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Ranma ½ The Movie:
Big Trouble In Nekonron, China

director: Shuji Iuchi
85 minutes (PG) 1991
MVM DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by John Percival
The movie outing from the Ranma anime series has an odd opening of a small old man running along rooftops and stealing women's underwear to feed his perversion. The old man is then chase by a bizarre chaotic circus of characters. One of these is the hero Ranma, a boy, who we are led to believe fell into some magical water and now whenever splash with water turns into a girl! I am not sure what the benefits of that would be especially when trying to fight for the affections of a love interest, Akane.

If you are unaware of the series that this film comes from then the opening few minutes features a very large range of odd characters that play no further part in the story. In this movie the character of Akane manages to get her hands on half a scroll, when just at that point a band of Chinese warriors appear, called bizarrely the Seven Lucky Gods Martial Artists. It transpires that the female who carries the half of the scroll, which Akane has, must marry the leader of the band, Kirin. He is another odd character, a young man seeming to permanently weld a pair of 'deadly' chopsticks and a bowl of boiled rice. So Kirin kidnaps Akane forcing Ranma and the posse to pursue them to Nekronon, China. The seemingly interesting story is then punctuated with a near endless series of punch-ups and internal squabbles within the group.

The quality of the animation is not the best to be perfectly honest, although the imprecise almost caricature nature does seem to better suit the anarchic story. However this type of animation does appear to be levelled at a younger audience or people with shorter attention spans. The voice acting although unremarkable does have a couple of bad points. Such as the voice of the main character Ranma, bearing in mind that Ranma is a male who turns into a female when wet, the choice has been made to cast a female voice for the whole character but have her talking like a man pretty much most of the time. This alone removes a large chunk of credibility from the proceedings and does in fact sound quite nasty.

Whilst the quality is not so good and most of the action is pretty pointless there are some interesting moments such as certain elements of the Seven Lucky Gods Martial Artists, their leader Kirin is quite intriguing. Sadly the silly nature of the humour lets them down.

The extras on the DVD include character profiles, trailers and conceptual drawings.

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