Anime DVD Review: Ranma 1/2 Fifth Season Box Set

Ranma 1/2 Martial Mayhem is a DVD box set of the fifth 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 Fifth Season Box Set
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
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.

The hijinks kick off this set right away, when a group of four men come to Japan to look for a rare Chinese artifact called the Dragon’s Whisker, which turns out to be tied around Ranma’s hair for his pigtail style. After finding out the Dragon’s Whisker can cure baldness, Genma and Happosai also want the artifact for themselves.

From there, it’s a return of the ghost cat; after Ryoga saves him from a pack of wolves, the ghost cat repays the debt by possessing Ryoga so he can propose to Akane. The martial arts tea ceremony concept is also introduced during these episodes, when Ranma is kidnapped in his female form by Sentaro Daimonji and taken to compete with Sentaro’s grandmother in order to prove Ranma’s suitability as a bride. Sentaro and his grandmother also appear in another episode that’s a little later in the box set.

Another obstacle course race takes place, with the prize being a trip to another resort of the winner’s choice; Ranma, Ryoga, Shampoo and Mousse enter, because they see this as a chance to be able to return to Jusenkyo and try to reverse their curse.

Ukyo finally gets a story that focuses on her after she all but disappeared in the fourth season box set. In this story, a new crepe stand is stealing Ukyo’s business; in order to go train to improve her skills as an okonomiyaki chef, Ukyo leaves Ranma and Akane in charge of her restaurant. Ukyo also appears in story where Ranma falls under the influence of a magic love potion and he starts flirting with every girl in sight; both Ukyo and Shampoo try to use this to their advantage.

A couple of stories in a row focus on potential love interests. First, Tatewaki Kuno wants his manservant Sasuke to prove himself by arranging a date with girl-type Ranma. The second introduces the concept of martial arts dining, and girl-type Ranma has to beat Picolet Chardin in martial arts dining or else will have to become his bride.

This set includes the introduction of both martial arts tea ceremony and martial arts dining. The martial arts tea ceremony idea is a little different, but it’s at least somewhat believable. Martial arts dining, on the other hand, is rather “out there.” I can’t blame this on the anime, though, since both of these concepts appeared in the original manga source material.

This particular season also seems to downplay the potential love interests to some degree, and instead puts a little more focus on other kinds of stories instead. While there are some enjoyable stories overall, there’s some that are definitely getting to be more “out there.”

When it comes to this DVD box set, there are five special features included: “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 contains model sketches of the characters that appear in this DVD box set; however, I don’t know how many pages of sketches there are, because no page numbers were included in this feature.

The cast list is a list of the English and Japanese voice actors for each character, and the actor profiles are selected filmographies for the English voice actors. It should be noted that, unlike some of the previous box sets, that the English names that appear in the cast list are not links to their entries in the “Actor Profiles” area. In my opinion, I thought that Viz Media was putting a little less effort into the DVD extras in this set than they had on the previous DVD box sets.

Ranma 1/2 Martial Mayhem is a rather “low frills” DVD set, and the extras are similar to what can be found on Ranma 1/2 Anything-Goes Martial Arts, Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle, and Ranma 1/2 Outta Control. 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 Martial Mayhem that my husband and I purchased.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

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