Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 12 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 23rd and 24th 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 12
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 12, 2016
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 21 and all of Volume 22 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.
The first four chapters of the volume see the return of Pantyhose Taro, the young man that Happosai had bathed as a youth in China in one of the cursed springs of Jusenkyo. Due to the customs of Pantyhose Taro’s people, Happosai ended up naming the child with a name that he absolutely despises. Pantyhose Taro has come with water that he thinks is from the drowned spring of pious man. But it turns out that the Jusenkyo guide gave him the wrong water… it’s actually water from the drowned spring of twins. Not wanting there to be more than one Happosai, Ranma and the others are try to stop Pantyhose Taro from using the water. Oh, it also turns out that Pantyhose Taro went into another drowned spring in order to gain more abilities. As if Pantyhose Taro’s transformed form wasn’t weird enough already, he deliberately made it even worse. Honestly, I never expected Pantyhose Taro to make a return to the series. While this story contains the hijinks that the Ranma 1/2 series is known for, I’m not sure that I really wanted to see another story with Pantyhose Taro in it. It’s not a bad story by any means, but I’m just not much of a fan of Pantyhose Taro.
The next two chapters see girl-type Ranma, after washing ashore on a beach, being found by a man named Yohyo. This particular story turns into a bizarre version of Cinderella, with Yohyo looking for a girl whose footprint looks like one one he got on the back of his head. It turns out there’s a bunch of girls on the island, hoping to be chosen as Yohyo’s bride. But, in usual Ranma 1/2 style, nothing is what it seems with Yohyo. Even though it turns out girl-type Ranma really is the girl Yohyo is looking for, Ranma’s confession of being a man ends any and all possibilities for Yohyo’s dream to come true. While this isn’t one of the better stories in this volume, it’s nowhere near as bad as Martial Arts Dining. To be honest, I don’t think there was anything worse in Ranma 1/2 than Martial Arts Dining.
Next, we get a one chapter story where Kasumi falls ill and is unable to take care of the house. Akane volunteers to cook, and we already know how well that goes over. Ranma’s mother shows up and offers to help. Luckily, Ranma and Genma were able to transform before her arrival. The story leads to a cooking competition between Akane and Ranko, with Ranma’s mother overseeing everything and serving as a judge. I have to give Ranma’s mother a lot of credit for how she treats Akane whenever she makes mistakes. Instead of scolding or lecturing, she gently tells Akane what she did wrong and encourages her to do better next time.
The next three chapters see Ryoga buying a “fishing pole of love,” which is supposed to make the person who is stuck with the suction cup fall in love with the person using the pole. Of course, Ryoga is trying to “catch” Akane, but he accidentally gets Ranma instead. Oops! This mistake brings about unwanted affection from Ranma, both in his male and female forms. Poor Ryoga has to put up with a lot of hijinks, and Akane is caught up in all of it. The way to fix the issue ends up being so simple, it’s like, “Why didn’t anyone even try this idea before it accidentally happened?”
This is followed by a one chapter story that focuses on Gosunkugi. Ranma helps defend him from some delinquents, and Gosunkugi is unhappy that Akane witnessed what happened. When he stumbles across an ad for “one-punch miracle armor,” which is a product that is supposed to help weaklings take down people with one punch. Gosunkugi orders the armor to challenge Ranma but discovers that there’s some catches to the armor. It has an automatic lock system, and it won’t come off unless he punches the one person he really, really hates. He also can’t move unless he’s connected to the one he hates. Obviously, this would be Ranma, but getting Ranma to cooperate is another matter. And there’s a twist at the end of the chapter concerning the armor. Normally, I would think a story like this is ridiculous, but I can easily see the character of Gosunkugi believing in something like the one-punch miracle armor and buying it… because he’s so desperate to show up Ranma.
The rest of the volume focuses on one storyline. It features the last remaining members of the Musk Dynasty from China, who come to visit Cologne. These warriors mate with wild animals who were turned into women by the cursed springs of Jusenkyo. The leader, Herb, carries the Pail of Preservation, which has water that seals people or things into their transformed state. When Ranma fights Herb, he accidentally changes into girl-type and is handily defeated. Herb uses the Pail of Preservation to seal Ranma into his girl form. Ranma learns that the Musk Dynasty members are in Japan to look for their other treasure, the Kettle of Liberation. When boiling water is poured from it, the effects from the Pail of Preservation are negated. Ranma goes in search of the treasure, getting some unexpected help from Ryoga and Mousse. Of course, they really don’t want to help Ranma… they want to get a hold of the Pail of Preservation so they can stay in their human forms. As expected, there are fights with the three members of the Musk Dynasty, especially after the location of the Kettle of Liberation is found. It’s too bad that this story was never adapted into an anime form, since it comes after the stories that were adapted for the Ranma 1/2 anime series. With the length of this story, it probably could have been adapted into a film. This was one of the best stories to appear in Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 12, and it feels like not adapting this in some form was a missed opportunity.
To be honest, the Ranma 1/2 take on Cinderella was the only real weak spot in this volume of the series. While I may not be a fan of Pantyhose Taro, the story he was in worked for the series and was written well.
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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