Ranma ½ (らんま½ Ranma Nibun-no-Ichi?, pronounced Ranma One-Half) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi with an anime adaptation. The story revolves around a 16-year old boy named Ranma Saotome who was trained from early childhood in martial arts. As a result of an accident during a training journey, he is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, but hot water will change him back into a boy.
In Japan, the manga was serialized in Shogakukan's Shōnen Sunday where it ran from 1987–1996. Takahashi has stated in interviews that she wanted to produce a story that would be popular with children. Ranma is part of the shonen demography.
Ranma ½ was extremely popular among American anime fans in the 1990s and popularized many of anime's most common visual gags.
Ranma ½ had a comedic formula and a sex changing main character, who often willfully changes into a girl to advance his goals. Ranma ½ also contains many other characters, whose intricate relationships with each other, unusual characteristics and eccentric personalities drive most of the stories. Although the characters and their relationships are complicated, they rarely change once the characters are firmly introduced and settled into the series.
On a training journey in the Bayankala Mountain Range in the Qinghai Province of China, Ranma Saotome and his father Genma fall into the cursed springs at Jusenkyo. When someone falls into a cursed spring, they take the physical form of whatever drowned there hundreds or thousands of years ago whenever they come into contact with cold water. The curse will revert when exposed to hot water until their next cold water exposure. Genma fell into the Spring of the Drowned Panda while Ranma fell into the Spring of the Drowned Girl.
Upon returning to Japan, the pair settle in the dojo of Genma's old friend Soun Tendo, a fellow practitioner of Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū or "Anything-Goes" school of martial arts which Genma passed on to Ranma. Genma and Soun agreed years ago that their children would marry and carry on the Tendo Dojo. Soun has three teenaged daughters: Kasumi, Nabiki and the hot-tempered, but helpful, martial arts practicing Akane. As Akane is Ranma's age she is appointed for bridal duty by her sisters. Their reasoning is that Akane dislikes men, and that Ranma is only a man half of the time; therefore, they are perfect together. Although both initially refuse the engagement having not been consulted on the decision, they are generally treated as betrothed and end up helping or saving each other on numerous occasions. They are frequently found in each other's company and are constantly arguing in their trademark awkward love-hate manner that is a franchise focus.
Ranma goes to school with Akane at Furinkan High, where he meets his recurring opponent Tatewaki Kuno, the kendo team captain who is aggressively pursuing Akane, but who also falls in love with Ranma's female form without discovering his curse. Nerima serves as a backdrop for more martial arts mayhem with the introduction of Ranma's regular rivals, the eternally lost Ryoga Hibiki, the nearsighted Mousse, and Ranma's perverted grandmaster Happosai. His prospective paramours include the martial arts rhythmic gymnastics champion Kodachi Kuno, and his second fiancée and childhood friend Ukyo Kuonji the okonomiyaki vendor, along with the Chinese Amazon Shampoo, supported by her great-grandmother Cologne. As the series progresses, the school becomes more eccentric with the return of the Hawaii-obsessed Principal Kuno and the placement of the power-leeching alternating child/adult Hinako Ninomiya as Ranma's English teacher.
Rumiko Takahashi, the author of Ranma ½, purposefully aimed the series to be popular with women and children. In 2000 an Animerica interviewer talking with Takahashi asked her if she intended Ranma ½ "as an effort to enlighten a male-dominated society." Takahashi said that she does not think in terms of societal agendas and that she created the Ranma ½ concept because she wanted one that may be "a simple, fun idea." She added that she, as a woman and while recalling what comics she liked to read as a child, felt that "humans turning into animals might also be fun and märchenhaft...you know, like a fairy tale."
Ranma ½ features a large and diverse cast of characters, the largest cast of any Rumiko Takahashi series created so far. The following table lists the major characters present in both the manga and anime series with images taken from the manga. Japanese names are in the Western order (given name, then family name).
