I am halfway thru season 4. It got a LOT better. In retrospect season 3, while often repetitious and tiresome, was critical backstory for a lot of the secondary characters who really are all given their own chance to shine and even mature – even Kuno, and Happosai. There has only been one worthless episode thus far in season 4, and it’s no coincidence that a certain psychotic kawaii-obsessed figure skater made a return appearance therein.
Unfortunately the discs I was watching, which were lent to me, only go 1/2way thru season 4. I also have the discs for the OAV and its pretty good (though i do like season 4 better). There *is* a discontinuity in Akane/Ranmas relationship between season 4 and the OAV, in that its clear that they are closer – for one thing, Akane gets hurt by Ranma’s insensitivity a lot more deeply than before. So clearly there was a lot of growth in between (season 5 – 7) that I have missed out on. I am going to have to download fansubs to continue.
And Ryoga. Ranma is cool, but Ryoga at his best is who I want to be. Minus the pig part, that could be a bit problematic for me in particular. Unfortunately watching the OAV has dashed my hopes of an Ukyo-Ryoga matchup.