Back in the day, we had to pay $30 for two ‘tv episodes’ if we wanted to watch Japanimation on VHS. Kids now-a-days…. oh. They got their fireballs and school kids, and they are buying like 13 episodes long anime series for that price. Well, Ranma 1/2 is one of those shows that never aired on North American Television. That’s right, not even on everyones beloved Toonami, and with good reason. Every time Ranma Saotome is splashed with cold water, ‘he becomes a she.’ Hot water reverses it, and he’s not the only aquatic shape-shifter in the bunch. His father’s a Panda, his rival’s a pig, a girl who wants to kill his girl side is a cat, and the guy who loves her is a duck! And that’s not even quite all of them!
It might have aired on an international channel. In Spanish. I’m not willing to rule that one out.
Ranma and his father live with his arranged fiance Akane, and her father and her sisters. The two have been arranged to be married by the fathers so they can carry on the tradition of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, which is a grappling based martial art. I would never compare the fight scenes with say, Naruto or Dragon Ball Z, but I would say that it gets as hectic as some of the more action packed scenes in the original Dragon Ball.
Tons of rivals show up, but none are as cool as the manga only character, Herb. In fact, he was even the main villain in one of the Super Nintendo’s Ranma fighting games. His people had used Jensenkyo’s spring of drowned girl in order to mate with animals, that way their heirs would have the strong genetic traits of them. They had stopped doing that in modern times, but Herb still had the genes that he had inherited from his dragon ancestors. Since he had never seen a woman in his life, but was soon to wed, he splashed a monkey with the springs water, in order to find out what women were like. While his attention was drawn to her anatomy, the monkey got the upper hand on him, and kicked him into the spring, thus making him have the same curse as Ranma.
It’s a shame that they never introduced him to the anime, not even in the OVA series. His armor is very Dragon Ball Z like.
Rumiko Takahashi later went on to create such hits as Inuyasha, which is no surprise considering she had previously also done Urusei Yatsura before Ranma. Maybe next month will be Rumiko Takahashi month? I would love to do that.