Ranma Saotome (早乙女 乱馬 Saotome Ranma?) Male voice by: Kappei Yamaguchi (Japanese), Sarah Strange/Richard Cox (English). Female voice by: Megumi Hayashibara (Japanese), Brigitta Dau/Venus Terzo (English)
- The title character and main character of the series. While training with his father at the Jusenkyo training grounds in China, Ranma was thrown into the Spring of Drowned Girl. According with the spring's curse, he emerged as a young lady. When splashed with hot water, he changes back into a man. However, when splashed with cold water, he turns into the red-headed girl again. Martial arts is the 16-year-old hero's life. Whenever his pride is damaged, Ranma will go to great lengths to rectify the situation. He can come across as petty, overconfident, insensitive and arrogant, as he is prone to cheat or give insults, often acts out of unthinking selfishness, and is a frequent braggart. However, much of the above is caused by awkward immaturity. Ranma has an extreme fear of cats resulting from when his father trained him in the dangerous 'Cat Fu' technique. If Ranma is isolated with a cat in a very small space, or when he can no longer cope with his fear of cats, he begins behaving like a cat himself and becomes a master of the 'Cat Fu'. He loves Akane deeply but refuses to admit his feeling for her, pretending that he doesn't care about her. He and Akane drift closer throughout the series, each of them going to great lengths to save the other when in trouble. In addition to being engaged to Akane (by way of their parents), Ranma has several love interests. Most notably are the Chinese Amazon Shampoo, childhood friend and okonomiyaki chef Ukyo Kounji, and Kodachi Kuno, the sister of rival Tatewaki Kuno.
- Genma is Ranma's insensitive father. He originally took Ranma to Jusenkyo because he had heard about it in a Chinese brochure even though he cannot read a word of Chinese. He also got cursed, turning into a panda. Unlike Ranma, he doesn't have much trouble with it, especially because he can get away from his problems in his panda form. While Genma frequently preaches duty and honor as a martial artist, he seems to be a poor example to set those standards by. He usually tries to flee from any problems he has caused or is entangled in, alternately foist the matter unto Ranma. While he's usually either too lazy or scared to show it, he is an incredibly powerful martial artist who possesses a towering battle-aura and has invented two schools of techniques based upon thievery. His love of food regularly overpowers his love of his son and gets both of them in trouble.
Nodoka Saotome (早乙女 のどか Saotome Nodoka?) Voiced by: Masako Ikeda (Japanese), Lisa Bunting (English)
- Nodoka is Ranma's loving mother. She hasn't seen him and Genma in over a decade though, when they left on their training trip. Stating that a doting mother would hinder Ranma's training, Genma made a contract with her to raise Ranma as a "man amongst men", and if he failed, he and Ranma were to commit seppuku, a ritual suicide. However, because Ranma's curse makes him a woman half the time, they spent most of Nodoka's appearances hiding from her as Ranko Tendo and her pet, Mr. Panda. Nodoka's heart was constantly broken by knowing that she wanted nothing more than to see her son again. Eventually near the end of the manga, she does meet Ranma and Genma and discovers their curses. However, she was more accepting than they had ever expected, mostly because she eventually began to suspect that Ranma and Ranko were, in fact, the same person. She moves in with Ranma and Genma, allowing the three of them to be a "normal" family again.
- The female protagonist of the series, Akane is Soun's youngest daughter at age 16. She is a very insecure, awkward and sensitive girl with a hot temper and a big heart. After first encountering Ranma's male form as a naked stranger in the bathroom and becoming further upset by his insults, their engagement was not off to a good start. With time, both Akane and the relationship mellow out, and she helps or risks her life for Ranma on several occasions. Akane regularly feels inferior to Kasumi in beauty and feminine pursuits, to Ranma and his other fiancées in cooking, martial arts ability or gymnastics, and to other students in swimming. She is trying hard to excel in everything, but is either clumsy or completely inept at all except for schoolwork and certain sports activities, like volleyball. When someone, frequently Ranma, belittles her lack of success, or calls her uncute, ugly, over-muscled, unfeminine and tomboyish she often feels upset. She is shown as very friendly towards people who are polite and do not insult her and has consistently risked herself to help or save Ranma. She usually gets extremely jealous when one of Ranma's other fiances show physical affection torwards him although she says she isn't affected. She also loves Ranma deeply.
