie 3 (98 Minutes), InuYasha the Movie 4 (86 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14

COMPANY: Viz Media

RELEASE DATE: March 26, 2013

Originally created by Rumiko Takahashi

InuYasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time

Directed by Toshiya Shinohara

Scenario by Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Music by Kaoru Wada

Character Design by Hideyuki Motohashi, Yoshihito Hishinuma

Art Director: Tsutomu Ishigaki

Art: Hiroyuki Hasegawa

Chief Animation Director: Hideyuki Motohashi

Producer: Masuo Ueda, Michihiko Suwa, Mikihiro Iwata

Production by Kyoto Animation, NTV, Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd., Sunrise, TOHO, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation

InuYasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass

Directed by Toshiya Shinohara

Scenario by Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Music by Kaoru Wada

Character Design by Hideyuki Motohashi, Yoshihito Hishinuma

Art Director: Tsutomu Ishigaki

Art: Hiroyuki Hasegawa

Chief Animation Director: Hideyuki Motohashi

Producer: Masuo Ueda, Michihiko Suwa, Mikihiro Iwata

Production by Avex Inc., Kyoto Animation, Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd., Sunrise, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation

InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler

Directed by Toshiya Shinohara

Scenario by Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Music by Kaoru Wada

Character Design by Hideyuki Motohashi, Yoshihito Hishinuma

Art Director: Tsutomu Ishigaki

Art: Hiroki Nomura

Chief Animation Director: Hideyuki Motohashi

Producer: Masuo Ueda, Michihiko Suwa, Mikihiro Iwata

Production by Kyoto Animation, Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd., Sunrise, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation

InuYasha the Movie 4: Fire on the Mystic Island

Directed by Toshiya Shinohara

Scenario by Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Music by Kaoru Wada

Character Design by Yoshihito Hishinuma

Art Director: Tsutomu Ishigaki

Chief Animation Director: Yoshihito Hishinuma

Producer: Masuo Ueda, Michihiko Suwa, Mikihiro Iwata

Production by Sunrise

Featuring the voices of:

Kappei Yamaguchi/Richard Ian Cox as Inuyasha

Satsuki Yukino/Kira Tozer as Kagome Higurashi

Kouji Tsujitani/Kirby Morrow as Miroku

Ken Narita/David Kaye as Sesshoumaru

Houko Kwashima/Kelly Sheridan as Sango

Kumiko Watanabe/Jillian Michaels as Shippo

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Paul Dobson as Naraku

Noriko Hidaka/Willow Johnson as Kikyo

Taiki Matsuno/Scott McNeil as Koga

Izumi Oogami/Janyse Jaud as Kagura

Yuuichi Nagashima/Don Brown as Jaken

Emi Motoi/Nicole Bouma as Ai

Fumiko Orikasa/Rebecca Shoichet as Asagi

Nobuo TobitaTed Cole as Kyora

Nobutoshi Canna/Kristian Ayre as Ryura

Tadahisa Saizen/Ward Perry as Gora

Takeshi Kusao/Jason Simpson as Jura

Yu Kobayashi/Gabe Khouth as Dai

Yuki Masuda/Justine Wong as Moegi

In a mystical version of feudal-era Japan modern-day schoolgirl Kagome and half-demon Inuyasha are drawn together across time to protect a land ravaged by demons! In these four feature films our heroes take on new challenges and strange foes. With their crew of demon-slaying friends Kagome and Inuyasha face the adventures of their lives!

Contains all 4 Inu Yasha movies:
Affections Touching Across Time
The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass
Swords of an Honorable Ruler
Fire on the Mystic Island

In Japan, there are few manga/anime series that have lasting power for more than ten years.  Let alone be created by a mangaka who has achieved it multiple times.

Rumiko Takashi, best known for anime TV series hits such as “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2″ began her manga series “InuYasha” in 1996, while in 2000 the animated series followed and a sequel to close the series was released in 2009-2010.  By the end of InuYasha, a total of 56 manga volumes were created, 167 episodes from 2000-2004 and the final 26 episodes from 2009-2010.

