Creator/Studio: Rumiko Takahashi/Studio Deen
Distributor: Viz, also streams on Hulu
No. Of Episodes: 161
Suggested Age: 17+
My Rating: 7/10
Summmary: Ranma Saotome has been engaged to Akane Tendo in an effort to unite their families so that Ranma can inherit the Tendo family’s dojo for the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts. There’s just one problem. Before they go to the Tendo family’s house to commence the engagement, Ranma and his father Genma head to Jusenkyo, in China. This town has several cursed springs all over it. Both Genma and Ranma fall into different springs while they are sparring over them. As a result, whenever Ranma gets wet, he becomes a girl! Whenever his father gets wet, he becomes a panda! Ranma also has a rival named Ryoga Hibiki, who also happened upon Jusenkyo in his travels and fell in a spring. He becomes a pig when he gets wet. Akane is not too keen on Ranma, but she puts up with him for her family’s sake. The hilarity ensues from there!
Review: When I started reviewing anime, one of the rules I set for myself was that I would not watch or review any series that was over 100 episodes. The main reason was that I wanted a series I could watch in a short time and not have to worry about the show getting tedious. At the time I’d made this rule, I decided to watch four shows at a time in order to have reviews come out on a weekly basis. Last year, I wanted to start writing a novel, so I thought it might be time to cut down to two titles. I also thought “Why not break my rule and watch a long series? I’ll have more time with less shows.” I am never breaking this rule again.
Now don’t misunderstand. I have nothing against the shonen demographic represented such programs as Ranma 1/2. After all, most of the first anime titles I watched were shonen (Beast King Go Lion and Dragonball are also considered shonen) But I find that many tend to go for a long time and get quite tedious as a result, causing me to lose interest. (This is why you will never see me reviewing One Piece, Naruto/Naruto Shippuden, or Bleach either.)
Ranma 1/2 does get slightly tedious, but the jokes tend to alleviate some of that. The characters are all great to watch. My personal favorites were Ranma and Akane. Ranma is a bit chauvinist, but he eventually overcomes this part of his personality for the most part. I loved the arguments he got in with Akane. Akane became one of my favorite anime heroines for her assertive attitude. She wants a man who well accept her for who she is, not for her status. This caused no end of conflict between the two of them, and made for some great humor. However, because the show can get repetitive, like most shonen, I cannot recommend this show to everyone. I will say that you should give it a chance now that the whole thing is finally streaming on Hulu.
Sub/Dub: A handful of the dubbed episodes were available to watch on Hulu, so I watched those as well. The dub is one of Viz’s early dubs, and it really shows. There were attempts made in the scripts to make the jokes more accessible to American audiences, but that’s a minor quibble. Other than that, the anime is watchable both ways.
Music/Score: All seven theme songs are extremely catchy. I can no longer get Youtube links to embed like I used to, so I can’t show them to you anymore.
Language: (3/10) Just a few mild swears.
Violence: (3/10) Mostly slapstick.
Nudity: (7/10)Lots of nudity here, but it’s always for humorous purposes. Ranma has a tendency to be found naked when he changes genders, and he’s not above using his, er, feminine assets we’ll call them for advantage against male opponents.
Sexuality: (5/10) There’s quite a lot of sexual humor. Also, late in the series, Genma’s sensei, a dirty old lech named Happosai, is introduced. In addition to his lecherous personality, Happosai also has a habit of stealing women’s panties. Yeah, he was an annoying character.
Religion: In addition to the cursed springs that factor into the overall plot, many references to Shinto and Buddhist traditions and practices are made throughout the series. (Akane’s father is actually a practicing Buddhist)
Related Media: This is based on the Ranma 1/2 manga created by Rumiko Takahashi. A Ranma 1/2 fighting game subtitled Hard Battle actually made it to the American version of the Super Famicom, the Super Nintendo. This was despite the fact that the show has never aired on American television. To this day, I am amazed that happened.