- Ranma ½
North American cover of the first manga volume
Genre Martial arts, Romantic comedy Manga Written by Rumiko Takahashi Published by Shogakukan English publisher Viz Media Demographic Shōnen Magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday Original run 1987 – 1996 Volumes 38(Japanese) 36(English) TV anime Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki (season 1)
Tsutomu Shibayama (season 2)
Koji Sawai (seasons 3–5)
Junji Nishimura (seasons 6–7)
Studio Kitty Films, Studio Deen Licensed by Madman Entertainment
Network Fuji Television, Animax Original run April 15, 1989 – September 25, 1992 Episodes 161 Original video animation Directed by Junji Nishimura Studio Kitty Films, Shogakukan Productions, Pony Canyon Released 1993 – 2008 Episodes 13 Anime film Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China Directed by Shuji Inai Studio Kitty Films, Shogakukan Productions Released November 2, 1991 Runtime 80 minutes Anime film Ranma ½: Nihao My Concubine Directed by Akira Suzuki Studio Kitty Films, Shogakukan Productions, Pony Canyon Released August 1, 1992 Runtime 65 minutes
Ranma ½ (らんま1/2 Ranma Nibun-no-Ichi , pronounced Ranma One-Half) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi with an anime adaptation. The story revolves around a 16-year old boy named Ranma Saotome who was trained from early childhood in martial arts. As a result of an accident during a training journey, he is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, but hot water will change him back into a boy.
In Japan, the manga was serialized in Shogakukan's Shōnen Sunday where it ran from 1987–1996. Takahashi has stated in interviews that she wanted to produce a story that would be popular with children. Ranma is part of the shōnen demography.
Ranma ½ had a comedic formula and a sex changing main character, who often wilfully changes into a girl to advance his goals. Ranma ½ also contains many other characters, whose intricate relationships with each other, unusual characteristics and eccentric personalities drive most of the stories. Although the characters and their relationships are complicated, they rarely change once the characters are firmly introduced and settled into the series.
On a training journey in the Bayankala Mountain Range in the Qinghai Province of China, Ranma Saotome and his father Genma fell into the cursed springs at Jusenkyo. When someone falls into a cursed spring, they take the physical form of whatever drowned there hundreds or thousands of years ago whenever they come into contact with cold water. The curse will revert when exposed to hot water until their next cold water exposure. Genma fell into the Spring of the Drowned Panda while Ranma fell into the Spring of the Drowned Girl.
Upon returning to Japan, the pair settle in the dojo of Genma's old friend Soun Tendo, a fellow practitioner of Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū or "Anything-Goes" school of martial arts which Genma passed on to Ranma. Genma and Soun agreed years ago that their children would marry and carry on the Tendo Dojo. Soun has three teenaged daughters: Kasumi, Nabiki and the hot-tempered, but helpful, martial arts practicing Akane. As Akane is Ranma's age she is appointed for bridal duty by her sisters. Their reasoning is that Akane dislikes men, and that Ranma is only a man half of the time; therefore, they are perfect together. Although both initially refuse the engagement having not been consulted on the decision, they are generally treated as betrothed and end up helping or saving each other on numerous occasions. They are frequently found in each other's company and are constantly arguing in their trademark awkward love-hate manner that is a franchise focus.
Ranma goes to school with Akane at Furinkan High, where he meets his recurring opponent Tatewaki Kuno, the kendo team captain who is aggressively pursuing Akane, but who also falls in love with Ranma's female form without discovering his curse. Nerima serves as a backdrop for more martial arts mayhem with the introduction of Ranma's regular rivals, the eternally lost Ryoga Hibiki, the nearsighted Mousse, and Ranma's perverted grandmaster Happosai. His prospective paramours include the martial arts rhythmic gymnastics champion Kodachi Kuno, and his second fiancée and childhood friend Ukyo Kuonji the okonomiyaki vendor, along with the Chinese Amazon Shampoo, supported by her great-grandmother Cologne. As the series progresses, the school becomes more eccentric with the return of the Hawaii-obsessed Principal Kuno and the placement of the power-leeching alternating child/adult Hinako Ninomiya as Ranma's English teacher.
Rumiko Takahashi, the author of Ranma ½, purposefully aimed the series to be popular with women and children. In 2000 an Animerica interviewer talking with Takahashi asked her if she intended Ranma ½ "as an effort to enlighten a male-dominated society." Takahashi said that she does not think in terms of societal agendas and that she created the Ranma ½ concept because she wanted one that may be "a simple, fun idea." She added that she, as a woman and while recalling what comics she liked to read as a child, felt that "humans turning into animals might also be fun and märchenhaft...you know, like a fairy tale."
