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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 18

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 18 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 35th and 36th 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 18
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 10, 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 33 and all of Volume 34 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first four chapters in this volume see girl-type Ranma and Genma in panda form taking shelter at an old inn while out on a training trip. While at the inn, girl-type Ranma accidentally uncovers a cursed mirror that creates a copy of the person that looks into it. A copy of girl-type Ranma is created, and the copy goes to the Tendo house with the Saotomes as the caretaker of the inn works at fixing the curtain that was covering the mirror. As expected, the copy begins to wreak havoc around the Tendo household and the surrounding area. The hijinks are kicked up a few notches when the real Ranma is given a compact mirror by the caretaker in order to trap the copy. While it works, the copy manages to get a hold of it and various people end up inside the compact, including Akane, Kuno, and Happosai. A story about a copy of Ranma could have been annoying, but this one was done in such a way that it was amusing and interesting to follow. And the hijinks involved in this story don’t feel out of place with the humor and hijinks that have previously appeared in Ranma 1/2.

This is followed by a one chapter story that focuses on Nabiki. She actually spent some of her own money for once in order to score some really good seats for a concert. Unfortunately, Ranma chases Happosai through the house, causing the tickets to fly out of Nabiki’s hands and into the burner where Kasumi is cooking a meal. On the night of the concert, Nabiki and Ranma are left alone at the Tendo house… and let’s just say that Nabiki has no qualms about giving Ranma grief over the destruction of her tickets. This leads to some awkward interactions, but they’re rather amusing, especially when Ranma tries to beat Nabiki at her own game. I always like seeing stories that feature Nabiki, since she’s usually such and underutilized character in the series. To be honest, this was one of the better one chapter stories to appear in the series for quite a while.

The next five chapters feature a storyline where Happosai takes Ranma and Genma to a “training ground,” which turns out to be a “red hot” teahouse. Unfortunately for Happosai, the women there are not attractive, and he retaliates by destroying the tea house. This particular story takes a turn into Cinderella territory, when the owner and her daughters make the beautiful kunoichi stepdaughter, Konatsu, go after Ranma to take revenge for what happened at the tea house. But it turns out Konatsu falls into habits of cleaning and other chores that she’s normally ordered to do by her family. Akane and Ukyo find themselves drawn into this story, especially after Ukyo hires Konatsu on to help out at her okonomiyaki shop. There’s a twist at the end when it comes to Konatsu, although it’s a twist that’s appeared in Ranma 1/2… to a character who has a connection with Ukyo. To be honest, it felt like Takahashi simply decided to reuse the twist and just put some new “window dressing” on it. Sigh. Like I’ve said in my reviews of the past couple of volumes of the Ranma 1/2 omnibus releases, it really felt like Takahashi was running out of ideas and was recycling concepts. Outside of that, though, the story itself wasn’t necessarily bad. It was just disappointing to see Takahashi recycle yet another idea.

This is followed by another one chapter story, and this one sees the Tendos and the Saotomes going to the star festival. Bamboo leaf amulets are being sold to couples, and if a couple writes their names and attach them the amulet, the couple will be bound together eternally. Of course, Genma and Soun insist that Akane and Ranma must do this, but things don’t go as planned when Kuno interferes. It’s not a bad story, but it feels that once again, Takahashi is recycling a concept. This time, it’s an object causing people to fall in love with each other. First, it was the fishing pole of love. Then, it was the umbrella of love. Now, we have the bamboo leaves of love. I just had a bit of a “been there, done that” feeling as I read this chapter.

Then, there’s another one chapter story, which deals with Akane’s inability to swim. However, this time, it doesn’t include a staff member at Furinkan High trying to teach her to swim in the school’s pool. When Akane nearly drowns at a beach, she is told she is the 10,000th terrible swimmer at Jellyfish Beach, and that she was won a swimsuit that will let her swim freely. She’s also handed a flyer for a long-distance swimming contest. At the contest, Akane discovers a lot of girls wearing the same swimsuit as her, and that they also all have short hair like her. The truth behind the contest is rather odd, but at least Takahashi wasn’t recycling an already used idea.

This is followed by another one chapter story. It has the Tendos and the Saotomes vacationing in the Futoraku Highlands. Ryoga suddenly appears, and upon seeing Ranma, he assumes he’s at the Tendo Dojo. After getting an explanation from Ranma, Ryoga says he’s supposed to meet Akari at these highlands. Even though Akari has drawn a map that should be easy for most people to understand, the reader knows that the directionally challenged Ryoga will still find ways to get lost. Even when Ranma tries to help Akari and Ryoga meet up, there’s still hijinks before the two finally meet up at the end of the chapter. I really liked this story, and I think it’s one of the better one chapter stories in the series. It was nice to see a story that not only featured Ryoga, but also helps to progress the relationship blooming between Ryoga and Akari. And Ryoga’s mishaps due to being so directionally challenged never get old and are enjoyable to see.

