Title: Ranma 1/2
Genres: Shounen, Comedy, Ecchi, Fighting
Author: Takahashi Rumiko
Artist: Takahashi Rumiko
Publication: Weekly Shonen Sunday
Start Date: 1987
End Date: 1996
Number of chapters at review: 38 volumes
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 38 volumes
Back from a training journey at the cursed springs of Jusenkyo, young martial artist Ranma and his father Gemna arrive at the Tendo's, a dojo run by an old friend of Genma's. He is there to prepare for marriage to one of the Tendo daughters, a surprise for both him, and the daughters. He and his father also have a condition caused by falling into the cursed springs, and now whenever they fall into cold water Ranma changes into a girl, and Genma into a panda.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The art is what you would expect of a manga that started in the late 80s. Since this is only one of two types of manga I have read with that old style of art (the other being Cross Game), I can't really compare it to something like Air Gear, or Naruto. That said the art is great, and grows on you after a while. It has this ageless quality to it. One problem that I noticed with both Ranma 1/2 and Cross Game is that the male and female characters tend to look alike in the beginning. After a while though you do recognized the differences between them. The look of the two main characters does change over time, and Rumiko is great at comedic drawing.
Ranma 1/2 is set up in arcs, and these arcs usually last around one volume, which means that things never get too old before moving on to the next arc. This is great since comedy mangas in my limited experience tend to get repetitive. These arcs usually have little to do with each other, so if you are expecting a bit of a serious story line, this is not the manga for you. The plot is focused on Ranma, his attempts to become fully man again, and the things he will do as a woman to get what he wants. We are also introduced to various friends (usually ones he has angered in some way), and their own conditions they got by falling in the Jusenkyo. The fighting side of the story in the beginning focuses on martial competitions, like in the form of martial ice skating where anything truly goes. As the story progresses the fighting does get a bit more serious, but this is a comedy manga first and foremost.
Ranma 1/2 has a large cast of characters, all who fit into the story. Ranma is pretty strong when it comes to any type of fighting, but he does have his weaknesses, one of which he got in a very hilarious way. His 'friends' are also a strong point to this manga. From the continuous bickering between him and his betrothed to his friends and enemies attempts to get revenge on him, these are characters you will remember. My only problem with these characters as a whole is a lack of growth to them. They all stay pretty much the same way throughout the series, but since this is a comedy that can easily be overlooked.
The theme is more of a plot device, and it focuses around Ranma's and his friends attempts to turn back into men and women full time. One key rule in this manga seems to be when something could go wrong, it will, and usually it will have you laughing out loud.
Very original. From the hot springs of Jusenkyo to every crazy situation Ranma jumps into or gets dragged into this manga is probably the most original comedy manga I have read.
I am amazed at how Rumiko kept all of this story together, and gave a fitting ending to it. I think of something like Love Hina, where it got so repetitive that I just wanted to rip my eyes out, and how Rumiko kept this story going for 38 volumes, and with the least amount of repetitive story telling I have seen. One of the very few things that gets repetitive is the relationship between Ranma and Akane, yet is wasn't annoyingly so. If you are looking for a good laugh, this is the manga for you.
You can find it at #lurk on irc.highway.net (gotlurk.net) as volume downloads.
Last edited by CupofDice; May 05, 2008 at 08:37 PM.
Ranma 1/2 is probably one of the funniest mangas out there. I maybe wouldn't have rated it so high overall, but awesome review about a series that should always get more love.
This is a classic comedy series that should be experienced by everyone. I have to be careful not to read it after my family goes to bed, because it will make me burst out laughing fairly often. I love Takahashi-sensei's style, which is why I liked InuYasha so much.