Ranma 1/2 (2 in 1 Edition) is the latest English release of the classic Japanese manga. The artwork in this particular release is cleaner than previous English versions of Ranma 1/2. As the name suggests each book contains two collections of the Ranma 1/2 manga. Ranma 1/2, in both manga and anime form, is one of the most hilarious and action-packed stories that I know of.
For whatever reason, many Americans continue to discount anything that is illustrated or animated as something that is meant for children. This is an unfortunate mistake in perception, because some of the best stories that I know of come from Japanese manga or anime. If you are unfamiliar with these Japanese forms of entertainment, keep an open mind and remember that just because something is drawn out or animated that it does not automatically mean that it is targeted at children. Many manga and anime are created specifically with a teenage or adult audience in mind.
The main concept behind Ranma 1/2 is that Ranma and his father, Genma, fell into cursed springs while continuing their martial arts training. When Ranma or Genma touch cold water, they are turned into a girl and a panda, respectively. Since the only way that they can resume their original forms is by touching warm water, many hilarious moments are born out of their awkward transformations. To make matters more confusing, Ranma and Genma begin living at the Tendo dojo where Ranma becomes engaged to Akane Tendo at the decision of their fathers. Ranma and Akane’s playful love-hate relationship is one of the major reasons to follow the story.
One of the greatest strengths of Ranma 1/2 is its cast of supporting characters. There are really too many zany and outrageous characters to mention here. One of the earliest characters to be introduced is Tatewaki Kuno, aged 17, who constantly chases after Akane and Ranma’s girl-type form in hopes of dating both of them. His maniacal sister Kodachi and an Amazonian girl from China, known as Shampoo, both desire to marry Ranma and will stop at nothing to win him from Akane.
The martial arts action in Ranma 1/2 can be epic and ridiculous at the same time. Often, Ranma’s battles are played for humor, but they can turn serious as well. Regardless, there are so many awesome “secret techniques” from the various martial arts school that it never gets old. Fans of other manga/anime may notice references throughout the series, especially nods toward Fist of the North Star.
Up to now, there are currently three Ranma 1/2 (2 in 1 Edition) books that have been released. The series does run for quite a while, so there are many more books scheduled to be released in the future. Ranma 1/2 is one of my favorite stories, and that includes not just other manga and comics, but novels that I have read as well. Pick up a copy today!