The next eight chapters see Ranma and Genma visiting the Saotome family prayer temple, because Genma wants to try to get a hold of the family treasure. While they’re there, Nodoka shows up and takes the treasure. The story starts out with Ranma and Genma hiding out as Ranko and her pet panda, but with Genma still trying to get his hands on the treasure. With some actions Ranko takes, Nodoka starts having her suspicions about her. After a bit of hijinks, Genma is accidentally revealed to his wife, and Ranma finally gets to meet his mother as boy-type when he saves her. Even though Ranma tries to hide it, it’s still discovered that Ranma and Ranko are the same. Amazingly enough, Nodoka accepts this and doesn’t insist that Ranma and Genma commit seppuku. But this leads to Nodoka taking Ranma back to her home to live with her. When Nodoka gives Ranma a present to give to Akane, misunderstandings occur, and it leads to chaos between Ranma’s various admirers. There’s one word I can use to describe this particular story: Finally! It was wonderful to finally see the storyline involving Ranma, Genma, and Nodoka finally being resolved. I thought the resolution was wonderful, and I also thought that this was a sign that Takahashi was likely starting to think about winding down the Ranma 1/2 manga. This was such a major change to the characters’ status quo, but it was needed at this point in the series.

The final story in the volume runs for one chapter, and it sees the return of Konatsu. Konatsu has been working for Ukyo and is trying to run the restaurant while Ukyo is recovering from a cold. Unfortunately, Konatsu isn’t capable of keeping the restaurant running. Ranma and Akane try to help out, but things don’t go much better after they get involved. I can’t say that this was a bad story, but it wasn’t necessarily a good story, either. It just kind of “was.” So far, I have not been impressed with Konatsu as a character, and I’m not seeing how Konatsu is truly adding anything to the series.

The highlight of Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 18 is by far the story with Nodoka finally meeting Ranma and discovering his secret. This is a plot point I had been hoping to see ever since Nodoka was first introduced in the series. I also thought the story about Ryoga and Akari was also a highlight in this volume, and the Nabiki story was also enjoyable. The remaining stories featured in this volume were rather “hit and miss.”

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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 17

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 17 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 33rd and 34th 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 17
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 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 appears in this volume correspond with all of Volume 31 and all of Volume 32 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first story to appear in this volume lasts for one chapter. A young man named Densuke is in the hospital, and he refuses to take his medicine. He sees girl-type Ranma going by his window and throws a stool to get her attention. Girl-type Ranma tries to help Densuke take his medicine, but he insists it has to be done mouth to mouth, explaining that he’s never dated a girl before. Girl-type Ranma agrees to go on a date but tries to use any opportunity to slip medicine to Densuke… but to no avail. In the end, the medicine is given to him in the hospital, although it’s left ambiguous as to exactly how to it was pulled off. Reading this story, though, gave me flashbacks to a previous story about girl-type Ranma encountering the old man in the hospital who insisted on going on a date with her because she looked like his first love. To me, this story kind of felt like a retread of that one. The situations may not be exactly the same between the two stories, but the basic plot of girl-type Ranma going on a date with a hospitalized man gave me another impression that Takahashi was starting to run out of ideas for the series. I know this isn’t the first time I’ve made this kind of a comment in my more recent reviews of these Ranma 1/2 volumes, so this wasn’t an isolated incident at this point in the series.

This is followed by another one-chapter story. Kasumi is busy fixing dinner for her family and for the Saotomes while they’re out. The other Tendos and the Saotomes run into each other and have dinner out. When Soun calls Kasumi to tell her they won’t be needing dinner, she reacts curtly, which makes Soun think that she’s upset. Everyone panics, because mild-mannered Kasumi has never been angry before and they don’t know what to expect. They try to do things to cheer her up, but they keep having accidents that could make Kasumi even angrier. This was an amusing story, and I liked the twist at the end for why Kasumi seemed to be upset. Kasumi is a character who doesn’t get a lot of stories focusing on her, so this was a nice change of pace. It was also a breath of fresh air after reading the previous story that felt like a retread.

The next three chapters focus on the Mushroom of Time. Ryoga accidentally eats a Mushroom of Time that shrinks him down to a kid. The Mushroom of Time will change your age according to its size (for example, a five centimeter one would make someone five years old). Ranma finds Ryoga and learns the tale and takes him to the Tendo house. At first the idea is to hide the fact that the kid is really Ryoga, but once Ranma accidentally ingests a mushroom and shrinks in front of the Tendos, Akane takes it on herself to help them grow mushrooms to the right height so they can return to their normal age. But this is easier said than done, because these two have their intense rivalry and are worse about it as little kids. It’s a little disappointing that we don’t actually ever see the two of them consume the mushroom to return to their normal age. Instead, we see Ranma back to his regular self in the next chapter, so the reader has to assume that Ranma and Ryoga ate the mushrooms. But, seeing the chibi versions of both Ranma and Ryoga throughout these chapters helps to make up for the fact that we don’t actually see the two of them return to normal at the end of this story. This is one of those stories that I wish could have been animated for the OVA series, because I think this would have been a fun one to see in an animated form.

The next two chapters see Mousse trying to give a scarf to Shampoo, but she turns her nose up at him like usual. After Mousse drapes the scarf around a Bodhisattva statue, it’s so grateful to him that it tries to transform into Shampoo’s likeness and at night entices him away on “dates.” Mousse is up all night and can’t focus on his job during the day, so Shampoo asks for help from Ranma and Akane to figure out what’s going on. But when Shampoo does find out, she’s not interested in trying to make Mousse realize that there’s two Shampoos… she likes the idea of the statue distracting Mousse from her. But Ranma and Akane are determined to help Mousse. How the spell is ultimately broken at the end of the story is actually kind of amusing. I liked getting another story focusing on Mousse, since he tends to be more of a background character.

