I generally really hate love triangles. I don't like being put through the emotional wringer like that and one person, inevitably, is always hurt. So the fact that I continue to love Ranma 1/2 the way I do somewhat surprises me. We're not just talking triangles, here -- the entanglement is so complete that I've lost track of how many points the geometric shape has. I believe it may also have to be three-dimensional at this point.
Within these next two volumes of Ranma 1/2, we see the two extremes that this series contains (such as they are): Volume 24 contains a relatively gentle story, with emotional growth and connections, as well as the trademark general silliness. Ranma starts to realize exactly what's at stake when Akane goes into the mountains on her own to fight a giant platypus. Akane's generally very sweet and kind nature gets her into trouble here, rather than her temper which is the usual trigger for conflict. And the teamwork at the end of the story, which coincides with the end of the volume, is extremely enjoyable to read.
Then it's like Takahashi needed to take a breather after two fairly deep storylines. Volume 25 is a collection of short, completely stupid stories that are absolutely hilarious. They're all completely silly, except that Shampoo, of all people, gets some character development and I actually enjoyed it. There's a family related story in which Kasumi (Akane's eldest sister) has a moment to shine, Nabiki is up to her old tricks, and school life and home life begin to cross in an extremely disturbing way. And then there's a cursed bathing suit, and an ending that just barely makes sense. Um, actually, it didn't, but there you go. Oh, and a cursed cave, too! And finally, we get some more of the ridiculous principal who showed up way back in Volume 10 and made me love Ranma 1/2 again with his attack lobsters. This time he has a mad scheme to make Ranma look bad by announcing his test scores in public. Needless to say, it doesn't really turn out well for anyone in the end.
I've had to ILL the next two volumes again. Extremely grateful that my library will ILL graphic novels, because the local library does not. And this would have been an expensive series to read all the way through if I hadn't that option. Yay libraries!