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Rumiko Takahashi's story of a high school aged girl named Akane who finds herself engaged to be married because of an arrangement by her father. Unfortunately her fiance, Ranma, turns out to be less of a man than expected and was raised by a giant panda. Written by
David McGuire <email@example.com>
At first, I was reluctant to see Ranma ½ , having heard it described as a gratuitous slapstick comedy, but I've changed my mind.
Ranma is one of the cutest and dearest series you will ever watch. On the surface, it is about a young man with a terrible, but comical curse who has a fiancée he is not too fond of. That in itself (the curse) is extraordinary, but the meaningful characters make Ranma ½ so much more.
In Ranma, things are not always what they seem, and besides the protagonist's dilemma, there's Akane, Ranma's fiancée. If I have to name my favorite character of all time, it must be Akane. (Much of this review is due to her.) Although Akane seems to be only a girl of violent temperament, she is really, deep down, gentle and eager to be more feminine and dear. Her hidden character glimmers through sometimes during the show, like when she tells Ranma something to the effect of, "I know you're not telling the truth when you say I'm cute, but I'm just happy you said it." (Ranma's bewildered facial reaction is, 'she really is cute'). Akane's model is her eldest sister, Kasumi, who is the epitome of Japanese feminine grace and beauty. (The show also focuses on Ranma and Akane's growing affection/love for each other.)
Of course, what would Ranma ½ be without the humor and the wit of which it has been so lauded for? The host of magically-cursed humans, especially the panda, is very cute and funny, and the fantastically silly Tendo-dojo is a place of endless fiancé and family fights (literally). There are many plays on words that non-Japanese speakers would miss (like how Ranma's last name foreshadows his curse, and Akane's name means crimson, scarlet). There are some gratuitous displays that would make some people blush, but you must keep in mind that Japanese view nudity in a different, less severe way, than the West.
I have seen an episode of Ranma ½ in English dubbed, and I recommend that you *never* see this version. The dubbing does no justice to the characters, especially Ranma and Akane, making them too forceful. If you have the means, see the original version or the subtitled version and enjoy the nuances of the voices.
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