This is followed by a one-chapter story about prayer tablets being destroyed at a temple. Ranma, Akane, Miss Hinako, and Ukyo are caught up in this story when they are asked to help. It turns out the culprit is a sacred horse that the temple keeps, because it doesn’t like the drawing of it that appears on the prayer tablets (although it is an accurate representation). To be honest, this was among the weaker stories that appeared in Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 17. This story kind of has the same vibe that the scribble panda story from earlier in the series had, and that was one I felt was rather “meh.”

There is another one-chapter story that sees Ranma and Genma at a hot spring. Genma has a coat that Nodoka made for Ranma when he was a child with Ranma’s name on the back… but she made it much too big at the time. Genma also has one with his name on the back. It turns out that Nodoka is at the same hot spring, and there’s the usual hijinks of Ranma and Genma trying to hide from her. But things get complicated when they’re wearing the coats in their panda and girl-type forms and are trying to hide the back of them from her. At one point, Ranma wears the coat while as a guy and Nodoka sees him from the back and wondering if that was Ranma. This isn’t the only appearance that Nodoka makes in this volume. In fact, in a later story, she will be playing a very important role.

The next two chapters see Ukyo being hounded by a boy named Hayato, who wears an octopus mask. Six years earlier, the two of them had a contest to determine whether takoyaki or okonomiyaki was better. The loser would have to wear a mask. Hayato searched for Ukyo in order to get his revenge. It culminates into a battle between the two of them once again, although it gets rather crazy. Again, I felt the basic idea of some strange person tracking down Ukyo was kind of a retread of the Tsubasa storyline earlier in the series. Again, a lot of the details are different, but that basic premise just felt familiar.

Next is a one-chapter story that sees the Tendo Dojo being asked take care of a legendary shotgun bean plant. It looks like a venus flytrap, but it shoots beans out when it senses anger. In order to keep it from shooting beans, the characters have to try to not get angry… but this is easier said than done. I loved how, at the end, it was ultimately Kasumi who figures out how to defeat the shotgun bean plant once and for all. Of the various one-chapter stories that appear in this volume, this is one of the more enjoyable ones.

The next story is another one-chapter one, and this one focuses on Valentine’s Day. Akane is trying to decide on giving chocolate to Ranma, and Ranma tells her that if she does give him chocolate, to buy it instead of making it herself. Afterward, Akane runs into an old woman holding a sickly child. It turns out Ranma saved the little girl’s stuffed rabbit when it fell out of her hospital room window. The little girl wants to give chocolate to Ranma to thank him and asks Akane to deliver it for her. Of course, this makes things awkward for Akane. This ended up being a sweet story that focuses on Akane and Ranma, and it’s another one of the more enjoyable one-chapter stories in this volume.

The next two chapters see Principal Kuno sending Ranma and a couple of his friends to the repentance room, where there’s a bust of the principal with an area in front of it for groveling. Miss Hinako accidentally ends up in the room and manages to suck up the ki from previous delinquents who were angry about having to grovel before the statue. With this ki, she not only becomes an adult, she becomes upset and wants to take down the principal. This story sees Ranma and Miss Hinako trying to take down the principal. This wasn’t a bad story, but I’m glad it only lasted for two chapters. Although, I have to admit that this was one of the more interesting stories in the series to feature Miss Hinako.

The next five chapters have a focus on Nodoka, Akane, and Ranma. It starts out with Ranma insulting Akane about her figure. Nodoka shows up and takes Akane and girl-type Ranma shopping for bras. Unfortunately, strange accidents involving hot liquids keep happening and turning Ranma back into boy-type and almost getting caught by Nodoka. While she sometimes sees the back of him, she assumes it’s some pervert and decides to start sneaking around and keeping an eye on Akane to protect her from the pervert. Unfortunately, Nodoka manages to see boy-type Ranma in a sailor suit and assumes he’s a cross-dresser. She’s actually ready to perform the seppuku, but Ranma manages to escape. However, earlier in the story, Nodoka thought Ranma was simply a pervert and seemed happy about that, so a plan is hatched to make it look like Ranma is simply a pervert and not a cross-dresser. I don’t want to give away what exactly happens at the end, but all I will say is that Ranma manages to avoid seppuku for another day.

This is followed by a one-chapter story that was adapted for a special OVA that was screened as part of a Rumiko Takahashi exhibit in 2008. In this story, Happosai makes the Incense of Spring Sleep, which he intends to use on Ranma… but Akane inhales it instead. She falls asleep in class yet is able to sense when people are nearby and attack them if provoked. This was actually an amusing story, and I think it was a great choice to adapt into an OVA. It’s too bad this OVA has never been made available in the United States.

The final story in this volume sees Mousse doing something that should make Shampoo upset. Instead, she gives a smile and says that she’s happy. Mousse assumes she gave him the Three-Year Smile of Death and asks Ranma and Akane for help to get Shampoo back in a good mood. While there are misunderstandings and hijinks involved in this story, I thought they worked to make this an enjoyable chapter to read. And having another story focusing on Mousse was appreciated.

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 17 is another volume that’s a mixed bag. There were some good stories included, but there were also weaker stories or stories that felt like Takahashi was reusing basic ideas from earlier stories in the series. There were only a couple of stories included here that actually seemed to progress the story or the characters.

