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Ranma ½ Director Guide

October 28, 2006

Written by Harley Acres

The original series, which was comprised of only eighteen episodes has often been praised for its lush animation, well-choreographed fights and introspective quiet pauses. The look of the series can primarily be attributed to three women, Atsuko Nakajima, the character designer and animation director, Asami Endo a vetern animation director from Urusei Yatsura, and Masako Goto, who went on to work on Kimagure Orange Road and Here is Greenwood.

Ranma ½
Episode TitleDirectorAnimation Director
1. The Strange Stranger from ChinaTomomi Mochizuki Atsuko Nakajima
2. School is No Place for Horsing Around Takeshi MoriMasako Goto
3. A Sudden Storm of Love... Hey, Wait a Minute! Shigeyasu YamauchiAsami Endo
4. Ranma and Ranma? If It's Not One Thing, It's Another Tomomi MochizukiAtsuko Nakajima
5. Love Me To The Bone! The Compound Fracture of Akane's HeartKazuhiro FuruhashiMasako Goto
6. Akane's Lost Love... These Things Happen, You KnowShinji KoubokuAsami Endo
7. Enter Ryoga! The Eternal "Lost Boy"Takeshi MoriAtsuko Nakajima
8. School is a Battlefield! Ranma vs. RyogaKazuhiro FuruhashiMasako Goto
9. True Confessions! A Girls Hair is Her LifeShinji KoubokuAsami Endo
10. P-P- P-chan! He's Good for Nothin'Takeshi MoriAtsuko Nakajima
11. Ranma Meets Love Head-On! Enter the Delinquent Juvenile Gymnast! Kazuhiro FuruhashiMasako Goto
12. A Woman's Love is War! The Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics Challenge!Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
13. A Tear in a Girl Delinquents Eye? The End of the Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics ChallengeTomomi MochizukiAtsuko Nakajima
14. Pelvic Fortune Telling! Ranma is the No. 1 Bride in JapanTakeshi MoriMasako Goto
15. Enter Shampoo, the Gung-ho Girl! I Put My Life in Your HandsTakeshi MoriAsami Endo
16. Shampoo's Revenge! The Shiatsu Technique that Steals Heart and SoulKazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima
17. I Love You, Ranma! Please Don't Say GoodbyeShinji KoubokuMasako Goto
18. I Am A Man! Ranma's Going Back to ChinaKazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima

As I have often discussed here, the series was cancelled and replaced by the more popular Ranma ½ Nettohen. The series lost some of its lush designs as Masako Goto left the series and the episodes she had already animated (P-chan Explodes! The Icy Fountain of Love) were worked into Nettohen. Rather that have a core group of animation directors as with the original series, Nettohen had quite a few animation directors involved with the series.

