Ranma 1/2 Volume Eight is a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, published in North America by Viz Media. The version of this volume I’m reviewing is the second printing, which was released in 2004. This manga was published as a flipped version, meaning that it reads like an American book instead of a traditional manga. Ranma 1/2 is rated “T+” for older teens, due to some panels that include female nudity.
Volume Eight begins with the introduction of Ukyo Kuonji, someone that Ranma had known when he was a child during his travel and training with Genma. Ukyo’s father ran an okonomiyaki cart, and Genma had agreed that Ranma would marry Ukyo when they were older, and that the cart would be part of the dowry. However, Genma decided to run off with Ranma and the cart, and left Ukyo behind. Ukyo has come to Japan to get her revenge.
The next story sees Ukyo trying to set up Akane and Ryoga on a date. Ukyo thinks that if she can get Akane and Ryoga together, then Ranma will be free for her. Ranma finds out what’s going on, and hijinks and misunderstandings ensue when he tries to interfere.
This is followed by a story that takes place at the beach. It’s revealed that Happosai and Cologne know each other, and that Happosai has one of Cologne’s family heirlooms. The heirloom is a bracelet, and it has a secret: there are three love pills in it. One is an instant pill, one is a day pill, and the third is a lifetime pill. If someone takes a pill, they fall in love with the first person of the opposite gender that they see, and the duration depends on which pill is taken. This story raises the tensions when it comes to the various ways these pills could affect the relationships in the series.
The final story sees Mousse out for revenge against Ranma. After being defeated by Ranma in battle in a previous volume, Mousse went to the cursed springs of Jusenkyo to train. As you can probably guess, Mousse fell into one of the springs and is now “cursed.” This volume ends in the middle of this story, and it ends in such a way that it’s a cliffhanger.
To readers already familiar with the Ranma 1/2 series, this volume contains the humor, hijinks, action, and situations that have come to be expected by readers. While many of these elements have become expected, Takahashi has still found ways to utilize them so they don’t feel stale and predictable. She also has continued to find the right blend of comedy and drama to tell the stories of Ranma and the other characters.
I recognized all four of these stories from watching the anime series. As I read the manga versions, I didn’t really notice any major differences between the telling of the stories from what I saw in the anime. However, it should be noted that Ukyo was introduced later in the anime than she was in the manga. Also, the story about the bracelet is also later in the anime than it was in the manga.
If you’re a fan of Ranma 1/2, you should be able to enjoy reading Volume Eight as much as you did the previous seven volumes of the series.