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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

My Favorite Anime Doctors

I know it’s been a while since I last posted a list, but the topic of this list is very appropriate for what’s happening in my life right now. On the day this list is posted, my youngest child is scheduled to have spinal surgery for scoliosis, and I’ll be spending a few days in the hospital with her as part of her care team. So, it felt appropriate to celebrate anime doctors.

This is not a ranked list, however. It’s just a listing of the doctors that have stood out to me from anime that I have watched.

Dr. Marcoh

Dr. Marcoh is from Fullmetal Alchemist, and he used to be known as the Crystal Alchemist. He was the leading researcher in the military’s Philosopher’s Stone creation project. He is a kind man but suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and extreme guilt for the actions he took during the Ishvalan war that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Ishvalans. Marcoh deeply cares for others and is patient and forgiving of others… even if he is unable to forgive himself. While Dr. Marcoh may not be able to use his alchemy for combat, he is able to use it for healing. He is also very skilled in medicine.

Dr. Sado (aka Dr. Sane)

In the original Space Battleship Yamato series, Dr. Sado (aka Dr. Sane in Star Blazers) was more of a comedic character that was known for his alcohol consumption, although he had his moments of seriousness, especially when it came to Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar). In the Space Battleship Yamato reboot, he still drinks his sake, but Dr. Sado is portrayed as a respected surgeon. As the Yamato‘s medical officer, Dr. Sado does a great job of keeping the crew healthy and caring for Captain Okita as he fell ill during the voyage to Iscandar.

Hatori Soma

Hatori Soma is part of the cursed Soma clan in Fruits Basket, and he is one of the family members with the zodiac curse. While part of his job is to wipe the memories of people outside of the family who have seen or know anything related to the curse, he is also an actual doctor. We see Hatori taking care of both Somas and Tohru Honda. He has a good heart, as well as a good bedside manner. He may not be the most emotional of people, but I think this trait suits him well for his profession.

Dr. Tofu

Dr. Tofu is from Ranma 1/2, and he’s the doctor that the Tendo family and Ranma go to see if they get sick or receive an injury. Dr. Tofu is a good medical doctor, and he’s also got some impressive skills as a martial artist. However, he does have one weakness… Kasumi Tendo. Whenever she comes over the Dr. Tofu’s clinic, he becomes extremely nervous and klutzy. Dr. Tofu is a good doctor, but if you see Kasumi walk through the door of the clinic, it’s best to come back and see the good doctor another time.

Tony Tony Chopper

He’s the cute little blue-nosed reindeer from One Piece who serves as the doctor for the Straw Hats. After eating a Devil Fruit that allows him to transform into a human hybrid, Chopper first started learning about medicine from Doctor Hiriluk. After Hiriluk passed away, Dr. Kureha continued Chopper’s training. Chopper may be shy when he first meets people, but he’s a good doctor. Unlike Hatori Sohma, who doesn’t show a lot of emotion, Chopper gets very emotional after he becomes attached to someone. While he’s usually able to control his emotions while treating patients, he has a hard time during the Punk Hazard arc when Mocha eats all of the candy that has been used to poison the children. Chopper can’t contain his emotions even while treating her.

Tsunade

Tsunade is one of the three legendary Sannin in Naruto and is renowned for her skills in medical ninjutsu, as well as for her brute strength. Tsunade suffered the painful losses of her younger brother Nawaki and her lover Dan during the Secong Shinobi World War. With these losses, she developed haemophobia and left the village with Dan’s niece, Shizune, as her apprentice. After some serious convincing from Jiraiya and Naruto, Tsunade returns to the Hidden Leaf Village to not only serve as the Fifth Hokage, she also returns to practicing medical ninjutsu. She later takes on both Sakura and Ino as apprentices. The audience first gets a glimpse of Tsunade’s abilities when she performs an extensive operation on Rock Lee that allows him to continue as a shinobi.

Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 16

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 16 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 31st and 32nd 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 16
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 13, 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 29 and all of Volume 30 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first three chapters introduce a new character named Rakutaro, who is the great-grandson of Happosai’s friend, Rakkyosai. Happosai takes on the child as a disciple, and Rakutaro has no problems taking on Ranma, who he refers to as his “elder disciple.” It turns out that Rakutaro is actually with Happosai in order to reclaim the Brocade Butterfly, an object that belonged to Rakkyosai that Happosai stole. But there ends up being another twist to this story… because Rakutaro isn’t who he seems. Rakkyosai was a martial artist who uses attacks utilizing calligraphy brushes and ink, and the Brocade Butterfly has a connection to this. We’ve seen the concept of Martial Arts Calligraphy previously in the Ranma 1/2 series, but not in the way that it’s depicted here. And I can’t forget to hint at the final twist that happens at the end of the story with the Brocade Butterfly. To be honest, the zany martial arts and the twists in this story are very much the type of thing a reader of Ranma 1/2 would come to expect from this series. It’s not a bad story, but it’s not really one that stands out, either.

