Viz Media continues their new releases of the Ranma 1/2 television anime series with releasing the second DVD box set and the second limited edition Blu-ray set on June 24, 2014. The Blu-ray set includes remastered high definition video straight from the Japanese Blu-ray masters, and both sets restore the order of the episodes into the intended Japanese airing order. This review will focus on the Blu-ray release, since that is the version that I watched.
Ranma 1/2 Set 2
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 24, 2014
This set includes 23 episodes of the series, and it also includes a change in episode order when compared to Viz’s original DVD releases. In this release the main difference seems to be that “Danger at the Tendo Dojo!” appears after “The Breaking Point!? Ryoga’s Great Revenge” instead of after “Cool Runnings! The Race of the Snowmen.”
Like with the first set, this set uses the original Japanese title cards instead of the title cards that were created for the English dub. However, there was something rather unusual about the episodes that used the series’ second opening. On the original DVD sets, all of the episodes included both the second opening and the narration that explains the concept before launching into the episode. On this release, some of the episodes only have the second opening and cut the narration and some of the episodes have cut the second opening and only have the narration. Since these episodes came from the Japanese Blu-ray masters, I have to assume that this is how they appeared on the masters. Did the episodes originally air like this in Japan, or was this something they did for their Blu-ray release? The episodes that have the third opening all have their opening, as well as a small piece that is shown before the episode starts; according to text on the screen, this small piece hadn’t appeared on the previous English releases of the series.
The Blu-ray remastering looks just as good on Set 2 as it did on Set 1. I also have to give Viz Media a lot of credit for the subtitles on Set 2. In my review of Set 1, I had complained about all of the errors that appeared in them; I’m happy to say on Set 2 that I personally didn’t see any typos or mistakes of any kind in the subtitles. Hopefully this improved quality of the subtitles will continue for the remaining sets.
When it comes to the extras, there weren’t as many on Set 2 as there had been on Set 1. The first extra is “We Love Ranma Part 2 – Favorite Scenes.” It runs for about 10 minutes, and includes interviews of cosplayers, voice actors, a Ranma 1/2 superfan, anime industry professionals, and a scriptwriter. After saying what their favorite scene was, the scene in question was shown, and it included text with the title of the episode and information on which set the episode appears on. This was an OK feature for what it was.
“New Episode Previews” is a continuous piece that includes all of the next episode previews that would have aired with the episodes that appear in this set. To be honest, I didn’t see much of a point to this feature this time around. Back on Set 1, it made sense since some episodes some the second season were put back into their intended spot in the first season, which caused some change of order for the episode previews.
Another change in the extras was the fact that “Clean Openings” and “Clean Endings” were separated into two separate features instead of being together in one feature. “Clean Openings” includes both of the openings that appeared on this set; however, this only included the openings and not the extra pieces between the opening and the beginning of the episode. “Clean Endings” included both endings that appeared on this set. These are truly clean openings and endings, because there’s no text all; both the credit text and subtitles have been removed.
The Blu-ray edition of this set also comes with a 32-page booklet. The booklet opens with a “What Happened Thus Far” writeup that summarizes what happened in the episodes that appeared on Set 1. The majority of the booklet provides brief episode summaries and a screen shot for each summary, as well as production credits for the original release of the series as well as the credits for those involved with this Blu-ray release. The booklet has glossy pages; while this may look nice, it makes the pages a little slippery for holding when you’re reading through it. It’s still a nice booklet, though, and I’m glad to see that it was included. The set also came with an art card with a picture of girl-type Ranma holding P-chan.
Like with Set 1, the box that the Blu-ray case and booklet come in is very sturdy and looks nice. The back of the box that gives a description of the product is actually something you take off of the box after you unwrap it.
I would highly recommend this set to fans of the Ranma 1/2 franchise. This is the best way to get the franchise in high definition on Blu-ray without having to pay an arm and leg to try to import the Japanese Blu-rays; also, like I said earlier, the remastered video on the Blu-rays looks fantastic.
Buying these Blu-ray sets will also show Viz that there is a demand for the product and should help ensure that all seven volumes will be released in North America. I also hope that these Blu-ray releases will perform well enough for Viz Media that it could eventually lead to the movies and OAVs being released on Blu-ray as well.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of Ranma 1/2 Set 2 that my husband and I purchased.
Additional posts about Ranma 1/2: