The manga has been adapted into two anime series created by Studio Deen: Ranma ½ and Ranma ½ Nettōhen, which together were broadcast on Fuji Television from 1989 to 1992. In addition, they developed 12 original video animations and three films. In 2011, a live-action television special was produced and aired on Nippon Television. The manga and anime series were licensed by Viz Media for English-language releases in North America. Madman Entertainment released the manga, part of the anime series and the first two movies in Australasia, while MVM Films released the first two movies in the United Kingdom. The Ranma ½ manga has over 53 million copies in print in Japan. Both the manga and anime are cited as some of the first of their mediums to have become popular in the United States.
An anime television series was created by Studio Deen and aired weekly between April 15, 1989 and September 16, 1989 on Fuji TV for 18 episodes, before being canceled due to low ratings. The series was then reworked by most of the same staff, retitled Ranma ½ Nettōhen (らんま½ 熱闘編) and launched in a different time slot, running for 143 episodes from October 20, 1989 to September 25, 1992. The anime stays true to the original manga but does differ by keeping Ranma’s sex transformation a secret from the high school students, at least throughout most of its length. It also does not introduce Hikaru Gosunkugi until very late in the series, instead, Sasuke Sarugakure, the diminutive ninja retainer of the Kuno family fills a number of Gosunkugi’s roles in early storylines but is a major character in his own right. The anime also alters the placement of many story arcs and contains numerous original episodes and characters not adapted from the manga.
Viz Media licensed both anime series in 1993, making Ranma ½ one of the very first anime titles licensed by Viz. The English dub produced for the series was recorded by The Ocean Group in Vancouver, British Columbia. They released the series on VHS from their own Viz Video label, and on DVD a few years later in association with Pioneer Home Entertainment. Their releases collected both anime series as one, separated episodes into what they call “seasons”, and changed the ordering of many of the episodes. Viz themselves re-released it on DVD in 2007 using their own DVD production company. At Otakon 2013, Viz announced that they re-acquired the TV series for Blu-ray and DVD release in 2014. The show is streamed on their anime channel service Neon Alley since Autumn 2013. Madman Entertainment licensed some of the series for release in Australasia, although their rights expired after releasing only the first four “seasons” as one series.
Films and original video animations
Studio Deen also created three theatrical films; The Battle of Nekonron, China! A Battle to Defy the Rules! on November 2, 1991; Battle at Togenkyo! Get Back the Brides on August 1, 1992; and Super Indiscriminate Decisive Battle! Team Ranma vs. the Legendary Phoenix on August 20, 1994. The first two movies are feature length, but the third was originally aired in theaters with two other movies: Ghost Sweeper Mikami and Heisei Dog Stories: Bow.
Following the ending of the TV series, 11 original video animations were released directly to home video, the earliest on December 7, 1993 and the eleventh on June 4, 1996. All but one are based on stories originally in the manga. Twelve years later, a Ranma animation was created for the “It’s a Rumic World” exhibition of Rumiko Takahashi’s artwork. Based on the “Nightmare! Incense of Deep Sleep” manga story from volume 34, it was shown on odd numbered days at the exhibition in Tokyo from July 30 to August 11, 2008. But it was not released until January 29, 2010, when it was put in a DVD box set with the Urusei Yatsura and InuYasha specials that premiered at the same exhibit. It was then released on DVD and Blu-ray by itself on October 20, 2010. Viz Media also licensed all three movies, and the original 11 OVAs for distribution in North America (however they released the third movie as an OVA). MVM Films has released the first two movies in the United Kingdom, while Madman Entertainment released them in Australasia.
Here are all the opening themes for the very long running series!