The music of RANMA 1/2 has developed a large following (this writer has even heard of a garage-band cover of "Yappa-pai, Yappa-pai"), despite being import-only... until now! Beginning in April, Viz Music will release five Ranma CDs: announced so far are two Ranma 1/2 TV soundtracks, two movie soundtracks, and one OAV soundtrack. This month, confessed Ranmaphile David Mills gives his picks of the batch.

The first time I heard this music, I thought, who writes this stuff? From Ja ja manisa senaide to DoCo, RANMA 1/2 soundtracks have some of the most interesting music you'll ever find. The CDs are abundant and what's more, thanks to Viz, are becoming more available in the U.S.

The music in the opening title soundtrack (TV Soundtrack 1) is a wide variety from Chinese/Japanese techno-pop to a heavy rock beat that sounds a lot like Queen. One song opens and closes with a quick-paced synthesized Beethoven's 5th. A little silly, but then, that's RANMA.

The closing title songs (TV Soundtrack 2) aren't as silly with the exception of "Don't Mind Lai Lai Boy" and "Ranma de Ranma." This CD contains a very beautiful (low bpm) techno song entitled "Equal Romance" by CoCo, which also made a cameo appearance in the OAV DESPERATELY SEEKING SHAMPOO. Another song which stands out is "Friends," by Yawmin. One problem with the CD is that it tends to drag at the end with mellow songs. They're very good, but it seemed like the producers were trying to put together a KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD CD rather than a Ranma CD.

NIHAO MY CONCUBINE (Movie Soundtrack 2) is a mix of suspenseful tunes, goofy Genma theme songs, relaxing guitar solos, techno jungle beats and love themes all ending with "Piece of Love" by Picasso. Though some songs are way too short, and others are way too long, the CD has a little something for everyone.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the "Love Panic" CD single by Yawmin. "Love Panic" is a sort of House/Pop style used for the opening credits of the OAVs in the early series. I'm convinced that Yawmin is incapable of ever writing a bad song. Although this CD won't be released by Viz, the song itself is on the OAV soundtrack.

The OAV Soundtrack contains the opening and closing songs for the OAVs in the early series, and also the background music. The background music has a tendency to be a little short, but there's a lot of it. (There is balance in nature...) Plus we are treated to Ranma and Akane's love ballad (cool opera music).

Overall, the Ranma soundtracks are unique, a look at what you can do (to most people it's a look at what you shouldn't do...) with music. This is a good start for Viz. I'm hoping to see the DoCo series and Song Battle released. Maybe even dubbed CDs as an alternative?

David Mills

Ranma 1/2 Music ©Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan/Kitty Film/Fuji TV, (P) Pony Canyon Inc.
©1997 Viz Communications, Inc.