The next two chapters have a focus on Ryoga. He actually finds his house but gets caught in a booby trap set by his parents. He has his dog, Checkers, deliver a message to Akane saying that he cannot move due to a minor injury. He says that while he’s lonely, she doesn’t need to worry and visit him. Of course, he’s trying to use reverse psychology in order to get her to come over to his house. Meanwhile, Akari arrives at Ryoga’s place while riding on her sumo pig. Ryoga and Akari have been pen pals, and she decided to drop by. Ryoga is excited by this and has forgotten about his message to Akane. When Akane shows up at his door, Ryoga forgets about Akari. Ranma arrives, as girl-type Ranma, pretending to be the Hibiki’s maid, and reminds him about Akari. Ryoga decides he’s going to try to have both of them at his house, while hiding the fact that the other one is also there. Girl-type Ranma adds to the hijinks of this story, and the ending is quite amusing. It’s disappointing that Akari never made it to the anime adaptation, because I think she really could have added something. I wish Akari had been utilized for the OVAs instead of Miss Hinako, because I think Akari is a stronger character and helps to add to Ryoga’s character development. This really feels like a missed opportunity.

Next is a one chapter story about the “umbrella of love,” which is supposed to be one of the seven wonders of Furinkan High. Legend has it that a certain umbrella causes two people who use it together to fall in love. Of course, this ends up being a rather predictable story, but the twist at the end with Akane and Ranma was kind of amusing. While it was predictable, it wasn’t bad for a one chapter story.

This is followed by another one chapter story, with this focusing on Miss Hinako trying to teach Akane how to swim. Well, it turns out Miss Hianko doesn’t know how to swim, either, so it’s rather pointless. We already had a story of trying to teach Akane how to swim at school with Principal Kuno, so this kind of felt like a retread. Even though it may be Miss Hinako trying to teach this time, this didn’t really add anything terribly humorous to the story. This was definitely one of my least favorite stories to appear in Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 16.

This is followed by yet another one chapter story, and this one sees Cologne buying a lot of a special cold summer noodles. When she, Shampoo, and Mousse sample it, they discover that the noodles taste terrible. Cologne discovers that she has a legendary noodle that is supposed to grant whoever consumes it the power of 100 men. They promote that it is hidden in the cold summer noodles, so of course characters like Ranma, Ryoga, and Kuno start devouring as many noodles as they can in order to be the one to consume the special noodle. From how it’s depicted, these characters seem to react to eating the summer noodles the same way many of them react to Akane’s cooking… yet they press onward to try to get the special noodle. This was an amusing one chapter story, and the twist and the end was kind of funny.

The next two chapters of this volume were adapted for the Ranma 1/2 anime’s OVA series. The Tendos, Ranma, and Genma go to a hot spring that has a “vengeance doll.” The story goes that the doll has been handed down for generations with a soul trapped inside it, and that if you do anything bad to it, the doll remembers and gets even. Ranma and Genma run around the inn, and Ranma accidentally knocks over the doll. Ranma tries to put it back together but does it wrong. The spirit in the doll takes over Akane’s body to try to exact revenge on Ranma. Of course, the doll’s spirit doesn’t know the types of interactions these two have, so to everyone, it looks like Akane is getting closer to Ranma. Akane, who is trapped in the doll, discovers she can move and tries to regain her body. To me, this is one of the strongest stories included in this volume, and I’m not just saying that because I’m familiar with it from the OVA series. When I was first exposed to it in the OVA, I thought it was a interesting idea and that it worked well for the series.

This is followed by a one chapter story, and this one sees Ranma’s class doing a canoe class with Principal Kuno. They end up drifting to an island, where there are twenty boys, Miss Hinako, Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo. Where are the other girls from the class? Apparently, the food on the island is contaminated with the aloha virus. The boys eat it, and now they have turned into honeymooners. The boys start fighting over the girls as Principal Kuno shows up, who claims to have a vaccine. To be honest, I thought this story was among one the more ridiculous ones that Takahashi came up with for Ranma 1/2. I didn’t find it funny and it was rather illogical.

The next five chapters see the return of Pantyhose Taro, and introduced a new character named Rouge. Rouge claims Pantyhose Taro stole something from her, and it turns out that she turns into an Asura when splashed with cold water. Yes, she fell into a cursed spring at Jusenkyo. Rouge claims that what Pantyhose Taro stole was the source of her power. This story sees Pantyhose Taro and Rouge fighting each other and dragging the Tendos and the Saotomes into it. I had to feel sorry for Soun because his house kept getting so damaged throughout this story. There’s a twist to what the object is, and thankfully, Ranma figured out what it was. While I was glad to see a longer story included in this volume, I admit that I didn’t like this one as much as some of the longer stories that have appeared in some of the other volumes that I’ve read recently.

The next two chapters focus on Kodachi and introduces a new character named Asuka Saginomiya. Asuka has her white lilies to contrast Kodachi’s black roses, and is also Kodachi’s opposite in lots of other ways. 10 years earlier, Asuka challenged Kodachi to show each other their boyfriend 10 years later in order to determine which girl is better. Well, of course, Kodachi wants to show off Ranma. At first, he wants nothing to do with it, but when Asuka insults Ranma, he decides to help Kodachi. Asuka is just as shallow as Kodachi, which adds to the humor of this story. And the twist at the end is perfect.