A very popular series that has captivated anime audiences for many years, with a franchise that led to video games, novels, soundtracks and a live action play, as customary for popular animated series, “InuYasha” also a total of four animated films created.

In 2001, “InuYasha the Movie 1: Affections Touching Across Time”; in 2002, “InuYasha the Movie: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass”; in 2003, “InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler”; and in 2004, “InuYasha the Movie: Fire on the Mystic Island”.

While Viz Media released a DVD box set featuring all four films in 2007, Viz Media will be releasing a Blu-ray release with all four films in 2013 in HD with lossless audio.

“InuYasha” features the following characters:

InuYasha – The half demon/half human who drawn a liking towards the human Priestess Kikyo and has some feelings for Kagome but his ego prevents him from saying anything about his emotions.  Has the ability to leap far distances, has quite a few special attacks including claws that can cut through anything.  Also, wields his father’s sword, Tetsusaiga.  His goal is to take control of the Jewel of Four Souls to turn into a demon.  Wears necklace that forces him to listen to a single command from Kagome.  When Kagome says “sit”, he drops or literally is thrown down to the ground harshly.  He and Kagome are constantly bickering.  In the first day of each month, he resorts back to human form.

Kagome Higurashi - A high school student who is a reincarnation of Kikyo.  Carries a bow and arrow as a weapon but a human who has the ability to go back to her time period through a well in her home and a well in the feudal period.  Has conflicted emotions towards InuYasha but always caring for other people.  Has the ability to control InuYasha by a special bead necklace on InuYasha that forces him to listen.  She has the ability to sense and see the jewels and the shards from long distances or on a monster.

Shippo – A young orphan fox.  Human in appearance with a big fox tail.  His father was killed by a demon and eventually gets himself into trouble while trying to obtain the crystal shards to become powerful and get revenge on the demons that killed his father.    He has nowhere to go and is eventually taken in by InuYasha and Kagome.

Miroku – A Buddhist monk who travels the countryside and performs exorcisms.  He’s a bit lecherous and likes to take people’s belongings and sell them for a profit.  But his goal is to find the evil Naruku who has taken Miroku’s right hand and given him the power of “wind tunnel”, a powerful ability that can suck anything into a black hole like void in his hand.  The hole is growing and eventually he will be sucked into it unless he finds the person who cursed him with it and gets his life back.  He eventually travels with Kagome, InuYasha and Shippo in search of Naraku.

Sango – Sango is a demon slayer who’s family was slayed by demons.  The person responsible is Naraku, thus joins Kagome, InuYasha, Shippo and Miroku to go after him.  Her main weapon is a large boomerang that is powerful and able to cut monsters in half.

Sesshoumaru – The brother of InuYasha.  A demon who can’t stand InuYasha because he’s half demon and half human and blames their father for being so weak and trying to protect a human.  The two despise each other and twice in season one, he and InuYasha fight to the death.  Has the ability to turn into a white wolf and much stronger and ruthless than InuYasha.

Kikyo – The Priestess who used to wear the Jewel of Four Souls.  Cared for InuYasha but believed he is the one that fatally injured her.  In season 1, she is brought back to life as an undead and wants her revenge against InuYasha.

Kaede - The sister of Kikyo, she is shown in past clips of Kikyo as a young little girl but currently she is 50+ years older, wears an eye patch and assists InuYasha and Kagome with information in their missions when they need her.

Naraku – The main evil who has manipulated everyone in order to get his hands on the crystal shards.  Very evil demon and the main enemy everyone is after.

Kikyo: Continuing from the first season, we learn that Kikyo was brought back to life and driven by her hatred towards InuYasha for deceiving her.  Eventually she finds out the true facts about what took place the night she passed away and  learns that it was Naraku’s evil work in play to deceive both of them.  She vows to get her revenge on Naraku.  But to do that, she must stay close with him and thus she pretends to be on Naraku’s side.

