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Ranma 1/2

Ranma 1/2 (らんま½, Japanese pronunciation: Ranma Nibun no Ichi) is a humorous anime and manga by Rumiko Takahashi (高橋 留美子) about a boy named Ranma Saotome[?] (早乙女 乱馬) who was trained from early childhood to age 16 in the martial arts.

The manga was serialized in Shonen Sunday beginning in 1987. Takahashi has stated in interviews that she wanted to produce a story that would be popular with children. Ranma's main audience was girls from elementary to junior high school age.

Warning: Spoilers follow

At the introduction of the story, we learn that in training Ranma and his father, Genma Saotome, fell into the cursed springs at Jusenkyo. Each spring is associated with a story about someone or something that drowned in it 1000 years ago, and anyone who falls in a spring is cursed to turn into whatever drowned in that spring whenever they come in contact with cold water. Hot water reverts the cursed to their original form. Genma fell into the Spring of the Drowned Giant Panda. Ranma fell in to the Spring of the Drowned Girl...

So whenever Ranma gets splashed with cold water he turns into a cute young girl - but retains the martial arts skills. His father gets turned into a giant panda quite regularly. This curse leads to some wildly humorous situations.

The series is also humorous for the wild and crazy martial arts the author creates - including a highly dangerous version of rhythmic gymnastics, and an aggressive spin on the traditional tea-ceremony!

There are also four women (and one man!) who want to marry Ranma, three of whom claim to be his fiancee.

Cast of characters:

  • Ranma Saotome: (早乙女 乱馬) main character and best all around martial artist in the series, doesn't seem too interested in getting married.
  • Genma Saotome: (早乙女 玄馬) Ranma's dad, turns in to a Panda, bit of a coward.
  • Akane Tendou: (天道 あかね) The first of Ranma's fiancees we meet, and also the least eager to marry him. Her cooking is increadibly bad and her demeanor is decidedly tomboyish and hostile towards Ranma, most of the time.
  • Nabiki Tendou: (天道 なびき) Akane's sister, a shrewd businesswoman.
  • Kasumi Tendou: (天道 かすみ) Akane's oldest sister, she's a good cook and seems to have taken over the domestic capacities of the Tendou house since the Tendo mother died.
  • Sou'un Tendou: (天道 早雲) Akane's father, and old training parter of Genma's who agrees to marry one of his daughters to Genma's son before he really knows what's going on.
  • Ryouga Hibiki: (響良牙) Ranma's foil, and the only character who can beat Ranma in a fair fight (as far as I've read/seen). Ryouga turns into Akane's pet pig (P-Chan), always gets lost, and really wants to have a relationship with Akane, but is too ashamed of the fact that he turns in to a little black pig.
  • Tatewaki Kunou: (九能 帯刀) "The Blue Lightning of Fuurinkan High". When Ranma enters the scene, Kunou considers himself to be the front-runner for Akane's affection. He falls for girl-Ranma, however, and never figures out "her" identity.
  • Kodachi Kunou: (九能 小太刀) Kunou's sister, "The Black Rose", she falls for boy Ranma.
  • Doctor Ono Toufuu: (東風 小乃) The friendly neighborhood chiropractor who's fixing up Ranma whenever Akane beats him up. Watch out when he sees Kasumi, though, his glasses get foggy and he doesn't really know what he's doing anymore.
  • Happousai: (八宝斎) Genma's and Souun's former master, Happousai is a panty stealing pervert who's about 1'6" tall.
  • Shampoo: (シャンプー) Chinese Amazon who originally wanted to kill Ranma because she thought Ranma was a girl, and Ranma defeated her in a fight. The tradition of her village dictates that she marry the man who defeats her, and kill any woman who defeats her. Worth noting that she turns in to a cat, and Ranma has a phobia of cats.
  • Cologne: (コロン) Shampoo's great grand-mother, and contemporary of Happousai. Cologne calls Ranma 'son-in-law', as though he was already married to Shampoo, and she knows quite a bit about martial arts.
  • Mousse: (ムース) Weapons master with poor vision who wants to marry Shampoo so he must kill Ranma. He turns into a duck.
  • Ukyou Kuonji: (久遠寺 右京) Okonomiyaki chef who Ranma thought was a boy, and who Genma had apparently betrothed Ranma to in exchange for a food cart, but Genma loused on the deal.
  • Pantyhose Taro: (パンスト太郎) Fell in (牛鶴鰻毛人溺泉) the spring of drowned "yeti holding an eel and bird riding a ox"; named by Happousai as per the ritual in his village.
  • Principal Kunou: Kunou's father, though Japanese by birth has spent some years in Hawaii and has returned with very dark skin and a penchant for Hawaiian attire, and wants to give the entire school bad hair-cuts (buzz cuts for boys, bowl cuts for girls).

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