Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 10

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 10 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 19th and 20th 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 10
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 8, 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 all of Volume 17 and all of Volume 18 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The volume opens with a three-chapter story where Kuno gets amnesia while training on an island known as Watermelon Island. Ranma and the group go the beach, because Ranma received a challenge letter from Kuno. When Kuno appears, with a watermelon stuck on his head, he has amnesia. Kuno has forgotten who he is and who everyone around him is. Although when he sees girl-type Ranma, he comes up with memories of times that never happened. Even as an amnesiac, Kuno pretty much acts the same. LOL! Ranma and Akane work at trying to help Kuno regain his memory, and their attempts are quite amusing. However, at one point when Ranma becomes girl-type, Kuno chases after her and they end up on Watermelon Island. Akane learns the truth behind Kuno’s training there, and tries to get there in order to save Ranma. Overall, this was an amusing story, and to me, it’s one of Kuno’s classic storylines.

This is followed by a five-chapter story that focuses on Ukyo. She is opening up a sauce she made 10 years earlier and has aged that long. Unfortunately, when she tastes it, it’s awful, and she loses confidence in herself as an okonomiyaki chef. But we learn through flashbacks that Ranma was there at the time Ukyo was making the sauce, and when she wasn’t looking, he accidentally knocked it over. He tried to make it like how he had seen her do it, but it was obviously wrong. Ranma feels guilty about this ordeal and starts acting nicer to Ukyo than normal. But as a form of punishment for herself, Ukyo gives up being an okonomiyaki chef and dedicates herself to being a woman and pursuing Ranma. Unfortunately, because Ranma doesn’t tell Ukyo the truth, this causes a lot of misunderstandings and hijinks. And since Ukyo is trying to stake her claim on Ranma, this causes Nabiki to tell a lie… that Akane and Ranma are actually married and that the engagement is a cover. This leads to some very awkward situations for Akane and Ranma trying to make it look like Nabiki told the truth. This story gains its humor from how one little misunderstanding snowballs into wild and crazy hijinks. For me, this is one of Ukyo’s classic stories in the Ranma 1/2 series.

Next is a one-chapter story that sees Happosai returning to the series. He had disappeared at the end of the Pantyhose Taro storyline, which I had kind of forgotten about. So when this was brought up in this chapter, I was like, “Oh yeah, Happosai did disappear in there, didn’t he?” Soun, Genma, and Ranma are hired to catch a living octopus trap… which turns out to the Happosai in disguise. Once the three of them realize the truth about the living octopus trap, they find themselves in an awkward situation, because they don’t want to people who hired them to know that they have a connection with Happosai. But seeing as how this is Ranma 1/2, there’s no way that this was going to stay hidden. The reader knows Happosai well enough to know that he isn’t going to stay quiet. The chapter had an expected ending, which includes Happosai returning to the Tendo household.

There is another one-chapter story, this time focusing on Gosunkugi. He is convinced by a salesman to buy a set of 12 magic paper dolls. The user writes a command on the doll and slap it onto someone’s back. His goal is to use these dolls to get Akane’s affection. But seeing as how this is Gosunkugi, the reader knows that he’s not going to be successful. Time and time again, he has bad luck, and things don’t work out the way that he expects them to. But it was nice to get a story focusing on Gosunkugi. He’s one of those characters that Takahashi introduced into the series to provide yet another love interest for Akane, but he doesn’t really get as much focus as the other characters who are interested in either Ranma or Akane. It’s easy for the reader to forget that he exists sometimes, since his appearances are so “hit and miss” in this series.

This is followed by another one-chapter story, and this one sees Happosai forcing Ranma to take an obedience pill (with Happosai taking the companion pill). Unfortunately, these pills have a magnetic attraction to each other, which allows Happosai to stay attached to Ranma. The only way to get Happosai off is to defeat him in a fight. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Yes, Ranma does succeed in getting Happosai detached from him by the end of the chapter, and it’s very amusing how Ranma pulls this off. This storyline declares that Happosai is back, and that he’s back in a big way.

And then there’s a six-chapter story (which makes up a good portion of the second half of the volume) that focuses on Ryoga. While on his travels, Ryoga has learned a move called the Shishi Houkou-dan, which he uses in a training fight against Ranma. Ranma, humiliated by this defeat, vows to learn the Shishi Houkou-dan… but there are those who are advising Ranma against it. It turns out it’s a move that utilizes the user’s negative emotions… and the more negative the emotions, the stronger the attack. The fight that Ranma and Ryoga ultimately have near the end of the story just keeps building until the climax is reached. It was great to have another storyline focused on Ryoga and seeing him and Ranma in a fight was fun to read.

The next two chapters see the return of the Ghost Cat. He kidnaps Shampoo to be his bride. When Ranma, Mousse, and Akane show up to rescue her, the Ghost Cat tells them that the only way to free her is if she kisses the person she loves. If she doesn’t, Shampoo will permanently become a cat at the end of the 108 New Year’s Bells. While Ranma agrees to kissing Shampoo, Mousse’s jealousy causes hijinks as time is running out. The ending of this story is quite amusing, especially when factoring in Ranma’s fear of cats. While I could have done without seeing the Ghost Cat again, at least this story was still amusing and fun to read.

Next is a one-chapter story where Ranma is having a dream of himself as girl-type on a date with an old man. It turns out that the old man’s grandson is looking for the person who’s having this dream. The old man is in the hospital and isn’t in good shape. The old man’s astral projection comes out, and girl-type Ranma goes on a date with him. The twist at the end of the story is very typical for Rumiko Takahashi’s storytelling, and it’s something that I really should have seen coming. I’d say that of the various stories included in this volume, this one is the strangest.

The final two chapters in this volume contain a sibling rivalry story between Kuno and Kodachi. It all begins with Kuno destroying Kodachi’s giant poster of Ranma, and she gets revenge by taking Kuno’s photo album of pictures of girl-type Ranma. Ranma goes to the Kuno estate to try to get the album away from Kodachi. However, readers know Kodachi well enough at this point that this isn’t going to be an easy feat for Ranma. The hijinks build over the course of this story, and the ending is amusing.

After dealing with the martial arts dining and the Nabiki storyline that ran a little too long in the previous volume, Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 10 was a refreshing change of pace. I also appreciated how so many of these stories had a focus on the various love interests in the series (Kuno, Ukyo, Gosunkugi, Ryoga, Shampoo, and Kodachi). While Ranma and Akane played important roles in these various stories, the focus was more on these characters who don’t necessarily get as much focus as either Ranma or Akane.

I feel that this 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.

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