Anything Goes1936

Director: Robert Lewis
Stars: Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, Zizi Jeanmaire, Mitzi Gaynor, Phil Harris
Genre: Comedy, Musical
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 106 minutes

This set of 22 episodes constitutes the second broadcast season of Rumiko Takahashi's gender-tweaking slapstick comedy. The many combat scenes are executed in slightly fuller animation than in the OAVs, and there's a little more nudity in the bath scenes, including a shot of Ryoga's bare buns. But the freewheeling mixture of mayhem, metamorphoses, and martial arts continues--with just a touch of sentiment to leaven the insanity. When Ranma and Akane have a run-in with a pair of champion figure skaters, they reduce the rink to a wading pool, with a little help from the geographically challenged Ryoga. Shampoo the Chinese Amazon returns with her wizened Great-Grandmother Cologne, who teaches the cast a variety of ancient fighting techniques. Ranma and Ryoga battle kendo champion and gasbag Kuno, his twisted sister Kodachi, ninja Sasuke, and Happosi in their frantic search for a Japanese Nan'niichuan (Enchanted Drowned Man Spring)--only to discover it's a franchise that's gone out of business. Even the redoubtable Ranma has a weakness: he's afraid of cats. But he breaks through his fear and demonstrates his mastery of the recherché technique of "Cat-Fu." Ranma often acts like a jerk, but he assuages Akane's hurt feelings by eating the cookies she baked, even though he knows ptomaine will follow. At a time when many American animated series are imitating live action, Ranma 1/2 is a zany reminder of the special fun only animation can provide. Unrated; suitable for ages 12 and up: Slapstick violence, nudity, mildly risqué humor. --Charles Solomon

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