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

Ranma 1/2 Random Rhapsody is a DVD box set of the sixth 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 Sixth 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.

This set introduces another new character who ends up becoming another potential love interest for Akane. Hikaru Gosunkugi is a rather incompetent voodoo geek who ends up falling in love with Akane. His incompetence with his voodoo becomes a bit of a running gag for the episodes that he appears in. In the manga version of Ranma 1/2, Gosunkugi was introduced much earlier in the story; however, since he isn’t introduced until the sixth season of the anime, he ends up not being quite as major of a character as he was in the manga. Ranma and Gosunkugi end having other run-ins besides the episode that introduces Gosunkugi. Gosunkugi has another major storyline near the end of this box set, when he obtains a set of magic paper dolls capable of forcing someone to obey whatever command is written on them if the doll is attached to their back.

Another love interest story takes place when Genma is upset at Ranma for eating his sweets, so he decides to make Ryoga his disciple and heir; as part of this, Akane would become Ryoga’s fiancée. Ranma and Ryoga end up battling each other. In another episode, Tatewaki Kuno ends up getting amnesia while training at Watermelon Island. Ranma takes on his girl-type form and has Kuno chase her to Watermelon Island in the hopes that he will get his memory back. I found that episode to be rather amusing, because the already clueless Kuno suffering for amnesia is amusing. OK, amnesia isn’t a funny thing, but the way it’s portrayed in regards to Kuno is actually kind of funny.

Ukyo has a major storyline in this season, when she samples a secret omonomiyaki sauce that she had been fermenting for a decade; when she tastes it, it turns out to be disgusting. Unbeknownst to Ukyo, Ranma had spilled the original sauce when they were children and tried to recreate it without truly knowing what went into the sauce. Ukyo moves into the Tendo dojo for a recovery period; Akane becomes jealous, and suspects Ukyo of having ulterior motives. This two-part episode is based on a story from the manga; while it’s an interesting story, there are times when it can feel a little “over the top.”

This season also sees the infamous episode “Curse of the Scribbled Panda.” In this episode, Ranma accidentally sets free three evil spirits while fighting with his father over takoyaki. One of the spirits is a scribbled panda that comes to life and wants to go on a date with Ranma. Unfortunately, while this story is infamous, I also found it to be more on the strange side for a Ranma 1/2 episode. This story actually appears in the original manga source material, so it wasn’t something that created specifically for the anime series.

Martial arts calligraphy is introduced in this season when Ranma learns about Sotatsu, an undefeated master of this technique. Ranma wants to challenge him, but Sotatsu will only accept challenges from people with beautiful handwriting; since Sotatsu will not accept his challenge, Ranma tries to find a way to improve his handwriting.

The Jusenkyo curses get a storyline in this set when Ranma, Ryoga, and Mousse each purchase a bag of magic powder; one of them is capable of curing their curse while the other two will turn them into anything. The three of them go into the mountains to try to determine which bag will do the trick; this episode has a lot of hijinks that take place while they’re in the mountains.

One of my all-time favorite episodes of the series appears in this set: “Tendo Family Goes to the Amusement Park.” Dr. Tofu gets a free pass to the amusement park and invites Kasumi to go with him; she ends up bringing the rest of the household with her. At the park, they realize they have a shortage of money and no food; they end up participating in a kart racing contest, with the prize being a full course dinner. The kart racing is absolutely hysterical, and the most amusing part to me is the person who ends up winning the race. This is definitely a classic episode of the Ranma 1/2 television anime series.

The season also introduces the character of Pantyhose Taro, as well as a new cursed form from Jusenkyo: a chimera. This story sees Happosai playing a major role.

Sentaro Daimonji and the martial arts tea concept return in this season, when Sentaro comes asking for help from Ranma and Akane to help rescue his kidnapped grandmother. We also get to see a Christmas episode in the series that’s not the infamous “Tendo Family Christmas Scramble” that appears on the box set for the Ranma 1/2 OVA series; however, I have to admit that this particular Christmas episode is nowhere near as memorable as “Tendo Family Christmas Scramble.”

When it comes to this DVD box set, there are six special features included: “Line Art Gallery,” “Textless Opening,” “Textless Ending,” “Cast List,” “Actor Profiles,” and “Maison Ikkloku Trailer.” As expected, the textless opening and ending are just the opening and ending credits without the text.

The line art gallery contains 18 pages of model sketches of the characters that appear in this DVD box set. 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. The “Maison Ikkoku Trailer” is a trailer for the Maison Ikkoku DVD box sets that were released by Viz Media.

Ranma 1/2 Random Rhapsody 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, Ranma 1/2 Outta Control, and Ranma 1/2 Martial Mayhem. 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 Random Rhapsody that my husband and I purchased.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

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