Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Six

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Six is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 11th and 12th volumes of the series. These omnibus editions are the first “unflipped” release of Ranma 1/2 in North America. These editions have also been “remastered,” with sharper images and a “spiffed up” translation.

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Six
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 6, 2015

The volume numbers used for this release are for the Japanese manga, not the original VIZ Media manga release for Ranma 1/2. The chapters that appear in this volume correspond with six of the chapters in Volume 9, all of Volume 10, and five chapters of Volume 11 of VIZ Media’s original release of the Ranma 1/2 manga. This volume can be broken down into stories featuring Ryoga and Shampoo, a story featuring Happosai, a story featuring Akane, and a story about the return of Furinkan High School’s principal.

The first story is one that was never adapted for the anime series. In it, Ryoga’s dog, Checkers, appears on TV asking for Ryoga to come home and see her puppies. Akane wants to go see the puppies, and on the day she’s supposed to go, Akane leaves before he does. Ryoga has to get Ranma to take him to his house because he has such a bad sense of direction. But as we learn in this story, both of his parents are hopelessly directionally challenged as well. You can definitely see where he gets it from. When Ranma realizes that Ryoga has asked Akane over, Ranma changes to girl-type and puts on a disguise, claiming to be Ryoga’s sister, Yoiko. Unfortunately, Ryoga is so gullible that he thinks he could have a sister he’s never known about. To me, this wasn’t one of the better stories that Rumiko Takahashi came up with for the Ranma 1/2 manga, and I can see why it was skipped over for the anime adaptation. Yes, Ryoga can be clueless and gullible, but this just pushes his cluelessness and gullibility to unbelievable levels.

The next three chapters focus on Happosai and his ultimate technique, the Happo-Fire Burst. The story starts out with Happosai frustrating his disciples and their newest attempt at trying to beat him. Happosai tries to use his ultimate technique, but then realizes he’s forgotten how to do it. He reveals that he buried a scroll with the instructions, which causes Soun, Genma, and Ranma to go on a journey to try to get the scroll before Happosai can. Of course, when you consider the type of character Happosai is, it’s not surprising where the burial spot for the scroll is located at. The story provides the usual hijinks the reader has come to expect from Happosai, but somehow, Akane inexplicably ends up at this location as well. I guess she was needed for some of the hijinks to happen, but the coincidence that was required to make this happen forces the reader to use their willing suspension of disbelief.

The next story sees Cologne’s café getting a poisonous mushroom that wasn’t ordered. After Shampoo learns that if you add it to food, you can force the person who ate it to do as you command when you repeat a signal, she thinks it’s a good idea to use this on Ranma. Of course, it doesn’t go as she planned. The hijinks and humor come from a mishap that takes place when Shampoo tries to launch her plan. You have to feel sorry for Ranma because what he does is completely out of his control. But, to me at least, I thought that Shampoo got what she deserved.

The next three chapters see Akane accidentally eating Happosai’s super soba, which has noodles that make people super strong when they eat them. Of course, the already strong Akane becomes ridiculously strong after eating these noodles. We ultimately see Akane and Shampoo competing in a martial arts badminton match. Ranma is given the antidote and getting Akane to take it is no easy task. To me, this has been one of the less interesting stories in Ranma 1/2. While it was kind of interesting to see Akane and Shampoo facing off against each other, it kind of becomes less interesting once Akane is up against girl-type Ranma when Akane is resisting taking the antidote.

The next six chapters make up the storyline about the return of the principal. When I first saw this story when I watched the anime several years back, it never really hit me that Furinkan High School didn’t have a principal until this storyline appeared. It turns out he’d been away to Hawaii to learn American teaching methods. But from what we see, he obviously didn’t learn any effective American methods. Instead, the principal is trying to institute new ridiculous rules (such as boys must have buzz cuts and girls must have bowl cuts) and sets up a crazy hunt for a coconut that has a ticket for getting out of the school rules. Between this and other school rules he tries to implement, the principal comes off as a rather annoying character. However, there’s more to him than the audience realizes at first, until it’s revealed who the principal is related to. To be honest, this family relationship is probably the thing I like the most about the principal. Outside of that, I really can’t stand him as a character.

The remaining five chapters see Shampoo acquiring a bar of soap that will supposedly keep those who have been affected by the cursed Jusenkyo springs from changing to the form of the person or animal who fell in the same spring that they did. Once Ranma finds out about it, he’s determined to get a hold of it. But as fate would have it, Ryoga accidentally got it and washed himself with it. Shampoo is also desperate to get it back as well, and she and Ranma team up to try to trick the soap away from Ryoga… and when that fails, Shampoo tries to manipulate Akane to get the soap back for her. We get the usual hijinks that readers have come to expect from the Ranma 1/2 series, but we also get to have some Akane and Ryoga moments here.

Overall, I thought the stories included in this volume were a mixed bag. But I think that overall, the stories I enjoyed outweighed the ones that I didn’t. It’s also interesting to note just how few characters from the series were focused on in the chapters included in this volume. We saw neither Ukyo or Mousse, and instead had a strong focus on Ryoga and Shampoo.

Even with its faults, I feel that this particular remastered volume of the Ranma 1/2 manga is worth picking up and adding to your manga library, even if you already own a copy of the series. This unflipped and remastered version is a much needed upgrade.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

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