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Manga Review: Ranma 1/2 Volume 33 by Rumiko Takahashi

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Ranma 1/2 Volume 33 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 2006. 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 four stories that appear in this volume of Ranma 1/2; all of these stories are exclusive to the manga. The first story sees girl-type Ranma and Genma in panda form taking shelter at an old inn while out on a training trip. While at the inn, girl-type Ranma accidentally uncovers a cursed mirror that creates a copy of the person that looks into it. A copy of girl-type Ranma is created, and the copy wreaks havoc around the Tendo Dojo and the surrounding area.

I enjoyed this story quite a bit. The mischief that the copy of girl-type Ranma got herself into was very amusing, and I think Takahashi executed this story concept quite well. While this may not have necessarily been the first story where a copy of Ranma was created, I think this version of the concept was done in such a way that the recycled idea didn’t seem quite as obvious to the reader.

The second story runs for one chapter, and the main focus is on Nabiki. Nabiki actually spent some of her own money to score some really good seats for a concert. Unfortunately, Ranma chases Happosai through the house, and causes the tickets to fly out of Nabiki’s hands into the burner where Kasumi is cooking a meal. On the night of the concert, Nabiki and Ranma end up being alone at the Tendo Dojo, and awkward interactions occur.

I always like seeing a story that features Nabiki, since she tended to be underutilized by Takahashi during the series. It was amusing to see Ranma trying to outsmart the conniving Nabiki in an attempt to beat her at her own game. This was one of the better one chapter stories for Ranma 1/2 that I’d seen in a while.

In the next story, Happosai takes Ranma and Genma to a “training ground,” which turns out to be a “red hot” tea house. Unfortunately for Happosai, the women there are not attractive, and he retaliates by destroying the tea house. This story ends up taking a turn into Cinderella territory, when the owner and her daughters make the beautiful kunoichi stepdaughter go after Ranma to take revenge for what happened to the tea house. This story ultimately brings in the characters of Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo, and there’s a twist at the end regarding the stepdaughter. Overall, the story itself was decent, although the twist at the end is something that had been seen earlier in the manga series. It felt as if Takahashi simply decided to reuse the twist and just put some new “window dressing” around it.

The final story sees the Tendos and Saotomes going to the star festival, where bamboo leaf amulets are being sold to couples. When a couple writes their names on cards and attach them to the amulet, the couple will be bound together eternally. Genma and Soun insist that Akane and Ranma must do this, but things don’t go as planned when Tatewaki Kuno interferes.

Once again, it kind of feels like Takahashi is recycling the idea of an object causing people to fall in love with each other. First, it was the fishing pole of love. Then, it was the umbrella of love. Now, we have the bamboo leaves of love. I probably would have enjoyed this story a little more if I didn’t keep experiencing a “been there, done that” feeling as I read it.

When it comes to the stories Volume 33, I really enjoyed the first two stories. I liked the third one until I hit the end, and the fourth story felt like a retread. While this isn’t one of the strongest volumes of the Ranma 1/2 series, it also wasn’t one of the weakest, either.

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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.