Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ranma 1/2 Volumes 11, 12 and 13 by Rumiko Takahashi

I finished these three volumes weeks and weeks ago, and am thinking I should post about them, considering that the next two arrived at the library yesterday. I am really lucky that the library I work at will order graphic novels in from other systems. The library system I'm a patron of, here in my city, doesn't. They also don't have large chunks of the Ranma 1/2 series. So, happily, the library I work for will ask other libraries to send me Ranma and I don't have to purchase the whole series. This I would like to do eventually, but it's not a cheap proposition.

So today. In volume 11, we have more bathhouse hijinks. The Tendo household's bath seems to be out of commission regularly, which provides convenient excuses for various characters to get nekkid together. Sadly, this is not quite as sexy as it sounds, mostly because these scenes involve ridiculously unsexy battles. But funny! Nudity is definitely funny. That said, there's a tad too much Shampoo and Ryoga in this particular section for me, and as I find them both tremendously annoying at the best of times, I could have done without the first storyline involving magic soap. However, the second half of this volume has a really excellent storyline involving something called "The Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion" -- which, when applied to Ranma, causes him some serious problems. Which don't get resolved until...

Volume 12! Which I consider, along with volume 10, to be one of the highlights of this series so far. Again, it's the mix of comedy and touching romance that gets to me. And ridiculous martial arts "training" scenes. But we start to see some serious character development in Ranma especially here, and I love it. That said, there are three other stories in this volume, two of which are complete throwaways and one (involving Akane learning how to swim) which I found funny but I'm not entirely sure why.

And then there's volume 13. It was... mostly forgettable, I am afraid. I can't remember the first couple of storylines at all. However, the last, in which Ranma has gambled away the Tendo Dojo (as a child, no less) and everyone must deal with the consequences, is quite funny. The art in this story is particularly well done; it actually sticks out for me as one of the better-drawn sections in this series. I mean, the Gambling King (who claims the Dojo) is well done, but everything is clear and dynamic and I hope this is a hint of what is to come in future books.

I think I liked the Gambling King story arc so well because Nabiki features heavily, and of all the secondary characters, I like Nabiki best. She'd cheerfully sell someone else's soul if the price was right, but man she's cool. There's even some gambling arts training scenes in which Nabiki tries to train Ranma in the art of Old Maid. Fantastic.

As stated, volumes 14 and 15 are waiting for me at the library, and I'm looking forward to getting them shortly. Meanwhile, I am trying to read things with less pictures and more paragraphs, but we'll see. It is getting better.


Suko said...

I've just discovered your terrific book blog. I would love to work at a library--you're lucky to be able to surround yourself with books in this way!

Great review!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Suko! That's very kind. I do love working in the library, although I've discovered it's very hard on my TBR list. So much to read, so little time...