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Ranma Begins – Remake Ranma! Part 1

November 27, 2009

Dear dudes in Japan that determine what crap gets turned into anime,

Please remake Ranma 1/2.

Ranma 1/2 is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. I would place it along side the likes of Seinfeld, Mary Tyler Moore, Monty Python, and whatever other 30 minute TV comedies one would list as “the best.” The series takes a “high concept,” guy turns into a girl when splashed with cold water, and then does what all great sitcoms do: throw the characters into various situations and let the comedy come naturally. This is the hallmark of a great situational comedy, the fact that the humor grows out of the characters and their interactions when some sort of plot element is introduced. If the characters and well-conceived, regardless of what that situation may be, something amusing will arise and entertain the audience. The “what” of the situation is irrelevant so long as the “funny” is working. Ranma does this masterfully.

“What the hell, are you an idiot?! If Ranma is so great what the fuck has possessed you to want to see it remade?! Don’t you know that remakes always suck?! ALWAYS!”

I’m sure you’re thinking some iteration of the above sentence right now. It’s an understandable reaction, but it’s also pretty short-sighted. What makes remakes suck isn’t the fact that they’re remakes. What make them suck is that they’re usually made for the wrong reasons. More often than not, a movie is remade as a cash grab. Nothing wrong with capitalism, but “cash grab” usually implies that said projects are rushed out the door with little thought given to the products quality. Also, said remakes are usually made by people who don’t “get” the original source material, and therefore resulting in a final product that feels nothing like the original media. That’s why remakes suck. So, in order to avoid the remake suckage curse, a certain amount of familiarity is required. Also, despite this familiarity, one must be willing to deviate from the source material.

WHAT?! Are you daft?! Don’t you know that when you don’t follow the original manga/book/whatever, you always end up with something that sucks even more than those suck remakes?! ALWAYS!”

Again, an understandable conclusion. Again, it is also short-sighted.

I for one do not understand the need to recreate a manga’s storyline word-for-word when creating an anime adaptation. The very notion of “sticking to the script” defies te concept of an “adaptation.” I want to see the animation staff take a concept from a manga, stick to the original’s tone and themes, and do something new with it. Case in point: Ghost in the Shell SAC. The TV series shares the same characters and themes as the original manga and movies, but entirely new stories were created. I’d argue that The Laughing Man storyline is superior to, say, The Puppet Master storyline from the first movie. That is the perfect example of what I want to see in an anime adaptation or remake. I want to see the original characters and concepts utilized in a new and distinct manner.

And that brings us to Ranma 1/2’s theoretical remake.

The tone of the original series needs to be maintained. There’s no need to “update” the series. No need to add moments where Akane and Ranma act like two dating-sim characters that can’t show their feelings to one another. Their antagonistic relationship must be maintained. At the same time, the series should make a serious attempt to further their relationship. The original manga ended with references to the idea that they probably settle down in the end and get married. This should be something that this fictional remake works towards. The series should do it’s best to avoid the harem/romance tropes that we see in most “romantic comedy” series from the past 10 years or so, but there should be a running subplot showing that these two characters grow to like each other despite being forced into an arranged relationship.

At the same time, there needs to be serious rivals for both Ranma and Akane’s affections. In the original series, most of Ranma’s would-be-girlfriends never really had a chance. Shampoo was misguided and overtly, comically aggressive. Kodachi was a down-and-out stalker. Ukyo came the closest to being a normal “choice,” but Ranma always saw her as his best friend rather than a serious romantic interest. If Ranma 1/2 were to be remade, it should take a cue from one of Rumiko Takahashi’s other series: Maison Ikkoku. In Maison Ikkoku, both Godai and Kyoko had genuine competitors for their affections. While it was obvious from a meta perspective that Godai and Kyoko would end up together, there were times in the plot when they weren’t an “item” and that they were engaged in serious relationships. Ranma and Akane need romantic “foils” in order for their relationship to have that extra “oomph.”

I’d take the more “normal” of Ranma’s suitors, Ukyo, and develop a romantic angle for their friendship. That seems like the most natural pairing. As for Akane,the only existing character that really works is Ryouga. She clearly looks at him as someone she cares about, although it seems to border on a motherly “he’s kind of pathetic it makes me want to take care of him” sort of way. This also seems like a relatively natural progression for the character based on the original storyline.

This also sets up a potential Ukyo/Ryouga pairing once Ranma and Akane finally admit to their lust for one another. Being an old-school fan of the Ukyo/Ryouga pairing, I’m down with that.

