Ranma 1/2 was first published in 1987 and ran for nine years. It was made by Rumiko Takahashi. In 2011, Nikkatsu made a live action of it by the same name. The live action fallows the same plot as the manga and anime. Ranma and his father, Genma are cursed by ancient springs. Now when ever either of them is hit with cold water, Ranma turns into a red haired girl and Genma turns into a panda. Ranma is engaged to Akane, the daughter of Genma’s old friend, much to their displeasure. The rest of the story fallows Ranma and Akane’s miss adventures as they start to fall for each other. The live action is very much the same, doing a good job at getting the core of the Ranma 1/2 universe.
This movie is set up very much like a 90’s remake movie, with a very villain of the week feel. The bad guy in the movie wants to get to a magic spring and the only way to do this is with a charm on a necklace. Who has the necklaces? Well Akane of course. So, the evil henchmen come after her and action ensues. This does work very well with the Ranma 1/2 world.
The arcs in the anime and manga, work this way as well. Even though the originals focus more on the comedy aspect more then the action, it does have a lot of action in the series. This is not a comparison to the originals, there is just so much of the original in this movie, that you can not talk about one with out the other. Even though this is not a story from the original it can fit into it. It feels like an anime movie that would be made for a series. This is probability one of the best things a live action can do when it is based off of an anime and manga.
The costuming was a little, low budget cosplay. That’s really the only way to explain it. some things were really good, but other things were just bad. When Genma turns into a panda, it’s bad. The actor is literally in a panda suit. It wouldn’t be so distracting if the fur of the suit was maybe a little more well kept. It kinda looks like the costume department just through it in to a closet every night after using it. The hair extensions on Akane and Ranma are obviously fake. It’s more apparent for Ranma then Akane. For her if you don’t know you could get away with it a bit but if you know they are there you’ll see them right away. Then we get to the henchmen’s costumes. They look very flaming gay biker gang. Admittedly, it would completely fit with the series. But, every thing would have been so much better with out the little black leather short shorts. The rest of the costumes were great they fit the characters and were great live action versions of the anime and manga.
If you are a fan of Rumiko Takahashi or Ranma 1/2, watch the movie. It definitively plays to nostalgia and the fans love of the show. It was made with love, it may not be perfect but it is very enjoy able to watch. It does skew a little more towards a younger audience but it is enjoy able to watch.
Photo Credit: Ranma 1/2, Nikkatsu Corporation and Nippon Television Network Corporation