Ranma ½ Nettohen
Episode TitleDirectorAnimation Director
1. Clash of the Delivery Girls! The Martial Arts Takeout RaceKazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima
2. You Really Do Hate Cats?Kazuyoshi NakamuraAsami Endo
3. This Old Gal's the Leader of of the Amazon Tribe!Shinji Kouboku Atsuko Nakajima
4. Behold! The "Chestnuts Roasting in an Open Fire" Technique Kazuhiro FuruhashiMasaki Kudo
5. Enter Mousse! The Fist of the White Swan Takashi KobayashiAsami Endo
6. Cool Runnings! The Race of the Snowman Kazuyoshi NakamuraAtsuko Nakajima
7. The Abduction of P-chan Kazuhiro FuruhashiAsami Endo
8. Close Call! The Dance of Death... On Ice Shinji KoubokuAtsuko Nakajima
9. P-chan Explodes! The Icy Fountain of Love Tomomi MochizukiMasako Goto
10. Ranma Trains on Mt. Terror Shinji KoubokuMasaki Kudo
11. The Breaking Point!? Ryoga's Great Revenge Kazuhiro FuruhashiAsami Endo
12. Danger at the Tendo Dojo Chisato ShigekiAtsuko Nakajima
13. The Abduction of Akane Takashi KobayashiMasaki Kudo
14. Ranma vs. Mousse! To Lose is to Win Kazuyoshi NakamuraAsami Endo
15. Enter Happosai, the Lustful Lecher! Shinji KoubokuAtsuko Nakajima
16. Assault on the Girls Locker Room Kazuhiro FuruhashiMasaki Kudo
17. Kuno's House of Gadgets! Guests Check in But They Don't Check Out Chisato ShigekiAsami Endo
18. Goodbye Girl-type Takashi KobayashiAtsuko Nakajima
19. It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure and Pain Kazuyoshi NakamuraMasaki Kudo
20. S.O.S The Wrath of Happosai Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
21. Kissing is Such Sweet Sorrow! The Taking of Akane's Lips Takashi KobayashiAtsuko Nakajima
22. Bathouse Battle! We're in Hot Water Now Kazuhiro FuruhashiHiroko Kazui
23. Ranma Gains Yet Another Suitor Saeko OchayaAsami Endo
24. Ryoga and Akane: 2-gether 4-ever Shinji KoubokuAtsuko Nakajima
25. Sneeze Me, Squeeze Me, Please Me Kazuyoshi NakamuraHiroko Kazui
26. Rub-a-dub-dub! There's a Pevert in the Tub Takashi KobayashiAsami Endo
27. I Love You! My Dear, Dear, Ukyo Kazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima
28. The Witch Who Loved Me: A Japanese Ghost Story Shinji KoubokuHiroko Kazui
29. Transform! Akane the Muscleman Kazuyoshi NakamuraAsami Endo
30. The Killer from Jusenkyo Takashi KobayashiAtsuko Nakajima
31. Am I... Pretty? Ranma's Declaration of Womanhood Kazuhiro FuruhashiHiroko Kazui
32. Final Facedown! Happosai vs. the Invisible Man Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
33. Les Miserable in the Kuno Estate Kazuyoshi NakamuraAtsuko Nakajima
34. Ghost Story! Ranma and the Magic Sword Takashi KobayashiAzumaya Sugiyama
35. All It Takes is One! The Kiss of Love is the Kiss of Death Kazuhiro FuruhashiAsami Endo
36. The Ultimate Team-up!? The Ryoga/Mousse Alliance Kazuyoshi NakamuraAtsuko Nakajima
37. Back to the Happosai Takashi KobayashiHiroko Kazui
38. Kodachi the Black Rose! The Beeline to True Love Hideki TonokatsuHiroko Inoue
39. The Last Days of Happosai?Kazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima
40. Two Too-Violent Girls: Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung Nodoka YoshidaAzumaya Sugiyama
41. Ranma and the Evil Spirit Within Tetsuya EndoHiroko Kazui
42. Enter Ken and his Copycat Kerchief Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
43. Ryoga's Miracle Cure! Hand Over that Soap!Mihiro YamaguchiAtsuko Nakajima
44. Fight! The Anything-Goes Obstacle Course Race Nodoka YoshidaHiroko Kazui
45. Ranma Goes Back to Jusenkyo At Last Yasunori UrataAsami Endo
46. The Return of the Hawaiian Headmaster from Hell Hideki TonokatsuAtsuko Nakajima
47. Enter Kuno! The Night Prowling Knight Shinji KoubokuAzumaya Sugiyama
48. Ranma Gets Weak Nodoka YoshidaAsami Endo
49. Eureka! The Desperate Move of Desperation Yasunori UrataAtsuko Nakajima
50. Showdown! Can Ranma Make a Comeback?Hideki TonokatsuAzumaya Sugiyama
51. Ukyo's Skirt! The Great Girly-Girl Gambit Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
52. Here Comes Ranma's Mom Nodoka YoshidaAtsuko Nakajima
53. From Ryoga, With Love Yasunori Urata”Yoiko Hibiki”
54. My Fiancee the Cat Hideki TonokatsuChi Isono
55. Blow, Wind! To Be Young is to Go Gung-Ho Akihiko NishiyamaAsami Endo
56. A Formidable New Disciple Appears Shinji KoubokuAtsuko Nakajima
57. Step Outside! Kazuhiro FuruhashiChi Isono
58. Ryoga's "Tendo Dojo Houseguest" Diary Hideki TonokatsuAsami Endo
59. Happosai's Happy Heart Nodoka Yoshida”Azusa Shiratori”
60. Extra, Extra! Kuno and Nabiki! Read All About It Yasunori UrataChi Isono
61. Ryoga the Strong... Too Strong Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
62. Close Call! P-chan's Secret Kazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima
63. The Egg-Catcher ManNodoka YoshidaChi Isono
64. Ranma and Kuno's... First Kiss!? Hideki TonokatsuAsami Endo
65. Shampoo's Red ThreadYasunori UrataAtsuko Nakajima
