Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ranma 1/2 Volumes 14 and 15 by Rumiko Takahashi

It's funny; I'd lost track of which Ranma 1/2 volumes I'd read, and so was commenting throughout my journal on volumes 13 and 14... by which I meant 14 and 15. I read 13 quite a while ago. Going back to read that entry, it turns out I'd thought it was mostly forgettable... and it seems I was right.

These next two volumes contain a couple of really excellent stories. There's one big ensemble story -- it involves Shampoo, Ryoga, Ukyo and Mousse, and I still really enjoyed it. There are crocodiles. And cold-water geysers. And nefarious mayors. And pork buns with swords. Volume 14's second story, the big ensemble piece which involves a three-legged obstacle race where the prize might be Ranma or it might be a trip to Jusenkyo (depends on who's racing), is really really funny and madcap.

Volume 15 contains a Nabiki-heavy story, which I think I would have liked better if Ranma and Akane weren't so darn stupid and determined to communicate poorly with each other. Like, so obstinate it came off as contrived. There were points in that story where my eyebrows were perpetually up, and the resolution provided me with my first throw-the-book-against-the-wall moment in Ranma 1/2, in that a) it didn't make any sense and b) the sense I was able to make of it was just. not. on. It was a moment in which Ranma stepped so far out of character my brain refused to accept it. To be fair, I'm now 15 volumes in to this series, so an out-of-character moment might have been inevitable at some point; lots of authors do much worse than that. But this was just ridiculous. I am hoping it's not a sign of things to come. Because if I have to start hating Ranma that's going to make the next 20 volumes awkward.

Not to say that there was nothing to love about Volume 15 aside from the Nabiki moments, which are always lovable for her sheer greed: think Soun Tendo (Akane's father) in a French maid costume. And Ranma in an iron corset. Yes? Yes.


Mandy said...

"Because if I have to start hating Ranma that's going to make the next 20 volumes awkward"
Holy cow what a huge series! Hilarious review. I actually really want to get my hands on a copy of the first volume. I'll put it on hold at my library.

Unknown said...

It's an investment! But it's fun and it really doesn't take long to read a volume. If you have trouble finding either of the first two, you're welcome to borrow them from me.