6 Manga Like Ranma ½ [Recommendations]

Some of you readers familiar with Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma ½ probably think Ranma Saotome has it all. He is good looking and a martial arts prodigy. However, due to falling into a certain spring while training in China shortly prior to the series, whenever he is splashed with cold water, he becomes a she. Thankfully, the transformation can be reversed with hot water. In addition to his good looks as a boy, they transfer over as a girl so he becomes an object of affection to both men and women, which is just too much to handle for a lot of people. He hopes to one day reverse his curse (along with the other cast members who turn into something when splashed with cold water), but the hijinks that happen throughout the duration of the series tend to get in the way.

Ranma ½ was Rumiko Takahashi’s breakout on an international scale, but it was her third hit in Japan. Thanks to the success of Ranma ½, Takahashi-sensei’s later works would progressively become more action oriented. Beyond action, Takahashi-sensei specializes best in romantic comedies. So for fans of Ranma 1/2, what else would be nice to check out? Read our top 6 to find out!

Similar Manga to Ranma ½

1. Cute X Guy

  • Author: Makoto Tateno
  • Genre: Comedy, Gender Bender, Romance, School, Shoujo
  • Volumes: 4
  • Publication Dates: Unknown

Sumi Takaoka wants the attention of her senpai, Mitsuru Sudou. Though Sumi is attractive in her own way, she hears stories that Mitsuru prefers the buxom/sexy type as opposed to the cute and innocent like her. In order to achieve those qualities, she asks her mad scientist of a father for some pills that can develop them. She takes the medicine and what does it make her? A pretty boy! The bad news, her father goes overseas and whenever they get in touch, he doesn’t want to help her condition, and her mother wants to use her for her hair styling endeavors. Her sudden change gets her a lot of attention even from Mitsuru under the pseudonym, Jun Tadano (the kanji for Sumi’s name can be read as Jun, and if you read the name in Japanese order, Tadano Jun separated as Tada No Jun simply means, “just Jun”). Thanks to this, she has the opportunity to get close to him, but is it really for the best?

Compared to Ranma, which is Shounen, Cute X Guy is Shoujo meaning its romantic qualities are more tensed and its comedy traits are much more grounded. And just like Ranma, Sumi doesn’t exactly have the best fathers and only exploit them for their own personal purposes. For the most part, they are both victims of the sins of their fathers and have to face the consequences of them. Thankfully, they both find some advantages in their situation though Ranma’s transformation is not that much of a secret compared to Sumi’s/Jun’s.


2. Futaba-kun Change

  • Author: Hiroshi Aro
  • Genre: Ecchi, Romance, Comedy, Gender Bender, School, Shounen
  • Volumes: 8
  • Publication Dates: Dec 1990 – Mar 1997

Futaba-kun Change is the story of a junior high wrestler, Futaba Shimeru. Just like all other pre-teen boys, he has a crush and her name is Misaki Shima, a former swimmer who switched to the wrestling team. Thanks to the wonders of puberty, an activated genetic defect automatically changes him into a girl whenever he gets excited and/or stressed. The reverse is also true for his sister, Futana. And if you thought regular junior high was awkward, then you haven’t seen anything yet! In fact, his last name Shimeru is a wordplay on shemale. So how does Futaba deal with this change? He becomes an idol!!!

In both of these romantic comedies, they are about boys who can become girls though the circumstances of what leads to their conditions are very different. Both characters deal with it in their own ways. Ranma wants to rid himself of his condition but knows when to exploit it when necessary, while Futaba goes all out. Futaba has his own difficulties coming to terms with it due to his relationship with Misaki, who he develops a close friendship within his female form. In the end, they both learn to accept these changes as part of their identities. And like Ranma, Futaba is engaged to another girl due to his family’s obligations, and he wants nothing to do with her. So if you want something about boys turning into girls, this is it!


3. Kimagure Orange Road

  • Author: Izumi Matsumoto
  • Genre: Romance, Supernatural, Slice of Life, Drama, Shounen
  • Volumes: 18
  • Publication Dates: Mar 13, 1984 – Sept 14, 1987

Kyosuke Kasuga seems like your typical teenage boy who lives a normal life. However, his sisters are all espers with their own special powers that are distinct from one another. Due to his sisters abusing their powers in public, they have moved numerous times. Upon moving to their new town, Kyosuke meets a girl his age, Madoka Ayukawa, and it’s love at first sight for Kyosuke. However, when Kyosuke is relaxing in the school gym with the assumption that he’s not being watched, he throws a basketball from the opposite side of the court while sitting down and makes the basket with the assist of his powers. Despite that assumption, Hikaru, Madoka’s best friend secretly watches him make the basket and thinks he did it naturally and has fallen in love with him. Now Kyosuke is torn between his feelings for Madoka and not wanting to hurt Hikaru, who is very open with her feelings for him.

Kimagure Orange Road is not 100% (Madoka does all the ass-kicking when needed) action oriented, but it shares many of the same qualities with Ranma ½ as a Shounen romantic comedy with a few supernatural elements. Kyosuke and Madoka have a tense relationship, but they can have their cute moments like Ranma and Akane. Like the Ranma character, Kyosuke doesn’t actually have a normal family life and tries to find balance, or can get frustrated that he wants to get away from it all. In their own ways, they are going through teenage growing pains but with a twist. In the end, do the boys get the girls they’re looking for? Do they find balances in their lives? Please read to find out!


Any Manga Like Ranma ½ ?