Koga: Koga is the leader of the southern yokai-wolf tribe and has three shards that give him incredible speed and power.  He develops a crush on Kagome (especially since she can sense the jewel shards) and thus he and InuYasha are often fighting with each other.  Koga wants revenge on Naraku because his tribe was nearly all wiped out because of his deception.  Although he is there to help Kagome and even InuYasha, he is on no one side but is their ally.

Kohaku: The younger brother of Sango brought back to life by Naraku.  Has an impure jewel shard given to him by Naraku that keeps him alive but he has lost all memories of his sister and can easily be used by Naraku to fight against InuYasha and friends. He is part of Naraku’s crew.

Kagura: Naraku’s creation and second “detachment”.  She is a wind sorceress (introduced in episode 40) that is lethal and deadly and has killed many innocents but at the same time,  she hates Naraku and wishes to be free of him.  Thus she tries to play the hands of InuYasha and possibly use him to kill Naraku.

RIN: An orphan girl who helps nurse Sesshomaru in the woods after he was badly injured in a fight against InuYasha (episode 34).  Rin’s family was killed by bandits and so, she has been living alone by having to steal food.  She’s mute and but communicates via hand gestures or facial emotions.  Because Sesshomaru wields the Tenseiga (which heals), he returns the favor back to the girl after she was killed by wolves.  Despite Sesshomaru’s uncaring attitude towards humans, he appears to tolerate her for some reason.  Rin shows a loyalty towards him and eventually becomes part of Sesshomaru’s group.

 

Here is a brief spoiler-free synopsis of each film:

In “InuYasha the Movie 1: Affections Touching Across Time”, we learn that 200 years ago, InuYasha’s father defeated the powerful Chinese moth yokai known as Hyoga.  With a Shikon Jewel fragment having freed Hyoga’s son, Menomaru, he now wants revenge on anything related to InuYasha’s father and that is by destroying InuYasha.

Along with his two minions, Ruri and Hari, the three attack InuYasha and friends.  Ruri duplicating Miroku’s Wind Tunnel, Hari possessing Kirara and Menomaru cursing Kagome, can the group find a way to beat Menomaru?

In “InuYasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond Looking Glass”, as the group continues their search for Shikon Jewel Shards, Kagura and Kanna continue on without Naraku (who is thought to be dead).  The two find a mirror inside the shrine and they awaken Kaguya, Princess of the Heavens. Kaguya promises Kagura her eternal freedom if she can recover five items that will free her from the mirror.

The two end up confronting InuYasha and friends and Kaguya ends up using her power to kidnap Kagome.  Now the group must try to rescue her.

For “InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler”, we see a past when InuYasha was about to be born.  We see Takemaru killing Lady Izayoi before InuYasha’s father arrives.  When InuYasha’s father arrives, he resurrects Izayoi with the Tenseiga and he tells her to escape with his son InuYasha and gives her the Cloth of the Fire Rat to protect them from the burning palace.  And the final image shows InuYasha dying in the fire as he tried to face Takemaru.

In the present time, Kagome’s grandfather finds a sword which is to be kept in the storehouse.  Kagome’s younger brother finds it and the sword reveals itself to be Saiya and is seeking out InuYasha.  But why does the sword want InuYasha?

For “InuYasha the Movei 4: Fire on the Mystic Island”, a small group of children on Horai Island watch a woman that looks like Kikyo in a green orb. Immediately, the Cauldron of Resonance comes to life and the mark of the Four War Gods (Ryuura, Juura, Kyoura and Goura) appear on all of the children’s backs except the youngest child, Ai.  Asagi, the oldest child tells ai to run and leave the island and the Four War Gods try to go after her.  But just in time, InuYasha and the others come to her rescue.  Which leads to a battle between InuYasha and friends and the Four War Gods.

