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Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Volume 13 by Rumiko Takahashi

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Ranma 1/2 Volume 13 is a manga with the story and art by Rumiko Takahashi, and it was published in North America by Viz Media. This review is for the second printing of this volume, which was released in 2004. The Ranma 1/2 manga volumes are “flipped,” which means that they read like American books instead of traditional Japanese manga. Ranma 1/2 is rated “T+” for older teens, due to some panels that include female nudity.

The first storyline in Volume 13 sees Ryoga encountering a martial arts calligrapher who says that he can make Ryoga the strongest man in the world by drawing a special symbol on his abdomen to help draw out incredible strength. While the symbol does indeed make Ryoga very strong, the symbol itself is rather goofy-looking. The only way for the symbol to disappear is for Ryoga to be defeated in battle; Ryoga turns to Ranma for help.

The next storyline is actually one that was never included in the Ranma 1/2 anime series. In this story, two young children are looking for Happosai, because they think he is Santa Claus and want to be his disciples. Apparently the previous Christmas, the children caught him during a panty raid at their home and believed he was Santa. Happosai agrees to let them be his disciples, and the story follows their “training.” While this was an interesting story, and I personally liked it, I can see why it wasn’t adapted for the anime series.

This is followed by a story that features Tatewaki Kuno, an arrogant schoolmate of Akane and Ranma; he’s in love with both Akane and girl-type Ranma. He goes to a yearly gathering, where participants try to pull a Japanese feudal sword from a stone (like King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone); whoever pulls the sword will be granted three wishes. Kuno successfully pulls out the sword, and hijinks ensue as Ranma plots to get the sword away from Kuno in order to try and break his curse.

The final story in Volume 13 sees the Gambling King arrive in town. When Ranma and Ukyo where younger, they both tried to beat the Gambling King and lost. Ukyo’s wager had been her father’s okonomiyaki cart, while Ranma’s had been the Tendo Dojo. After the Gambling King claims the dojo, Ranma must learn how to beat him in order to win it back.

Outside of the “Santa’s disciples” story, all of the other stories that appeared in this volume were adapted for the Ranma 1/2 anime series. I really didn’t notice any major differences between how the stories were told between the two different mediums.

If you’re a fan of the Ranma 1/2 manga series, then you should enjoy Volume 13. It contains the same blend of comedy and drama that readers have come to expect from this series.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.