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Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Volume 14 by Rumiko Takahashi

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Ranma 1/2 Volume 14 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 story in Volume 14 is about an ancient Chinese treasure called the “Dragon’s Whisker.” A group of people in China are looking for it, and the person they question draws a rough picture of the person he gave the treasure to; the person he draws looks suspiciously like Ranma. It’s revealed that the “Dragon’s Whisker” is what Ranma uses to tie his pigtail back with, but he will not part with it. Ranma also will not explain why he won’t get rid of it. Over the course of the four chapters for this storyline, the answers to these and other questions are revealed. There’s also a bit of humor as various parties fight over the “Dragon’s Whisker.”

The other story in this volume sees several of the characters entering a couples competition at a town festival, with the prize being a trip to a hot spring anywhere in the world. Since several of the characters are afflicted with the Jusenkyo Curse, they decide to enter in the hopes of winning a trip to Jusenkyo to try and reverse the curse. The couples competing end up being Ranma and Shampoo, Mousse and Akane, and Ryoga and Ukyo. This storyline really utilizes the humor and zaniness associated with the Ranma 1/2 series.

The story of the “Dragon’s Whisker” is more on the dramatic side, with more of the humor appearing in the dialogue than in the situations or actions that happen in the story. The second story in this volume has some dramatic elements, but there’s definitely much more of a focus on the humor. Takahashi seems to have a good sense of how to balance out the drama and humor, whether it’s in an individual story, or in how she decides what order to present the stories.

Both of these stories were adapted for the Ranma 1/2 anime series, and they were adapted rather faithfully. Since I enjoyed both of these stories when I saw then in the anime series, I also enjoyed reading them in the manga.

If you’re a fan of Ranma 1/2, then I think you’ll enjoy Volume 14 as much as the previous volumes in the 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.