Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995 and works in and around the anime industry.
Ranma 1/2: Big Trouble in Nekonron China
The first of the Ranma movies! I would have killed for this when I was 13 and first discovered Ranma (along with anime and manga in general). 9 years later, I wasn't quite so excited, admittedly.
A bit of plot then; On a typical day in Furinkan, Ranma is chasing old lecher Happosai, himself chased by a rather angry mob of regular cast members that have the wrong end of the stick. Suddenly the whole cast is flown around by a huge black torrent of rather evil looking black mist, that turns out to be a pet of a young girl named Lychee.
Lychee has one half of a sacred scroll, and on finding a Prince with the second half, she's to get married and (presumably) live happily ever after.
Unfortunately a case of bad timing sees the Prince arrive while Akane is holding the scroll, and the pickle loving prince pinches the wrong girl!
So it's all after the Prince in an effort to rescue Akane, get Lychee her man and defeat the 7 Lucky Gods of martial arts. Quite a tall tale really, and although it seems complex, (and all a bit unlikely) it flies along at a cracking pace, with plenty of gags and one liners for the cast regulars.
The animation is okay but shows its age. No digital effects here, but it does boast crisp lines, fluid motion and lots of attention to detail. The music, however, is really nothing to write home about, and can grate a bit at times.
Any gripes? Well, Ranma is made to look a bit poor as a martial artist, which is a bit of a shame as I found myself a bit disappointed - nearly everyone is defeated either by fluke or by someone else. The final battle is better, but Ranma is still well off form. Shampoo doesn't get enough screen time for my liking, but then most Shampoo fans will say that.
In terms of the humour, its very much in the vein of Urusei Yatsura, so if you're a fan of Takahashi's other series, you should love this. Those with more modern tastes may be a little more wary, but it's a great way to spend an hour or so if you give it a chance...
Despite some weakness on Ranma's part, a worthy film to a great a series.