Ranma 1/2 Volume 18 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 first printing of this volume, which was released in 2001. 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.
There are four stories told in Volume 18. The first story, which makes up the bulk of this volume, tells about Ryoga defeating Ranma with a new technique he learned before he’s perfected it. Ranma decides that he’s going to learn the technique. However, once Ranma figures out how to make the technique work, a lot of humorous things happen as he and Ryoga try to perfect their techniques. The story culminates with a battle between Ryoga and Ranma, both of whom are using their new techniques.
The second story in this volume sees the return of the Ghost Cat. This time, he captures Shampoo and transforms her into her cat self. After Ranma discovers what has happened, he goes to save Shampoo; naturally, Mousse is hot on his heels. They learn that if Shampoo isn’t kissed by her true love before the final New Year’s bell rings, Shampoo will remain a cat forever. This story utilizes a good mix of comedy and drama in order to keep the reader interested.
The third story sees Ranma having a dream where’s he on a date, as girl-type Ranma, with an older gentlemen. Girl-type Ranma is approached by a young man, who has a picture of the older man Ranma saw in his dream. The young man insists that Ranma go on a date with his grandfather before he passes away. Ranma reluctantly agrees. This is a well-done story, with just the right mix of drama and humor.
The final story is a fight between Tatewaki Kuno and his sister, Kodachi. Kodachi becomes angry after Kuno destroys the giant poster of Ranma she had in her room. Kodachi decides to up the ante by stealing some of Kuno’s things that have to do with girl-type Ranma. This storyline is comedic from beginning to end; it’s a nice change of pace after the tone of the second and third stories in this volume.
I originally saw all of these stories when I watched the Ranma 1/2 anime series. I really didn’t notice any major differences in the stories between the two different mediums. All of these stories work just as well on the small screen as they do in the pages of a manga volume.
If you’re already a fan of Ranma 1/2 and have read all of the previous volumes in this series, you should be able to get as much enjoyment out of Volume 18 as you did out the previous 17 volumes in the series.