VIDEO:

For picture quality, all four films are presented in 1080i 16×9 video.  Because these films were made between 2001-2004, the films are upconverted.  With that being said, the benefit of watching a film that has been upconverted is much better than a TV series because of the better production quality.  Even the 2001 film “Affections Touching Across Time” doesn’t look soft and looks better that a lot of the upconverted anime films that I have seen.  Of course, the more recent the film, the better production quality, so the fourth film “Fire on the Mystic Island” does have a slight edge compared to the older films.

But people should not worry as all four films that have been upconverted in HD looks amazing on Blu-ray!  Colors are vibrant, picture quality just looks better than it’s previous DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

All four films are presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. It’s important to note that if you want to watch with Japanese with English subtitles, you can’t select subtitles or audio but have to go through the setup menu to make the changes.

There is a significant difference between the English and Japanese lossless soundtrack.  The English has a better dynamic range and utilizes the surround channels for sound effects and music, while the Japanese lossless soundtrack is primarily front and center-channel driven.

With that being said, all films, especially the English lossless soundtracks sound very good.  I have to admit that I expected a similar dynamic range for the Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack to its English counterpart, but that’s not the case.  While the soundtrack is crisp and clear for the Japanese lossless track, the English track does get a nod for better use of the surround channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Inuyasha: The Movie the Complete Collection” comes with production art, English credits and trailers for each film (except the first).

As a long time fan of Rumiko Takahashi’s works, one thing that I have learned is that you really can’t go wrong with any of her longtime series.  While I grew up during the “Ranma 1/2″, “Urusei Yatsura” and “Maison Ikkoku” years, I have also been captivated by this ongoing storyline of “InuYasha” and the series’ characters.

While I enjoyed the TV series, the films are much more emotional, relevant to the series and of course, the production quality is much better than its TV series counterpart.

With the first film “Affections Touching Across Time”, I suppose what I found appealing for the first film is the fact that the storyline revisits InuYasha’s father, specifically an old enemy of his father and also the connection between InuYasha and Kagome.  The first time I watched the film, I thought it was a very touching and emotional film building the relationship and connection of these two characters.  You see a little of it in the TV series but the films really explore their bond.

By the second film “The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass”, this film brings back Kagura but also explores the fact that Naruku may be alive.  But for Kagura fans, it’s definitely one of the major battles featuring Kagura and InuYasha but it’s great to see the series’ antagonist show up for the second film (as most anime series tend to feature an enemy just created for the film version).

The third film is actually one of my favorites as it deals with InuYasha’s birth but also an enemy named Takemaru that is connected to the death of InuYasha’s mother and his father.  The third film was definitely one of the darkest films and a storyline in which we see both brothers, InuYasha and Sesshomaru actually working together.  Similar to the first film, we get to know more about InuYasha’s family but in this case, the death of his parents.

And for the final fourth film “Fire on the Mystic Island”, InuYasha and the others take on the Four War Gods and once again, everyone shows up in the film in battle.  Where this film focuses on children who have been possess by the Four War Gods, the film is not too childish and focuses on plenty of action.

As for the Blu-ray release, it’s important to remember that this is an upconvert of the animated films presented in 1080i.  I know there are people who try to shy away from upconverts but in this case, because of the higher production value put into animated films versus a TV series, each of the four films presented in “InuYasha: The Movie the Complete Collection” look very good!

The release of the four “InuYasha” films on Blu-ray for $20 is an excellent deal.  Considering that on DVD, these four films as a set used to be priced around $50-$60.  Also, with the upconvert to 1080i, colors are much more vibrant and overall picture quality looks so much better.  The same can be said with the lossless soundtrack, although the English dub soundtrack seems to sound much better and utilized more for the surround channels versus its Japanese lossless soundtrack.

Overall, four “InuYasha” films for $21 on Blu-ray?  You better believe it!   Not only is it cheaper than the older DVD box set but all four films are presented with better picture and audio quality. You are definitely getting your money’s worth with this Blu-ray release!

“InuYasha: The Movie the Complete Collection” is highly recommended!

