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Saturday, May 17, 2014

The (Provisional) How to Watch Ranma 1/2 Guide:

The 20th century only produced one competitively good series in anime.  By this I mean a series that could contend with the top of the heap, not just a good series worth watching at some point or other.  (Dragon Ball does not count because Dragon Ball Kai is a product of the 21st century)  The name of that series is Ranma 1/2.  However, Ranma 1/2 has a few hurdles before you can actually enjoy it.

The first hurdle is there is no blu-ray release for episodes 109-161 subbed in English for Ranma 1/2.  Watching Ranma 1/2 from old vhs tapes and grainy low resolution dvds isn't really an option either.  The visual weakness of the whole thing will offset any enjoyment one could gain.  So for now, we'll just have to ignore this section of the series and wait for its eventual release some other time.

Obviously, the OAV's and movies, which are all set after the tv series, can't be watched until you've seen all the way through the regular series. Therefore we'll put these aside for now as well.

The question then becomes, what should people watch from the blu-ray disks we do have, episodes 1-108?  If you want to actually enjoy Ranma 1/2, the answer is a lot less than one would think.

First off, by the order of episodes in the blu-ray boxes, we have to get rid of all the filler episodes that were not based on the actual manga source.  So, out of episodes 1-108, what does the actual series consist of?

Episodes: 1-16, 18-20, 23-45, 47, 53, 61, 64-68, 72, 75, 79-80, 82, 85, 88-89, 93, 95, and 105-107.

However, watching all of these episodes will still make Ranma 1/2 an unenjoyable experience.  This is because there's such a thing as 'manga filler' as well.  When you make an episodic story with throwaway characters, repetitive storylines, and no character development, even if it's the manga of the original author, it's still time-wasting filler no matter how you look at it.  This is why, in order to exorcise as much manga filler as possible, keeping only the freshest, funnest, and most characterizing stories, the episode count should really be reduced down to this:

Episodes:  1-16, 18-20, 23-32, 37, 41-43, 45, 47, 53, 66-68, 75, 85, 105-106.

If you restrict yourself to watching only these episodes, you'll thank yourself later.  In this way, you can shrink the first 108 episodes down to a manageable 43 worthwhile episodes instead.  As anyone can see, the lion's share of these good 43 episodes are at the very beginning of the series, 1-32 accounting for 29 episodes overall of good Ranma 1/2 fun.  The remaining quality 14 episodes are scattered across the endless additional seasons in no discernible pattern.

Once the third blu-ray disc box set arrives and is subbed into English, I can extend this guide into its final form.  But for now, everyone can get to work on the 43 episodes set before them.  A gourmet meal that should tide anyone over until the fun resumes.


Ryno said...

This is a great post and I thank you. Now that the remaining episodes have been released, as well as the movies and OVAs, I would love to have your recommendation for the final episode list for Ranma 1/2. I am feeling nostalgic and plan on collecting all things Ranma again, the Blu Rays and the amazing SH Figuarts action figures.

Diamed said...

In the above post I give the full blu-ray non-filler episodes, including eps 109+. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

I do not wanna be a hater but, saying that you won't enjoy fillers and trashing out most of the content is not good in my opinion. Fillers can be just as enjoyable as "normal" episodes/chapters .