Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ranma 1/2 Live Action

If the Usagi Drop live action movie embodies everything that can go right in a Japanese live action remake of an anime, then Ranma 1/2 shows almost everything that can go wrong. I have a soft spot for the original Ranma anime franchise because of its unremitting silliness, even though it wore out its welcome long before the 161 episodes, 12 OVAs, and 2 movies were over and done with. The live action TV special has all  the stupidity of the original and none of the charm. It's sexist, homophobic, and, worst of all, not very funny.

The core problem, I think, is that cardboard characters and repeated tropes are tolerable (barely) in a cartoon but are off-putting in a film with real actors. Thus, the best live action shows are adaptations of slice-of-life or romantic comedy series, such as Usagi Drop, Nodame Cantabile, and Honey and Clover. The anime characters in those series are semi-believable, and that gives real actors room to work. In contrast, a slapstick comedy like Ranma requires actors to behave like cartoons, complete with cartoon-like special effects. In my view, that's only been successful once, in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It's not successful here.

So you might ask, quite reasonably, why I worked on this. As has happened before, I got dragged in by the simple awfulness of the original subtitles. I couldn't bear to archive that mess.(For example, the first ten lines include, "I'll be more gental next time!" and "He's finially coming!") So I started editing, and then found I had to retime, and then found I need translation checking on a bunch of lines... it went on and on. It's been more than a year from when I downloaded the original version to the release of this one. I've had to watch the movie through three times, and I never want to watch it again. I will be more forbearing in the future. The world is filled with awful subtitles, and I don't have time to deal with them.

The raw is by Rabite-Asses. The original subtitles are by LuffyNoTomo, with additional work by zdzdz. I re-timed, re-edited, and did some additional typesetting. CP did QC, and convexity translated the lines that were missing or so clearly wrong that even I could hear it. If you have the raw, you can patch to this version. A link to the patch is in the torrent.

Anyway, I can't recommend this live action special. But if you do want to watch it, I think this version is an improvement over what was currently before. That may sound like faint praise, but it's all it deserves.


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