Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Two is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the third and fourth 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 translations used in the previous release of the series.
Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 2
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Even though the release says it includes Volumes 3 and 4 of the series, it should be noted that the two volumes included here don’t entirely correspond with Volumes 3 and 4 of VIZ Media’s original release. It includes most of Volume 2 from VIZ Media’s original release and all of the chapters from Volume 3 from VIZ’s original release. It appears that these “remastered” omnibus editions are using the volume designations from the original Japanese manga releases.
This volume opens with Akane trying to train for the upcoming rhythm gymnastics competition against Kodachi Kuno, Tatawaki’s younger sister who has become obsessed with boy-type Ranma. Unfortunately, Akane is injured, so girl-type Ranma takes her place for the match. The match between Kodachi and girl-type Ranma is amusing and becomes absurd as it goes on. It gets to the point where characters like P-chan and Tataewaki are used as weapons. The ending to this chaotic match is quite amusing.
After this, we transition to a martial arts ice skating competition story that introduces two new characters: Azusa Shiratori and Mikado Sazenin. Azusa and Mikado are ice skaters who do martial arts skating. Azusa is a collector of cute things and takes what she likes and names them, while Mikado is a ladies’ man. Azusa decides to claim P-chan as her own and giving the poor transformed Ryoga a new name: Charlotte. When Mikado takes P-chan away from Azusa and returns the pig to Akane, Azusa challenges Akane to a martial arts ice skating competition… with the prize being the little black pig. After Mikado tries to kiss Akane and Ranma interferes, Mikado declares the event will be pair skating. So Akane and Ranma are forced to team up together. Like with the martial arts rhythmic gymnastics match, this ice skating competition is full of action and humor. But things take a twist when Ranma transforms into girl-type Ranma and teams up with Ryoga. With this team up, the absurdity level goes off the charts… but in a good way.
This omnibus also introduces the character of Shampoo, and the reader learns how Ranma and Genma met her in China. Because of a change made in the anime series, Shampoo’s introduction is a little different in the manga when compared to her introduction in the anime. A rivalry develops between Akane and Shampoo over Ranma, and several confrontations take place involving boy-type Ranma, Akane, Shampoo, and girl-type Ranma. Ryoga also has a role to play in this story as well. But at the end of it all, Shampoo becomes another potential love interest for boy-type Ranma. It’s so amusing how Shampoo hates girl-type Ranma with a passion but is obsessed with boy-type Ranma.
I really enjoy Rumiko Takahashi’s art style, and I appreciate that this remastered manga helps make her art look even better than it did before. I can also see some of the details a lot better that couldn’t be seen very well in previous editions due to the quality of the reproduction.
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.
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 a better quality product to use to try to introduce new people to the world of Ranma 1/2.
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