Ranma 1/2 – Let’s Watch a Random Anime (#5)

Ranma 1/2 – Let’s Watch a Random Anime (#5)

I’m done explaining the series. It takes too long and is pointless. It’s also self-explanatory, so use your big human brain. I watch a random anime with this site here , and I have two rules. I don’t need to finish it if it’s awful or watch the whole series if it’s long. (Here are the previous posts. #1 #2 #3 #4.)

 

No, you can’t prove that was copy and pasted. Don’t you even try! Once again, I have no real hopes on what to watch. Maybe something mystery? Sure, let’s go for that. I’ll definitely get what I want, I’m sure.

First, of course, I know what Ranma is. Second, I’m actually pretty ok with this turn of events, and third, hell no, I’m not watching anywhere near all of it. I don’t have time for that. Now, I already know the gist of this series, but let’s act like I don’t.

 

“Ranma Saotome is a top-class martial artist and prodigy at the Saotome “Anything-Goes” school of martial arts. While training in China, he and his father meet a terrible fate when they accidentally fall into a cursed spring. Now, Ranma is cursed to turn into a girl when splashed with cold water, and only hot water can turn him back into a boy. Things are only complicated further when Ranma discovers that his father has arranged for him to marry one of Soun Tendo’s three daughters in order to secure the future of the Tendo dojo. Though Soun learns of Ranma’s predicament, he is still determined to go ahead with the engagement, and chooses his youngest daughter Akane, who happens to be a skilled martial artist herself and is notorious for hating men. Ranma 1/2 follows the hilarious adventures of Ranma and Akane as they encounter various opponents, meet new love interests, and find different ways to make each other angry, all while their engagement hangs over their head.”

 

All I really knew is that Ranma was half boy, half girl. What I didn’t know is that there was a reason, or the whole engagement thing. I figured it was just another classic battle anime. And 1989 is definitely a classic, but I’m happy I get to watch an oldie. It’s always fun. Bad dubs that I’m almost certain would be offensive today and all that. Oh, the good old days that I wasn’t even alive for, so why do I care? Anyway, see you in like a week my time.

So Ranma is something. As I said, I didn’t watch all of it. I got through about 8 episodes, which was enough to get the general vibe of the series, and as I’ve made clear, that’s really all I need to do. I will say, though, as much as it will eat up my time, I do want to finish the whole thing at some point. That should give you some idea of my opinion.

 

Let’s start with the bad parts first. I don’t like Ranma himself. Now the good parts. I like Ranma herself. That’s only half a joke. Very ironically, I like Ranma half the time and dislike Ranma half the time, and as the main character of the series, that’s pretty rough. Conceptually, I like Ranma’s character a lot.

 

Firstly, the series is much more heavily reliant on comedy than I first expected. I thought Ranma would be more about martial arts and fights, but to my surprise, it’s a comedy with a good amount of romance, even if it’s often for comedic effect. The story is nonexistent, really, as you often see for these types of long-running series.

The plot is just about Ranma, a boy who fell into a pond, forcing him to become a girl whenever he’s hit with cold water and turn back to a boy when she’s hit with hot water. That’s the premise, and insanity ensues. That’s just a neat idea that lends itself well to the absurdity of the comedy. Ranma will be turned into a girl against his will from all manner of things, and you will laugh at it.

 

From a design standpoint, I also like Ranma a lot. I don’t get the whole Chinese outfit since Ranma is Japanese and just visited China, so why would he wear it all the time? But what is cool is how the outfit can be seen as both masculine or feminine depending on Ranma’s gender at the time. Sure, the eyeliner and chest helps, but having a fitting outfit that’s more genderneutral was clever.

 

What I  do not like about Ranma is his personality. See, the whole arranged marriage thing is a lot more important than you may think. Both Ranma and his father start living at the Tendo residence early on, and all the sisters, but primarily Akane, plays an important part.

She’s actually a pretty well-written character. She’s very strong at martial arts and is more of the tomboy in her family, which weighs on her a lot. She even has a bit of a rivalry going with her eldest sister because of it, which is why she continues to grow her hair out. You have a bit of a character somewhere inside that tsundere. 

