Ranma 1/2 Volume 30 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.
There are a total of three stories that appear in this volume of Ranma 1/2; all of these stories are exclusive to the manga. The first story sees Pantyhose Taro return to the Tendo Dojo yet again; but this time, he has been severely beaten up. Meanwhile, Akane finds an injured young woman named Rouge in a fountain in the park. Akane brings Rouge to the dojo to recuperate, unaware that Pantyhose Taro is also recuperating there. It turns out that there’s a connection between Pantyhose Taro and Rouge, and this connection causes the storyline to escalate until it reaches its conclusion.
Admittedly, this particular storyline is a little on the strange side; however, it was nice to see Pantyhose Taro make a guest appearance in the series. This story also introduces the audience to yet another ludicrous drowned spring. If you’ve read all of the Ranma 1/2 manga volumes up to this point, though, you’ve come to expect the bizarre things that were drowned in the springs; Pantyhose Taro is probably the best example of being a product of something bizarre that drowned in one of the springs.
The next story sees Kodachi Kuno making a major appearance in a Ranma 1/2 storyline. To be honest, I can’t recall off the top of my head the last time Kodachi had been seen in the series, but I believe it’s been a while. In this story, Kodachi has a run-in with an old rival named Asuka Saginomiya. Apparently, 10 years prior, when the two girls were in kindergarten, they challenged each other to see who would have the better boyfriend 10 years later. Kodachi wants to recruit Ranma to be her boyfriend for the challenge. At first, Akane is against the idea, but something happens that forces her to change her mind.
It was nice to see Kodachi return, and this storyline fits in perfectly with her character. I was starting to think that Takahashi has forgotten that Kodachi even existed. I liked how Kodachi’s rival, Asuka, ends up having a personality that’s similar to Kodachi. While Akane’s change of heart may sound a little strange on the surface, it does make perfect sense after seeing the event that causes Akane to change her mind.
The final storyline in this volume sees Ranma, Genma, and Soun going to a temple in the mountains to get special armor that draws out power from the wearer. The catch with the armor, however, is that it chooses the one who will wear it. After the armor is brought to the Tendo Dojo, it chooses Akane to be its master. With the armor, Akane can defeat Ranma easily. In addition, the armor becomes attached to Akane. Ranma decides to take it on himself to find a way to separate Akane from the armor.
This is another storyline that was great for exploring Ranma and Akane’s relationship. I’ve definitely been noticing in the more recent volumes I’ve read that Takahashi was trying to write stories that put more of an emphasis on Ranma and Akane and explore their relationship with each other. I think fans of the Ranma and Akane pairing will like something that happens during the course of this storyline.
After being disappointed with Volume 29, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed reading Volume 30. I also appreciated how Takahashi didn’t utilize any one chapter stories in this volume, and instead focused on stories that spanned several chapters. I have to admit that I generally like the multiple chapter stories more, as I tend to think that the multiple chapter stories in Ranma 1/2 are generally stronger than the one chapter stories.
If you’re a fan of Ranma 1/2, then this volume is a “must read,” especially if you’re a fan of the Ranma and Akane pairing.