Soun Tendo (天道 早雲 Tendō Sōun?) Voiced by: Ryūsuke Ōbayashi (Japanese), David Kaye (English)
- Soun is the head of the Tendo household and one of the two families to practice Anything Goes Martial Arts. He is also a widower, left to single-handedly take care of his three daughters. He has a large house that is occasionally in need of repairs due to the fights that take place there. While he owns his own dojo, students have not been explicitly shown. Community representatives frequently approach him when they have problems with unusual phenomena, so this may provide some of it, and he has rented out the dojo for social meetings. However he is shown to be quite careful with the expenses and gets upset when Nabiki spends his savings on expensive gifts, or when Ranma throws the dinner on the floor. In the anime, he spends most of his time playing Shogi with his old training partner Genma. Soun is eager for his daughter to say she loves Ranma, or the other way around, to continue the legacy of his school. He'll start announcing wedding plans if Ranma and Akane seem romantically involved. Soun is able to manifest himself as a ghostly, floating oni head, whenever he is upset and often cries "Oh the humanity!" in the anime. He generally assumes most incidents are Ranma's fault. He's shown as extremely protective of his children, especially Kasumi, and becomes sad if their affection is in doubt. Miss Hinako is attracted to him, but he is very loyal to his dead wife and visits her grave in memorial.
Nabiki Tendo (天道 なびき Tendō Nabiki?) Voiced by: Minami Takayama (Japanese), Angela Costain (English)
- Nabiki is the middle daughter of Soun. She loves money above all else and is willing to sacrifice anyone to gain more of it, even ruin her family to win a bet. In most stories that she plays a vital role, she either attempts to extort money from someone (notably Kuno), or sets up dangerous situations for her own amusement, or both in combination. In different translations, she has been outright stated to have "no maidenly feelings" or be "completely heartless", but she isn't above using her classy and highly attractive appearance as a lure for potential suitors/victims. She has a sarcastic, materialistic, egoistic, manipulative, sadistic and completely amoral attitude that is a sharp contrast to her older sister. In the "Bean-Gun Plant" manga story Nabiki was stated to invest at least some of her earnings in personal stocks, but is extremely unwilling to spend her own money. She would rather steal Akane's wardrobe, get spoiled by an admirer, or empty Soun's savings by buying expensive gifts for herself. She secretly takes pictures of Ranma (in female form) and Akane and sells the copies to her schoolmates (Kuno being the biggest customer), who happily buy them. She was briefly engaged to Ranma after Akane got frustrated with it, and rented him out as slave labour, but also played a role in bringing the two back together, when Ranma seemed to turn into more work than her profits warranted.
Kasumi Tendo (天道 かすみ Tendō Kasumi?) Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (Japanese), Willow Johnson (English)
- Kasumi is the eldest of the Tendo girls, and the most traditional in the Japanese sense. She has graduated high school and spends most of her day looking after the Tendo household, acting as the family's substitute "matriarch" by cooking, cleaning, and helping her family since her mother's untimely death. Sweet, innocent, caring and seemingly unaffected by the lunacy that is surrounding her, Kasumi is one of the few characters who never gets hurt at any point in the series, if you don't count her temporary possession by a mischievous oni. She's occasionally shown as wiser and more perceptive than readily apparent, and can see through Nabiki's schemes. Beyond taking care of the household, she's been shown to go out to meet friends and has borrowed a pressure point book from her good friend Dr. Tofu, who is in love with her.
Shampoo (珊璞 Shanpū?, Pinyin: Shān Pú) Voiced by: Rei Sakuma (Japanese), Cathy Weseluck (English)
- Shampoo came to Japan to kill the female Ranma after he defeated her in an annual martial contest so he and Genma could eat the prize, a fully stocked banquet table. She gave Ranma's female form the "Kiss of Death", a promise to track her down and eventually kill her. Later, after being defeated by Ranma in male form, she gave him the "Kiss of Marriage." Due to Amazon law, she is then bound to either kill or marry him. Unaware at first that girl and boy Ranma were the same person, she is heartbroken upon learning the truth and returns home to be retrained at Jusenkyo by her great-grandmother Cologne, but she became cursed and turns into a cat — the one thing Ranma fears most. She is no longer fixated on wanting to kill Ranma, and now just wants to marry him. Having returned to Nerima, Tokyo, Japan, Shampoo waits tables at the Cat Cafe (Neko Hanten), her great-grandmother's restaurant, and delivers ramen by bicycle, occasionally running down people—particularly Ranma—on the streets and rooftops. She has stated variations on 'obstacle is for killing' as a personal motto, which even included Akane when the latter was captured and tied up by Pantyhose Taro. Her character design and demeanor are similar to Lum Invader of Takahashi's first major work, Urusei Yatsura.
