Ranma 1/2: Like Water for Ranma
Ranma 1/2: Like Water for Ranma is the second in the series of six Ranma 1/2 OAV videos released by Viz Video. It was also my second time being exposed to Ranma 1/2, coming shortly after viewing Desperately Seeking Shampoo.
The first episode, after which the video is named, begins with poor Kasumi taken ill and rendered unable to cook for her family. Akane bravely volunteers to fill in for Kasumi, which is disaster of course, since Akane's ineptitude in the kitchen is one of the oldest running gags in the series. Miss Saotome, however, (Ranma's mother, for the uninitiated) just happens to show up (completely out of the blue, I might add) and decides to help Akane with her cooking. As part of disaster relief, Ranma also volunteers to help in kitchen, more for the sake of preventing Akane from poisoning everyone then anything else.
While the episode description does seem a little dry, I can assure you it's very funny. Ranma and Akane's "kitchen duel" has many moments which had me rolling on the floor, highlighted by Akane's attempt hard boil eggs in a microwave. It helps to have some Ranma background, especially with regards to who Miss Saotome is, and why Ranma and Genma must keep their identities hidden from her.
The second episode involves a new teacher, Miss Hinako, coming to Furinkan high school. She's no ordinary teacher, though, for she possesses a strange ability to drain people of their strength, which in turn changes her appearance from a young girl into a rather voluptuous woman. Ranma is desperate to learn how she drains people's energies and a conflict quickly ensues. In order to defeat her, however, Ranma must use a special technique which requires him to apply pressure in certain points of her body. Three of those points just happen to be on her chest, which results in Ranma appearing like a sexual predator every time he tries to defeat her.
This episode was fairly enjoyable with numerous sexual gags on the part of Ranma and his teacher. Just seeing dozen of students bursting in on Ranma in a rather compromising situation with Miss Hinako, followed by Ranma's desperate pleas of innocence is quite humorous. This episode was pretty silly at time, but also very fun.
The art quality is up to par with most anime OAVs, and Rumiko Takahashi's familiar art style is here in spades. I continue to enjoy the English dubbed version of the characters and Viz did a good job of finding actors to fit the roles. The music proves to be enjoyable as well, and the opening theme "Love Panic" is quite catchy.
Overall, Ranma 1/2: Like Water for Ranma is a rather amusing OAV. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Ranma 1/2 or simply wants an hour of enjoyable comedy.
The Verdict: * * * 1/2 (above average)
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