Post #43: Ranma 1/2, Volume 1

Ranma
Ranma 1/2, Volume 1 by Rumiko Takahashi

Post number forty-three is for the first volume of the Ranma 1/2 manga by Rumiko Takahashi, which was a required reading assignment for my Fantasy Lit course. I don't really consider myself a fan of manga (or graphic novels, or comics, etc.), but this story was kind of charming in a really silly way.

Summary spoilers follow.

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So the whole point of this is that an owner of a dojo has arranged a marriage for one of his three daughters to the son of a friend. The son is named Ranma. The catch is that Ranma (and his father) have been cursed due to an accident on some ancient Chinese training ground; when they're doused in cold water, Ranma turns into a girl, and his father turns into a giant panda. The daughter that they feel would be best suited to marry Ranma is Akane, but she doesn't actually like boys (or rather, she "despises" them, all except for the local doctor, whom she has a crush on). As the story goes on, Ranma spends a lot of time as both a boy and a girl (as he keeps getting accidentally doused in water), and also picks up a local suitor, who is equally smitten with his girl form and Akane. There's also a weird subplot involving some kind of past issue with another guy and Ranma; the guy is directionally challenged (to say the least) and is trying to search out Ranma to settle his duel, but Ranma doesn't actually know what he's done to the guy to warrant such attention.

Like I said, this story was sort of charming, with the constant back-and-forth between Akane and Ranma, as well as Ranma's constantly changing forms. There's also a hysterical part where Ranma's father – in panda form – has gotten a job with the local doctor, who has a crush on one of Akane's sisters, and acts like a total idiot when she's around. That portion made me literally LOL. :)

Anyway, I'm kind of intrigued with this whole story, so I might just read the rest of the volumes, assuming they're finished; I certainly don't want to become invested in a work in progress (since I have enough of those as it is right now), especially when I was able to get through the 300 pages of the first volume in less than thirty minutes.

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