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Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Volume 17 by Rumiko Takahashi

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Ranma 1/2 Volume 17 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 2005. 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 feature female nudity.

The first story in Volume 17 sees Tatewaki Kuno undergoing training. Ranma, Genma, Akane, and the other members of the Tendo family come to the beach after Ranma receives a letter from Kuno that reads like a challenge letter. Kuno suddenly appears on the beach with a watermelon on his head. After the watermelon is removed from Kuno’s head, it’s discovered that he has amnesia. Ranma and others work at trying to help Kuno regain his memory.

The second story in this volume focuses on Ukyo, one of Ranma’s fiancées; she is also an okonomiyaki chef. She made a special sauce ten years earlier, and had to let it age during that time. Now that the ten years are up, Ukyo tastes the sauce… only to discover that it tastes terrible. The sauce was made during the time in Ukyo’s childhood when she and Ranma knew each other. Unbeknownst to Ukyo, Ranma had spilled the sauce after she made it, and he had tried to make another batch without a recipe. Ukyo goes to the Tendo house to stay there as she fights off her disappointment about her failure. The battle for Ranma really heats up between Ukyo and Akane in this storyline.

There are three short stories that finish off Volume 17 of Ranma 1/2. In the first story, Genma, Soun, and Ranma are asked to apprehend a living octopus trap that’s terrorizing a tourist community. The second sees Gosunkugi trying to win Akane’s affections, and he buys paper dolls from a salesman who claims that if you write commands on them and attach them to a person’s back, that person will do what’s written on the doll. The final story in this volume has Happosai giving Ranma an obedience pill to make Ranma obey him.

All of the stories that appear in this volume of Ranma 1/2 include the elements that readers have come to expect from this series. While the story with Ukyo focuses more on the drama than on the comedy, all of the other stories in this volume are rather comedic and humorous in nature.

I originally saw all of these stories when I watched the Ranma 1/2 anime series. In every case, the anime telling was extremely similar to what was seen in the manga. I didn’t notice any major differences that stood out to me between the manga and anime versions of these stories.

I’ve seen complaints about Ranma 1/2 that say that the series never truly goes anywhere, and that everything always returns as it was at the end of each story. In that regard, this series is a lot like a television sitcom. I really don’t mind this approach to the story, because with Ranma 1/2 being more comedic in nature overall, major changes from story to story really wouldn’t work. While some readers may find this tedious, I find this approach comforting. Each time I read another volume of Ranma 1/2, I feel like I’m being greeted by an old friend.

If you’re already a fan of the Ranma 1/2 manga series and have already read the previous 16 volumes of the series, then you’ll probably also enjoy Volume 17.

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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.
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