The remaining chapters in the volume see Soun talked into buying armor that draws out power from the wearer, but the armor chooses who to accept. Soun hopes that either he, Genma, or Ranma will be chosen by the armor. Looking at the design, I suspected that the armor was more designed for a female. I wasn’t too surprised when the armor rejected the three males and chose Akane. Akane spars with Ranma while wearing the armor and beats him. The armor becomes very attached to Akane, and it’s discovered that the only way for Akane to lose the armor is for her to give her heart to another. Ranma grudgingly agrees to try to woo her, but as he’s putting on the act, he starts realizing that maybe this isn’t an act. But when Akane hears about the plan to separate her from the armor, she won’t listen when Ranma tries to explain. There is technically one other way to remove the armor, which is to touch the belt buckle, and that’s the key for how this story ends. I really liked this story since it examines Ranma and Akane’s relationship, and especially on Ranma’s feelings. This is one of the stories that I wish could have been animated for the OVA series, because I think this story would work well in an animated format. This, along with the doll story, are the two best stories included in this volume.

Overall, Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 16 was a bit of a mixed bag. There were some good stories included here, but there were also a couple of real clunkers. In some respects, it feels like it was at this point that Takahashi started to have a harder time coming up with interesting stories, especially ones that helped to progress the characters.

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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 15

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 15 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 29th and 30th 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 15
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 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 27 and all of Volume 28 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first two chapters tell the story of Kuno acquiring the egg of the phoenix, which is supposed to help master the Phoenix Sword, also known as the “magical sword of terror.” The shopkeeper who sells it to him says that whatever he does, he should not put it on his head. Unfortunately, Ranma puts the egg on Kuno’s head. The egg hatches, and the first thing the baby phoenix sees is Ranma. And with this imprinting, the phoenix keeps attacking Ranma as either boy-type or girl-type. The humor in this story comes from how Ranma tries to defeat the phoenix in order to get it off of Kuno’s head. This is an amusing story, and it’s one that was adapted as a short film for the Ranma 1/2 anime. In some respects, seeing the story in motion in the anime makes it even more amusing. It’s one of the more memorable stories in this volume to me, but I think that’s because I know it from the anime.

The next five chapters introduce two new characters, Link and Pink, a set of twins from China. One is a poisonous plant wielder, the other is a medicinal plant wielder. When Shampoo was young, Pink used her as a guinea pig for her poisonous plants. When Link came along and healed her, Shampoo thought it was the same person and punched her. The twins have come to Japan to get their revenge on Shampoo. The newspaper in Shampoo’s amazon village recently published an article about Shampoo and Ranma getting married, so they have also come to attack Ranma as well. Things get so crazy that Cologne enlists Akane’s help by giving her items to help counteract Pink’s poisonous mandrakes. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Ranma 1/2 story without hijinks and misunderstandings. Honestly, this isn’t among my favorite stories from the series. I found Pink and Link’s way of talking (always saying “please” at the end of each sentence) rather annoying and having to read this over and over for five chapters became tedious. And I found the storyline itself to be more unbelievable than usual. Yes, Ranma 1/2 includes plenty of fantastical stories, but at least I could find many of them to be at least somewhat believable. But with this one, I’m having a much harder time utilizing my willing suspension of disbelief.

This is followed by a one chapter story about the Tendo dojo being asked to bring a demon under control. Just as they’re about to place a new seal on the box, Happosai comes along and snatches the new seal and uses it as a tissue. The demon escapes and starts possessing anyone nearby and making them act evil. The only way to make it leave is to punch the person. After possessing a couple of characters, it ends up possessing Kasumi… and nobody wants to punch her. It’s hilarious how Kasumi turns “evil.” This was one of the stories that was animated for the Ranma 1/2 OVAs, and it’s one of the OVAs that I really enjoy. While the manga telling is good, I think the animated version makes it even better.

The next three chapters tell a story that focuses on Nabiki. She is sent a letter of challenge, with the meeting place being a fancy restaurant. She sends girl-type Ranma to answer, but she and Akane accompany Ranma to see what happens. It turns out the “challenge” is a date with Kinnosuke Kasha-o, a seventh generation of the Kasha-o dojo. He appears to be rich, so Nabiki pops out and sends girl-type Ranma away. It turns out that the Kasha-o school makes it so people are forced to spend money on them, while the Kasha-o spend nothing. On their date, Nabiki keeps shifting costs to Akane and Ranma, who continue to accompany her, because Kinnosuke has supposedly forgotten his wallet. But so much money is spent that the repo men come to the Tendo house to collect the unpaid money. Nabiki is determined to suck Kinnosuke dry, while Kinnosuke is dissatisfied because he couldn’t make Nabiki spend any of her own money. The next time they meet, Nabiki issues a wager: the first to spend even ten yen pays for all of this date as well as the charges from the previous one. The rest of the story sees the two of them trying to get the other to spend ten yen. I loved the ending of this story, especially after how ridiculous things get leading up to the conclusion. This is one of those stories that I wish had been animated for the Ranma 1/2 anime. It’s such a perfect story for Nabiki, who hardly had stories focusing on her to begin with, and I think the animators would have had a lot of fun animating this one.

