Ranma 1/2 Martial Mayhem:
another Iron Chef joke.
Ranma 1/2 was very popular in Japan in the early 90's; a couple of movies and two series of television episodes were produced. Viz Video's recent release of Ranma 1/2 Martial Mayhem: Tea for Three contains two unrelated episodes from the second, much longer TV series.
Shakes the Clown!
In any case, Akane is the worst cook this side of C-Ko ("Look, if you want to risk your freedom on Godzilla making tea, go ahead," Ranma tells Shintaro), so Ranma takes on the challenge in his female form, just because Ranma can't resist a challenge. Ranma has to learn the intricacies of martial arts tea ceremony, an art that involves staying in a sitting position and battling with tea preparation apparatus, including poisoned tea leaves and stirring sticks.
The second episode on the tape is not based on any manga story. Ranma runs across two masked men who are experts in martial arts based on old children's games. Meanwhile back at the Tendo family dojo, Akane is goaded into a duel with a little girl who uses martial arts based on nostalgia. Akane loses, and Ranma and Akane hunt down this clan that uses the trappings of childhood's past to defeat their opponents.
These two episodes are only mildly amusing, which is probably representative of the second Ranma TV series. Sadly, this series was made on the cheap. There isn't much movement, and some action scenes are conveyed by showing us what boil down to comic book panels. There are numerous cheats to make the animation process easier, most notably the masks the nostalgia clan wears. Sure, the Ultraman mask is funny, but it also means that the character can talk without actually animating his mouth. If you're a Ranma fan already, you might want to pick this up for the sake of your collection's completion. But if you're a Ranma novice, start with the first TV episodes (which are much funnier), or the comic book.
Review date: 6/21/00
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