Ranma 1/2 Live Action Special : A Review

Upon hearing that there was going to be a two hour live action Ranma 1/2 tv special, I for one was quite ecstatic about it.  I constantly heard fans mixed thoughts about about it.  My main thought was this, “It’s being done by a Japanese company, so it can’t be that horrid.”  But after watching it, my thoughts were correct.  There were some minor changes to the series, only a true Ranma-fanatic would nerdrage about.  But in the long run, it was a very good and on par with the manga and anime.

Before we continue, I will be referencing more from the anime than manga because I remember more from the anime and my manga is in storage.

The story is still the same… Somewhat.  Ranma and Akane are betrothed to each other to marry so that both Musabetsu schools will be united as one.  But neither one likes this fact, but it doesn’t help that Tatewaki Kuno is also mixed up in this.  That’s the long and short of it.  But here are some slight differences…

  1. Doctor Tofu is the school nurse.
  2. Just about everyone in the Nerima Ward are martial artists.
  3. Ranma already knows the Mouko Takabisha.
  4. Nabiki is older and runs a local karaoke bar.
  5. Genma isn’t as lazy (I know, shocker).

Also, to help the plot line of this special along, the Tendo family protects the Nannichuan water from outsiders.  Ranma was also promised access to the water if were to go ahead with this wedding arrangement.  The spring is hidden in Furinkan High School somewhere and Ranma wants it…  But he’s not the only person that’s looking for it.  If this sounds somewhat familiar to you, it is.  The main plot of the special is from Ranma 1/2 season 2, episodes 16 and 17.  When they put this together, they merged episodes 1, 2, 3, and 8 from season 1 and episodes 16 and 17 from season 2 together without Ryouga, and Hikuaru Gosunkugi was introduced.  But it all worked out seamlessly.

When I sat down to watch this, I was not expecting a retelling word for word.  What I got was a remake of the first few episodes, along with a plotline of another two episodes which became the main backdrop of the story.  Anyone new to Ranma 1/2 from watching this would not have caught on immediately.  Also, did you notice that Ranma Saotome didn’t have his front bangs and his traditional red shirt with yellow frog ties?  Me too.  Did that bother me at all?  Not really.  For someone who spent years training in China and that was also home-schooled, it fit just fine.

Would I have liked to have seen Ryoga Hibiki?  Yep.  Did I like the original villain that was made for this special?  Yep.  Was either one a deal-breaker?  Nope.

I enjoyed how they kept the funny shenanigans and the drama intact from the manga and the anime.  What was interesting in one scene there Akane carried Ranma on her back, but it was the reverse in the manga and anime.  Plus what was also interesting is that Dr. Tofu said that he studied Musabetsu for a while along with his medicinal studies.

Funny, sweet, awesome, I loved it.  I would give this 8.5 out of 10.  What would have made this perfect?  Maybe include Ryoga Hibiki, there was a wee bit too much Tatewaki Kuno for my taste.  And Hikauru Gosunkugi was brought in, as Kuno’s side/kick lackey as he was in the manga.

The Blu-ray will be released sometime in March.  Will I be picking it up?  Yes, yes I will.  Sometimes there are a benefits to having a PlayStation 3.

DJ Ranma S

DJ Ranma S

DJ Ranma S is cosplay veteran. He has won numerous performance awards with his friends over the years. He has staffed conventions in the past, ran panels, judged a couple of masquerades, a jack of all trades. He's worked dealer's room too! Running this site is his way of giving back to the cosplay community. He feels that it's his turn to give a future cosplayer their fifteen minutes of fame.

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