Takahashi drew inspiration for Ranma ½ from a variety of real-world objects. Some of the places frequently seen in the series are modeled after actual locations in Nerima, Tokyo, Japan (both the home of Takahashi and the setting of Ranma ½). In addition, links have been shown between the manga and people, paintings, and even films.
Ranma ½ began publication in September 1987, appearing in Shōnen Sunday, following the ending of Takahashi's previous major work Urusei Yatsura. From September 1987 until March 1996, Ranma ½ was published on a near weekly basis with the occasional colorized page to spruce up the usually black and white manga stories. After nearly a decade of storylines, Ranma ½'s final chapter was published in Shōnen Sunday 1996, Volume 12.
Following publication in Shōnen Sunday, it was then published in tankōbon format; the pages were published in normal black and white until 1996. Ranma ½ was eventually serialized into 38 of these volumes. In 2002, Shogakukan opted to republish these under a new format, the shinsōban. These were essentially the same as the tankōban save for a different cover.
In addition to the regular storylines, Ranma ½ has had several special releases. First, The Ranma ½ Memorial Book was published just as the manga ended in 1996. Acting as an end-cap to the series, it collects various illustrations from the series, features an interview with Rumiko Takahashi, and includes tidbits about Ranma: summaries of his battles, his daily schedule, trivia, and a few exclusive illustrations. Second, a Movie + OVA Visual Comic was released to illustrate the OVA episodes "The One to Carry On" (both parts) and the theatrical movie Team Ranma vs. the Legendary Phoenix (see List of Ranma ½ episodes#OVA). It also included information on the seiyū, character designs, and a layout of the Tendo dojo. Finally, guidebooks were released for three of the Ranma ½ video games; these included not only strategies, but also interviews.
United States publication
VIZ Media, a company owned by Shogakukan and Shueisha, published the English version of the Ranma ½ manga. Viz started publishing the Ranma ½ in 1993 in a monthly comic book format. Because of the time needed to accumulate material, subsequent volumes became relatively slow to come. Each graphic novel covers roughly the same amount of material as a tankōbon, but Viz incorporated minor differences in grouping so that the English language version spans 36 volumes rather than the Japanese number of 38. Volume 36, the final volume, was released in stores on November 14, 2006, thus making it Viz's longest running manga, spanning over 13 years.
On March 18, 2004, Viz announced that it would reprint a number of its graphic novels. The content remained the same, but the novels moved to a smaller format with different covers. In the case of Ranma ½, the covers shifted from a variegated style to a more uniform cover. In addition, the price dropped to $9.95. However, the title would still retain its "flipped", left-to-right format, like the first edition.
The animated TV series stays true to the above description but does diverge from the original manga by keeping Ranma's sex transformation a secret to the high school students, at least throughout most of its length (in both versions, the Kuno family act as if there were two Ranmas). The anime also does not introduce Hikaru Gosunkugi until very late in the series, and his character is slightly altered, whereas Gosunkugi is an important rival for Akane's affections early in the manga. Instead, the anime introduces a major recurrent character: Sasuke Sarugakure, diminutive ninja retainer of the Kuno family. Sasuke fills a number of Gosunkugi's roles in early storylines but is a major character in his own right.
The anime also alters the placement of many story arcs; one of the earliest, Martial Arts Tea Ceremony, appears in the fifth volume (in English) of the manga but does not appear until the TV series' fifth season. The anime also contains numerous original episodes and characters not adapted from the manga.
Shortly after licensing the manga, Viz Media followed up by licensing the Ranma anime in 1994, making Ranma ½ one of the very first anime titles licensed by Viz. The English dub produced for the series was recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia using the Ocean Group. Production, like the manga, spanned about 10 years. Viz released the series on VHS from Viz Video and released it on DVD a few years later in association with Pioneer Home Entertainment. Viz themselves re-released it on DVD in 2007 using their own DVD production company.
Viz Media also licensed both Ranma ½ movies, and the original 12 OVAs for distribution in North America. However, there still remains several video releases that came out in Japan that Viz has yet to release in the U.S. in any form, which include the Hot Song Fighting Contest specials, "29 Unteachable Fools", and the "Tendo Family's Annoying Acquaintances", among others they have not released in the U.S.
