Ranma 1/2 Volume 12 is a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, and it was published in North America by Viz Media. The version of this volume I’m reviewing is the second printing, which was released in 2004. This manga was published as a flipped version, which means that it reads left to right like an American book, instead of a traditional manga. Ranma 1/2 is rated “T+” for older teens, due to some panels that include female nudity.
The beginning of Volume 12 continues exactly where Volume 11 ended off, with Ranma learning a technique from Shampoo’s great-grandmother, Cologne, in order to defeat Happosai and get the information he needs in order to be cured of the moxibustion.
The next story sees Shampoo returning from a trip home to China, and she brings a gift for Ranma: the Mao Lin Legendary Bell. Shampoo has a matching bell, and claims that the couple that owns the set will get married. However, it turns out Ranma’s bell belongs to a monster cat looking for a bride. Chaos and hilarity ensues as Ranma and the others must figure out how to deal with the monster cat.
The next story sees the principal of Furinkan High trying to teach Akane how to swim. The final story in this volume sees Genma disappearing while he and Ranma are out training. Ranma finds Genma, in panda form, living with a sickly wealthy boy and his mother; Ranma must find a way to bring Genma back to the Tendo Dojo.
I was already familiar with all of the stories included in this volume, since they were adapted for the Ranma 1/2 television anime series. In fact, all of these stories were adapted very faithfully from their manga counterparts.
The first story in this volume tends to focus more on the dramatic aspects of Ranma 1/2 than on the comedic aspects. In fact, there’s even a quick bit of backstory about Happosai and Cologne that appears in the first storyline; as a reader, you actually get to see how these two characters looked when they were younger. And with what’s been established in the series up to this point, this backstory does make sense.
However, there’s also still plenty of comedy in the other storylines in Volume 12 to make up for how sparse this element was in the first story arc in this volume. Of the remaining storylines, I think the one about Akane trying to learn to swim was the one that made me laugh the most.
At this point in the series, Ranma 1/2 still has enough the elements that readers of the series enjoy, but it hasn’t quite a reached a point where the concept feels terribly stale; also, the plots of the stories don’t feel repetitive. For readers who already enjoy the Ranma 1/2 manga series, this volume shouldn’t disappoint.