Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 11

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 11 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 21st and 22nd 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 11
Written by Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 9, 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 19 and all of Volume 20 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first three chapters in this volume see Genma realizing that he has become weaker than Ranma, which leads to Genma running away from the Tendo’s house. But when Ranma finds him, Genma challenges Ranma to a duel in a week, with Genma saying they need to cut their family ties so they can have a true battle between men. However, for Genma at least, cutting those ties is easier said and done. Genma keeps trying to involve himself with Ranma’s training while he’s poorly disguised. The actual match itself is a fun read, and the ending is rather amusing. Readers who have followed this series this far know that Genma could never cut his ties with Ranma. He does care about Ranma, although Genma may not always know how to show it.

The next three chapters contain a story that focuses on Akane. An old man sells her the ingredients to make cherry-blossom mochi that will show who the person that made the mochi will be with. If the person is the right one, cherry blossom marks will appear on their face. If they’re the wrong person, an “X” will appear on the person’s face instead. Of course, Akane is known for her terrible cooking skills, so she can’t get Ranma to eat one. Kuno drops by and eats one, and he gets an “X” on his face. Later, when Ranma is trying not to eat the mochi, he uses P-chan as a shield, and mochi ends up in his mouth. P-chan quickly changes into Ryoga, and it looks like he has cherry blossom petals on his forehead. This causes Akane to wonder if Ryoga really is the one for her. But after Ranma eats a mochi and is kicked away by Akane before she can see his face, there are some hijinks that make Ranma realize what actually happened with Ryoga. But that trick makes it look like Ranma’s face is covered with cherry-blossoms petals. Of course, Ranma can’t tell Akane the truth because then he’d be revealing that P-chan is really Ryoga. It was kind of nice to get a storyline that focuses on the Akane and Ranma relationship, and that it was done in such an amusing way. But poor Akane is still clueless about Ryoga’s feelings for her and the fact that he and P-chan are one in the same.

The next six chapters introduce a new martial arts style… martial arts cheerleading. A cheerleader named Mariko is introduced, and she goes to a different school. However, she encounters Kuno and falls in love with him. When girl-type Ranma appears and Kuno asks for her to cheer for the school’s kendo club at their next match, Mariko steps in and says she’ll be the one cheering for Kuno. This leads to Mariko challenging girl-type Ranma to a martial arts cheerleading match, and it’s all about which one does the best job of cheering on Kuno. And since a big part of being successful is having love for the one you’re cheering for, this puts Ranma at a disadvantage. But through some hijinks and unexpected twists, girl-type Ranma wins the match. The main thing I have to say here is that Mariko is a very annoying character. She’s very full of herself, and she says a lot of her dialogue as if she’s performing a cheer. While the concept of martial arts cheerleading was kind of interesting and the match itself was amusing, I was put off by Mariko. While this personality makes sense for a cheerleader, this didn’t make reading her dialogue any easier.

The next five chapters tell a story that introduces Ranma’s mother, Nodoka, to the story. When Ranma falls into a river and changes into girl-type Ranma, a beautiful woman comes to the rescue. When he returns to the Tendo’s house, he finds that his father received a note saying that someone named Nodoka is coming to visit. Genma admits that Nodoka is Ranma’s mother, and he says he doesn’t want to see her because of a promise he made to her. If Ranma didn’t become a man among all men, Genma and Ranma would have to commit seppuku. Why am I not surprised that Genma made this kind of a promise? When Nodoka arrives, Genma and Ranma have changed into panda and girl-type, respectively. It turns out Nodoka was the woman who saved girl-type Ranma earlier, and Nodoka recognizes her. Girl-type Ranma takes on the identity of Ranko, a cousin of the Tendos, and panda bear Genma is her pet. Ranma makes a couple of attempts to try to see his mother, but Genma finds ways to stop him. Akane makes a last-ditch effort to reunite mother and son. It was bittersweet how this story ended, but at least readers now know who Ranma’s mother is. Adding her to the cast, especially with the promise Genma made to her, adds new layers and textures to the story. There’s a lot of potential here with the addition of Nodoka.

The next four chapters focus on Shampoo. Cologne is going through some old jewelry and tells Shampoo that she can take anything she wants. Shampoo comes across a brooch and decides to take it. But after she starts wearing it, she acts as if she hates Ranma. Cologne realizes that Shampoo is wearing the brooch, which is known as the Jewel of Reversal. When it’s worn the right way, love flows abundantly. But if it’s worn in the opposite position, love turns to hate. Cologne realizes that if she encourages Shampoo to wear the brooch in the opposite position, it will make Ranma want to hear Shampoo say she loves him. Sure enough, she’s right. Mousse learns the truth and informs Akane about it, but Cologne tries to make sure Mousse can’t get in the way of the plan she’s come up with. Bu there’s an interesting and fun twist at the end of this story. Oh, and I can’t neglect to mention that Ukyo makes a brief appearance in this story. I hadn’t realized the first time I read through the manga, but that I’m realizing this time around, is that Ukyo doesn’t show up in the manga as much as I thought she did. She doesn’t get a lot of stories focusing specifically on her, but she doesn’t even show up that much as a background character in the various stories after her introduction.

The final story is only one chapter long, and the focus is on Happosai. He steals underwear from a girls’ dorm, but it keeps turning into paper. It turns out the dorm is deserted, but that Happosai was tricked into believing it wasn’t. The ghost of a headmistress of the dorm haunts the abandoned building because whenever underwear was stolen, hers never was. She can’t find peace until someone steals her underwear. The paper underwear Happosai got were curse charms, and the only way for him to be saved is to steal the headmistress’ undies. Let’s just say that the story focuses on Ranma’s attempts to get Happosai to steal these undies. The ending of the story was amusing, though. Although I have to say, that of the stories that were included in this volume, this one was my least favorite. After the quality of the other stories in this volume, this one just fell kind of flat for me. But then again, I’m not a big fan of the stories that focus on Happosai to begin with, and this was among the weaker Happosai-centered stories.

Even with the underwear story and dealing with the annoying Mariko in the martial arts cheerleading story, I did still enjoy Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 11 quite a bit. I also appreciated getting to meet Ranma’s mother, as well as getting a couple of stories that focus on Akane and Ranma.

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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