Anime DVD Review: Ranma 1/2 OAV Series Box Set

The Ranma 1/2 OAV Series DVD set has two discs that include all 12 OAV episodes released for the series; each disc contains six episodes. Technically, “Team Ranma Vs. The Legendary Phoenix” was released as a movie in Japan, but it ended up being included on this box set in North America instead of the Ranma 1/2 movie box set. Most of the stories included in the OAV series originated from the Ranma 1/2 manga series.

Ranma 1/2 OAV Series Box Set
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: March 31, 2009

The first episode sees Shampoo finding a brooch that makes her feel the opposite of her true feelings for Ranma. Ranma doesn’t like what’s happening, and he plans to tell Shampoo that he loves her. I know this story comes from the manga, but I have time believing this, because in the series Ranma is usually trying to push Shampoo away. Why would he be so concerned about her feelings for him?

Next is the infamous Christmas story, “Tendo Family Christmas Scramble.” Kasumi has a dream about Christmas and decides to host a Christmas party at the Tendo Dojo. Most, if not all, of the characters that have made an appearance at this point in the series comes to the party. The various love interests are trying to give gifts to the one they like or plotting to find a way to spend time alone with the one they like. I enjoy watching this episode every year right around Christmas, and I laugh at the jokes and humor every year. Overall, this was a more memorable Christmas story than the Christmas episode that appeared in the actual series.

In the next episode, Kasumi falls ill, and Akane volunteers to take over the cooking duties. If you’re familiar with the series, then you know that Akane can’t cook. A book of her late mother’s recipes is found, and Akane plans to use those recipes to cook meals. Ranma’s mother comes over and tries to teach Akane how to cook. Ranma, as his girl-type Ranko identity, also goes into the kitchen in order to spend time with his mother. This is another one of the OAV episodes that I really enjoy. While you still have the humor aspect, there’s also the touching moments of Akane remembering her mother and the help that Mrs. Saotome gives to Akane.

The next story introduces Miss Hinako, a new teacher at Furinkan High; she’s a young girl who can drain people’s energy with a coin and turn into a sultry woman. Ranma is determined to learn how Miss Hinako pulls this off. From watching the OAV episodes, one would think this is her only appearance in the series and that she’s not a major character. However, if you read the manga, you’ll discover that Miss Hinako is a recurring character who shows up rather regularly after her introduction.

Next is a two-part episode where two poor sisters with incredible martial arts skills who insist on paying Akane back when she shares food with them. The girls are on a journey to look for their father, and when Soun invites them to stay at the Tendo Dojo, they declare that Soun is their long-lost father. While this is a decent enough story, I personally think it’s one of the weaker stories to appear in the OAV series.

This is followed by another two-part episode, which sees Akane going off to a remote region of Japan after seeing a news report that reminds her of a holiday her family had there when she was a little girl. She has a whistle that was given to her by a boy back then that was to keep her “safe from the monsters,” and she decides to go there to give it back to him. When Ranma realizes where she’s gone, he goes off in pursuit. Meanwhile, Akane encounters a young man with poor short-term memory. This is actually an interesting story, and there’s also some decent humor in it.

“Team Ranma Vs. The Legendary Phoenix” sees Tatewaki Kuno getting a hold of a Legendary Phoenix egg so he can get the Sword of the Phoenix. Unfortunately, the egg ends up hatching on Kuno’s head, and it focuses on Ranma as its enemy. This story is rather hysterical, and in some respects, I think it works better in the anime format than it does in the manga format.

The next story sees many of the characters entering the Cursed Tunnel of Lost Love; it’s a cave that’s rumored to permanently break up any couple that tries to make it through. Shampoo and Ukyo convince Ranma and Akane to go through the tunnel together in the hopes of eliminating her as competition for Ranma’s affection. This episode is pretty funny and amusing, especially seeing who gets paired up with who for going through the cave.

Next is the most hysterical episode in the OAV series: “The Evil Ogre! Hell Hath No Fury Like Kasumi Scorned.” In this story, an oni escapes from its sealed box and starts trying to possess people in the neighborhood, and the only way to expel he oni from its host is with a punch. The oni ends up possessing sweet Kasumi, and no one wants to punch her. The idea of Kasumi being evil is so ludicrous that it makes the story really funny. “Evil Kasumi” is quite a hoot.

The final story in the OAV series sees many of the main characters going on a vacation at an inn. While they’re there, Ranma disturbs a doll that sits in the hallway of the inn that takes revenge on whoever is rude to it or gets it dirty. To teach Ranma a lesson, the doll possesses Akane; in the process, Akane ends up in the doll. While in Akane’s body, the doll tries to kill Ranma. I really enjoy this story, and it’s rather interesting to see Akane trying to get to Ranma while she’s in the doll.

Most of the episodes included in this set are very enjoyable, and include the humor that is expected from Ranma 1/2. When it comes to the animation, the quality is noticeably better than the animation in the regular series episodes. This better quality animation works very well for many of the stories that appear in the OAV series.

There are no special features included in this set. However, when you realize each disc already contains six episodes, the lack of bonus features is not as disappointing as it could have been. Also, the Japanese licensor may not have had anything to provide to Viz to use for special features for the OAV series.

If you’re a Ranma 1/2 fan, then you need to get the OAV series box set in order to complete your Ranma 1/2 DVD collection. Now that this set is out of print, I would recommend searching both online shops and physical brick and mortar stores to see if you can find a copy of this set for a reasonable price.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Ranma 1/2 OAV Series box set that my husband and I purchased.

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