Cologne (可崘 Koron?, Pinyin: Kě Lún) Voiced by: Miyoko Aso (Japanese), Elan Ross Gibson (English)
- Cologne is Shampoo’s great-grandmother and the leader of the Chinese Amazon tribe. She came to Nerima to see what this “future son-in-law” was made of, but she ended up staying so that she could aid Shampoo in winning Ranma's heart. Though an extremely old woman (300 years old, according to the anime), she remains an immensely dangerous martial artist who has taught Ranma the Kachū Tenshin Amaguriken and Hiryū Shōten Ha. Unlike the rest of the cast, Cologne seems to prefer to sit in the background and watch the madness unfold. If she has a motive, whether it is to help Shampoo in her efforts or to aid Ranma in his battles, only then will she step into the fray. She also runs a Chinese restaurant called the Cat Cafe, where Shampoo and Mousse both work.
Mousse (沐絲 Mūsu?, Pinyin: Mùsī) Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki (Japanese), Brad Swaile (English)
- Mousse is a long-time friend of Shampoo, though she might not view it that way. He has been in love with her for most of his life, but she finds him annoying at best. He can't see very well without his glasses, often mistaking someone for something else. He comes to Nerima in search of this "new fiancé" that Shampoo has, and he stays to attempt to woo his sweetheart. Shampoo rebuked his advances when they were children and this still holds true by Amazon law, even if he manages to defeat Ranma in combat, but he remains persistent. Now a waiter at the Cat Café, he turns into a duck thanks to his own Jusenkyo curse. When in human form, his clothes contain weapons of drastic proportions, including needles, chains, swords, bombs, household appliances, and just about anything else imaginable, even items that are bigger than his clothes. In duck form, Mousse can project items from his feathers.
Jusenkyo Guide Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese), Ian Corlett (English)
- The Jusenkyo Guide turns up at odd points during the series. Though he speaks in somewhat broken Japanese (like Shampoo's accent), he is very knowledgeable about subjects concerning all things Chinese, especially the Jusenkyo Springs. Although he seems to genuinely care about the well-being of the people he guides, most of them end up falling into a spring and getting to hear him recite a very tragic story. For this reason, he keeps a list that contains the names of everyone who has been cursed. He also has a daughter named Plum and remains uncursed despite the long period of time he has been there and the number of people he has watched get cursed.
Tatewaki Kuno (九能 帯刀 Kunō Tatewaki?) Voiced by: Hirotaka Suzuoki (Japanese), Ted Cole (English)
- Tatewaki Kuno is an upperclassman at Furinkan High and was the big man on campus – at least until Ranma came along. Hailing from a very wealthy family, he is also captain of the kendo club and wields both his fortune and sword with equal ease. Given to spouting off Confucian philosophy (Shakespearesque poetry in the English version), he is madly in love with Akane. He also falls for Ranma’s female half and never realizes that she is really his mortal enemy in girl form despite several occasions when Ranma transformed right before his eyes. He once hears her called by Ranma's name, and attempts to write it down for future reference. Despite this, Kuno never makes a connection and continues to refer to her as his "goddess in pigtails", or "the pigtailed girl" for the entire series.
- Kodachi Kuno is the sister of Tatewaki and attends classes at St. Bacchus, an all-girls school. A champion of Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics, she is defeated by female Ranma, whom she believes is in love with the male Ranma, and thus earns her hatred. Kodachi fell in love with the male Ranma after he saved her from a fall before the match. Over the course of the series, she shows up with various plots to make him love her, usually through some sort of deviousness like paralysis gas in roses, sleeping pills and cookies. But like her older brother, she does not realize that Ranma and the "pigtailed girl" are the same person. This fact is often a source of conflict for her and Tatewaki.