The next three chapters have a story that focuses on Ryoga. He defeats a large pig that has been rampaging and attacking young men. The pig belongs to a girl named Akari Unryu, who says he’s the winner and hands him a note. Akari’s family has raised champion sumo wrestling pigs, and her father will not allow her to consider any man until he has defeated the large pig. Ryoga is torn, since he has his feelings for Akane, but he’s also flattered that another girl is noticing him. But when she starts complimenting him and comparing him with pigs, he becomes offended. She doesn’t know his secret, and also she loves pigs, so to her, these were compliments. When Akari believes that Ryoga hates pigs, she trains herself to hate pigs. Meanwhile, Ranma gets a love incense from Cologne and uses it on Ryoga… with the trigger word being “pig.” Of course, you can probably imagine that the trigger word being “pig” isn’t as safe as Ranma thinks it is. This story is full of the misunderstandings and hijinks associated with Ranma 1/2, but it also provides a little bit of character development for Ryoga. Honestly, I think Akari and Ryoga would actually make a good couple, and the way the story ends, that possibility isn’t entirely ruled out. This is another story in this volume that I wish could have been adapted for the anime.

This is followed by a one chapter story, where Cologne has Ranma ask Genma to try an experimental herb for hair growth. After initially rejecting the idea, Genma tries it… and grows a towering head of hair. The tonic is stimulated by anger and turns the hair into spikes But when he starts laughing, all the hair falls out. This isn’t necessarily a bad story, but it feels kind of weak coming right after Ryoga’s storyline.

The next two chapters see the return of Miss Hinako, Ranma and Akane’s homeroom teacher. She isn’t one of my favorite characters in the series, and I tend to not like her stories as much. In this one, she wants to remain a grown-up, and she finds a way while at a festival. She scoops up two fighting fish and puts then in a round fishbowl, which she takes with her wherever she goes. The round opening, combined with the fish’s battle aura, allow Miss Hinako to remain a grown-up. Ranma wants to find out how she’s maintaining the adult look and strength and breaks into her apartment. Oh, Ranma. Why are you breaking and entering? Meanwhile, Akane finds Miss Hinako’s missing wallet and goes to the apartment to return it to her. And guess what? More misunderstandings and hijinks. While I enjoy the misunderstandings and hijinks in many of the stories in the series, there are just some characters and their stories that annoy me. Miss Hinako is one of those characters. To be honest, I’m glad only one of her stories was adapted for the anime OVAs.

This is followed by another one chapter story, and this one features Kuno. He carves his name and the pig-tailed girl’s name into a cherry tree… and the tree possesses him. The story focuses on Kuno trying to get girl-type Ranma to free him from the tree. This wasn’t a bad story, but I’m glad it didn’t last any longer than it did. It’s one of those stories that needs to be on the short side.

The next three chapters see Ranma catching a cold from Happosai, and the fever keeps him so warm that he’s not changing into a girl when splashed with cold water. At the same time, Ranma’s mother drops by looking for Ranko. But as the cold transfers between people, its effectiveness wanes for Ranma. He so wants to face his mother as his male self, but he keeps getting thwarted in his attempts. To be honest, this is my favorite story in this volume. I’m glad to see Ranma’s mother makes more appearances in the manga, and I keep rooting for Ranma to be able to see his mother as his male version. I know that it’s not going to happen, because Takahashi would want to keep this conflict going for as long as possible, but there’s still a part of me that really wishes for Ranma and his mother to truly reunite.

The final chapter in the volume runs for one chapter, and it’s about a cursed spatula. Once you see that a spatula is in the title, you know that it’s a story that’s going to include Ukyo. As I’ve been reading through these volumes, it’s really hitting me that Ukyo isn’t quite as important to the overall series as she seemed to be when she was first introduced. There’s definitely more stories featuring Shampoo than there are featuring Ukyo. Anyway, Ukyo gets a call from a friend who is an okonomiyaki chef, and she has a cursed spatula. Ranma grabs it, and it gets stuck on his hand. It’s thought he has to make a perfect okonomiyaki to get it to come off. Hijinks galore, of course, and then there’s a twist at the end. This wasn’t one of the better stories to feature Ukyo. Oh well.

Even with some of the weaker stories included in this volume, there were still enough storylines that I enjoyed that it made reading Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 15 worth it. There were a couple of stories here that I wish would have been adapted for the anime in some way, because I think they would have been enjoyable to see come to life in an animated format.

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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 14

Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 14 is a new release for the Ranma 1/2 franchise, which includes the 27th and 28th 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 14
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 10, 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 25 and all of Volume 26 of VIZ Media’s release of Ranma 1/2.

The first three chapters focus on Ranma and Akane’s homeroom teacher, Hinako Ninomiya, who was first introduced in the previous volume. She has concerns about Ranma and decides to make a home visit. When she goes to the Tendo house, she has an encounter with Soun Tendo and develops a crush on him. She decides to use the Anything Goes Eight Treasures of the Deadly 5-Yen Piece technique to keep making herself look older so she can try to seduce Soun and become his wife. Since Soun sees her in both forms and doesn’t know about her ability, he thinks the two versions are two different people. Of course, Akane and Ranma don’t want to see Hinako end up with Soun, so there are hijinks galore. To be honest, I’ve never been much of a fan Hinako’s character, so I’ve always been kind of “meh” toward this particular story. It’s not bad, like say the Martial Arts Dining one, but it’s not among my favorite stories from the series, either.

