The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China

Title: Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Shogakukan
Format: Movie; 81 minutes.
Dates: 2 Nov 1991

Synopsis: Caught in the confusion between Happosai and Lychee, a young girl from China seeking vengeance, Akane is abducted by Kirin and the Seven Lucky Gods. Believed to be the destined bride of Kirin, Akane is taken to far away Nekonron, China, home of the Seven Lucky Gods martial arts. It’s up to Ranma and the gang to rescue her before it’s too late.

The Highlights
Story: Another random side plot.
Music: Hardly any plays… what gives?
Comedy: Lacking desperately; more focus on action.

Released while the television series was still running, Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China follows our loveable characters through China in attempts to rescue Akane from her kidnappers, Kirin and the Seven Lucky Gods. Almost as a rule of thumb, anime movies based on television series add no redeeming quality to their respected franchises. Ranma is no exception in this situation, as the movie proved to be pointless and little more than an extension of the series itself.

Unlike Ranma ½, the animation and music of Big Trouble in Nekonron, China are fairly consistent. The quality of animation remains high from start to finish, which is a definite plus, and the music is consistent… in that there was hardly any. Usually viewers have some type of background music, but aside from the typical “we’re in China let’s hear some lyres playing” towards the end, the movie is surprisingly quiet. I suppose no music at all is better than a bad soundtrack, but it just seems rather odd. Thankfully, the show’s seiyuu cast returns to grace us with their talents, making the downsides of the movie a little more bearable.

Big Trouble in Nekonron, China focuses on action even more so than the series. The first fifteen minutes or so introduces all the characters into the story, and gives a few quick laughs as they run after each other in their usual hysterical fashion. After the introduction of Kirin and the premise of the movie, there is little humor, even less romance, and the plot consists of the attempted rescue of Akane. The fight scenes are rather dull, and the exclusion of humor and romance guides the series in a direction that, for me, is not what I signed up for. If the premise or villain were extraordinary enough to catch my attention then maybe I would have felt different, but the movie seems like a quick sketch slapped together to me.

Theatrical releases usually rely on their existing fan base to boost revenue and keep the almighty cash cow going, which may or may not have been the case during its original release. Certainly members of the Takahashi cult will visit this title expecting something worth their time and money, but in my honest opinion, Ranma ½ : Big Trouble in Nekonron, China is certainly a waste of mine. As an avid Ranma fan and an even more serious Takahashi follower, it disappoints me to say that given the choice I’d recommend passing this title by.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Godai

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