Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ranma 1/2 Volumes 28, 29, and 30 by Rumiko Takahashi

Now that we're coming to the end of Ranma 1/2, with only six volumes after this set to go, I am starting to get anxious to get to the end. Not because I want it to end, but because I want to know how it ends. See, the thing is, six volumes from the end, we're not any closer to solving Ranma's main dilemma, and it has really taken a back seat to everything else. We know he must solve it, because his life depends on it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be an incredibly simple, stupid solution and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Or, Takahashi might surprise me greatly and give us a multi-volume story arc to cap this series off, which would be awesome. We'll see. I'll have fun either way.

So, as promised, three volumes this time. Volume 28 is somewhat notable in that there is a Ryoga storyline in which I don't find Ryoga highly irritating, just mildly so. And it was even a sort of affectionate irritation. A new love interest for him is introduced, and I surprised myself by hoping that it might actually work out. He also showed a side of himself I've suspected firmly for a while: he's not as wildly in love with Akane as he thinks he is. There is a forgettable but fun storyline about Genma's hair, a forgettable and rather meh episode involving Ranma and Akane's teacher Hinako, a very forgettable (I only remembered it existed when checking the volume again to make sure I hadn't missed anything) storyline about Kuno and a cursed cherry tree, and then a really sweet final story involving Ranma's mother and Ranma taking ill. I think I might be a sucker for the stories about Ranma's mom. They're generally extra coherent, and combine slapstick humour with a little extra feeling.

Volume 29 is in the same vein -- generally no movement on the main storyline, although a couple of the short episodes are really cool. There's one involving a doll that I found somewhat creepy (well, for Ranma 1/2, and all you have to do is put a doll in stuff for me to find things creepy) and I really enjoyed it -- it illustrated how well Ranma and Akane are starting to know each other. And I liked how Akane didn't give up even when she was completely incapable of action; though sometimes she seems to be a little thick and reckless, here it came across as natural and brave. This volume also includes a Happosai storyline that I enjoyed a lot. I always enjoy Happosai as a side-plot. More Ryoga in love, which cements my generally low opinion of him, and a Shampoo storyline that did nothing to improve my opinion of her.

And then Volume 30, despite my high hopes based on its cover, only very briefly begins to resolve a few issues. I should know better. The cover never has anything to do with the content of the volume. The final storyline in this volume is a clear romantic moment, although it's going to take until the next volume for me to see if anything has truly changed or whether it's back to business as usual for Ranma and Akane. I'm guessing business as usual -- though it is true that, going back to the earlier volumes versus now, business as usual is different now from what it was back in the beginning. Their relationship really is growing. I'm enjoying the pace of it, even if I sound like I'm impatient. Ranma and Akane are generally a great team now, and they're certainly friends. I think they even recognize that, even if they don't realize it's progressed a fair bit further. This volume is a stronger one than the preceeding two, even without the final storyline -- there's a Drowned Yeti-Holding-A-Crane-And-A-Snake-Riding-An-Ox plus Drowned Octopus storyline, and I always like him. The low point is a Kodachi storyline in which Ranma appears to lose ever bit of martial arts prowess he's ever had, sacrificing things we know about his character for the sake of generating plot and humour.

All right! The library has Volumes 31 and 33, so I'm waiting on Volume 32 to come in ILL so that I can read them all together. And after that, it's three more left. I'm going to miss it.


Jill said...

Is the last volume actually the end? There aren't any new ones coming out? That's amazing that you are almost finished! I'm looking forward to getting back to the series at some point, although I admit the thought of writing all those reviews is pretty daunting. :p

Unknown said...

It is the end-end, yes. :( Although I am confused as to whether there are 36 or 38 volumes. I am getting differing reports. But I think it's 36.

The key to these reviews? Three at a time! If I was doing it over again, I'd go three-four volumes per review. I'm looking forward to your take!

Jill said...

I guess that's sad, although the fact that there IS an end makes it a little less scary planning to read them all! I like the several volume review format - I've done it a couple times, but I tend to space them out, and things start to fade in my mind if I don't review them quickly. I'll have to play around with it, particularly when I get back to Ranma.

Unknown said...

I found that I couldn't read just one at a time. They're so short and fast, and there are a couple of volumes where you definitely want to have the next one on hand because of cliffhangers. Plus they're so much fun. But this is perhaps a problem with my self-restraint, not a reviewing tactic...