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TV Drama Special
Ranma

Japanese Title: Ranma
Premiere: December 9, 2011, 7 p.m.
Movie Theme: Chikutaku 2NITE by 9nine
Director: Ryou Nishimura
Screenplay: Yoshihiro Izumi
Music: Kei Yoshikawa
Network: Nihon Terebi


Cast: Kento Kaku (male Ranma), Natsuna Wantanabe (female Ranma), Yui Aragaki (Akane), Katsuhisa Namase (Soun), Arata Furuta (Genma), Kyoko Hasegawa (Kasumi), Shosuke Tanihara (Dr. Tofu), Kento Nagayama (Kuno), Maki Nishyama (Nabiki), Yuta Kanai (Gosunkugi), Ryousei Tayama (Okamada), Ichiro Nagai (Narrator)

Summary:

The series opens with the Tendo Dojo and Akane practicing kendo against a helpless pupil who flees after being beaten severely. Soun gets a postcard telling him that Genma and Ranma are soon to arrive from China. As they get ready for Genma and Ranma's arrival, Akane tries to help Kasumi in the kitchen with her usual poor handiwork. On route to the the Tendo home Ranma and Genma fight with one another in a park, showcasing impressive flips and Genma's mastery of the MOko Takabisha. En route to school Akane crosses paths with Hikaru Gosunkugi who snaps a few pictures of her only to have her swiftly delete them.

Akane arrives at school and finds female Ranma awaiting her after a brief shower. Ranma watches as Akane fights off a gang of schoolboys trying to win a date wtih her by defeating her in a fight. Of course Akane makes short work of them until Tatewaki Kuno arrives to interecede. With a single swing of his boken, Kuno knocks back all of Akane's opponents, but upon seeing female Ranma he is immediately won over. Ranma has little patience for his flirting and levels Kuno with a single blow.

Back at the Tendo home Soun, Kasumi and Nabiki answer the door and find a panda waiting when they expected Genma. At school Ranma and Akane become fast friends as Vice Principal Okamada watches. Dr. Tofu, the school nurse helps tend to Akane's scrapes after her daily fights while Ranma asks him for some hot water. Unfortunately before Ranma can pour the hot water over his head Kasumi arrives and Dr. Tofu knocks the water out of his hands in one of his clumsy fits. Ranma and Akane race home as Soun and Nabiki try to find out what to do about the panda in their bathroom. Ranma dashes off to join the panda, and Akane walks in to find Ranma and Genma, now back to their proper forms in the bathtub. Genma tells everyone the story of Jusenkyo, the cursed training grounds in China that caused them to turn into a panda and girl when splashed with water.

After explaining their situation, Soun reveals the legend of Nannichuan, the spring of drowned man, which may offer a way for Ranma and Genma to be cured of their curses. Soun explains that only a male heir may inherit the dojo, which is more than enough reason for Ranma to try and find Nannichuan. Later that night Kasumi explains to Ranma how important the dojo has become to Akane. Genma and Soun discuss their problems at the local hostess club where Nabiki works. They mention the Nannichuan and mention their master Happosai in passing. Ranma inquires about the location of the Nannichuan when he later sees Nabiki in front of the club, and for a small fee she tells him it is buried under the girls locker room at school. That night when Ranma goes to investigate he is attacked a ground of leather clad S&M guys. Ranma gets caught by Dr. Tofu in the rain while trying to dispatch the students, but finds she cannot use the Moko Takabisah due to her breasts getting in the way. The scene shifts to the mysterious leader of the S&M gang, a masked man in a flamboyant outfit. As it turns out he too is seeking the Nannichuan.

On their way to school the next morning male Ranma mocks Akane's smaller chest before getting splashed by a woman cleaning the sidewalk. Thankfully Ranma carries a canteen of hot water to solve her transformation, but is immediately splashed by a broken fire hydrant. At school Kuno is waiting to face off against Akane and he proves to b ea formidable challenge after easily disarming her. Ranma intercedes and he quickly knocks out Kuno, winning the approval of all Akane's female classmates. Akane realizes that Kuno's simple tap against Ranma's ribs was much more damaging that Ranma let on. A quick trip to Dr. Tofu puts things right. In class everyone talks about Ranma being Akane's fiance, when Vice Principal Okamada arrives to complain about the fighting.

Later that day Ranma (in his male form) tries to sneak into the girls locker room to look for the hidden Nannichuan and meets with little success. Gosunkugi and Kuno are both frustrated with Ranma coming in and stealing Akane from them, and together they plot to deal with their new rival. Nabiki forces Ranma to change into a girl and put on a martial arts show for the patrons of the hostess club, and Gosunkugi snaps a picture of Ranma changing.

At the school the mysterious masked man is revealed to be Vice Principal Okamada and he has managed to unearth the hidden chamber with the Nannichuan. Unfortunately the only thing preventing the spigot for being turned on is a hole in the shape of Ranma's locket. Meanwhile Ranma is corner by Soun and Genma at the hostess club and does her best to try and hide her identify from them out of shame (while wearing a Chinese dress and pink Shampoo wig). Ranma manages to learn that Akane's necklace is the key to the hidden Nannichuan spring and she makes plans to borrow it.