Principal Kuno (九能 校長 Kunō-kōchō?) Voiced by: Tatsuyuki Jinnai (Japanese), Scott McNeil (English)
- Principal Kuno is the long-absent principal of Furinkan High. Apparently off in Hawaii for quite some time, he returns rather suddenly and proceeds to make as much trouble as possible for the students. He is forever trying to discipline Ranma, especially in regards to his braided ponytail. Given to affecting Hawaiian speech and culture, he is also the long-lost father of the Kunos. His son is not particularly happy to see him, though. Kodachi adores him and hates to see him sad. Principal Kuno enjoys torturing the students at Furinkan High School, especially with their hair.
Notable Nerima residents
Ukyo Kuonji (久遠寺 右京 Kuonji Ukyō?) Voiced by: Hiromi Tsuru (Japanese), Kelly Sheridan (English)
- Ten years ago, on a training trip in the country, Genma stole Ukyo's father's okonomiyaki yatai (food cart), leaving her behind and breaking the arrangement he and her father made. However, before this Ranma and Ukyo were friends, but Ranma never knew she was a girl. Shamed and ridiculed by her peers, Ukyo decided she wouldn't like boys, dressed and lived as one, and devoted herself to okonomiyaki-style martial arts. After a heated battle, Ranma discovers her true gender. Meanwhile, she discovers that he does not seem to get along with his "uncute" fiancée Akane. They reconcile, and she falls in love with him again. Ranma still treats her only as an old friend, but her plots to win him over have been mostly non-violent, unlike those of his other suitors, such as attempting to match Akane up with Ryoga, or arranging a cooking contest, but she can turn underhanded, and occasionally ambushes what she believes to be romantic rivals. She has been willing to give up her house and restaurant, or rescind her craft for Ranma's sake, if it would mean that they could be together.
Hikaru Gosunkugi (五寸釘 光 Gosunkugi Hikaru?) Voiced by: Issei Futamata (Japanese), Michael Benyaer (English)
- "Voodoo Spike" Gosunkugi is the least popular student in Furinkan High and a student in Ranma's class. He is a painfully shy boy with few friends. Like many of the Furinkan students, he loves Akane and attempts to win her by doing away with Ranma through inefficient Voodoo magic or outrageous plots. He also enjoys taking photographs on the sly and teams up with several other characters, notably Kuno, in various plots. Most of his parts were given to Sasuke, the ninja servant of the Kunos, in the anime.
Dr. Tofu Ono (小乃東風 Ono Tōfū?) Voiced by: Yūji Mitsuya (Japanese), Ian Corlett/Kirby Morrow (English)
- Dr. Tofu is the resident chiropractor and well-liked by the residents of Nerima. He is also a martial artist, though never seen practicing, and is quite competent at tending Ranma and Akane in their various scrapes. He is also madly in love with Kasumi and becomes quite dangerous when she is around. In these instances, he becomes an incompetent fool, sometimes harming his patients. Sadly, Kasumi does not seem to understand his feelings. He always seems to know what to do—until Kasumi arrives. The anime gives him a larger role, though in both mediums, he becomes a minor character almost nonexistent after the first few stories.
Hinako Ninomiya (二ノ宮 ひな子 Ninomiya Hinako?) Voiced by: Yumi Tōma (Japanese), Janyse Jaud (English)
- Hinako is an English teacher hired by Principal Kuno for the purpose of reforming Furinkan High's many delinquents. Due to Happosai’s intervention when she was a small child, she has an unusual metabolism. By sucking out her enemy's battle aura through a circular opening, usually that of a five-yen coin, she transforms from an innocent child into a rather provocative woman. As a child, she is spastic and acts absurdly. In her adult form, she tends to be a bit cold and forward. Either way, however, she tries to take her job seriously, and has a crush on Soun. She's been shown to have bad housekeeping skills and a penchant for junk food. In one story, it is revealed that even if she remains in adult form, she will still eventually retain her childlike personality and impulses (playing, short attention span, etc).