66. Mousse Returns to His Old Country Home Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
67. The Dumbest Bet in History Kazuhiro FuruhashiChi Isono
68. Kuno Becomes a Marianne Hideki TonokatsuAtsuko Nakajima
69. Ranma, You're Such a Jerk! Yasunori UrataChi Isono
70. Gimme That Pigtail! Nodoka YoshidaAsami Endo
71. When A Guy's Pride and Joy is GoneShinji KoubokuAtsuko Nakajima
72. The Revenge of Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung Yasunori UrataKatsumi Hashimoto
73. Ryoga's ProposalKazuhiro FuruhashiChi Isono
74. Genma Takes a WalkNobuaki ShirahataAsami Endo
75. The Gentle Art of Martial Tea CeremonyNodoka YoshidaAtsuko Nakajima
76. The Challenger is a Girl? Shinji KoubokuChi Isono
77. Hot Springs Battle RoyaleYasunori UrataKatsumi Hashimoto
78. Me Is Kuno's Daddy, Me IsNobuaki ShirahataAsami Endo
79. The Matriarch Takes a Stand Kazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima
80. A Leotard is A Girls BurdenNodoka YoshidaChi Isono
81. The Mixed-Bath HorrorShinji KoubokuAsami Endo
82. The Frogman's CurseNodoka YoshidaAtsuko Nakajima
83. Revenge! Raging Okonomiyaki...! Yasunori UrataChi Isono
84. Ranma the Ladykiller Kazuhiro FuruhashiAsami Endo
85. Shogi Showdown Nodoka YoshidaAtsuko Nakajima
86. Sasuke's "Mission: Improbable" Nobuaki ShirahataYuka Kudo
87. Bonjour, Furinkan Shinji KoubokuChi Isono
88. Dinner at Ringside Hiroaki GoudaAsami Endo
89. Swimming with Psychos Nodoka YoshidaAtsuko Nakajima
90. Ryoga, Run Into the SunsetYasunori UrataChi Isono
91. Into the Darkness Nobuaki ShirahataMyoichiro Unagihara
92. Nabiki, Ranma's New Fiancee?Kazuhiro FuruhashiTetsujin Saito
93. Case of the Missing Takoyaki Nodoka YoshidaAsami Endo
94. Ranma vs Shadow Ranma!Shinji KoubokuChi Isono
95. Dear Daddy... Love, Kodachi Yasunori UrataAsami Endo
96. Enter Gosunkugi, The New Rival?Kazuhiro FuruhashiChi Isono
97. Ranma's Calligraphy Challenge! Nodoka YoshidaYuka Kudo
98. The Secret Don of Furinkan High!?Nobuaki ShirahataAsami Endo
99. Back to the Way We Were... Please!Shinji Kouboku”Azusa Shiratori”
100. Ryoga Inherits the Saotome School!? Nodoka YoshidaAsami Endo
101. Tendo Family Goes to the Amusement Park Kazuhiro FuruhashiChi Isono
102. Case of the Furinkan Stalker Shinji KoubokuYuka Kudo
103. The Demon From Jusenkyo Part 1Nobuaki ShirahataAsami Endo
104. The Demon From Jusenkyo Part 2Yasunori UrataAtsuko Nakajima
105. A Xmas Without Ranma Shinji KoubokuAtsuko Nakajima
106. A Cold Day in FurinkanKazuhiro FuruhashiAsami Endo
107. Curse of the Scribbled Panda Nodoka YoshidaChi Isono
108. The Date-Monster of Watermelon Island Takeshi KabumotoYuka Kudo
109. Legend of the Lucky Panda Nobuaki ShirahataChi Isono
110. Ukyo's Secret Sauce, Part 1Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
111. Ukyo's Secret Sauce, Part 2Nodoka YoshidaChi Isono
112. The Missing Matriarch of Martial Arts Tea Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
113. Akane Goes to the Hospital Kazuhiro FuruhashiAtsuko Nakajima
114. Mystery of the Marauding Octopus Pot!Takeshi KabumotoChi Isono
115. Gosunkugi and the Magic Paper DollsNobuaki ShirahataAsami Endo
116. Akane's Unfathomable Heart Takeshi KabumotoYuka Kudo
117. A Teenage Ghost Story Nodoka YoshidaAtsuko Nakajima
118. Master and Student...Forever!? Yusuke YamamotoChi Isono
119. Tatewaki Kuno, Acting Principal Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
120. Ranma's Greatest Challenge Nobuaki ShirahataAtsuko Nakajima
121. Nihao! Jusenkyo Guide Nodoka YoshidaYuka Kudo
122. Pick-a-Peck o' Happosai Shinji KoubokuChi Isono
123. From the Depths of Despair, Part I Yusuke YamamotoAsami Endo
124. From the Depths of Despair, Part II Takeshi KabumotoAtsuko Nakajima
125. Shampoo's Cursed Kiss Nobuaki ShirahataChi Isono
126. Run Away With Me, Ranma! Shinji KoubokuAsami Endo
127. Let's Go to the Mushroom Temple Nodoka YoshidaYuka Kudo
128. The Cradle from Hell Yusuke YamamotoChi Isono
129. Madame St. Paul's Cry for Help Takeshi KabumotoMasahiro Yamane
130. Meet You in the Milky Way Nobuaki ShirahataAsami Endo
131. Wretched Rice Cakes of Love Nodoka YoshidaChi Isono
132. The Dreaded Happo Mold-Burst Shinji KoubokuYuka Kudo
133. The Kuno Sibling Scandal Takeshi KabumotoAsami Endo
134. Battle for the Golden Tea Set Yusuke YamamotoMasahiro Yamane
135. Gosunkugi's Summer Affair Nobuaki ShirahataChi Isono
136. Bring It On! Love's Cheerleader, Part I Nodoka YoshidaAsami Endo
137. Bring It On! Love's Cheerleader, Part II Shinji KoubokuYuka Kudo
138. Battle for Miss Beachside Takeshi KabumotoChi Isono
139. The Musical Instruments of Destruction Masahiro YamaneYusuke Yamamoto
140. A Ninja Dog is Black and White Nobuaki ShirahataAtsuko Nakajima
141. The Tendo Dragon Legend Nodoka YoshidaChi Isono
142. Boy Meets Mom, Part I Shinji KoubokuYuka Kudo
143. Boy Meets Mom, Part II Takeshi KabumotoAtsuko Nakajima

