Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle is a DVD box set of the third season of Ranma 1/2; this set contains a total of 24 episodes. The first four discs contain five episodes, while the fifth disc contains four episodes and the special features.
Ranma 1/2 Third Season Box Set
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Ranma Saotome, along with his father Genma, fell into cursed springs in China. When they’re splashed with cold water, Ranma turns into a girl while Genma turns into a panda. The two of them move into the Tendo Dojo, which is run by Genma’s old friend, Soun Tendo. The fathers arrange for Ranma to be betrothed to Soun’s youngest daughter, Akane; however, neither Ranma nor Akane seem to like this arrangement.
By this point in the series, several potential love interests for both Ranma and Akane have been introduced in the series. The humor in the series is derived from these potential love interests chasing after Ranma and Akane, misunderstandings that arise between Ranma and Akane, as well as the curses that some of the characters have to deal with.
The very first episode in this box set introduces Ukyo Kuonji, who holds a grudge against Ranma; it turns out that the two of them knew each other when they were younger, and that their fathers had arranged for Ranma and Ukyo. By the end of this arc, Ukyo becomes another potential love interest for Ranma. Of course, things are complicated three episodes later, when Tsubasa Kurenai shows up and seems to have an interest in Ukyo.
Other stories in this season see Shampoo plotting to make Ranma hers with a special dim sum, several stories featuring Happosai’s lechery, Akane accidentally eating Happosai’s “super Soba noodles,” the Jusenkyo Morals Committee coming after the characters that have fallen into the cursed springs, Tatewaki Kuno’s manservant Sasuke Sarugakure running away from home, Ryoga and Mousse teaming up, several characters being able to go back in time and see Happosai in his youth, Shampoo’s sisters arrive to try to take Amazon law into their own hands, and a giant obstacle race with a grand prize being a trip to China.
There’s quite a focus on Ukyo during this season of Ranma 1/2; however, since she was a new character introduced during these episodes, having the focus be on her makes a lot of sense. While a number of the episodes focused on the hijinks and antics of the various love interests, there are occasional stories that aren’t. One of my favorites of these is the episode where Sasuke runs away from the Kuno estate. While Sasuke is usually just a comic relief character, I thought this was a well-done story that showed that was actually a little more to him than just being there for comedy.
Another favorite episode of mine in this season is right near the end, where Ranma’s potential love interests all participate in a cook off, with Ranma serving as the judge. The contest itself is rather hilarious, and this is one of those episodes where I was laughing out loud quite a bit.
I should also mention that this season of Ranma 1/2 definitely has more of a focus on the supernatural in comparison to the first two seasons, which includes stories about a cursed bra and a magic mirror. While these stories are an enjoyable viewing, these supernatural episodes are definitely a little “stranger” than the episodes in the previous two seasons.
When it comes to this DVD set itself, it should be noted that on the original DVD pressing of this box set, there is a problem with the second and third episodes on disc five. When you have the Japanese audio and English subtitles selected, these episodes show the subtitles, but play the English audio for both the English setting and the Japanese setting. However, this problem was corrected with the 2007 re-release of the box set.
There are five special features in this set: “Line Art Gallery,” “Textless Opening,” “Textless Ending,” “Cast List,” and “Actor Profiles.” As expected, the textless opening and ending are just the opening and ending credits without the text.
The line art gallery has roughly 15 pages of model sketches of characters and locations. The cast list is a list of the English and Japanese voice actors for each character. The actor profiles are filmographies for the English voice actors.
Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle is a rather “low frills” DVD set, and the extras are rather similar to the ones on the Ranma 1/2 Anything-Goes Martial Arts set. Unfortunately, these were probably the only materials that Viz could get from the Japanese rights holders; but considering how old of a property Ranma 1/2 is, I guess we’re lucky that we even were able to get this much in the way of bonus features.
If you’re a fan of Ranma 1/2 or appreciate anime from the late 1980s and early 1990s, then you should have this DVD box set in your home video collection. As of this writing, this box set is out of print; if you want to obtain a copy of this set, you’ll need to look around at both online retailers and brick and mortar stores that sell used DVDs and try to find a good deal for this release..
I wrote this review after watching a copy of Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle that my husband and I purchased.
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