RIN-NE Volume 8 by Rumiko Takahashi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Popular mangaka Rumiko Takahashi (“Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2″, “Inuyasha” and many more) continues the ghost/spirit-busting  fun with her latest manga series “RIN-NE”.  Definitely a manga series worth checking out! Highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2009 Rumiko TAKAHASHI/SHOGAKUKAN. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: RINE-NE Vol. 8

STORY AND ART BY: Story and art by Rumiko Takahashi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Teen

Released: March 6, 2012

Rinne finds himself acting as a mentor for the shinigami Shoma, an elementary school student from the afterlife. Although Shoma is supposed to be learning how to help spirits pass on, he only wants to go after the biggest evil spirits he can find – despite the fact that he’s never done it before! The devil Masato offers Shoma an easy road to success, but can Rinne show the young shinigami the right path?

Rumiko Takashi, probably the most well-known mangaka in the world is back with a new manga titled “RIN-NE” (known in Japan as “Kyoukai no RINNE”) and is currently published in Japan in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday and now available in the US courtesy of Viz Media’s new imprint “Shonen Sunday”.

Known for popular hit manga (and anime series based from her manga) such as “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2″ , “One Pound Gospel”, “Mermaid Scar”, “Inuyasha” and many more titles.

In “RIN-NE” , we are introduced to a high school teenager named Sakura Mamiya. What we know about her is that when she was a little girl, she saw a ring in the sky and an older woman.  Flash forward over a decade later and we learn that what Sakura saw was a ghost and now a high school teenager, her ability so see ghost is quite uncanny.

One day during class, she sees for the first time, a boy named Rinne Rokudo who has been absent from his class for a long time.  Rinne finally started to appear in class one day, but despite the teacher starts calling out his name, everyone acts as if he’s not there.  Sakura finds that quite odd because he’s there, yet no one can see him.  He’s not a ghost?  So, she’s trying to figure out why everyone is behaving so oddly?

Eventually, Rinne Rokudo learns that Sakura has the ability to see ghosts and as the two begin to talk, he tells her that he is in the world of the living and his job is to make sure that he makes the dead and their ghosts rest in peace.

A ghost that constantly follows Sakura on her way to school then asks her who is the guy. And to her surprise, Rokudo answers the ghost and telling it that he needs to rest in peace.

Rinne tells her that he is sort of a “shinagami” (death spirit) and then he hypnotizes her after she sees him bringing a stuck spirit and sending them off.  Thinking that she will not remember anything at all, somehow the hypnotism doesn’t work and Sakura remembers everything.

So both become partners in taking on spirits that are stuck in the world of the living (especially those haunting the school and the students) and sending them off.

Joining the two is a black cat named Rokumon (who is contracted to help Rinne with his work) and along the way, they get some help from a young exorcist named Tsubasa Jumonji and also help from Rinne’s grandmother Tamako.  But meanwhile, a demon named Masato , who has a grudge against Rinne has been trying to cause trouble.

In volume 8 of “RIN-NE”, training for the Shinigami children begins and the students of Shinigami elementary schools must do a homestay in the human world and practice sending spirits off to rest in peace.  All these children need to do is earn 50 points and it seems quite easy as they just have to focus on goldfish, birds and animals, but for fifth grader Shoma, he has to stay with Rinne during his homestay and he has no intention of sending things off that are easy.

Being the hard-headed shingami kid that he is, he wants to focus on real evil spirits which are worth 50 points.  But these are the evil spirits that Rinne, goes after.  Yet Shoma thinks he is up to it!

But there are right ways of doing things and incorrect ways of doing things and because Shoma is so hard-headed, he would rather not listen to Rinne and listen to the demon Masato, in which Shoma thinks that Masato is trying to help him.

What will happen when Shoma finds out that Masato is an evil demon that is trying to cause him problems?

Also, included are more stories involving Rinne and Sakura working together, and also Ageha making her appearance once again and try to get close to Rinne.

For anyone who has read manga series from Rumiko Takashi, one thing that she excels at is creating many characters but also doing a great job in character development.  These characters are not one-shot, they tend to re-appear throughout a series and have some importance to a story arc.

