Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 19

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 19 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 37th and 38th 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 19
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 14, 2017

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 35 and all of Volume 36 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

There is one storyline that essentially runs throughout the entirety of Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 19, which has a focus on the cursed springs of Jusenkyo. The final chapter in this volume serves as a kind of epilogue.

The Jusenkyo guide is kidnapped by strange people with wings. His daughter, Plum, escapes to Japan, but is pursued by the people who kidnapped her father. Fortunately for Plum, Ranma and Ryoga are able to save her. Plum has come to Japan to find the characters who were affected by falling into the cursed springs in order to get their help. It turns out Plum has a map in her possession that the people responsible for kidnapping the Jusenkyo guide want. She warns that if the kidnappers get a hold of the map, all of the Jusenkyo springs will go dry.

Obviously, many of these characters have a strong desire to return to Jusenkyo in order to go into the Spring of Drowned Man in order to return to normal, so they have a motivation to want to help Plum. But before they can do anything, the kidnappers take Shampoo, brainwash her, and use her to get the map. Ranma, Genma, Ryoga, and Mousse follow her to China, in the hopes of rescuing her before anything can happen to the Jusenkyo springs.

We learn the abductors are the bird-people of Mt. Phoenix, which is located near Jusenkyo. When our cursed cast arrive in the area, they encounter a child named Saffron who helps them get to the mountain faster with his sun-based staff weapon known as a Kinjakan. It turns out he’s actually the prince of the bird-people, and he drops them in a pit trap that they have to try to find their way out of. Meanwhile, the bird-people kidnap Akane from Japan, and she becomes an important component for this story. When Akane’s life is in danger, the reader is able to see that Ranma does care more about Akane that he lets on. At one point, he even makes a confession of love, which he thinks she can’t hear… but she does. It’s this confession that leads to what happens in the final chapter of the volume.

In a lot of ways, it makes sense that the final story of the series would have a storyline concerning the cursed springs of Jusenkyo. It also makes sense to have this be a story that could potentially affect the ability of the characters to break their respective curses. I appreciated how Takahashi used this story to focus on the relationship between Ranma and Akane. It was especially sweet to see Ranma’s reaction when he thought that he could potentially lose Akane forever. Throughout the series, the reader always suspects that Ranma had some kind of feelings for Akane, but this final story basically proves it. However, with all that said, I also admit to thinking that this final story is a little on the strange side.

I was a little disappointed by the epilogue, though. Ultimately, I have to say that while the series comes to an end, it doesn’t truly end. Most of the plots concerning Akane and Ranma’s various suitors aren’t resolved, and overall, life just seems to go on as normal. With the way the storyline at Jusenkyo was done, it was easy to believe that there would finally be a true resolution for Akane and Ranma, so the fact that this resolution isn’t seen in the epilogue makes the ending of the series feel anti-climactic.

In some respects, I wish that Takahashi had wrapped up the Ranma 1/2 series a little earlier, because by the time the reader reaches the end, it feels like the series was dragging after getting off to such a great start. It really didn’t help that some of the storylines in the past couple of volumes prior to this one felt like retreads of stories and ideas that were presented earlier in the series.

I also wish the series had a true ending to it, instead of leaving so much unresolved and unanswered. After investing so much time to read the series all the way from start to finish, I felt a little cheated and unsatisfied with the conclusion of the series. However, even after saying that, I would still recommend that manga readers should find a way to read this entire series all the way through at least once, because Ranma 1/2 is an important part of manga history.

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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