Ranma 1/2 is the title of the manga series by Rumiko Takahashi and the animated seies based on it. The story follows the comic problems of 16 year old martial artist in training, Ranma Saotome, a victim of a strange cursed pool --- whenever he's splashed by cold water he turns into a red-head (and incredibly well-built) young female. Hot water reverses the spell. It could be worse, becase his father turns into a gigantic but lazy panda when he gets wet. His father has arranged a marriage for Ranma with the daughter of a fellow martial artist. Akane Tendo is a martial artist in training herself and hates boys. For Ranma and Akane, it's hate at first sight.
Throw in lots of other strange characters and the things get even more interesting. There's Kuno, head bully of the highschool who leaves Akane, but falls in love with the female Ranma. Then there's Ryoga who followed Ranma since junior high because of a grudge (he's in love with Akane and wants to kill Ranma, and also fell into a cursed pool and turns into a piglet. Akane, not realizing this is the transformed Ryoga, adopts the cute little piggie and named it P-chan. Ranma is honourbound not to reveal Ryoga's secret, much as he would like to). Then there's Shampoo, another martial artist from China. She was defeated by Ranma in both forms --- where she comes from, the rules are: If you're defeated by a man, you must marry him. If you're defeated by a woman, you must kill her. --- Oh ya.. and she also fell into on of those cursed pools and turns into a kitty when she gets wet (Guess which animal Ranma is phobic about??)...
This isn't a love triangle... it just makes things really interesting this way. Is it very silly? Yes. Is the humour low-brow with lots of slapstick and gratitious nudity? Uh huh. Is it addictive? Hell yea!
Ranma 1/2 is one of the most popular series and manga currently in Japan and is rapidly becoming on of the biggest anime hits in the US.
- Ranma Saotome -
It's not easy being a teenaged martial artist... but it's even worse when your martial artist father, Genma, takes you from home at an early age to go on a decade-long training mission in China. He doesn't speak a word of Chinese, and yet he insists on bringing you to the cursed training grounds known as Jusenkyo, where falling into one of many springs instantly turns you into whoever or whatever drowned there last. And then, the two of you have this little accident...
...From now on... a splash of cold water will turn your father into a giant panda, while you... well, you turn into a red-haired (and incredibly well-built) female version of yourself. Hot water will reverse the effect, but only until the next time. What's a half-guy, half-girl to do??
...is 16, the youngest daughter of Soun Tendo, and is also one of the heirs of the Tendo Dojo and Anything Goes school of Martial Arts, where she trains and lives with her father and sisters (Kasumi and Nabiki). When Akane was very young, the Tendos suffered a huge personal loss when Akane's mom died. Because of that, Akane was never really taught the things that a woman usually knows how to do. Akane grew up getting into fights, and perfecting her martial arts to the best of her ability. The result of that chilhood was a girl cursed with a short, explosive temper, deadly cooking, and a slighty boyish figure.
When Akane turned 16, her life took a new turn. She was engaged (unwillingly) to her father's friend's son, Ranma Saotome in order that the Tendo dojo and Anything-Goes Martial arts was insured a future. Akane, of course, was furious at having been engaged to someone like Ranma, who she thought was a complete pervert and a jerk.
Her favorite possession is her pet piglet P-chan.
19, very sweet and oblivious, She takes care of everyone by cooking and cleaning. Even though she is one of the only people in the entire series who doesn't know any martial arts, she never gets hurt. In fact everyone will usually jump her aid no matter who they are. This is due to the aura of "niceness" that she radiates. She stops fights with just her presence.
It's quite funny to watch her react to the various super high powered martial artists, kidnappings and the (supposed) fights to the death with comments like, "Oh my, would you like a cookie?"
Akane's conniving older sister, age 17. A mischievous mercenary, con artist, and bookie, she finds ways to turn a profit from the odd situations she becomes a part of. She also maintains a steady income selling embarrassing pictures of Ranma-chan (Ranma's female form) to Kunou Tatewaki.
A cute, acrobatic Chinese girl, champion of the Joketsuzoku, defeated in her village's annual contest by Ranma as a girl. She gives her the kiss of death, and chases her out of China trying to kill her. After showing up in Japan seeking the girl Ranma, she meets and is defeated by the boy Ranma, but this time she declares her love for him and calls him "husband". By the customs of her clan, recorded in the Joketsuzoku scriptures, when defeated by an outsider, if it is a woman you give her the kiss of death and kill her, but if it is a man you marry him.
Ruthless with her rivals, she tries to make Akane forget everything about Ranma by washing her hair with her special formula 110 shampoo.
Crushed when Ranma reveals his secret to her, she returns to her village and renews her training at Jusenkyou with her grandmother, who knocks her into Maoniichuan, where a cat drowned 1800 years ago. Assured that Ranma is really a man, she returns to Japan and tries to get Ranma to fall in love with her, working at her great-grandmother's Chinese restaurant and making deliveries on her bicycle.
