Ranma 1/2 Volume 32 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 six stories that appear in this volume of Ranma 1/2; all of these stories are exclusive to the manga. The first story is about a rare plant called the “Shogun Bean” plant that has been entrusted to the Tendo Dojo; it was a plant used in ancient times to combat demons. They learn quickly that the plant responds to anger, so the Tendos and Saotomes must try to keep their composure around the plant.
This one-chapter story was amusing, and it fits in with the tone that’s already been established for the series.
The second story is set on Valentine’s Day, and Akane is being pressured to give Ranma chocolate for the holiday. Akane encounters a sickly girl and her grandmother, who want to give a valentine to a boy who saved the girl’s stuffed animal when it fell out a window. Akane is given information to help Akane find the boy; it turns out that the boy is Ranma. Akane must find a way to give Ranma the valentine without him misunderstanding her intentions. I thought this was a really sweet story, and I appreciated how it focused on the complications in Ranma and Akane’s relationship.
The third story sees Ranma and a couple of the other students being sent to Principal Kuno’s “Repentance Room,” where delinquents are expected to bow down before a bust of the principal. Miss Hinako accidentally ends up in the room with them; when she uses her Happo 50 Yen Attack, she accidentally absorbs ki from the bust and turns into a delinquent.
I found this story to be one of the better ones in the series that features Miss Hinako. I really liked seeing the role reversal for this character, and I found her “delinquent behavior” to be rather amusing. I literally laughed out loud at some of her antics while she was a delinquent.
The fourth story was the longest story in this volume, and it’s one that features Ranma’s mother. Unlike previous stories that featured Mrs. Saotome, this one actually progresses this plot point. While it had been nice to have some stories featuring Mrs. Saotome in the series, a lot of them ended with that storyline not making any progression. My guess is at this point, Takahashi knew that the series was getting closer to its end, so the time was right to progress this plot point.
The next story sees Happosai up to his old tricks, and this time, he’s trying to make the incense of spring sleep. Akane is affected by the incense, but the effects don’t hit her until she’s in class at school. Hilarity ensues as she acts out in real life what she’s doing in her dreams.
The final story in this volume focuses on Shampoo and Mousse. After a mishap happens between them, Mousse thinks he’s under the curse of the three-year smile of death. Ranma and Akane get involved to try to help Mousse. Of the six stories that appear in this volume, this was my lead favorite. It just seemed to be a little weak in comparison to the other stories that appear in this volume.
Overall, Volume 32 is a pretty good read, especially for the later volumes of the Ranma 1/2 series. It’s nice to see more emphasis on Akane and Ranma, as well as finally seeing something happen in regards to the storyline with Ranma’s mother. There’s only four more volumes left of the series, and hopefully they’re all as strong as this one was.