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

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Ranma 1/2 Volume Five is a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2003. The series is rated “T+” for Older Teens. I agree with the rating for this manga, due to the fact that there are occasional panels with female nudity in them.

Ranma Saotome and his father, Genma, are martial artists. During training at the cursed springs of Jusenkyo, they fall into two different cursed springs; Ranma fell into the spring of drowned girl, while Genma fell into the spring of drowned panda. Whenever they are splashed with cold water, Ranma turns into a girl, while Genma turns into a panda; warm water returns them to their normal forms.

When Ranma and Genma visit Genma’s old friend Soun Tendo at his dojo, Ranma learns the two friends had agreed that one of Tendo’s daughters would become Ranma’s fiancée and become their heir to the dojo. Akane, the youngest daughter who hates boys, is quickly assigned bridal duty by her two older sisters.

Over the course of the series, Ranma attracts several fiancées in his male form, as well as admirers in his female form. Akane also attracts other suitors. Will Ranma and Akane ever decide to be together, or will they choose one of their other suitors instead?

This volume of Ranma 1/2 begins exactly where Volume Four ended, with Ranma in the middle of a competition to try to acquire the Phoenix Pill from Cologne, the great-grandmother of Shampoo. Then, Cologne teams up with Ranma’s rival, Ryoga, in order to give him some training that she hopes will defeat Ranma.

Next is the introduction of the character, Sentaro; his story arc also presents the concept of the martial arts tea ceremony. Since I viewed the anime before reading the manga, it was interesting for me to note that this storyline appears a bit earlier in the manga than it does in the anime series.

The final story arc in this volume is the martial arts takeout race. The characters who compete in this race are girl-type Ranma, Akane, and Shampoo. The winner of the race is the girl who can deliver and feed her food to the occupant a randomly chosen address. It turns out the finish line is the home of Tatewaki Kuno, an upperclassman at Ranma and Akane’s school who is in love with both Akane and girl-type Ranma.

When it comes to Takahashi’s writing, she brings just the right blend of comedy and drama to her series. Not only is the reader compelled to care about the characters, but they also want to keep reading the series to find out what happens next. Takahashi’s art style really complements her writing. Her characters are very expressive, and can convincingly convey what they’re feeling through their facial expressions.

Ranma 1/2 is a manga series that I would personally recommend for older teenagers and adults who enjoy humor and have some appreciation for the martial arts.

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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.