Ranma ½ volume 2
by Rumiko Takahashi
BW, 224 pgs $9.95 US
The adventures of Ranma, Akane and Ryoga continue in this second edition. This series is jam-packed with crazy love triangles; everyone is smitten with someone else but no one is able to get together. In poor Ranma’s case, he’s just trying to avoid the whole affair. Everyone seems to fall in love with Ranma whether he is a boy or if he’s turned into his female form.
Akane is supposed to battle Kodachi, the “Black Rose”, in the art of rhythmic gymnastics. After ambushing Akane a week before the scheduled battle, Kodachi bumps into Ranma. The Black Rose falls head over heels for Ranma after he beats her in a quick duel; even then she shows her true colours (she cheats at everything) when Kodachi uses paralysis gas to try and kiss him. Luckily for Ranma, Akane beats her off with a swift kick and the adversity carries on. The following day the situation gets thicker when Akane injures herself practicing her gymnastics and Ranma has to take her place in his cursed female form. And just for the record, rhythmic gymnastics involves beating your opponent out of the ring using any weapon you’ve got at your disposal. Ranma attempts to play the gentlemen (beating up girls isn’t his style) until Kodachi starts playing rough.
In another story, Akane and Ranma are blackmailed into dueling a couple known as the golden pair over the ownership of the piglet P-Chan (Ryoga’s animal form–Ryoga is cursed too and is Ranma’s archenemy; yes, I know it’s confusing). Of course, the fight takes place on an ice rink, the fighting in the style of Martial Skating, and neither Ranma nor Akane can skate. Nonetheless, some fighting takes place and Ranma receives his “first kiss.”
If this manga series is anything, it is entertaining. Ranma ½ might not be filled up with philosophy and highbrow humour, but it sure knows how to make you laugh. With all the love lost characters filling the pages, the reader can’t help but fall in love with them. (Dana Tillusz)