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September 24, 2017

Character Spotlight: Ranma Saotome

It’s quite the strange life that be living when changing between male and female at the touch of hot or cold water is maybe the least interesting thing going on for you. That’s the life on Ranma Saotome lives, martial arts student who has way too many arranged marriages and turns out to be one of many people who have concerns with water. So how does a teenager gain the ability to switch sexes with a bit of water? Let’s find out!

Ranma Saotome was born to Genma and Nodoka Saotome, when he was only two years old, his father would take him on a world-spanning trip to learn martial arts. Genma was able to talk Nodoka into allowing him to take young Ranma by saying he’d make their son a man among men under penalty of death. The two would travel around China and Japan, gaining great skill in the Anything Goes style in particular.

 

Unbeknownst to Ranma, his father would often con families into giving them things for their journey by promising that Ranma would marry their daughters. While training in one particular area in China, Ranma and Genma would disregard the many signs and warnings from guards that they were training above cursed waters. Each different pool of water had been cursed from the moment the first to drown in it occurred, from then on any who fell in that pool of water would be transformed into being when hit with cold water, warm water returning them to their original form. Genma fell first and landed in a pool of a drowned panda, causing him to become a panda. Ranma would fall into the pool of a drowned girl and thus become a woman when hit with cold water.

Heading back to Japan, the two would come to Genma’s friend, Soun Tendo and his dojo for the Anything Goes style. Ranma had no idea, much like all the other times, his father had promise to marry him off to one of Soun’s daughters. Of the girls, Akane seemed the most likely to work well with Ranma since she hated boys and Ranma was only one some of the time. The first time the two meet is when Ranma is in his new body so Akane is welcoming to the new guest but is quickly furious when she learns the true nature of Ranma.

Now living with the Tendo family, Ranma would have to deal with high school life and all of his father’s schemes finally having a target that was no longer on the move. Many of Ranma’s “brides” would come to find him and demand retribution for his father’s cons. Not only that, but others would try and claim Akane’s heart, even though she and Ranma were often fighting with each other just as much as they did all the outside forces that came for them.

Ranma would learn that he and his father were not the only ones who had been affected by the cursed pools in China. Many of his challengers would have some form other than their original one, such as pig, cat, or duck. These wouldn’t even be some of his stranger opponents as he lived with the Tendos. Nodoka would eventually return to finally see if her husband had done what he set out to do, she deemed Ranma as quite the man after seeing all he had done. As time went on, he and Akane would grow closer but still hold a level of gruffness with one another that just seemed to be part of their connection to each other.

There you have it! Ranma 1/2 is one of the first anime series I’d ever seen when growing up. It was a series that never seem to take itself too seriously and had all sorts of strange and fantastic things going on. The manga has had a successful anime and live action adaptations, the series has been popular on both the big and small screen. The anime can be found streaming in several official sites. See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Ranma 1/2

Dr. Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

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