Ranma 1/2 Volume 26 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 feature female nudity.
There are two stories that appear in this volume of Ranma 1/2, and neither of them appeared in the anime. For me, it’s nice to finally come to a point in the manga where I’m not already familiar with the stories from watching the anime series. I’m enjoying being able to see Ranma and the others in “new” adventures that I’ve never seen or read before.
The first story in this volume makes up the bulk of the content in the book. Ranma’s mother makes another appearance, and the reader is introduced to a new character who is trying to pose as Ranma in order to fool his mother. He decides to take on Ranma’s identity, because he’s trying to find something that belongs to Genma and believes he’ll find it through Ranma’s mother.
Ranma learns that this is going on and tries to take on the impostor while trying to keep his mother from learning his true identity. It was established in an earlier volume of the series that Genma had made an agreement with his wife that if Ranma didn’t become a “true man among men” after his training, that Genma and Ranma would commit seppuku. Genma and Ranma are afraid that if Mrs. Saotome finds out about their curse, she would have them kill themselves.
I found the design for the Ranma impostor rather interesting, yet at the same time, a little disappointing. I was honestly left with the impression that all Takahashi did was to take Kuno’s face shape and facial features and combine them with Ryoga’s hair and outfit to create the new character. I found this interesting for the Ranma imposter, since Kuno and Ryoga are two of Ranma’s biggest rivals. However, I found this a little disappointing, because it also felt like Takahashi was being a little lazy with her character design.
The second story sees the lecherous Happosai falling ill and trying to make the “Potion of Youth.” In order to complete the potion, Happosai needs the tears of a fabled beast, at once male and female. The story focuses on Happosai trying to get tears from Ranma. This was an OK story, but in my opinion, it wasn’t one of the better storylines to appear in Ranma 1/2. Luckily, the story only lasts for one chapter; if it had run any longer than that, the story would have worn even more thin that it is in the one chapter.
Volume 26 was a decent volume for Ranma 1/2, although it’s not quite as strong as the earlier volumes in the series. I found the first storyline to be interesting, although I was a little disappointed in the character design. For me, the second storyline was just kind of “there.” While it wasn’t necessarily bad, I didn’t find myself that engaged in it; also, I think it’s going to be one of the less memorable stories to appear in the series.