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It’s time to remember a classical comedy and action anime from the eighties. Its creator, Rumiko Takahashi, has kept active and surprising us with high quality stories like her latest Kyoukai no Rinne. But before this author was considered the Goddess of Manga, she was an aspiring manga artist who worked hard to achieve success. It is known that she even slept in a closet in order to meet her deadlines. Her first manga series, Urusei Yatsura, was full with the comical situations and romance that would characterize her first professional work period, which was culminated with Ranma 1/2.
Although the idea of a guy who can turn into a girl might have been novel in those times, Takahashi decided to carry it out simply because if the protagonist had both genders, she would be able to draw many boys and girls. The story of the karate trainees Ranma and Akane, betrothed by their fathers against their will, gave away to 38 volumes of manga, 161 anime episodes, 3 films, several OVA, T.V. specials, video games and a live action TV film released in 2011.
One of the reasons Ranma 1/2 was so popular both in Japan and overseas was that, besides being full of humor, the story played with the universal premise of “If I show I hate you, it’s because I love you”. Although in the case of Ranma and Akane, there were good reasons to dislike each other, good reasons to be fond of each other… and even more good reasons to laugh at the messy situations they went through. Without further ado, let’s see our list of reasons! .
1. Because Ranma Can Transform Into a Hot Girl
The essential uniqueness of Ranma is that he comes with the full gender package. Since the fated day when his father Genma trained him in the cursed Jusenkyo springs in China and he fell in the “Spring of the Girl”, Ranma turns into a cute red haired lady whenever he is damped in cold water. To go back to his male form, he just needs hot water, but we should remember Japanese are well known for their clean habits, so both cold and warm water are available often to complicate our protagonist’s life.
Still, Ranma keeps his strong minded, friendly and playful personality at all times, not showing particular traumas. On the contrary, he has taken advantage of his female looks on several occasions, either to get more food or to enter into martial arts competitions (for example in the Ice skating battle of episode 20). And of course, who can forget when he accidentally saw Akane naked in the first episode of the anime? Ranma did not lose his chance to tell her that he had a better body than her. Which takes us to our next reason…
2. Because Akane Wears the Pants in the Relationship
Akane usually looks all girly in the posters and merchandise for the anime. Notice how she wears dresses and feminine accessories, while Ranma usually appears in Chinese style clothes that can fit him in both of his genders. But we fans know that, behind Akane’s happy exterior, a stubborn and competitive personality awaits. Being the Tendo’s family youngest daughter and the only one who followed on her father’s footsteps as karateka, she behaves as the heiress of the family dojo. And she insists on such behavior despite that her father is more than expecting that Ranma will be the heir in charge.
This girl is focused on being a good karateka and does not pay attention to boys… which explains why every time she heads to school, an army of admirers tries to defeat her in hopes of going out with her. But strong willed Akane always sends them flying through the skies, just as she does with Ranma whenever he mentions that he is cuter or more feminine than her.
3. Because They Live in Denial
This pair have had problems since day one, but when Genma mentions Akane is cute and Ranma denies it in the first episode, he blushes. Akane also has gone through great trouble to hide Ranma’s double identity. And who remembers episode 8? When they hug, they both look as timid and candid as the teenagers they are (aw, that's sweet).
But don’t get too enthusiastic! They can get all red on the face, but they will be dead first than to admit head straight to their families or their friends that they like each other. Even when Ranma´s panic towards cats transforms him in a master of “Cat-fu” (attacking everyone in his cat mode), the only one that can calm him down is Akane.
So, everyone ends up acknowledging our couples feelings, and even a few of their love rivals give up. But will they admit it? Nah!
4. Because of All the Mess Their Admirers Create to Pull Them Apart
Talking about love rivals… Ranma and Akane have a legion of admirers creating all sorts of absurd situations that they have to solve in absurd ways too. Let’s forget about their daily routine of kicking asses in the school’s entrance. We are talking about the great fighters that are at their level or even surpass them.
On one occasion, the gymnast Kodachi a.k.a the Black Rose forged some pictures of Ranma and her. So, Ranma went to her house to recover them, but Akane was suspicious of his interest toward her rival and a lot of mess followed (involving a certain crocodile with the name of Mr. Turtle). And what about Shampoo, who brainwashed Akane with a martial capillary treatment attack to make her forget Ranma?
Akane has also been the target on several occasions. Although Master Happosai was generally inclined to pursue any young woman, he kidnapped Akane in episode 33 and no one, not even Ranma and Akane’s fathers, could defeat him. The only one that could do something in the end was Akane herself, who is shown to fight even when she is asleep.
And of course, who can forget the lovely black pig P-chan? Originally the karateka Ryoga Hibiki, a rival/friend of Ranma’s childhood, he fell in love with Akane’s kindness. So, as her little pet, Ryoga was always pushing Ranma to fall down over Akane, so that she thought he was a pervert and kicked him, etc.
5. Because Even Their Serious Moments are Hilarious
Rumiko Takahashi once stated that she gets very nervous whenever she creates a serious scene. That is why she tends to add something funny.
For example, in episode 49, Ranma receives a strong hit and he thinks he is a girl. Akane supported him on his new identity and even bought him a dress, but when he states that her fiancée is gone for good, she grows desperate and hits him in a comical way, making him recover his memory.
Akane also has flirted with him or made serious conversations before pushing him or making him fall into cold water. In episode 39, there was an unforgettable kiss between our characters. I mean, who can imagine something more associated to romance than the Shakespearean play of Romeo and Juliet? Ranma and Akane acted in a hilarious version that included karate fights and a fake kiss using transparent tape, although Ranma thought at first that his Juliet intentions of kissing him were real ☺
The magic behind Ranma 1/2 is a spicy combination of Asian culture, Japanese traditions and a universal sense of how relationships (in general) work. If we add romantic comedy to the mix and some everyday situations that most of us can relate to, we have a delicious recipe for the most hilarious couple in the anime world!
Which is your favorite romantic moment of Ranma 1/2? Which was the most hilarious episode? Which other characters would you like us to revise? We’re open to all your comments and suggestions!