Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ranma 1/2 Volumes 20 and 21 by Rumiko Takahashi

Let's end the year off right, folks. That's right, it's my last two Ranma volumes of the year... I am now over halfway through the series, and still enjoying it thoroughly. Luckily for me, too, I don't think I'm going to have to ILLO any more, because my local library (not the one I work at) has the rest of the volumes to the end of the series! And now, onto the serious business of reviewing Ranma 1/2.

Maybe it's just me, but I think there might have actually been a little emotional depth to these two volumes of Ranma 1/2. Ranma continues to develop as a character -- mostly reinforcing things we already knew, but to be honest I didn't realize his ego was quite as big as it is, or quite as fragile. Akane has a couple of awesome moments too, although I'm not sure I see her character developing quite as much.

Takahashi really starts playing with gender and stereotypes in these two volumes. Like, in a much more in-depth way than has happened before, I think. Or perhaps I'm just in a more serious frame of mind today. In Volume 20, for example, we meet... Ranma's mother. Yes. Ranma has a mother. And she shows up. And it turns out that Ranma would like very much to meet her (it's quite sweet, actually) but because of a pact Genma made with her, that's pretty much impossible at this point. I won't say much more, other than that Takahashi takes shots at "manliness" and the ridiculous extremes people will go to. Which is very fun in this context.

Volume 21 further muddies the waters with a storyline in which Ryoga gets himself a veeery dangerous fishing rod -- one that will make someone fall in love with him. Of course, he's planning to use it on Akane, but of course, things don't go as planned. Deeelightful. And it involves Ryoga and I still enjoyed it, so there you go. I think overall this story is maturing a bit; not that it's not as completely ridiculous as it was in the beginning, but I think that Takahashi has settled into a nice rhythm with this story. In addition, as a reader, I've settled into the rhythm too.

Not much else to report -- we meet most everyone in these two volumes again: Kuno, Shampoo, Mousse, Cologne, Happosai, Pantyhose Taro, Gosunkugi, in addition to the regular family members... that might be it. Plus there are octopi jokes, and lots of fun especially with the Pantyhose Taro episode. So overall, two fun volumes, and I've ordered the next two from the local library (as opposed to mine, because we don't have them.) These are so perfect for reading on a day when I am distracted and busy, and want to read but don't want a giant in-depth thing. So, yay Ranma!

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