Live action special
A two-hour live action television adaption of Ranma ½ will air on NTV on December 9, 2011. It will tell an original story centering around Yui Aragaki as Akane, with Kenta Kaku and Natsuna Watanabe playing male and female Ranma respectively. Ryōsei Tayama will be cast as the antagonist Okamada, who does not appear in the original manga. The all-girl pop group 9nine will be contributing their song "Chikutaku☆2Nite" as the theme song for the special.
Rumiko Takahashi, the author of the series, said that the series became popular with girls, but did not become popular with boys. Ranma ½'s peak readership figures were with 15-year olds, but the distribution of readers was skewed towards younger females. In 2000 an Animerica interviewer talking with Takahashi said that the staff of Animerica would feel happy if Ranma ½ increased the number of female readers in the American manga market. By November 2006, it was reported that the series had sold over 49 million manga volumes in Japan.
In November 2006, the New York Comic Con announced that it would host the first-ever American Anime Awards. Anime fans had the chance to vote for their favorites online during the month of January 2007. Only the five nominees receiving the most votes were announced February 5 for each category. Among the 12 different categories, Ranma ½ was voted into the "Best Comedy Anime" category, and the Ranma ½ OVA series was voted into the "Best Short Series" category.
- ^ Animerica Vol.1, #2; http://www.furinkan.com/takahashi/takahashi7.html
- ^ a b "Rumiko Takahashi Interview". Viz Media. March 2, 2000. p. 3. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- ^ a b "Rumiko Takahashi Interview". Viz Media. March 2, 2000. p. 4. Retrieved on October 5, 2009.
- ^ "Miscellaneous – Inspirations". Ranma ½ Perfect Edition. April 25, 2006. http://www.furinkan.com/ranma/misc/inspirations.html.
- ^ "Interview with Rumiko Takahashi from the Memorial Book". Ranma ½ FAQ. April 25, 2006. Archived from the original on May 2, 2007. http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20070502212009/http://www.wot-club.org.uk/RanmaFAQ/rt_mbiv.html.
- ^ "Manga Summaries". Ranma ½ Perfect Edition. April 25, 2006. http://www.furinkan.com/ranma/manga/about.html.
- ^ "Product page for volume 36". Viz Media. October 20, 2006. http://www.viz.com/products/products.php?product_id=5766.
- ^ "2004 Press Releases". Viz Media. April 25, 2006. Archived from the original on December 30, 2009. http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20091230134551/http://viz.com/news/newsroom/2004/03_secondedition.php.
- ^ Amazon.com: Ranma 1/2: Season One: The Digital Dojo; TV Anime Season 1 DVD Box Set: Artist Not Provided: Movies & TV
- ^ Amazon.com: Ranma 1/2: OVA Series Box Set: Kappei Yamaguchi, Megumi Hayashibara, Takeshi Mori, Shinji Takagi: Movies & TV
- ^ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000EJ9VO8/
- ^ Ranma ˝ Perfect Edition
- ^ "Ranma 1/2 Manga Gets Live-Action Special with Yui Aragaki". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-09-26/ranma-manga-gets-live-action-special-with-yui-aragaki. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- ^ "Drama special “Ranma 1/2″ reveals its official poster". Tokyohive. http://www.tokyohive.com/2011/11/drama-special-ranma-12-reveals-its-official-poster/. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- ^ "Live-Action Ranma 1/2's Supporting Cast, Writer Revealed". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-09-26/live-action-ranma-s-supporting-cast-writer-revealed. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- ^ "Ranma 1/2 Manga live-action new antagonist". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-10-06/live-action-ranma-special-cast-further-revealed. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
- ^ "Ranma 1/2 theme song by 9nine". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-11-11/live-action-ranma-s-theme-sung-by-girl-group-9nine. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- ^ "Anime News Service - October 18 - November 9 Anime News". Anime News Service. http://www.animenewsservice.com/archives/novx.htm. Retrieved June 27, 2011. "RANMA has sold more than 49 million copies in Japan, and is one of the most recognized and acclaimed series ever produced."
- ^ "New York Comic Con AAA Finalists". American Anime Awards. May 19, 2007. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007. http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20070705050035/http://www.americananimeawards.com/news/pr_finalist.asp.
- (Japanese) Shōnen Sunday Museum
- Viz Media North American publisher of both anime and manga.
- Ranma ½ on Ranma ½ Wiki, an external wiki
- Ranma ½ (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Ranma ½ (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- J-pop.com review of Ranma music
Ranma ½ by Rumiko Takahashi The works of Rumiko Takahashi Major works Other manga Related anime
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