Ryoga Hibiki (響 良牙 Hibiki Ryōga?) Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese), Michael Donovan (English)
- Ryoga is a childhood rival of Ranma's and is infamous for losing his way thanks to a horrible sense of direction. After spending months looking for male Ranma for leaving before their planned duel, he finally finds him in China but gets pushed into a Jusenkyo spring by female Ranma and now changes into a small piglet. He seeks Ranma out with a large grudge, and discovers Akane who thinks that little “P-chan” is quite cute. Of course, she doesn’t know that it’s really Ryoga, but that doesn’t stop him from falling in love with her. When not upset he's usually shy, humble and polite, especially around women. His anger lessens with time, first into a fierce rivalry, then shifting back and forth between tense competition, uneasy allies or non-serious conflicts. Finally they became on friendly enough terms for Ryoga to repeatedly risk his life to help Ranma, but the competition between the two will likely persist forever. Ryoga spends his time wandering through the wilderness, training and amassing new techniques to exceed Ranma — if he can ever find his friend and nemesis.
Happosai (八宝斎 Happōsai?) Voiced by: Ichirō Nagai (Japanese), Paul Dobson (English)
- The very definition of a dirty old man, Happosai is the grandmaster and founder of the Anything Goes Martial Arts school. Genma and Soun were his original disciples, but they got fed up having to steal lingerie and food for the old lecher and decided to try and finish him off. They were quite surprised when he showed up many years later to make them miserable and find a successor in the Art. Unfortunately for Ranma, he was the incorrigible old freak's choice. He is an immensely skilled and powerful martial artist, with but one weakness: bras, panties, and pantyhose. Happosai is so obscenely addicted to his perversion that he suffers from withdrawal if he goes without them for an extended period. He is always scheming to get people to help him on his "panty raids", but often gets disrupted by Ranma, boosting his dislike for the boy, though ironically he lusts after Ranma's female form. It seems as though he always shows up at the most inconvenient moments. Happosai can go to great lengths to ruin the life of anyone that displeases him, but usually chooses silly methods. He nonetheless shows a soft spot for children.
Pantyhose Taro (パンスト太郎 Pansuto-Tarō?) Voiced by: Shinnosuke Furumoto (Japanese), Matt Hill (English)
- Pantyhose Taro has possibly the most unusual curse in the series, having been baptised in the "Spring of the Drowned Yeti Holding an Eel and Crane while Riding an Ox" after his birth. Unfortunately, it was Happosai who performed the honor after helping his mother give birth while he was in one of his rare good moods. In Taro's society, the baptiser also receives the honor of naming the child, and he chose "Pantyhose," believing everybody would like it. Taro enjoys the power his cursed form possesses, even going back to Jusenkyo to get an octopus curse to add tentacles to his back. A cold, sadistic and thoroughly ruthless individual, he is driven entirely by his desire to capture Happosai and be renamed.
Takahashi drew inspiration for Ranma ½ from a variety of real-world objects. Some of the places frequently seen in the series are modeled after actual locations in Nerima, Tokyo, Japan (both the home of Takahashi and the setting of Ranma ½). In addition, links have been shown between the manga and people, paintings, and even films.
Ranma ½ began publication in September 1987, appearing in Shōnen Sunday, following the ending of Takahashi's previous major work Urusei Yatsura. From September 1987 until March 1996, Ranma ½ was published on a near weekly basis with the occasional colorized page to spruce up the usually black and white manga stories. After nearly a decade of storylines, Ranma ½'s final chapter was published in Shōnen Sunday 1996, Volume 12.
Following publication in Shōnen Sunday, were then published in book form until 1996 the pages were published in normal black and white. Ranma ½ was eventually serialized into 38 of these volumes. In 2002, Shogakukan opted to republish these under a new format, the shinsōban. These were essentially the same as the tankōban save for a different cover.
In addition to the regular storylines, Ranma ½ has had several special releases. First, The Ranma ½ Memorial Book was published just as the manga ended in 1996. Acting as an end-cap to the series, it collects various illustrations from the series, features an interview with Rumiko Takahashi, and includes tidbits about Ranma: summaries of his battles, his daily schedule, trivia, and a few exclusive illustrations. Second, a Movie + OVA Visual Comic was released to illustrate the OVA episodes "The One to Carry On" (both parts) and the theatrical movie "Team Ranma vs. the Legendary Phoenix." It also included information on the seiyū, character designs, and a layout of the Tendo dojo. Finally, guidebooks were released for three of the Ranma ½ games; these included not only strategies, but also interviews.
