When poetry-spouting swordsman Tatewaki Kuno invites Ranma & Co. for a jaunt on his new luxury yacht, the last thing the group expects is a sudden storm to shipwreck them all on a deserted island. However, fixing the boat to get home soon becomes the least of their worries, as all the young girls in the group begin to disappear. As it turns out, they've been bride-napped by Prince Toma, the youthful ruler of the floating island, Togenkyo. Because of a magical spring which turns anything it touches instantly male, would-be bridegrooms have to kidnap girls...and in this case, Ranma's reluctant fiancee Akane is one of them!
The second theatrical feature in this popular series, based on Rumiko Takahashi's manga
, continues the comic adventures of a clutch of mismatched teenaged martial artists and their families. In the best anime tradition, the girls are buxom and long-legged, and sport minimal outfits that cover less of them than do their cascades of hair; the guys are slim, cute, and somewhat thick-witted.
The gang wrecks a yacht on the mysterious floating island of Togenkyo, ruled by Prince Toma, who's been seeking a bride by kidnapping girls wherever he drifts. Naturally, Toma is attracted to Akane, Ranma's fractious girlfriend. Ranma sets out to rescue her, but the dark-haired boy is transformed into a busty, red-haired girl whenever he's splashed with cold water. When the inevitable transformation occurs, Ranma finds him/herself as a bridal candidate, competing doggedly in such off-the-wall events as "survival flower-arranging" and "obstacle-course cooking."
Some Western viewers may take offense at the lighthearted treatment of kidnapping and the lecherous little old man who steals the tops from the girls' bathing suits. But Takahashi and Iuchi play everything for laughs, including a subplot involving the water from an enchanted spring that turns everything it touches irrevocably male--the obvious solution to Ranma's problem. The results are fast-paced and zany, but don't always make much sense. --Charles Solomon