More to come later, since this has become longer than anticipated. Until then, watch some long-haired Akane getting down with the yappapa. And yeah, Akane’s hair should totally stay long for a longer amount of time in said remake. She always looked better with long hair, but having her hair get cut was a fairly dramatic moment. Just have it happen later.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. The Arbiter permalink
    November 27, 2009 11:57 AM

    For what its worth, I agree.

  2. xisgrae permalink
    December 29, 2009 8:24 PM

    god i want to watch this anime again

  3. August 9, 2010 7:09 PM

    I agree, also.
    Thats very well put together…

    Good job. :)

  4. Anonymus permalink
    January 29, 2013 8:51 PM

    I want a Ranma remake also… Great job!

  5. Rosa permalink
    December 6, 2014 5:48 AM

    I only partly agree with your request above. I definitely want to see a ranma remade BUT, I think it should be much closer to the manga.

    Sailor Moon and Hunter X Hunter both have fantastic remakes because they were closer to the manga and didn’t waste time with fillers that just don’t compete with the vision of the original author. So I think Ranma could also be great, if it stuck closer to the manga.

    The original anime greatly diverged from the manga. So much so that it lost all the elements that made it so unique and enjoyable.

    A remake will give those of us not massive manga readers a chance to finally see what Rumiko’s brilliant mind wanted us to see.

    • December 6, 2014 9:47 AM

      Hiya. Well, the post above was written by Landon I think. Personally, I was never that into Ranma. I heard about it for years and finally caught a few of the movies on cd/dvd back in the day. They didn’t impress me.

      I then read the manga and loved it. I thought it was hilarious.

      Eventually, I did catch a bunch of the early episodes, and they were pretty decent. The whole bit where Kunou basically rapes a puppet had me lol in rl. But the story up to then was about the same as the manga, so I dropped the show, since I already knew the story.

      I didn’t realize the tv diverged from the manga. If so, I can see the argument for retelling the manga. Aside from all the karaoke bits, the jokes should theoretically remain relevant.

      But I’m thinking that when Landon suggested the remake, he’s probably thinking it should be a 26 ep self contained story. Hence the need to diverge from the manga. If we follow the manga format, we’d probably have to go the Keroro Gunsou route.

      Either format’s fine with me. Ranma is pretty timeless as a concept. I don’t agree that anime should follow the source material though. It works for some series, but generally, I find it redundant and it completely messes with the pacing of the anime.

      Take Claymore and Dragonball Z for instance.

      The Claymore anime changed it so a certain character doesn’t die until later, so that it’d make dramatic sense as we head into the finale, while also leaving room for a possible sequel series. It had to do this, since it only had a 26 episode run. And it’s a good thing it did too, since the story after the whole Northern Campaign arc is… kinda lame.

      Now let’s look at Dragonball Z. Which slavishly animated each chapter into it’s own episode. Which resulted in terrible terribleness. It made sense in the original manga, since the chapters would come out as part of a compilation of series. You wouldn’t read just Dragonball Z, but the other comics that came in Shounen Jump or whatever.

      Then you’d get the compiled tankoubon version for the series you liked, ala Dragonball Z.

      I read Dragonball Z via the tanks, and in that format, it made sense for some chapters to be ridiculously short in terms of stuff happening. There are literally chapters where characters are just talking to one another in what is supposed to be a span of just a few minutes. And some dramatic but ultimately minor plot point would get raised by the end.

      Unfortunately, this got translated into the anime, where it simply doesn’t work and has resulted in the series getting ridiculed for the super long charge up sequences.

      In fact, I just went and grabbed a random issue (#35) and went to a couple random chapters. One chapter had Vegeta going into a rage after Trunks had just been killed by Cell. He rushes at Cell, does some attacks and gets knocked down. Cell then shoots at Vegeta, but Gohan goes to block the attack, ending the chapter with Gohan’s arm injured. This is something that shouldn’t last more than 5 minutes real time, maybe 10 minutes in tv time, but it got dragged out for a full 20 minutes.

      The next chapter is just Cell charging up and using the Kamehameha on Gohan, who is encouraged to not give up by ghost-Goku. Again, this is something that shouldn’t even be 5 to 7 minutes in a decently paced episode, but instead, gets dragged out to 20 effin’ minutes.

      So, preeeetty damn long response. tl;dr, I agree with you but I think there’s merit to Landon’s post as well. Also I disagree that we need to follow the mangaka’s vision exactly for every series, because it’s a case by case, so it works for some series and not for others.

Trackbacks

  1. To Aru Kagaku no Railgun sucks btw « Mecha-Guignol
  2. The Dark Piglet – Remake Ranma! Part 2 « Mecha-Guignol

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