United States publication
VIZ Media, a company owned by Shogakukan and Shueisha, published the English version of the Ranma ½ manga. Viz started publishing the Ranma ½ in 1993 in a monthly comic book format. Because of the time needed to accumulate material, subsequent volumes became relatively slow to come. Each graphic novel covers roughly the same amount of material as a tankōbon, but Viz incorporated minor differences in grouping so that the English language version spans 36 volumes rather than the Japanese number of 38. Volume 36, the final volume, was released in stores on November 14, 2006, thus making it Viz's longest running manga, spanning over 13 years.
On March 18, 2004, Viz announced that it would reprint a number of its graphic novels. The content remained the same, but the novels moved to a smaller format with different covers. In the case of Ranma ½, the covers shifted from a variegated style to a more uniform cover. In addition, the price dropped to $9.95. However, the title would still retain its "flipped", left-to-right format, like the first edition.
The TV series stays true to the above description but does diverge from the rest of the series by keeping Ranma's sex transformation a secret to the high school students at least throughout most of its length (in both versions, the Kuno family act as if there were two Ranmas). The TV series also does not introduce Hikaru Gosunkugi until very late in the series, and his character is slightly altered in the anime version, whereas Gosunkugi is an important rival for Akane's affections in the early manga. Instead, the TV series introduces a major recurrent character: Sasuke Sarugakure, diminutive ninja retainer of the Kuno family. Sasuke fills a number of Gosunkugi's roles in early storylines but is a major character in his own right.
The TV series also alters the placement of many story arcs; one of the earliest, Martial Arts Tea Ceremony, appears in the fifth volume (in English) of the manga but does not appear until the TV series' fifth season. The anime also contains numerous original episodes and characters not adapted from the manga.
Shortly licensing the manga, Viz Media followed up by licensing the Ranma TV adaptation in 1994, making Ranma one of the very first anime titles licensed by Viz. The English dub produced for the series was recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia using the Ocean Group. Production, like the manga, spanned about 10 years. Viz released the series to VHS from Viz Video and released the series to DVD a few years later in association with Pioneer Home Entertainment. Viz themselves re-released it to DVD in 2007 using their own DVD production company.
Rumiko Takahashi, the author of the series, said that the series became popular with girls, but did not become popular with boys. Ranma ½'s peak readership figures were with 15-year olds, but the distribution of readers was skewed towards younger females. In 2000 an Animerica interviewer talking with Takahashi said that the staff of Animerica would feel happy if Ranma ½ increased the number of female readers in the American manga market.
In November 2006, the New York Comic Con announced that it would host the first-ever American Anime Awards. Anime fans had the chance to vote for their favorites online during the month of January 2007. Only the five nominees receiving the most votes were announced February 5 for each category. Among the 12 different categories, Ranma ½ was voted into the "Best Comedy Anime" category, and the Ranma ½ OVA series was voted into the "Best Short Series" category.
- Animerica Vol.1, #2; http://www.furinkan.com/takahashi/takahashi7.html
- "Rumiko Takahashi Interview". Viz Media. March 2, 2000. p. 3. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Rumiko Takahashi Interview". Viz Media. March 2, 2000. p. 4. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- "Miscellaneous – Inspirations". Ranma ½ Perfect Edition. April 25, 2006.
- "Ranma ½ (manga)". Anime News Network. April 25, 2006.
- "Interview with Rumiko Takahashi from the Memorial Book". Ranma ½ FAQ. April 25, 2006.[dead link] Archive copy at the Wayback Machine.
- "Manga Summaries". Ranma ½ Perfect Edition. April 25, 2006.
- "Product page for volume 36". Viz Media. October 20, 2006.
- "2004 Press Releases". Viz Media. April 25, 2006.
- "New York Comic Con AAA Finalists". American Anime Awards. May 19, 2007.[dead link] Archive copy at the Wayback Machine.
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