A post in the Epic Journey.
For a list of all the Ranma episodes worth watching, click here: http://fuzakenna.com/2009/08/06/how-to-watch-ranma-12-and-minimize-on-crappy-episodes-min-60-max-137/
After two and a half weeks of nonstop marathoning, I finally finished Ranma 1/2!!! I honestly can’t even remember what life was like before I started Ranma. It feels like I’ve been watching it forever. Before Ranma, I had never watched more than 60 episodes of the same show, and I made the enormous leap into watching 161 episodes of Ranma. I have about a quarter of a million posts that I want to do for Ranma, including a review that will come soon. However, to be sure that that review doesn’t exceed 8,000 words (it will) I want to get out some of the stuff about this show from my system. So let’s begin!
Episodes of Ranma generally have tiers they fall into. The ones listed here are the best of the best, and even beyond them there are a number of greats which I will list as runner-ups. Beyond those, most of the episodes are simply ‘good’, usually falling short of great because they weren’t well enough thought out as a 20 minute episode. Only a handful of episodes stood out as really horrible, most of which either revolved around Happosai (whose early episodes were horribly repetitive) the school principal (who is intolerably annoying) or the tea ceremony martial artists who were just horridly uninteresting.
These are my top 20 episodes of Ranma 1/2 in chronological order. For a list of every episode with descriptions, hit up Ranma 1/2 Perfect Edition. Enjoy!
Before I begin, Ranma fans will surely note a distinct lack of many episodes from the first season, in spite of it being arguably the best. This is largely because the first season was so much of setting the stage and the show hadn’t really come into it’s own yet. Most importantly, Akane hadn’t come into her own, and for a lot of the episodes she had long hair, which just never worked for her. And, of course, there is the factor of those episodes having come before the other 140 I watched, lol. I will also note that I did a lot of grouping, turning some 2-ep arcs into one candidate, and in one place, grouping a bunch of like episodes.
1. Every Ranma vs. Ryoga arc – Like I said, one is a big group! The arcs where Ryoga and Ranma fought always felt ilke the most notable advancements in the story’s plot, seeing as none of the romances were ever going to move forward. The moves learned in these fights would always be put to use throughout the show, and the characters actually had notable strength increases after each one, which I found to be cool in a show that is mostly episodic and comedic. Plus the fights were just cool as hell! The first encounter definitely gets credit for being the most well-animated fight in the show. Bakusai Tenketsu vs. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire was great because it showed the first time Ranma felt like he was in trouble during a fight. My favorite had to be the three-episode arc in which Ranma becomes weak because of the epic attack he has to learn to counter his weakness. Ryoga becoming hyper-powerful was another fun one. The episode where Ryoga learned to concentrate depression into power was alright, if a bit poorly paced, but it was hilarious in concept.
2. Kuno’s House of Gadgets! Guests Check in but They Don’t Check Out! – This was the second in the three-episode arc where Ranma and Ryoga gathered three urns that were supposed to lead to the Spring of Drowned Man. There were a couple episodes like this that involved really strange and trippy environments (such as the race for tickets to China or other Kuno-centric episodes) but this was certainly the most WTF. It involved Ranma and the gang being put through all sorts of carnival-esque death traps inside of the Kuno’s insane house. This was one of a few times where I felt Sasuke really earned his place as a character in the show.
3. Kissing is Such Sweet Sorrow! The Taking of Akane’s Lips – I think this is the episode where I really realized my love for Akane! We really got to see her girly side come out and her desperation for romance, and real desire to be with Ranma. Plus it’s where her playfulness truly shines, faking out Ranma at the end of the episode by taping over his lips when they kissed. And she was so cute as Juliet!!!
4. Transform! Akane the Muscleman – This was probably one of the funniest episode, if just for Akane with a beard! The characters’ imaginations always lead to the funniest scenes in Ranma, and this episode had some of the best. But most importantly, it had what was, in my opinion, one of Akane’s cutest moments in the whole show (pictured above.)
5. Am I… Pretty? Ranma’s Declaration of Womanhood – From what I’ve read on the Rumic World forums, this seems to be the most popular anime-original episode, and seen as one of the show’s best episodes, which is something I can agree with. Seeing Ranma’s woman-self come to life was outright enchanting and handled so perfectly that I was frankly amazed. Akane’s reactions to girl Ranma were also perfectly written, and all-around the episode shines as a ball of perfect. Plus, it was totally hilarious!
6. Les Miserable in the Kuno Estate – This is a little bit of an odd choice, since it was an episode starring underdog character Sasuke, but I just felt it was done so well it needed mention. What made this episode so great was the brilliant juxtaposition of the Tendo hosehold against the Kuno household to paint the Tendo household in a rare positive light. To the viewer and the residents of the Tendo house, it would ordinarily look like total chaos and mayhem all of the time, but from Sasuke’s perspective, it’s like heaven on earth. A great way to turn things on their head.
7. Blow, Wind! To Be Young is to Go Gung-Ho – Higuma Motherfucking Torajiro! This guy was THE MAN! He burned with manly passion and unstoppable youth! In all seriousness, it was pretty interesting to see how much Ranma rejected his gung-ho attitude, which spoke volumes about his personality. The episode got a little sloppy as Torajiro gradually was revealed to be insane, but he was epic enough that I didn’t mind so much.
8. The Challenger is a Girl? – I had a lot of fun with this episode. The ‘good ol’ days school of martial arts’ was one that I found really interesting and nostalgic, and it made me smile. The best part was the little girl who was the main practitioner of the art, because I always think it’s nice to see kids who have an appreciation and devotion to old concepts. Plus, Akane’s hypnosis in the thoughts of her mother was interesting.
