Ranma The Movie
Big Trouble in Nekonron, China

Starring (voice - English): Sarah Strange, Myriam Sirois and Mike Donovan
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 04 July 2005

Ranma is a teenager adept in the martial arts, but due to an ancient Chinese curse he changes into a girl every time he gets wet. When a magic scroll is accidentally given to Ranma's friend Akane she is kidnapped by Prince Kirin of the Seven Lucky Gods Martial Artists to be his bride. Now Ranma and assorted misfits must travel to China to rescue her...

Based on the successful Manga comic by Rumiko Takahashi, the book spawned two television series, the first Ranma ran for eighteen episodes but was quickly followed by Ranma Nettohen which ran for a further one hundred and forty-three episodes between 1989 and 1992. This disc Ranma The Movie: Big Trouble in Nekonron, represents the first of three films which were produced as an offshoot of the program, so fans of the show will realise that the character design follows closely that found in the television series.

Okay, any story that starts with a octogenarian panty stealer being chased by a boy that keeps changing into a girl has got weird written all over it. It doesn't get any better when Ranma is joined on his mission by a very large elephant and his romance obsessed owner. The comedy elements start straight away and are of the broad type, though there are not as many jokes about Ranma's sexual confusion as you might think. The supporting characters are okay if a little one dimensional, but then the film is just one example of a much wider body of work.

The animation is a little dated which is to be expected given the age of the film, but doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the movie. With little character development, it's difficult to care about the participants, though this may be different for those more familiar with the long running television series or Manga comic.

The disc is fairly plain. Audio tracks are English 2.0 and Japanese 2.0, with English subtitles, though the tacks are clear and clean. The extras include character profiles which will be useful if you are unfamiliar with the series. The original Japanese ending is included as well as an art gallery and a 'watch once' trailer section.

The film has its own merits and will appeal to fans of the show, or Anime fans wanting to discover this very successful franchise. But if it's your fist Amine film there are better ones out there. With an audience that now has access to movies like Akira or Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, its difficult to recommend this as a good introduction to Anime films.

Charles Packer

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