 

What’s frustrating is that she isn’t the only tsundere. Ranma is also a major tsun, just far worse than her. Half his dialogue with her is insults about how much of a tomboy she is, the fact that she’ll never get married, and the fact that his female self is more attractive than her, which I admit, made me chuckle. That was a decent joke.

 

What’s bad, is that he never stops, and it gets to the point where you understand why she would break his neck several times. I want to smack him too. Ranma is funny half the time but insufferable with Akane to the point where you don’t want to root for them, even though you know the story’s going that way.

 

It means all of their interactions with each other basically boils down to two tsunderes beating their heads off of each other, neither budging an inch. Not the most enjoyable to watch.

This leads to a bigger problem that Ranma is a very formulaic series. It feels like each episode has its bullet points to get through. Oh, we need Ranma to be kicked into a pond. Wait, Ranma hasn’t called Akane a tomboy yet. Has he walked around naked as a girl yet? Hold on, Ranma didn’t turn his father into a panda yet.

 

A lot of the same joke gets reused, which isn’t exactly unheard of for a series like this, but I think it says a lot that at around six episodes in, I was already getting sick of the same couple jokes. They’re just overused a lot.

 

With that said, the formula is still fun above all else. It’s a unique concept and one that is utilized pretty well. It doesn’t feel like the series needed any time to establish itself. Right off the bat, it’s zany, absurd, and a good time. And really, that’s what you need to carry through 100+ episodes of anything.

Does it get boring, or does it dip in quality at a certain point? Almost definitely. I don’t know of any long-running series that does not go through phases. Some parts will be better than others, and I, unfortunately, do not have the time to see whether that’s true yet.

 

But if the series follows a similar progression with some form of relationship development between the characters, I could see Ranma being a pretty solid comedy action series.

 

I do use “action” loosely, though, because there are not all that many fights yet. Akane and Ranma occasionally beat the snot out of people, but it’s usually just one or two flashy moves. Moves that look good mind you.

For its time, Ranma looked pretty good. It has smooth animations, decent art, good character designs. All of it actually still holds up today, which is great because a lot of people’s trepidation with older anime is the quality of it. Ranma doesn’t have that problem. It’s charming, to be honest. Just the right “classic” feel to it.

 

And that’s really why I’m enjoying it. It’s not perfect. There are a few problems, particularly with its lead and humor, but it’s a fun series to watch. It feels like a classic.

 

Series like Ranma will not be for everyone. Not every anime watcher can stand 100s of episodes of very formulaic progression. They need more from their shows, and that’s great. But for me, series like Ranma have a very specific appeal. They scratch the same itch slice of life does. It requires little thinking but manages to bring me joy—the perfect anime for stress relief.

 

So, I’ll continue to watch an episode of Ranma here and there on my own time until I’m done because it’s simple, absurd, and fun. Sometimes that’s all you need. And I would recommend watching it. It’s anime history. That’s important too.

 

Thank you very much for reading

What would you do if you could transform into the opposite– no, let’s not do that. What’s some fun anime you’ve been watching lately? That’s wholesome!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. darkdaemonpk2

    I watched Ranma 1/2 during the mid 90’s and I liked it very much. However, the show’s animation and quality would continuously deteriorate as the episodes carry on. I think the only thing that might motivate you to continue watching this are the story arcs, although not all of them are interesting when it comes to plot though they are always heavy on the action. A persisting issue when it comes to the works of Rumiko Takahashi is that the first few episodes/chapters are really great, but gets compromised as the series progresses (I call it the “Rumiko Takahashi Syndrome.”).

    Have fun watching Ranma 1/2.

    1. That’s a shame to hear because it showed a lot of promise early on. I’ll continue to watch it and see how things go, but I hope it doesn’t drop too much. Also, I feel like I share a bit of that syndrome in my own writing. I feel like my beginnings are always the best.

I'd love to hear your thoughts ~

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.