And with “RIN-NE”, Rumiko introduces us to the child shinigami Shoma.  And for many manga series that Rumiko has created, the child character has played a major part in a series.  From Ten of “Urusei Yatsura”, Shippo of “Inuyasha” and even Kentaro of “Maison Ikkoku”, the child character tends to bring a child-like perspective to the manga series but also some trouble.

While the manga series does have Rokumon the human/black cat, she introduces another young character.  This time, a fifth grade shingami named Shoma who needs to collect 50 points during his homestay with Rinne but he’s a kid who likes to do things his way and doesn’t like older people telling him what to do.  Needless to say, it gets him in a bit of trouble.

Also, prevalent in Rumiko Takashi anime series is the “love triangle” or often a harem aspect.  While Sakura and Rinne work together, Ageha looks at Sakura as her rival in terms of getting closer to Rinne.  So, once again we see Ageha doing all she can in order to get close with Rinne.  But the problem is that wherever Rinne goes, Sakura and others will also follow.

And we are also given two fun and enjoyable chapters as Rinne and Sakura work together to help a ghost haunting the home economics classrooom and also a story about a haunted scarf.

So far, “RIN-NE” has been a fantastic, fun and enjoyable series thus far.  The chapters are fun and no deep storylines that have shown up yet.  If anything, the manga has been about introducing newer characters to the series but also focusing on the working relationship between Rinne and Sakura.

In some way, the two characters sort of remind of Inuyasha and Kagome (the two main protagonists of the series), although Sakura doesn’t have that hot of a temper like Kagome and it’s way to early to show if there are any signs of future romance between the two.

But for now, “RIN-NE” is a lighthearted manga series that is easily accessible to fans who enjoy ghost/spirit hunting action and that enjoyable Rumiko Takahashi humor and her beautiful illustrations.  Definitely a series worth reading!

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FATES ARE SEALED IN A FINAL SHOWDOWN AS EPIC MANGA ADVENTURE INUYASHA CONCLUDES

January 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

VIZ Media has announced the release of the final installment of Rumiko Takahashi’s longtime bestselling manga (graphic novel) series, INUYASHA, on January 11th.  Fans won’t want to miss even a single page of the action in Volume 56, Curtain of Time, which is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. INUYASHA is published under VIZ Media’s Shonen Sunday imprint.

Kagome, a modern-day high school girl, is pulled into Japan’s ancient past! There, her destiny is linked to a dog-eared half demon named Inuyasha. Together, they battle evil demons who seek to acquire the shards of the legendary Shikon Jewel and wield its incredible power. But can Kagome and Inuyasha stop feuding with each other long enough to save the feudal or modern world–let alone both?

In the climactic showdown, the demon Naraku’s true intentions are finally revealed! Then, Kagome is swallowed up by the Meido. Is she finally beyond her friends’ reach? And will the final battle over the Shikon Jewel draw Inuyasha and Kagome together…or pull them apart forever?! Find out in the exciting concluding volume!

The spotlight on manga creator Rumiko Takahashi began in 1978 when she won an honorable mention in Shogakukan’s annual New Comic Artist Contest for Those Selfish Aliens. Later that same year, her boy-meets-alien comedy series, Urusei Yatsura, was serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday. This phenomenally successful manga series was adapted into anime format and spawned a TV series and half a dozen theatrical-release movies, all incredibly popular in their own right. Takahashi followed up the success of her debut series with one blockbuster hit after another – MAISON IKKOKU ran from 1980 to 1987, RANMA ∏ from 1987 to 1996, and INUYASHA from 1996 to 2008. Other notable works include MERMAID SAGA, RUMIC THEATRE, and ONE-POUND GOSPEL. These, as well as her newest manga series, RIN-NE, are also published in North America by VIZ Media.

Also catch INUYASHA anime episodes – for free – on VIZAnime.com <http://www.vizanime.com/> .

More information on INUYASHA, or other Shonen Sunday titles from VIZ Media, is available at www.ShonenSunday.com <http://www.shonensunday.com/> .

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