Friday, April 27, 2012

Most Awesome Anime: Ranma ½ (Manga Series)

This month we’re kicking off our new series of continuing posts called Most Awesome Anime. Here we will be sharing our top choices of both Anime and Manga.

To start things off this month we are featuring the manga Ranma ½. Written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi (also the creator of Urusei Yatsura and Inuyasha), Ranma ½ began as a publication in Shōnen Sunday where it ran from 1987 to 1996.

Ranma is definitely one of the funniest and well… more interesting manga stories that I have come across.

It begins as Ranma Saotome, a 16 year old martial artist returns to Japan along with his father after training in China.

At the request of Mr. Saotome’s old friend Soun Tendo, the two arrive at his Dojo of “Anything-Goes Martial Arts”. As per the arrangement made between the two fathers years ago, Ranma is to marry one of Soun Tendo’s three daughters and carry on the dojo’s legacy.

Only there is a slight problem.

While training in China at the accursed springs of Jusenkyo, Ranma and his father had a bit of an accident.

During a sparring bout they both fell into the springs and were cursed. Now Ranma turns into a girl every time he is splashed with cold water. And his father…let’s say has a bit of a panda problem.

After seeing this, Kasumi, Nabiki quickly volunteer their younger sister Akane for bridal duty. The same age as Ranma, Akane is a hot-tempered karate enthusiast who says she hates boys.  

But her sisters point out that Ranma is a good match since he’s half girl!

Obviously neither are too excited about the engagement plans. Ranma wants to return to China and lift the curse while Akane just doesn’t want anything to do with Ranma.

But unfortunately for them a constant stream of martial arts challengers and wacky suitors seem to only push them closer together.  

The love-hate relationship between Ranma and Akane though typical of the genre, still proves to be very entertaining. And Ranma’s “unique problem” creates some amusing situations of its own. As a splash of cold water will often change him into a girl at the most inopportune times.

But the real laughs seem to come mostly from the exotic cast of characters and bizarre types of martial art battles which they get caught up in.

Whether it’s fighting crazy Kendo captains, Amazon warriors, martial art magicians, or competing in anything from Rhythmic Gymnastic Wrestling to Figure Skating Battle Royals, the story remains hilarious and highly entertaining.

An extremely enjoyable manga. Lighthearted and funny with some added romance and a large dose of action, Ranma ½ is well worth picking up.

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