Ranma 1/2 1 (2-in-1 ed.)

December 19, 2014

Rumiko Takahashi – Viz – 2014 – 38 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols. 1-2

I tried really hard to resist these editions.  They weren’t the nice 3-in-1s with bonus art and larger trim size, and I have the full set of Ranma already.  But my roommate and I have been watching the first season of the anime.  He watched the anime a hundred times while he was in high school, and I read the manga a hundred times while I was in high school.  We were able to give each other the blow-by-blow and have a lot of fun.  I wanted to re-read the manga, but my early volumes of it are the old editions, and the binding is rotten on them.  So that’s was the weak justification I used.

I regret nothing.  I love this series.  Admittedly, reading this after watching the anime made it lose its impact a bit (the lines are almost verbatim between the two), but this still brought back a lot of memories.  The first volume of Ranma was the first collected manga graphic novel I ever read.  I mail-ordered it, and when I cracked it open and saw Ranma and Akane’s bare breasts half a dozen pages in, my innocent mind was blown.  I hid it under the bed and didn’t get it out for another week.  I was 14.

Amazingly, I’ve talked about this series a lot on this site before.  I looked up how long ago that was, and got depressed, so I’m not going to mention it.  But basically, I’ve talked about this, and you probably know what the deal is, so I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail.

These first couple volumes, after a break of I-don’t-want-to-think-about-it since reading them, seem a little more manic than I remember.  There’s some longer storylines (particularly the Ryoga introduction, but I’d also count the Dr. Tofu stuff since he stops recurring in a couple volumes), but mostly these are character introductions.  Granted, Ranma isn’t known for its substantial storylines, but this seems a little skip-y compared to sitting down with a volume that covers, say, martial arts cheerleading and some sort of pervert-jellyfish, and that’s it.

And again, I was a little less charmed than I could have been because I’d just seen the exact same stories in the anime, and still had all the lines memorized because I literally did read these two volumes that many times.  But I still loved it, and I still loved seeing Ryoga’s introduction.  He and Ranma were always my favorite characters, and I still love that Ryoga is such a great frenemy.

Compared to the originals – again, I have the old-old ones (not the $10 modern-trim-size ones that match the last volumes), but the most noticeable difference is that the print quality is way, way better.  The first chapter was in color in Shounen Sunday, and the reproduction is awful in the old volumes I have.  Otherwise, the retouch artwork is the same (in the parts I remember), and I’m fairly sure the translation is mostly the same as well, though I don’t have them to do a side-by-side comparison.  Slang, colloquialisms, and odd phrasings seem to mostly be what I remember, though again, some spot-changing could have happened, and my memory could be faulty.

Actually, I lied, the most notable difference is that the 2-in-1 volumes are unflipped.  That’s not really worth the price of admission for me, but it’s still pretty awesome, since I’ve never read Ranma that way before.

These are coming out quarterly, and though I’ll hate myself for it, I’m probably going to follow it again.  Next volume is Kodachi/Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics, so I’m not sure that I can stop now.  Though I probably will stop reviewing them when I catch up to the reviews I’ve already done… then again, I could just delete those old ones and do myself as well as the internet a service.  Seriously, don’t read those.

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