Monday, October 6, 2014

Graphic Novel Review: "Ranma 1/2: Volume 1" by Rumiko Takahashi

Two old friends make a deal:  the son of one will marry one of the three daughters of the other.  When Ranma arrives to meet the girls, he is matched up with Akane - the one who likes him the least.  She is quick tempered and has been trained to fight well.  Ranma is also very skilled in martial arts, but has this issue/curse  that makes his life difficult.  Whenever he is splashed with cold water, he becomes a girl and stays that way until he is splashed with hot water.

This curse is used in such a funny way - it is like slapstick comedy in a manga art form.  There are all these romantic entanglements for Akane, it seems everyone except Ranma is in love with her but she doesn't return this affection.  The guy she likes happens to like someone else...  and it is all sorts of awkward.

I think what I liked most about this is the crazy exaggerations and over-the-top action.  It is kind of crazy in a light-hearted and enjoyable way.  A villain is introduced too, and while he seems to be super strong and determined, his motive is still kind of a mystery (or else it was just as revealed and is again over-exaggerated) and he has at least one original flaw that is exploited with humorous results.   I've already requested volume 2, so I will read on.  It is fast and fun, so why not?

Ranma 1/2: Volume 1
by Rumiko Takahashi
VIZ, 1993
300 pages
Source:  Library


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