Ranma ½ volume 3
by Rumiko Takahashi
BW, 216 pgs $13.95 CAN / $9.95 US
Ranma and Akane put on their ice-skates to finally duel with the ‘Golden Pair”, Azusa and Mikaao. The victors of the battle win the pig P-Chan and the loser gets nothing. As always, the events get crazy and everybody is fighting for the love of someone else and by the end of it nobody is really sure what happened.
As I started reading this trade paperback, I couldn’t help but feel the series Ranma ½ was going nowhere. The transformation of the characters into different forms was unlike anything I’ve read before, but I was starting to think this premise was getting stale after about three trades. Rumiko Takahashi can write funny situations and her gag timing is almost perfect, but the stories were being told over again in different ways.
These thoughts about Ranma ½ were changed by the introduction of the character Shampoo. She is a Chinese Amazon hunting down the female version of Ranma after ‘she’ defeated Shampoo in hand-to-hand combat. Shampoo swore to avenge herself and kill Ranma. But it wasn’t the character that made me change my opinion of the series. It was what happened. Shampoo gave Akane amnesia in a fight because Shampoo fell in love with the male half of Ranma after he beat Shampoo in hand-to-hand. So, Akane didn’t remember who Ranma was and it was the turmoil that ensued that really propelled the story. After hundreds of pages, Takahashi’s characters were finally breaking away and building their own personalities. It is evident the core players really care for one another.
So, even though every trade will be filled with turbulent love scenes and gratuitous action, I don’t mind. I’ll be reading it for those soft moments when Ranma figures out he is actually fond of Akane even though every bone in his body knows he isn’t suppose to be. (Dana Tillusz)