Asami Endo (Episodes directed: 47)

Endo actually directed dozens of episodes of Ranma ½ and did even more episodes of Urusei Yatsura too. While her Ranma ½ episodes do look good, especially those from the original eighteen episode run, a lot of her work tends to look washed out to me. Her characters don't always stick closely to Nakajima's designs and the animation just isn't as dynamic. To me, her episodes tend to look average with a few exceptional ones early on. I can't explain the inconsistency in her style from the first series into Nettohen, but because she directed so many episodes of Nettohen the mediocrity of her work tends to hang over it in comparison to the first series.

Masako Goto (Episodes directed: 7)

Masako Goto, along with Atsuko Nakajima and Asami Endo were the original animation directors when the series started. After the original series was cancelled Goto left, while the remaining episode she oversaw for the original series (P-chan Explodes! The Icy Fountain of Love) was reinserted into the Ranma ½ Nettohen series. Goto's style matched very closely with Nakajima's, it was a shame she left so quickly.

Katsumi Hashimoto (Episodes directed: 2)

Hashimoto easily wins the award for my least favorite work on the series. The quality of his episodes is well below par, his designs deviate heavily from Nakajima's character designs and the animation looks sloppy on his episodes. His work tends to be extremely simple when compared to the work of the other animation directors seen here.

