Rumiko Takahashi’s martial arts/romance/comedy series returns with “entirely new-like anime adaptation.”

Last Friday, the final episode of the new TV anime adaptation of Urusei Yatsura aired, concluding the 46-episode remake of the influential romance/comedy/science fiction series from original manga creator Rumiko Takahashi. That doesn’t mean there’s not more Takahashi anime on the horizon, though, because less than a week after the Urusei Yatsura’s ending comes the announcement that there’s a new Ranma 1/2 anime on the way.

Ranma 1/2 tells the story of teenage martial artist Ranma Saotome who, after falling into a mystical spring in China, is cursed to transform into a woman whenever he gets doused with cold water. Hot water will turn him back into a man, but only until the next time he gets splashed with less-than-scalding H20. The ante quickly gets upped with a large cast of rival martial artists who want to beat Ranma up, and a bevvy of both aspiring and non-aspiring fiancées who not infrequently also want to beat him up.

The new anime was announced through the YouTube channel of Weekly Shonen Sunday, the manga anthology that carried Ranma 1/2 during its original serialization. However, while the video’s on-screen text at first says this is “an entirely new anime adaptation” (完全新作アニメ化)…

…it quickly sticks one more kanji character in the middle of the declaration, changing it to “an entirely new-like anime adaptation” (完全新作的アニメ化).

▼ A dual nature does make a certain kind of sense for Ranma 1/2.

So what does “an entirely new-like anime adaptation” mean? The teaser video doesn’t offer any more details, but it’s possible to take an educated guess. Takahashi started the Ranma 1/2 manga in 1987, and it ran until 1996, filling 36 collected volumes. Its anime adaptation, however, only aired from 1989 to 1992. At the time, anime TV series adapted from manga didn’t go on hiatus if they caught up to the source material. Instead, they slowed down the storytelling pace and/or added in filler. Towards the end of its run, the Ranma 1/2 TV anime was running out of steam, and while they were a handful of theatrical features and direct-to-video OVA episodes produced after it stopped airing, there’s a lot of the Ranma 1/2 manga that’s never been animated, and could be part of the new series.

At the same time, the series’ core premise is rather unique, and many fans will tell you that the real strength of the show is its large cast of colorful characters. The new anime will need to cover a lot of the same ground as the original in establishing those situations and relationships, so there’s bound to be a lot of overlap between the two anime adaptations. The teaser video, for example, features artwork from the manga showing a whole slew of characters who don’t make their debut until a fair bit of the way into the story.

Speaking of artwork, the video doesn’t show any key art or preview footage of the new anime series, so it’s not yet known whether character designer Atsuko Nakajima, whose designs increasingly diverged from the original manga’s as the anime went on, will be returning. Also as yet unknown is how many, if any, of the original anime’s voice actors and actresses will be returning. The original Ranma 1/2 had an absolutely stacked vocal cast, with such top-tier talent as Kappei Yamaguchi, Noriko Hidaka, Koichi Yamadera, Kikuko Inoue, Minami Takayama, and none other than Megumi Hayashibara herself. Reassembling that group may prove difficult in terms of budget and scheduling, and two regular performers, Hiromi Tsuru and Ichiro Nagai, have passed away.

The announcement promises more information about the new Ranma 1/2 anime will be revealed in a livestream on July 17.

Source, images: YouTube/週刊少年サンデーTV
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