Like Big Trouble in Nekonron China before it, I’ve been waiting over 20 years to watch this movie. But unlike that film, this one…was not so horrible.
Without really meaning to, I spent the opening act of my COVID-19 infirmity re-watching the entire Ranma 1/2 OVA collection. While I’m known to be a fan of the Christmas special in particular, I thought it was time I finally sat down and watched every last OVA in the set. It was a terrible oversight to have never finished them before.
Around the eighth or maybe tenth entry, I realized I had sat through them all before. But they are so forgettable that I just didn’t remember doing it. They’re all very one-note, and watching them back-to-back in a modern context makes it impossible to feel much affection for them for very long. I easily understand how, sold $50 a piece, tape-by-tape back in the 90s to content-starved otaku these would each have landed as enjoyable and worthwhile. But when you stack them all alongside each other, you see them for their repetitive silliness.
And maybe that’s what Ranma always was, but at least as a TV show it was serialized, and it felt like it was always moving forward.
But these “movies”. What to do with them? When you consider that each one is only 60 minutes long, you can more easily understand their inclusion in the OVA box (should you ever pick it up). “Movie” is a real stretch here, particularly as we’ve moved into an age where most television shows (with or without commercials) hover around an hour in length. And I suppose realizing these really aren’t movies, per se, makes it easier to just accept them for what they bring to the table.
Luckily, this one is in every regard better than the one which preceded it. Its animation looks better, its plot is slightly less formulaic, the action is a little more fun, and the wide cast of characters all seem to be given just enough to do.
While I still consider the first “movie” to be pretty unwatchable, I think this one is passable for a single viewing. It’s pretty stupid, but it has enough Ranma charm that you can’t really hate it. That charm was comparatively lacking in Big Trouble.
I’m giving this a 3 out of 10 and calling it Bad.