Ranma 1/2 Volume 34 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 Akane nearly drowning at Jellyfish Beach.
She is told that she is the 10,000th terrible swimmer at the beach, and that she was won a swimsuit that enables the wearer to swim freely. Not only that, but she is encouraged to enter a swimming contest while wearing the suit. It turns out that things aren’t as they seem.
While this one chapter story deals with Akane’s inability to swim, the story is executed in a very different manner to the two previous stories where a staff member at Furinkan High School tries to teach her to swim in the school’s pool. It’s a rather strange story, but at least Takahashi wasn’t simply retreading a previous story that appeared in the series.
The second story has the Tendos and the Saotomes vacationing at the Futoraku Highlands. Ryoga suddenly appears, and when he sees Ranma, he thinks he’s at the Tendo Dojo. After Ranma explains where they’re at, Ryoga says he’s supposed to meet Akari at the Highlands. Ranma attempts to help directionally challenged Ryoga find his way to where Akari is waiting for him.
I really liked this story. Not only is it a story that features Ryoga, but it also helps to progress the relationship that is developing between Ryoga and Akari. Also, Ryoga’s mishaps due to his being directionally challenged are always enjoyable to see.
The third story in this volume is the longest of the four. Ranma and Genma visit the Saotome prayer temple, where Genma is trying to get a hold of the family treasure. While they’re there, Mrs. Saotome arrives and takes the family treasure. The story starts out with Genma and Ranma hiding as Ranko and her panda, but at the same time trying to get the treasure from her. As the story progresses, Mrs. Saotome begins to suspect that Ranko isn’t what she seems.
One word I can use to describe this story: Finally! I say this, because the storyline about Ranma, Genma, and Mrs. Saotome is resolved. I won’t say what happens in order to avoid providing spoilers, but I personally thought that the resolution of this story was satisfying.
The final story in this volume sees the return of Konatsu, the former kunoichi. Konatsu has been working for Ukyo, and is trying to run the restaurant while Ukyo is recovering from a cold. Unfortunately, Konatsu just isn’t capabale of keeping the restaurant running. Ranma and Akane pitch in and try to help out. This wasn’t a bad story, but it’s not necessarily a good story, either. So far, I’m not that impressed with Konatsu, so that probably doesn’t help with my perception of this story.
Since this is one of the last three volumes of the Ranma 1/2, I was glad to finally see one of the major storylines that was introduced in the series finally reached a resolution. It will be interesting to see what stories await in the final two volumes of the series.