Monday, May 16, 2011

Manga Monday: I'll shampoo that guy right out of my hair...

Note:  Ranma 1/2 Volume 3 is, of course, the sequel to Ranma 1/2 Volume 1.  The review of Ranma 1/2 Volume 1 is here.  Otherwise, read on!

Poor Ranma. He really doesn't mean to get himself into so many predicaments. It's not his fault that people keep trying to defeat him. Or trying to kill him. Or trying to marry him. But the bizarre situations at the Anything Goes Martial Arts Studio continue in Ranma ½ Volume 3.

After some truly bizarre circumstances at the Martial Pair-Skating Contest for the Charlotte Cup, including Ryoga stepping in to help out, life might have gone back to their version of normal. Unfortunately, in the locker room of the ice rink, a small Chinese martial arts girl makes a rather explosive appearance.

Her name is Shampoo, and she has no idea how confused her mission is. It turns out that in the Amazon tribe that she's from, if a woman defeats another in combat, the defeated woman must vow to kill her. Conversely, if a man defeats a woman, the woman must marry her. With Ranma Satome's little problem, I'm sure it's obvious where this is going.

Shampoo does have a healthy hatred for Akane too, though. She finds out that Ranma and Akane are engaged, and that simply doesn't fit into her plans. As much as Ranma tries to keep them separated, eventually they do fight, and Akane gets her memories of Ranma massaged right out of her head.

You see, just one love triangle could never be enough to sustain a series for 35 volumes. And when you add in all the gender and species shifting going on, triangles quickly fold themselves into bizarre shapes that would fit in perfectly in an Escher drawing.

Highs: It's easy to forget about the race issues between Japan and China, until Ranma take a trip there and we meet the man in a Chairman Mao suit and the less-than-eloquent Shampoo

Lows: The 'Martial Pair-Skating seemed like it might never end...

Verdict: If you like the strangeness of the first two volumes, you certainly won't be disappointed by this one.

Further Reading: Maison Ikkoku, Dragon Ball

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