It’s nice that Volume 20 finally rewards the reader with a backstory for Ranma’s mother. When I watched the anime series, I had wondered why we had never seen or heard of Ranma’s mother prior to when she was introduced. If I had read the manga before seeing the anime, I’m sure I would have wondered the same thing.
I find it interesting that the story about Shampoo hadn’t been adapted for the actual Ranma 1/2 anime series, even though the story appears in a section of the manga that was being adapted for the anime. It makes me wonder why they waited until they decided to produce the OAV direct-to-video episodes to adapt the Shampoo story for the anime medium.
The final story in Volume 20 has Happosai going on an underwear theft spree, but after he gets his haul home, the underwear turns to paper. It turns out Happosai has stolen the underwear from a girls’ dorm that is haunted by a former headmistress who is unable to move on to the next world. While she was alive, whenever there was a panty raid at the school, her underwear was the only thing that wasn’t taken; so, in order to be able to move on to the next world, she needs someone to steal her underwear. The underwear that turned to paper is cursed, and that Happosai will die unless he steals the underwear that belonged to the headmistress.
After reading that final story, I can see why it was never adapted for the Ranma 1/2 anime. Not only is it short, but it’s also too strange for the tone that the anime series set. Also, this is a story where I had hard time using my “willing suspension of disbelief.” How is it that the headmistress’ underwear is still hanging on the line after she has died? Wouldn’t someone at some point have seen them hanging there and taken them down long before now?
If you’re already a fan of Ranma 1/2 and have read all of the previous volumes of the series, you should be able to get as much enjoyment out of Volume 20 as you did out of the previous 19 volumes of the series.