VIZ Media continued their new releases for the Ranma 1/2 television anime series with the release of the fourth DVD box set and the fourth limited edition Blu-ray set on December 9, 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 4
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 9, 2014
This set includes 23 episodes of the series. When I compare this release to VIZ’s original DVD release of the series, I see that the two episodes about the legendary Dragon’s Whisker (“Gimme That Pigtail” and “When a Guy’s Pride and Joy Is Gone”) appear a little earlier in the episode order. These episodes appear after “Ranma, You Are Such a Jerk” instead of after “Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung Strike Back!” Since “Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung Strike Back!” was the final episode on a final disc in one of the original DVD sets, I suspect this change had been made in order to avoid splitting a two-part episode over two sets.
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. But unlike with the past couple of boxes, there were no unexpected surprises.
The Blu-ray remastering looks just as good on Set 4 as it did on the first two sets. Unfortunately, I discovered more errors with the subtitles, with the vast majority of those errors appearing on the second disc. They were primarily spelling errors due to homonym issues (“dual” instead of “duel,” for example), but I did see at least one grammar error as well. After seeming to put more effort into the subtitles in Sets 2 and 3, it appears that not as much care was taken with the subtitles on Set 4. But, on the bright side, at least there weren’t any subtitles that were so garbled that you couldn’t understand what the character was saying!
When it comes to the episodes in this set, there’s quite a few “filler” stories included on it. Of the filler material on this set, my favorite story is “Extra, Extra! Kuno & Nabiki: Read All About It.” I absolutely love the idea of Kuno going after Nabiki after being told his fortune and how laid back about it she is. Honestly, I could almost see the two of them working as a couple of real; Kuno’s got money, which Nabiki loves, and with her attitude she could probably keep him somewhat grounded. It’s definitely an amusing “what if” story. Unfortunately, most of the other filler stories in this set just don’t do much for me.
Of the 23 episodes, only eight of them are canon from the original manga source material. Of these, my favorite would have to be “The Dumbest Bet in History.” I love how Nabiki gets to shine here and is able to outsmart the Gambling King for the most part. It’s also hilarious just how bad Ranma is at these kids’ games.
There are a total of five extras that appear on Set 4. The first extra is “We Love Ranma Part 4 – We Love Cosplay.” It runs for about five-and-a-half minutes, and includes interviews with cosplayers known for cosplaying as Ranma 1/2 characters. They talk about the characters they like to cosplay, how they started cosplaying the Ranma 1/2 characters, and the best part of cosplaying. Honestly, I didn’t really care much for this particular feature, due to two reasons. First, I’m really not that big into cosplay, so the topic wasn’t of much interest to me. Also, this feature didn’t really have much of a focus on the actual show, which is what I’d be more interested in. It’s too bad VIZ Media can’t find a way to get some of the English dub actors together to talk about their work on the show, what they think of Ranma 1/2’s lasting appeal, etc. That would interest me a lot more than most of these “We Love Ranma” features that have appeared on these sets.
“Next 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. I still don’t understand why this feature is included, since they are already included at the end of each episode. Also, unlike with omake, I don’t see a reason for anyone to simply want to watch the next episode previews outside of the episodes.
There are also “Clean Openings” and “Clean Endings.” “Clean Openings” include both openings that appear on the set, and “Clean Endings” includes all three endings that appeared on the 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 3. 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 and 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 Shampoo that was used as the cover picture for the Ranma 1/2 Outta Control DVD box set.
Like the first three sets, 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.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of Ranma 1/2 Set 4 that my husband and I purchased.
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