Friday, December 31, 2004

What'd ya do that for?!?

Auntie Suzanne and Uncle Pookie recently finished watching all seven seasons of Ranma 1/2, plus all the OAVs. Ranma 1/2 is now my second favorite anime series. But everybody and his cousin likes this one. Really. There's fan sites all over the place; I've seen them in English, French, Italian, German, something written in Cyrillic letters, and, strangely enough, Japanese. There must be something in it that appeals to a lot of people. Buy or rent some of the DVDs and find out.

Couple of points.

A LOT of guys out there seem to find Nabiki hot. More so than seem to find Akane so. There's probably some profound insight into the male psyche to draw from this, but I'm not sure what it would be. Maybe it's just that she's the only one of the three sisters to lie around the house in short shorts.

And is there anything cuter than drunken Happosai or giant drunken Happosai breathing fire? (This is in the scribbled panda episode.)

Also, why doesn't Wal-Mart carry Ranma? I know they can't carry everything, but their buyers, apparently having heard that there's something called anime that's making some money, have started getting in some anime. So they're not averse to carrying it. They just carry very little, they don't necessarily have the greatest stuff, and sometimes, when they get something that might be interesting, all they have is episodes 14-17, or some such. Which is self-defeating, because it's hard to sell episode 14 to someone who's had no oppurtunity to see episodes 1-13; then when that episode 14 DVD doesn't sell, the buyers can say, "no point in getting more anime in, it doesn't sell" and, boom, the set-up for failure has succeeded. I guess you could say Wal-Mart shouldn't bother with a niche market like anime (and so far it's still a small niche here in the US), but anime has mushroomed in the past fifteen years, it seems set to grow even more in the next few years, and being picked up by Wal-Mart would only help to make anime more popular--look what they did with Shrek; sure Shrek was good, but it would not have done nearly so well if Wal-Mart hadn't promoted it heavily.

And Ranma 1/2 would be a great anime for Wal-Mart to get behind. One panty-stealing old guy aside, there's no real naughtiness and hardly any fan service; and the panty-stealing is condemned by everyone in the show except the old pervert. It's all pretty clean and wholesome, which is more than I can say for some of the movies and TV shows Wal-Mart sells. It's also really funny and well-done (again, more than I can say for most of the American TV programs Wal-Mart sells), isn't overly serious, and, as witnessed by a plethora of fan sites, it has wide appeal. Wal-Mart, like every other business, wants items with wide appeal. Here's an item that a good many people already want to buy and that has enough appeal that many more people would be willing to try, once they had some exposure to it, and that could serve as a good introduction to anime, making them more willing to try other anime after a good experience with this one. And if Wal-Mart could supply some of that...well, it's a win-win situation for Wal-Mart and for customers, both those who like it already and those who've never heard of it, beyond some vague awareness of the existence of Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh.

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