Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Nine

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Nine is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 17th and 18th 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 Nine
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 14, 2015

The volume numbers 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 10 chapters of Volume 15 and all of Volume 16 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first four chapters finish off the martial arts dining storyline that started in the previous volume. This storyline is one of my least favorites in Ranma 1/2, so I was glad to get it finished off early on in this volume. Basically, Ranma figures out the Parlay Du Foie Gras and attempts to use it at a contest against Picolet, but it turns out he knows how to counter it. While Ranma does come out victorious in the end, it’s not due to any secret techniques or anything. Obviously, Ranma would have to win in order for the series to continue, but it was just seeing how exactly he (as girl-type Ranma) would beat Picolet.

The next six chapters see Akane getting in a fight with Nabiki, who keeps taking Akane’s clothes without asking. Akane is already ticked off about this, so when she sees Ranma used the sports towel she hand embroidered as a washrag to clean the dojo, she loses it. After some misunderstandings, Akane blurts out that Ranma should marry Nabiki instead. Nabiki takes her up on this, although we see that Nabiki, true to character, is just toying around and not serious. Akane and Ranma, however, don’t figure this out for a while. While it was a little frustrating just how long this story arc lasted, I was glad to see Nabiki get a storyline. Nabiki is one of the characters in the series who tends be overlooked and utilized more as a background character. While I appreciated getting a storyline featuring Nabiki, I think Takahashi let this run a little too long. If it was just a tad bit shorter, I think I would have liked it a little better.

This is followed by a one-chapter story that sees Ranma accidentally removing a seal from a cursed scroll. This causes the “cursed monster,” which is a crudely drawn female panda, to come out of the scroll. In the anime, the way the panda is depicted caused me to refer to it as the “scribble panda.” It’s up to Ranma to convince the panda to return to her scroll, and the condition she has is that she wants to have a date with Ranma that night. It’s a nice, short, sweet story to give a reader a break after finishing off the martial arts dining storyline and making it through the Nabiki storyline.

The remaining eleven chapters in the volume see someone stealing the guest book from Jusenkyo and tracking down the characters from the series who have been to Jusenkyo. The attacker’s M.O. is to attack using pantyhose. Ranma is the last one to be targeted, and in the battle it’s discovered the attacker is a young man who transforms into a demon when he’s sprayed with cold water. It turns out this young man (who remains nameless until near the end of the storyline) is seeking out Happosai for revenge. It turns out Happosai was at Jusenkyo when the young man was born and washed him in one of the cursed springs (one where around 2,500 years ago, a yeti riding an ox while carrying an eel and a crane drowned). But, as it’s revealed later, there’s more than one reason why this young man wants revenge on Happosai. Even though Happosai is the main target, he’s still fighting Ranma and the others. Eleven chapters may sound like a lot for this storyline, but it’s actually the right length for this particular story. While the Nabiki storyline felt like it was dragging, I didn’t feel the same way about this one. It probably helps that this particular storyline has a lot more action going on than the Nabiki one.

Even though the Nabiki storyline felt a little long, I still thought it was better than the four chapters of the martial arts dining story. Even with the martial arts dining and the slightly long Nabiki storyline, I still enjoyed reading Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume Nine.

Even with its weaknesses, I still 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 release of Ranma 1/2 is a much needed upgrade from VIZ Media’s original release of the series.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

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