Back home Akane sits alone in her room looking at a picture of Dr. Tofu and soon goes to sleep. That night Ranma sneaks into her room to steal her necklace but gets caught trying to slip it off her chest. At school Gosunkugi tries to explain to Kuno that Ranma and the Pigtailed Girl are the same person, but Kuno will hear none of it and destroys his pictures in anger. Kuno finds Ranma and Akane in the hall fighting over her locket and with a swing of his boken he swipes the necklace for himself. He tells Akane that he will return it to the her if she and the Pigtailed Girl meet him at his mansion, though this is overheard by the scheming vice-principal who needs the necklace for the Nannichuan. Kuno's mansion is incredibly opulent and houses a shrine to both Akane and female Ranma. While Ranma tries to steal the necklace away from Kuno, he wrestles her to the floor and steals a kiss while a cup of hot tea spills on Ranma's head transforming him back into a guy. Akane runs outside and is attacked by the scythe weilding S&M crew who manage to slice her hair off while Ranma dives to protect her.

Back home Akane asks Kasumi to help fix her hair while Genma tells Ranma to apologize. Upstairs in her room amidst her stuffed pig dolls, Akane thinks back to her childhood when she decided to grow her hair out to emulate her sister Kasumi, who Dr. Tofu was in love with. Akane and Ranma patch things up while the Vice Principal continues to scheme with his S&M clad underlings. The next day at school everyone is shocked by Akane's new haircut, and some of Akane's numerous suitors try to beat up Ranma to make him pay for Akane's severe haircut. Akane takes a stumble down the stairs and hurts her ankle which warrants a trip to see Dr. Tofu. The doctor tells her how much he likes her hair and but she realizes that he only has eyes for Kasumi. Depressed, Akane limps home followed by Ranma who asks her about her feelings for Tofu. She tells him she has moved on, and Ranma offers her a piggyback ride, which she refuses after saying it would be inapropriate to be carried by a boy. Ranma chivalrously turns into a girl and carries her home.

Ranma discusses the situation with the dojo inheritance and they talk about Akane's necklace, and how it was passed down to her from her late mother. After hearing from Genma that Ranma never knew his mother Akane contemplates letting him have her necklace. That evening female Ranma repeatedly tries to master the Moko Takabisha with no success. Akane gives Ranma the necklace, but things are interrupted by the arrival of the S&M gang at the Tendo Dojo. They tie up both Ranma and Akane and Vice-Principal Okamada arrives, revealing himself to be the leader of the flamboyant gang. Okamada threatens to harm Kasumi if Akane doesn't help them unlock the Nannichuan whcih enrages Ranma. Dr. Tofu tells Soun, Genma and Nabiki what he overheard at the school regarding Okamada. They arrive home too late though, Akane has been abducted and Ranma is racing to the school to save her. Okamada tells Akane to unlock the Nannichuan as Ranma fights his way into the school, only to have Kuno arrive to complicate things further, though he winds up helping Ranma. Ranma gets overwhelmed, but Dr. Tofu, Genma and Soun come to his aid.

Under the locker room the Nannichuan begins to flow as Ranma finally makes his way to Akane. The gang ambushes him, splashing him with water to prevent him from using the Moko Takabisha. Okamada threatens to test the Nannichuan on Akane as Ranma pleads for them not to. Ranma fights off dozens of goons to save Akane, finally taking on Okamada himself. The numbers soon get to Ranma, and Akane steps in to save her fiance. Okamada hurls insults at the seemingly defeated Ranma, questioning his manhood until she becomes enraged and begins to fight again. Finally Ranma manages to fire off the Moko Takabisha while in female form and defeats the Vice-Principal and his gang. Akane and Ranma celebrate as the Nannichuan erupts, curing Ranma, but dousing Akane as well. Akane does not change, but Ranma is concerned taht if they linger too long she will. Soon the spray dies down and the who nearly kiss before realizing Genma is watching and that the Nannichuan was a fake and Ranma is not cured afterall.

Notes:

Announced on September 26th this live-action version of Ranma came as quite a surprise to most fans. The storyline blends early manga chapters with new characters such as Vice Principal Okamada and radical reinventions of such mainstays as Nabiki Tendo. Initially fans around the world voiced disappointment over the decision to omit Ryoga, Shampoo and Ukyo. The original character Okamada had a typically pun-based name as is common in Takahashi's work. In Japanese "okama" is a derogatory word for male crossdressers or homosexuals, the main bad guy's name is "Okamada" though it is spelled with different kanji. The sickle weapons his S&M gang use are called "kama" in Japanese as well. The whole pun centers around the "okama" wordplay.

During the week the drama aired Shonen Sunday 2012 volume 1 featured color pages for Takahashi's currently running "Kyokai no Rinne" as well as a cover and pictorial featuring Yui Aragaki (Akane).


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