The next three chapters see Mousse getting a hold of the Lens of Invincibility, a pair of glasses that is a secret treasure of the amazon tribe. Anyone who is seen through the lenses feels a need to weep and apologize. Mousse decides to use this to advantage to try to make Ranma look weak in order to impress Shampoo. Of course, Shampoo isn’t impressed, especially after she finds out about the glasses and the fact that they were invented for weaklings and children. But Mousse can’t help himself, and he continues tormenting Ranma with them. Ranma becomes so incensed that he challenges Mousse to a fight. But after Mousse sees Shampoo shed tears and tell him she’ll lose faith in him if he uses the glasses, in addition to something Cologne tells him about the glasses, he decides not to fight using them. But Ranma has come prepared, and in the end, Mousse does something unexpected. This storyline works well with the series, and it gave Mousse a chance to shine in a story focusing on him. Mousse getting a storyline focusing on him is a rare thing in Ranma 1/2.

The next two chapters see Ranma. Genma, and the Tendo family going to the beach. It turns out Soun and Genma have been called there to take care of a monster that’s lived off the shore for decades. Every summer, it drags girls into the sea. Female-type Ranma is used as bait and encounters the creature… which looks like a stone lion-dog guardian and doesn’t have a physical body. She finds herself wearing an ugly swimsuit, which has a picture of the monster on the front. The swimsuit won’t come off. It was supposed to be worn by a girl and be complimented by the girl’s boyfriend. But the boyfriend convinced her to wear another one, and this one was tossed into the sea. The swimsuit refuses to come off unless it’s complimented by the girl’s boyfriend. One of the older men that hired Genma and Soun turns out to be the boyfriend in question, but the swimsuit won’t accept a compliment from him. Well, Kuno comes along, and he happens to look a lot like the boyfriend did as a young man. So female-type Ranma has to try to convince Kuno to compliment the swimsuit so it can come off, but let’s just say that it’s easier said than done. Even though Kuno has a major crush on the pigtailed girl, he doesn’t really seem to like the swimsuit. And honestly, I can’t blame him, because it does look hideous. Fortunately, everything works out in the end. While it’s not a bad story, I’m glad that it didn’t last for more than two chapters.

The next two chapters were adapted for one of the OVA episodes for the Ranma 1/2 anime. This one sees Ukyo discovering a famous haunted spot, which is a cave where couples go through together and they break up before reaching the exit. Ukyo has Ranma and Akane pair up together, with the idea that she can have Ranma to herself after they break up in the cave. Ryoga accidentally appears at the cave, and Ukyo goes in with him. There’s hijinks galore, especially after Akane gets frustrated with Ranma and decides to go ahead with Ryoga instead. It was amusing to see Ukyo, who’s usually trying to keep Ranma and Akane apart, working so hard to get Akane and Ranma back together before reaching the exit. Of course, Ryoga is so happy about having Akane by his side that he’s not willing to cooperate with Ukyo anymore. I really liked the ending for this one, because of the twist involved. To me, this was one of the better stories included in this volume. It’s just as amusing in its original manga version as it is in the animated OVA.

This is followed by a one chapter story that focuses on Principal Kuno. He steals tests from Ranma’s homeroom teacher, and says he’ll publicly announce everyone’s bad scores at noon. However, he gives them a challenge: if they can get something from him before then, he won’t announce the scores. With this being a story about Principal Kuno, it shouldn’t be too surprising there’s a lot of crazy hijinks involved. The ending, of course, is a little unrealistic, but it shows how the situation ultimately was worse than it would have been otherwise. I’ve never been a fan of Principal Kuno and was actually quite happy to not see him in the manga for a while. But to be honest, the tone and craziness of the story just kind of felt like a retread of some of things the principal pulled when he was first introduced.

The next 10 chapters in the manga see the return of Ranma’s mother to the story. A new character is introduced, and he’s trying to pose as Ranma in order to fool his mother. He believes that Ranma’s mother has something that belongs to Genma that he wants. When Ranma learns of the impostor’s existence, he tries to take him on while at the same time, attempting to keep his own true identity secret. The young man has a connection to a dojo that Genma has encountered, and that the young man has learned one of two techniques that Genma created in order to get his revenge and to find the scroll that has information on a technique that complements the one that he already knows. Once Ranma learns the truth, he wants to learn the other technique, and at first, Genma refuses. But once Ranma picks up on some of the technique, he figures the rest on his own, and then challenges the impostor to one more duel. At one point, a hint is dropped that perhaps Ranma’s mother has figured out the truth about Ranko, but we see a twist at the end that shows that no, she hasn’t. But Takahashi did lead the reader on for the while, and I almost believed that maybe Ranma’s mother figured out the truth. However, if she had really learnedt he truth, Takahashi would have caused this conflict to be resolved much too quickly.

The final chapter in this volume sees Happosai not feeling his best and wanting to make a youth potion. However, he claims he needs “the tears of a fabled beast, at once male and female.” Of course, this means that he’s trying to collect Ranma’s tears. It’s a story featuring Happosai’s usual hijinks. It’s not necessarily a bad story, but it kind of felt like a weaker story to end the volume on. Yes, there needed to be something more light-hearted and short after a 10 chapter storyline, but I wonder if perhaps this wasn’t the best one to follow up with.

Even with the couple of stories that I felt were weaker in this volume, I still enjoyed reading Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 14. It actually surprises me that the 10 chapter story was never adapted for animation, but then again, with its length, it likely would have needed to be a feature film. And at this point when the anime was adapting the manga, it seemed like the anime was focusing on shorter stories that would work for an OVA length. But that 10 chapter story is one I would have liked to have seen in an animated form.

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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Omnibus Volume 12

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
Publisher: Shogakukan
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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2:

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.

Additional posts about Ranma 1/2: