More comical adventures and moments of awkward romance abound as young martial arts prodigy Ranma and his odd assortment of family and friends make their second feature length outing, in which a yacht trip goes wrong and causes them to be stranded on a desert island. What starts off as an unplanned holiday in the sun takes a more worrying turn as one by one the girls begin to disappear, including Ranma’s own reluctant fiancée Akane. True to form, Ranma and the others set out to track down the kidnapper and get their friends back. The one responsible turns out to be a certain Prince Toma, who has a penchant for snatching numerous women for his harem and also may possess a potential cure for their transformation curse.
As with the first Ranma ½ movie, this one has a similar setup: Ranma and friends get up to some harmless high jinks, where some funny stuff happens. Somehow Akane is kidnapped, Ranma and co set out to rescue her, and more funny stuff happens. This invariably involves a cool marital arts move or two and Ranma getting splashed with water, which, because of his curse, temporarily turns him into a girl. In this film however, there is slightly more to the story and the predictable plot shows some more invention and twists, plus plenty of fan service.
That is, this time around there is a noticeably larger number of gratuitous cleavage shots and all the other similar ploys that come from making a film featuring several attractive female characters in swimsuits. Eye candy aside though, it does have (a little) more to offer: because several of the characters get kidnapped, the numerous love triangles draw pretty much everyone into the adventure, rather than just following Ranma for the sake of including them.
With it being set on a sunny desert island, the visuals look surprisingly bright and pleasant for a film made back in 1992 and add to the carefree vibe that accompanies the cast on their summertime adventure. There is even a little in the way of developing the relationship between Ranma and Akane which should please long-term fans of the series, even if he is equally motivated by his desire to get his own cursed lifted (leading to some comical scenes in which the transformed, now female, Ranma becomes Akane’s rival in Prince Toma’s bridal competition).
At the end of the day though, Ranma ½ isn’t about complex, plausible stories or deep insight into the characters’ emotions; it’s about comically romantic scenes and a guy who turns into a girl at the most inconvenient moments. While it is interesting to see why Prince Toma is kidnapping all these girls, this film is all about an amusing cast that fans are familiar with getting into all sorts of scrapes that are made more complicated by the relationships that exist between them. Make no mistake, it does spend a lot of time in filler territory but chances are you’d be too busy laughing or enjoying the fan service to care.
For fans of the Ranma ½ TV series and OVAs, Nihao my Concubine is definitely worth looking into: it features the characters they know and love with plenty of cheeky humour and tongue-in-cheek fight scenes along the way. While the additional fan service may be a bit of a distraction to some, it has more of a storyline than the previous movie did and succeeds in its simple mission of providing plenty of laughs with a dash of romance in typical Ranma style.