4. Kyoukai no Rinne (Rin-ne)

  • Author: Rumiko Takahashi
  • Genre: Romance, Supernatural, Comedy, School, Shounen
  • Volumes: 34 (as of Dec 2016)
  • Publication Dates: Apr 22, 2009 - Present

Takahashi-sensei’s present manga upon publication of this list is Kyoukai no Rinne. Like the boy in The Sixth Sense, 16-year-old Sakura Mamiya sees dead people due to an incident from her childhood. As opposed to living in fear, she just lives life like any other ordinary school girl. All of her questions are answered when she meets the new boy at school, Rinne Rokudou, a shinigami for hire (and his rather young looking grandmother). Due to her ability to see him when he wears his cloak, they go out on adventures to help spirits pass onto the next life, or purify evil spirits.

Like Ranma, Rinne has major daddy issues and for really good reasons. Rinne’s father, Sabuto, has forced his son into heavy debt! Genma, Ranma’s father, isn’t as big as a deadbeat as Sabuto, but by no means is he father of the year. Ranma’s father forced his son into an engagement (or maybe a couple) he had no say in and is also responsible for putting Ukyo’s family business in the red. But there are instances that in the end, they are still their fathers and blood is blood, and maybe they can have a normal father-son relationship. Good or bad, fathers can be models for what children should or shouldn’t be. As for the romantic tensions between Sakura and Rinne, it is much mellower compared to the relationship between Ranma and Akane, but have their unique obstacles in getting to the point of sharing their feelings for one another.


5. Urusei Yatsura (Those Obnoxious Aliens)

  • Author: Rumiko Takahashi
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Shounen
  • Volumes: 34
  • Publication Dates: 1978 - 1987

uthor: Rumiko Takahashi

An alien force has come to Earth and wishes to conquer and you are chosen to save the world. How do you do it? By playing a simple game of tag (or Onigokko, Oni in the middle in Japan)! If teenage pervert Ataru Moroboshi can grab the horns of Lum, the princess of these aliens in one week, the world is saved! Thanks to his lecherous qualities, he ends up saving the world and Lum offers herself as his bride (though Shinobu, his classmate promised to marry him prior to the game of tag).

This manga is Takahashi-sensei’s breakout hit in Japan. Many of the qualities that you find in Ranma ½ and her later works are all founded upon this series. Though Akane isn’t as open about her love for Ranma in the same way Lum is for Ataru, their violent tendencies are very similar. While Akane enjoys upper cutting Ranma through the roof and into the air, Lum enjoys electrocuting Ataru to comedic effect. And like Akane, Lum becomes the object of affection for all the boys in the school. Ranma isn’t that much of a pervert, but if there is anyone who can rival Ataru’s perverted tendencies, it would have to be Happousai, a notorious panty thief and martial arts master.

And like Ranma ½, Urusei Yatsura takes many influences from traditional Japanese folklore. Lum is an alien version of a traditional Japanese demon, and her tiger pattern clothing and horns take influence from onis such as the story of Momotaro. In some instances or Ranma, they also face other Japanese mythical creatures such as the eight-headed orochi demon.


6. Inuyasha

  • Author: Rumiko Takahashi
  • Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural, Comedy, Demons, Historical, Drama, Shounen
  • Volumes: 56
  • Publication Dates: Nov 13, 1996 – Jun 15, 2008

During Japan’s Warring States era, demons ran amuck. One notable demon was a half-breed named Inuyasha who was supposedly friends with the local shrine maiden, Kikyo. After being framed for a crime he didn’t commit, him and Kikyo battle. Inuyasha is forced into a 50-year slumber through Kikyo’s arrow, and Kikyo loses her life. In modern day Japan, Kikyo’s descendant/reincarnation, Kagome Higurashi, unseals a well in the shrine she resides in and finds herself 50 years after Inuyasha and Kikyo’s battle. She finds herself at his tree awakens Inuyasha after removing the arrow. After learning the truth that Naraku, the main villain, was behind what happened, they set out on a journey to stop him once and for all.

Like Ranma and Akane, Inuyasha and Kagome have a very tense relationship (as opposed to an uppercut, thanks to the rosary fused to Inuyasha, every time she says sit, he is forced to the ground), but are there for each other when it counts the most. And Inuyasha’s antagonistic relationship with Kouga shares a very striking resemblance to Ranma and Ryoga’s. They are both rivals in love and rivals as who is the stronger man. Many of Ranma and Inuyasha’s special moves share the same principals and gimmicks. Ranma’s Hiryushotenha and Inuyasha’s Bakuryuha allows them to use the energy of their opponent to create a tornado projectile as a counterattack.

Last, many of Inuyasha’s personal rash traits are exactly like Ranma’s. They are both strong men, but sometimes teenage hormones just get in the way of their rational thinking (though Inuyasha is hundreds of years old and is a teenager in youkai years). So if you want something more action and adventure oriented, this is the manga for you, readers, to check out.


Final Thoughts

So can you handle the hijinks of what these characters face? Or do you want the everyday life you have now? If anything, Ranma and its other related titles show that life can never be the same again. Sometimes we just have to take responsibility for the cards we are handed in life and move forward. Are we capable of loving whom we want to love? Should we bend to the will of our parents? Or should we make our own choices in life? These are the questions that Ranma ½ and this list all share in common. So what do you think are other mangas like Ranma ½? If you have any ideas you want to share, please feel free to list.

Justin

Writer

Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty


Recommended Post

[Throwback Thursday] 5 Reasons Why Ranma and Akane Are the Most Hilarious Anime Couple