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Manga Nutcracker #4 – Ranma 1/2

Vivi Vivi 13/03/2018 7 min read
  Ranma 1/2 Rumiko Takahashi 1987    

“A young boy,  martial art prodigy, 

transforms into a woman when touching water!”

            A giant panda who kidnaps a girl …too far-fetched? In Ranma ½, reality and fantasy merge, in this gender bending martial art love comedy! It all begins with a letter being delivered to the Tendou dojo, announcing the arrival of Ranma. But who is Ranma? Patiently awaiting the arrival of Ranma, and his decision, the sisters are surprised as a giant panda bursts into their house carrying a mystery girl! Amid all this turmoil, the letter appears to miss one important detail… Ranma and his father are cursed! The goal to improve their martial art skills, Ranma and his father travel to distant China, to the legendary training ground of Jusenkyo. Dismissing the warnings, they begin their training amongst the cursed springs! Each spring contains a different curse, with both Ranma and his father falling foul of two springs. Upon making contact with water, Ranma is cursed with transforming into a girl, while his father turns into a panda. Only hot water can turn them back into their natural states. Unwillingly being turned into a girl is a huge source of shame for this independent martial artist, driving him to find a cure at all costs. But even amongst this huge disaster, Ranma’s father still insists on his son fulfilling his duty and marrying one of the daughters of the Tendou dojo! There, Ranma meets Tendou Akane, the youngest and most skilled martial artist in her family. Strong minded, and a hatred for men, the two of them don’t exactly begin their relationship on the right foot!  

This is my favorite scene in Ranma 1/2, can you guess what happened? Drawing by Vivi.

  Nut Cracking TIME! The driving force of this manga should be their quest in finding a cure for their respective curses, but it’s Ranma’s interaction with Akane that pushes the story forward, giving us a rollercoaster of comedy, martial arts and charming characters. Saotome Ranma’s self contained personality stands out from the others, especially compared to Akane’s straight forward personality, endearing the reader with a laid-back attitude that is only opposed when challenged. He is most definitely not an open book, most of the time his actions speaking for themselves! His frankness often gets him into trouble on an interpersonal level, but despite his lack of social skills, he is generally shows concern for those around him. His pride often get in the way, his mistakes and stubbornness in admitting his wrongdoing, followed by his attempts to fix those problem makes him a flawed and relatable character. Rumiko Takahashi’s brilliant use of comedy cannot be underestimated, her one liners are perfectly delivered, giving you an attack of the giggles at the best time.   Vivi’s point!  

As a huge fan of Rumiko Takahashi, I deeply enjoyed cracking this manga! Reading back Ranma½ I found myself reading the pages at a conformable speed. Takahashi’s sensei style really flows smoothly, breaking when it needs to and taking you by surprise even in the smallest way. I love the simplicity of her style but how well she makes the readers enter the story through effective frames. I love Ranma’s personality, he starts as nothing the typical loud protagonist, a little shy and contained, but when his pride is hurt he will behave as the shounen hero that he is.

  Who is you favorite Ranma 1/2 character? What’s your favourite moment? Let me know, using the #mangacracker!     Twitter – @SmacViVi Facebook – Vivi Fabbri Smac