9. Revenge! Raging Okonomiyaki…! – Ukyo was probably my favorite character in Ranma, or would have been if she’d been given the proper amount of time to come into her own. I loved everything about her, but this and the Gambling King episode were the only ones where I felt she got to truly shine. In this episode, we see Ukyo defending hre honor as an Okonmiyaki chef, putting her passion above her lvoe and fighting for all that she believes in. And she did a montage! Plus she had a true rival to go up against. Great stuff.
10. Bonjour, Furinkan + Dinner at Ringside – AKA the two episode arc on Martial Arts Dining. This arc had it all – some of the funniest moments in the whole show (every time one of the eaters opened their insanely massive mouths it managed to both scare the fuck out of me and throw me into laughter), one of the funniest and most badass minor characters (Picolet), and awesome training leading up to an epic final battle – arguably the best made-up kung fu battle in the show. Plus it had a whole lot of female Ranma, and the mos versatile scenes for Megumi Hayashibara to flaunt her insane talent. Besides all of that, it really comes down to Martial Arts Dining being one technique I would absolutely love to master.
11. Back to the Way We Were… Please! – This seemed like a standard fight-for-the-fake-Jusenkyo episode, but it had a couple of particular scenes that really made it shine. While Ranma, Ryoga, and Shampoo are working together, they have a moment of genuine bonding around a campfire. All three of them realize how they’ve never really had any friends their entire life, and you can feel that they realize that they may be the closest thing each-other has to a friend. Of course, this is soon overcome by their reasonable paranoia.
12. The Demon From Jusenkyo Part 2 – I am singling out part 2 because I thought the pacing in the first part sucked. What made this fight so cool was the battleground, being a mountain with water veins running through it that would erupt at the slightest touch. Plus, there was the fact that Pantyhose Taro was pretty much stronger than the rest of the cast combined. This led to a very fun and crazy battle with lots of body-morphing and crazy tactics. Plus, Shampoo in nothing but pantyhose~~~
13. A Xmas Without Ranma – This was an absolutely brilliant and romantic episode that featured my single favorte scene in the entire show. I found it on youtube, but it was a hideous dub and I wouldn’t dare share it. Basically, all of Ranma’s harem meets on the rooftops with wind and snow blowing, and as Akane arrives, all of the other girls make snarky comments. Akane slams all of them for being so selfish and then boldly screams “Ranma’s spending Christmas with ME!!!” It was a powerful and amazing scene, possibly Akane’s Crowning Moment of Awesome.
14. A Cold Day in Furinkan – This episode was a directorial masterpiece, really showing off what Junji Nishimura is capable of. The WAY overly dramatic pacing and dialog was perfect, and it’s always excellent to see Ranma and Ryoga working together. It had some great Ranma/Akane moments and one of the most well-animated fights in the show beyond the first season. Excellent, excellent stuff.
15. Curse of the Scribbled Panda – Definitely the strangest episode of Ranma. Aside from the talking doodle of a panda that comes to life and starts dating Ranma, there were giant monsters that Soun and Genma grew giant to fight with no explanation of how whatsoever. However, the absolute most WTF moment is when Ranma tells the scribble panda that he can’t date a different species, so she summons a lightning bolt that strikes her and turns her into a real girl, once again with no explanation whatsoever. Yeah.
16. Akane Goes to the Hospital – Possibly the most romantic episode the show over, and singlehandedly did the most to further Akane and Ranma’s feelings. If they weren’t obvious enough already, this one literally spells them out by having Ranma himself actually imagining scenarios where he would admit his love to Akane. It was full of lovey-dovey situations and left a totally warm feeling. Plus I loved the part where Akane’s classmates were singing the first opening theme.
17. A Teenage Ghost Story – At first glance, this would be just another filler episode that introduces a side-character and has a miscellaneous item-search plot, but this episode had a whole plethora of really superb jokes based around the episode character’s being a ghost. I couldn’t stop laughing the episode through. Plus, most of the episode was a giant Raiders of the Lost Arc reference, so it’s hard not to love.
18. Let’s Go to the Mushroom Temple – Ranma and Akane eat the love mushrooms and start holding hands, calling each other ‘baby’ and ‘honey.’ Nuff said.
19. Battle For Miss Beachside – Easily the sexiest episode of the show without even showing any nudity! The girls all break out the best bathing suits, and things are only made better by the inclusion of hilarious trap Tsubasa and the cat ghost trying to marry him. Kodachi’s swimsuit was amazing, Kasumi’s swimsuit was amazing, but truly the best moment of the episode was Akane running down the beach with her rice balls in slow motion while her boobs just did as physics naturally profess them to. Glorious.
20. Boy Meets Mom Part 1 and 2 – Horribly bittersweet, in that Ranma and his mother never truly get to meet, and even more bittersweet that were they to, Ranma may be forced to commit seppuku. Both episodes were handled superbly, and I really liked seeing Ranma’s reactions to his mother. Of course, the best part was the immensely heartwarming ending, even if it lead to yet another fake-out chance of Ranma and his mom meeting. Great way to end the sereis, though, and leave me salivating for the OVAs!
The Runners-up: Pretty much all of the first season, since it was all great, just not really a favorite ep in the bunch, Ghost Story! Ranma and the Magic Sword, Fight! The Anything-Goes Obstacle Course Race, Step Outside!, The Egg-Catcher Man, Ranma and Kuno’s… First Kiss?!, The dumbest Bet in History, Hot Springs Battle Royale, The Mixed-Bath Horror, Shogi Showdown, Nabiki, Ranma’s New Fiancee?, Case of the Missing Takoyaki (brilliantly directed), The Date-Monster of Watermelon Island, Meet You In the Milky Way, and Gosunkugi’s Summer Affair (Gosunkugi finally gets a respectable moment)
As you can probably guess, season 6 was my favorite, lol.