Ranma's kawaii iinazuke "cute fiancée". 10 years ago, on a training journey with his father, Ranma stole okonomiyaki from Ukyou's father's yatai (food cart), defeating Ukyou every day. However, it was a friendly rivalry -- Ukyou drew pictures with okonomiyaki sauce on them for Ranma.
Ukyou's father told Genma that Ukyou said she wants to be Ranma's wife. Genma said Ranma already has a fiancée. Ukyou's father said "too bad," he was thinking of giving them the yatai for a dowry. Genma said "we'll take her."
In this quandary, he made Ranma decide; he asked Ranma which he liked better, okonomiyaki or Ukyou. Unaware of Ukyou's wish or even that Ukyou is a girl, Ranma chose okonomiyaki, so Genma and Ranma ran off with the yatai and leave Ukyou behind. Shamed and ridiculed by her peers, Ukyou decided she wouldn't like boys forever, dressed and lived as one, and devoted herself to okonomiyaki style martial arts.
Years later, when Ranma discovers her actual gender and Ukyou discovers that Ranma does not get along with his other fiance;e, they reconcile and she becomes enamored of him. Ranma generally treats Ukyou only like an old friend. She runs the Utchan okonomiyaki shop in town.
Ranma's insensitive father. Long ago he arranged with his closest friend, Tendou Soun, that their children would marry.
While training Ranma at the remote Chinese training ground Jusenkyou, Ranma kicked him into Shonmaoniichuan where a panda drowned 2000 years ago. Genma emerged as a panda, and as the guide explained the spring's curse, still went on to whack Ranma into Nyanniichuan.
Unlike Ranma, he doesn't have much trouble with his curse, and becomes quite accustomed to living as a panda (comporting himself with human dignity even as he sips tea and plays shogi with Souun). Since he can't speak as a panda, he uses wooden signs to communicate.
The eternally lost boy with fists of steel and a heart of glass. Ryouga has been Ranma's rival since junior high, when he challenged Ranma to a fight in the vacant lot behind his house. But by the time he found his way there after a four-day journey all over Japan, Ranma had gone off with his father on a training expedition.
To avenge the grudge, he went to China after Ranma, eventually blundering his way to a desolate mountain range, where a pony-tailed girl chasing a panda knocked him off a cliff and into Heitouenniichuan, where a black pig drowned 1200 years ago. A panda rescued the little black pig... only to deliver him to the Chinese guide for dinner. Fortunately, the guide dropped him into a wok of boiling water.
Ryouga blames Ranma for his condition, and his anger multiplies when he finds out that Ranma is really directly responsible for it. When this comes out, Ranma remorsefully swears not to reveal Ryouga's secret.
Akane adopts Ryouga the pig as her pet "P-chan". Ryouga falls deeply in love with her. However, he feels certain that no one could love him as a human with his curse. Akane is unaware that the pet pig she sleeps with is Ryouga, despite several close calls, and is angry whenever Ranma abuses her piggy.
As class president, he ruled that anyone who would date Akane must first defeat her. At the start of the series, Akane defeats their attempts every morning. In the meantime, he falls in love with the pony-tailed girl who mysteriously takes Ranma's place during a fight and defeats him. After Ranma soundly defeats him, though he will never accept defeat, the other students accept Ranma and Akane's betrothal.
Hating Ranma for being too close to both Akane and the pony-tailed girl (ranma's female form), he agonizes over which girl he loves more (which his classmate Nabiki capitalizes on).
His even stranger younger sister, age 16. She's a formidable martial arts rhythmic gymnastics expert from the rival Saint Hebereke's girls' academy, who wins her matches by default by taking out her opponents "fair and square" before the competition. After a thwarted attack on Akane in her bedroom before their upcoming match, Ranma, chasing P-chan, accidentally knocks her off the doujou roof, then unknowingly rescues her. When she comes to and sees who "saved" her, she falls for Ranma.
However, not only is Akane in the way, but also a strong pony-tailed girl who has the audacity to use her Ranma's name.
A powerful old man, possessed of an evil spirit. The feared and loathed sensei of Genma and Souun. 10-several years ago, he harshly trained them by making them take part in his plundering and endure the punishments when he left them behind. Finally, they got him drunk, chained him in a barrel, threw the barrel in a cave, and sealed the cave with dynamite and a boulder hung with Buddhist scriptures. Years later, he escapes. He moves into the Tendou doujou to train his successor, where Genma gives him Ranma to train.
A 110% pervert, he constantly goes around lifting skirts, stealing women's underwear for his extensive collection, and committing frottage. His perversions are the source of his strength; without touching young female bodies or underwear, he loses his power. Ranma and Akane are his favorite targets.