Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume One

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume One is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which is comprised of the first two volumes of the series. In addition to making these releases omnibus editions, Viz Media has also made these to be the first “unflipped” release of Ranma 1/2 in North America. These editions have also been “remastered,” which means better quality scans have been used for the images to make them appear sharper and clearer than in previous releases. The translation has been “spiffed up” a little, but tends to remain somewhat close to the translation used in the previous release of the series. Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume One was released by Viz Media in March 2014.

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 1
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 11, 2014

It should be pointed out, however, that the two volumes in this omnibus edition don’t entirely correspond with the first two volumes of the previous Ranma 1/2 manga release. This omnibus contains all of the first volume of the previous release, as well as the first three chapters of the second volume of the previous release. So if you’re planning to use these omnibus releases to replace the previous individual volumes that were released, then you’ll need to hold on to the original Volume Two until you get the second volume of the omnibus edition.

Ranma Saotome and his father, Genma, are martial artists. While training at the cursed springs in Jusenkyo, they each fall into a cursed spring; Ranma falls into the spring of drowned girl, while Genma falls into the spring of drowned panda. Afterward, Ranma becomes a girl whenever he is covered in cold water, while his father turns into a panda; warm water returns them to their regular forms. In addition, Ranma finds himself engaged to Akane Tendo, the youngest daughter of one of Genma’s old friends.

In Volume One, we meet Kuno, who is very interested in Akane; after he meets Ranma in his girl form, he falls for her, too. We also learn that Akane has a crush on Dr. Tofu, the chiropractor in town; however, Dr. Tofu has eyes for Akane’s older sister, Kasumi. Ryoga is also introduced in this volume, and he has a grudge against Ranma.

In Volume Two, a secret about Ryoga is revealed, the little pig P-chan is introduced, and we are also introduced to Kodachi, the Black Rose.  Kodachi is a rather wicked character, and it turns out she is related to someone that we already know in the cast.  Not only that, she is a member of her school’s rhythmic gymnastics team, and she’s trying to knock out Furinkan High’s team before their next match.  Furinkan’s team comes to ask for Akane’s help, and she agrees.  Akane must learn how to do martial rhythmic gymnastics; can she learn what needs to be done and beat Kodachi at the match?

I really enjoy Rumiko Takahashi’s art style, and I’m pleased to see that this remastered manga helps make the art look even better than it did before, and I’m better able to see some of the details that couldn’t be seen very well in previous editions due to the quality of the reproduction. One thing that’s stood out to me in the past, and it stands out even more now with the improved look of the art, is how Takahashi is able to use P-chan’s eyes and facial expressions to effectively show how the little pig is feeling and reacting to whatever is going on.

When it comes to the storytelling, I appreciate Takahashi’s ability to utilize humor to help tell the story she’s trying to convey with her characters. She also has a wonderful ability to bring out the qualities of each of her characters; they have very distinct personalities, and none of them seem like carbon copies of any of the other characters in the Ranma 1/2 universe. The one thing that I find really amusing is how different Kasumi is in the early chapters of the manga compared to later in the series. Kasumi is a bit more “sassy,” for lack of a better term, very early on before she becomes the more demure character that we come to know later.

Overall, I think that this remastered version of the Ranma 1/2 manga is worth picking up, especially if, like me, you’ve been wanting to read an unflipped version of the series. The remastered quality of the art is also worth the double-dipping for fans of the series. It’s also a better quality product to use to try to introduce new people to the world of Ranma 1/2.

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume One is rated “T+” for older teens, primarily due to the fact that there are occasional panels that include frontal female nudity.

I wrote this review of Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume One after reading a copy I received as a Mother’s Day gift from my 16-year-old daughter.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

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