by Mike Favila, Editor
It’s been very interesting for me to view these later seasons, as I had only had the pleasure of knowing the first 4 seasons. Though the characters progress, there’s never too much change. It’s never like visiting a friend that you no longer recognize. Ranma 1/2 Set 6 is no different. For my money, I would love to have Takahashi’s untethered imagination. Watermelon Island? Kuno with a watermelon head? What sparks these ideas? Where can I get some? I guess a number of their situations are food based (as in Ukyo’s Secret Sauce), but somehow the jokes never seem to dull.
While I’ve always love the writing, I started wondering out loud if Ranma 1/2 would survive American audience scrutiny as it is today. Akane is constantly trying to fight Ukyo, Shampoo and the other suitors for Ranma’s attention. While none of these ladies are a pushover, the series would probably be derided for being a little too focused on getting a man’s attention. Most critics would probably be surprised that a woman is the driving force behind Ranma. Could a majority of the episodes pass the inevitable Bechdel test?
The answer is probably that Ranma 1/2 is both less and more than that simple definition. Ranma himself is always a little bit of both, depending on the situation. He changes into a girl to take advantage of certain situation but finds himself underneath weight of expectation on that gender. His suitors of both genders are a mix of different traits and characteristics. Kuno is both chivalrous and a buffoon. Shampoo is always hunting for Ranma’s affection, but is a great warrior herself and very close with her maternal grandmother (also no slouch in the fighting department). Even though the episodes make us a laught, the characters are never a one note joke.
I was pumped to see that the included Special Features were a little different from the earlier sets. On Ranma 1/2 Set 1-3, they had a great making of feature that gave the viewer some background on the awesome people at Viz, and the labor of love that this restoration and release has been. Though it was nice to see a profile of the fans (like myself) that enjoy the series, the newly included “We Love Ranma” part 6 and 7 cover more about the background of the Viz crew, as well as show bloopers involved in making Ranma 1/2 Set 6.
The artbox for Ranma 1/2 Set 6 is sturdy as usual, and just looks great among the collection. I love the artcard of my favorite character in the series, Akane. Often serving as the foil to wild Ranma, she’s always the most sympathetic and down to earth character in a wild, diverse cast. The episode synopsis book is always a winner, especially if you’ve never seen that particular one before. Truth be told, there’s so many of them it’s hard to keep track without a little prompting, even if you’re familiar with the episode.
Considering how well priced the set is at under $40 on Amazon, it’s a no brainer to pick up Ranma 1/2 Set 6 and enjoy the series as it comes towards its conclusion. Viz always puts a lot into these packages, and I’ve never felt like these sets were just generated just to make you buy them over and over again. I can only hope that they have plans to make a set at some point containing the OVAs and other material that wasn’t included in the regular series. For now, I’ll just have to be content to sit down with some ramen and enjoy Ranma 1/2 Set 6!
ComicsOnline.com gives Ranma 1/2 – Set 6 5 out of 5 wayward watermelon heads!