"Yoiko Hibiki" (Episodes directed: 1)

"Yoiko Hibiki" was only responsible for one episode, "From Ryoga, With Love". Because this episode is primarily just a clip show of older episodes, "Hibiki" was only responsible for the new material that was used to link the clips together. For whatever reason the animation director chose to use this alias, the name Ranma used when he claimed to be Ryoga's sister. They did a very nice job on the episode, though at times the facial expressions got a little too wacky.

Hiroko Inoue (Episodes directed: 1)

Inoue is another good director who works well with Nakajima's designs. Nice, clean animation work from this single episode director.

Chi Isono (Episodes directed: 27)

Chi Isono is a talented director who, like the best animation directors, is able to work well with the established character designs and create a uniform look for the series. At times, Isono's designs have longer faces than Nakajima's, but overall his episodes have good animation.

Hiroko Kazui (Episodes directed: 7)

Kazui does a very good job with fluid movement and oversaw the animation for one of the best Nettohen fight scenes, a battle between Ranma and Genma in "Am I Pretty? Ranma's Declaration of Womanhood". Nice use of lighting and heavy shadows as well. Overall Kazui has a really consistent, nice-looking style.

Masaki Kudo (Episodes directed: 5)

Masaki Kudo is a decent animation director, somewhere in the middle in terms of quality when compared to the others. Her work doesn't quite rise to the levels of Chi Isono or Atsuko Nakajima, but her work does hold its own. She often shines but does not have the same consistency of some of the others.

Yuka Kudo (Episodes directed: 10)

Yuka Kudo is another favorite of mine, especially her work on "Sasuke's Mission: Improbable". Sasuke is one character whose design is very telling with some animators taking short cuts with his design. The fact that Kudo is able to make him look as good as Nakajima's design intended shows her skill. She also did an excellent job on the second Mariko Konjo episode.

Atsuko Nakajima (Episodes directed: 43)

Atsuko Nakajima is one of the few animation directors involved with the show from beginning to end. She was also responsible for the character designs, and consequently the episodes she is involved in tend to showcase some of the best quality of animation. I love the look of her episodes, and she is undoubtedly my favorite animation director on Ranma ½.

Tetsujin Saito (Episodes directed: 1)

Another one timer using what is most likely an alias (Tetsujin means "iron man"). His work is similar to Myoichiro Unagihara in that it stays very close to Atsuko Nakajima. More colorful palettes were being used by the time his episode was made along with the updated OVA character designs. Overall it is a good showing and a very good effort from this single appearance animation director.

"Azusa Shiratori" (Episodes directed: 2)

Similar in style to Nakajima though lacking her fluidity. Like "Yoiko Hibiki" this is another alias based on one of the characters from the series.

Azumaya Sugiyama (Episodes directed: 4)

Sugiyama's work varies quite a bit. In some episodes his work can be very clean and consistent with the overall look of the series, and then at other times it appears to be too simplified and loose. Sugiyama is another animation director who is not one of my favorites. His work, along with Hashimoto's is the poorest of the series. Thankfully they didn't director all that many episodes.

Myoichiro Unagihara (Episodes directed: 1)

Very good fluid animation is a hallmark of Unagihara. He draws Happosai well which some animators take short cuts on. He only did "Into the Darkness", but did some interesting expressions in that episode such as Akane getting angry with Nabiki. Like all the best animation directors he stays close to Nakajima, but adds some nice unique touches. Right around the time of his work is where the staff started to use what would become the OVA character designs.

Yusuke Yamamoto (Episodes directed: 1)

Extremely fluid animation is found in Yamamoto's only outing as animation director. His faces are similar to Nakajima's, but vary slightly in terms of length. His work is unique without being distracting and definetly looks different than anyone elses. The quality of his work is quite good and is comparable to the other animation directors from late in the series.

Masahiro Yamane (Episodes directed: 2)

Yamane's work is very similar to Chi Isono but with more angular cheekbones and faces. Yamane is the only animation director that also served as an episode director.

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