Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Seven

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Seven is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 13th and 14th 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 Seven
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 10, 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 chapters from Volume 11, all of Volume 12, and five chapters from Volume 13 of VIZ Media’s original release of Ranma 1/2.

The first twelve chapters (or roughly a little over half of this volume) focuses on one storyline. In this story, Happosai becomes so angry with Ranma that he puts a burn mark on him, which is the “Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion.” According to legend, anyone burned with this moxibustion has their strength reduced to that of a baby. And this appears to be the case when even Kuno can easily defeat Ranma and declare that he can barely feel Ranma’s attacks. Happosai doesn’t help matters when he blankets the town with the message that Ranma is weak, because this leads to various characters he has defeated in the series up to this point trying to gang up on him.

The main focus of this storyline, though, is on Ranma trying to find a way to reverse the curse of the moxibustion. In the process of this, Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo discover that the chart that shows how to cure the moxibustion was stolen by Happosai. Why am I not surprised that Happosai created a hurdle to make Ranma’s situation harder to overcome? We get a few chapters of Cologne trying to teach Ranma a technique he can use to defeat Happosai and retrieve the chart. But trying to defeat Happosai with this new technique is harder than it seems.

The moxibustion storyline is an interesting one, and in a lot of respects, you don’t truly realize how much of the volume focuses on it until you finish the arc and realize you’re already a little over halfway through. This is not a typical thing for these Ranma 1/2 omnibus releases. Usually, the story arcs up to this point have been at least somewhat shorter in length, so the reader ultimately was experiencing more stories in the previous volumes.

We make a return to the shorter arcs with the next two. The first of these arcs, which only lasts for two chapters, sees Shampoo returning from China with two bells. She keeps one and leaves the other with Ranma, because legend has it that the bells will bind a couple together. However, what actually happens is that a large cat comes out of the large bell to look for the girl with the smaller bell. He wants Shampoo to be his bride, because the bells are actually a charm to bring a girl together with the cat. Fortunately, this storyline is resolved at the end of the second chapter. It’s a storyline that just simply would not have worked if it went for any longer than two chapters. I’ve got to say that this storyline, which I’m also familiar with from the anime, was a little on the annoying side. I found the large cat to be an obnoxious character.

The next two chapters sees Principal Kuno learning that Akane is unable to swim, and he takes it upon himself to teach her how. Unfortunately, he decides to utilize some bizarre ideas, and, not surprisingly, none of then work. I don’t know why Akane keeps going along with these crazy ideas, unless she just wants to learn to swim so badly that she’s willing to try anything. But there’s a twist at the end, when the principal finally does decide to try to do something normal to help.

The next story is one chapter long, and it’s one where Ranma is out training and Genma turns up missing. Ranma (in girl form) finds Genma, in panda form, hanging out at a mansion. A supposedly weak boy has told his mother that he won’t go outside unless his mother gets him a panda. When she comes across Genma in panda form, she takes him home. Even though all Genma does is lounge around inside the house with the boy, the mother won’t get rid of him. The mother makes Ranma hang out with the boy, and Ranma makes it his mission to make the boy go outside. This is a story I remember from the anime, and I have to admit that it isn’t one of my favorite stories from the series. The boy comes across as a brat, and the mother is just plain annoying and just panders to her son’s wishes. For me, at least, the stories in this kind of a vein don’t work as well in Ranma 1/2.

The next four chapters sees Ryoga encountering a martial arts calligrapher, who puts a mark on Ryoga’s stomach to draw out his strength and make him the strongest martial artist in the world. Unfortunately, Ryoga discovers that he can’t get the mark off unless someone defeats him. The mark is actually rather embarrassing, so I can’t blame Ryoga for wanting to get rid of it. He enlists Ranma’s help, and it takes a little while for Ranma to figure out a way to defeat Ryoga. Meanwhile, Akane finds P-chan with the same mark on his belly, and it seems like she may be finally cluing in to Ryoga’s secret. This was one of those storylines where it almost looked like the status quo was going to change, but unfortunately, that ended up not being the case here.

The final chapter tells the story of two kids looking for Happosai. They had encountered him at Christmas and thought he was Santa Claus. The kids want to be his disciples, and he teaches them things that probably really aren’t appropriate by taking them along on underwear raids and Ranma tries to stop him. But poor Ranma ends up being blamed for what Happosai tries to do at each stop. There’s a good ending to this story, though.

Overall, I thought that Omnibus Volume Seven was a little stronger than Omnibus Volume Six. It probably helped that having a strong storyline lasting for a little over half of the volume included in it minimized the potential for weaker storylines to be mixed in. The moxibustion storyline and Ryoga’s storyline were the strongest ones included here. For me, at least, the shorter stories included weren’t as strong as these two, but I think most of them were enjoyable. My least favorite story was the one featuring panda Genma and the spoiled little boy.

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.

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