VIZ Media continues their new releases for the Ranma 1/2 television anime series with the release of the third DVD box set and the third limited edition Blu-ray set on September 16, 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.
This set includes 23 episodes of the series, and it also includes a slifhr change in episode order when compared to VIZ’s original DVD releases. In this release, “Ukyo’s Skirt! The Girly-Girl Gambit” appears after “Showdown! Can Ranma Make a Comeback?” instead of after “Fight! The Anything-Goes Obstacle Race.”
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. As I watched this set, though, I was surprised to see an ending theme and animation sequence that my husband and I didn’t recognized that appeared around the second half of the set. My husband checked a couple of the episodes from our copies of VIZ’s DVD release, and discovered that the previous ending theme was used in place of this one we didn’t recognize, and when VIZ hit the episodes that appeared in the fourth DVD set, another ending theme appeared instead of the one we didn’t recognize that should have appeared. So I’m now starting to wonder what other kind of things VIZ changed or left off when the company originally released Ranma 1/2 on DVD. But this previously unknown to me ending theme was actually pretty good, so I’m glad to see that VIZ is presenting the series as it would be have been presented in Japan.
The Blu-ray remastering looks just as good on Set 3 as it did on the first two sets. Also, I’m happy to report that I personally only saw a couple of minor mistakes in the subtitles that appeared on this set. I get the impression that VIZ Media is trying to put a little more care into the subtitles after all of the issues that appeared on Set 1.
There are a total of five extras that appear on Set 3. The first extra is “We Love Ranma Part 3 – The Appeal of Ranma 1/2.” It runs for about eight-and-a-half minutes, and includes interviews with voice actors, cosplayers, a superfan, anime industry professionals, and a fashion designer; the interviews are intercut with English dub clips from the show. This is exact same style they used for the “We Love Ranma” segment on Set 2, which allows for this to be a bonus feature that can be put together rather quickly. It’s OK for what it is, but I’m generally not a big fan of featurettes that are done in this manner.
“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. Honestly, I don’t see much of a purpose of including this as a bonus feature, since the next episode previews are also included in the episodes themselves.
There are also “Clean Openings” and “Clean Endings,” and they include both of the openings and closings that appeared in 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 the first two sets. 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 Ryoga that was used as the cover picture for the Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle DVD box set.
Like the first two 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.
Buying these Blu-ray sets will also show VIZ Media 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 3 that my husband and I purchased.