Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 13

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 13 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 25th and 26th 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 13
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 8, 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 23 and all of Volume 24 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first two chapters conclude the storyline with the three members of the Musk Dynasty and Ranma competing for the Kettle of Liberation. Obviously, Ranma has to somehow negate the power of the Pail of Preservation in order to become a man again, but it doesn’t necessarily happen in the way the reader might have expected it to. Or, perhaps a reader of this series might have figured that something quirky or unusual would have happened since that would fit in with the tone of Ranma 1/2.

The next seven chapters follow one story arc, and it’s one of the stories from the manga that was adapted for the Ranma 1/2 anime OVA series. A new character named Hinako Ninomiya, who has been hired by Prinicpal Kuno to be the new homeroom teacher for Ranma’s class. Hinako has a reputation for conquering schools of delinquents. But everyone is shocked when they meet Hinako, because she’s small and almost looks like she could be the same age as her students. Ranma gets on her bad side and discovers that she has a secret to her. She knows the Anything Goes Eight Treasures of the Deadly 5-Yen Piece technique. By using a coin and chanting the right words, she can absorb someone’s battle aura, which transforms her into a mature-looking buxom woman. Ranma learns that Happosai taught Hinako this technique 10 years earlier when she was a sickly girl in the hospital in order to help her gain strength and get well. Ranma tries to get close to Hinako in order to learn about this technique, but all of Ranma’s love interests (Akane, Shampoo, Ukyo, and Kodachi) think he’s flirting with her. Shampoo, Ukyo, and Kodachi team up to take her down, while Ranma tries to take down Hinako by striking her pressure points (he has to strike them all that the same time). Let’s just say there’s a lot of misunderstandings and hijinks as various characters try to launch their plan to take down Hinako. Poor Akane, though. Even though she doesn’t admit it, she’s emotionally hurt when she thinks Ranma is interested in Hinako. This is a story I enjoyed in the Ranma 1/2 series, and I’m glad that it was adapted into a story for the OVAs.

The remaining 13 chapters in Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 13 focus on one story arc, and the story is completed at the end of the final chapter in this volume. Akane has a memory of something from her childhood but wonders if it was just a dream. When a news report about a mysterious gigantic being in the location Akane is thinking of shows up on TV, Kasumi makes a comment that makes it clear that this was an actual memory of Akane’s, not a dream. When the Tendo Dojo is called about trying to locate and do something about the creature, Akane takes it upon herself to take care of it. After some “encouragement” from Soun, Ranma chases after her.

Akane encounters a young man named Shinnosuke, who is the boy in her memory who rescued her. Unfortunately, Shinnosuke has problems remembering things, so he has no recollection of this ever happening. But there are clues that Akane picks up on that make it clear that Shinnosuke is the one who saved her all those years ago. When Shinnosuke’s grandfather (who lives with Shinnosuke) discovers their well is dry, Akane learns that the only thing keeping Shinnosuke alive is the Water of Life, which is the water in that well. By all accounts, Shinnosuke should not have lived after rescuing Akane from the creature. But Shinnosuke’s grandfather gave him some of the Water of Life, and drinking it keeps the young man alive. Akane stays with Shinnosuke out of guilt, since she feels it’s her fault he got so hurt when he was a child. Ranma sees the two of them together and misunderstands what’s going on. Ryoga also stumbles into the story, as Akane is trying to help Shinnosuke and his grandfather take on the being that is causing the Water of Life to stop flowing. Even with the misunderstandings going on, Ranma still pitches in to help Shinnosuke and his grandfather. What I find really important about this story is that you can clearly tell that when Ranma and Akane react to each other’s misunderstandings, that they do have feelings for each other, even if either of them can’t admit it. This was another story from the manga that was adapted for the Ranma 1/2 OVA series, and I’m glad it was.

Unlike a lot of the previous omnibus editions, Volume 13 only has part of one story, then two complete stories. It seems like at this point in the series, Takahashi was focusing more on bigger stories that would encompass a lot of chapters, rather than on several smaller stories. So far, these longer stories have worked very well, and they don’t feel like Takahashi is trying to stretch the stories out just to have longer stories for the series.

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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