Monday, October 15, 2012

Manga Monday: Looks like Happosai was a nuisance when he was younger, too.

Yet ANOTHER fiancee of Ranma comes out of the woodwork - and Mousse turns up again - in Ranma 1/2 Volume 8.

Note:  Ranma 1/2 Volume 8 is, of course, the sequel to Ranma 1/2 Volume 7. The review for Ranma 1/2 Volume 1 is here, and the review for Ranma 1/2 Volume 7 is here. Otherwise, read on!

In this volume, the Saotomes receive perhaps the strangest challenge to battle yet. An okonomiyaki (something like a Japanese pizza) with the sauce writing out 'Meet me at the empty lot a 4 o'clock' is left at the dojo, and Genma is found trounced by the challenger. 

And there's a new kid from Ranma's past at school as well. Ucchan, whose parents ran an okonomiyaki cart, used to play with Ranma a decade ago when they were both little. They separated on strange terms, though, with Genma and Ranma taking the okonomiyaki cart and leaving behind the youngster they were supposed to take with them. Now Ucchan is after Genma for the bad blood between them. But perhaps there's something else going on as well?

On a summer trip to the beach, Happosai is barely able to keep his eyes inside his head. There's so much to look at, that Ranma and Akane have to do something about it. So they promise him a date with a big eyed, long-haired beauty that would be perfect for him. 

Shampoo's great-grandmother Cologne.

Unimpressed by the blind date, he nevertheless shows an old bracelet that he claims was a token of affection from his first love. The bracelet has a secret, though. Each of the three apparent gems on it is actually a love pill. One grants love for an hour, one for a day, and one...forever. Now that the secret is out, will anyone be able to get the bracelet away from Happosai before he can put it to some nefarious use?

Mousse also turns up at the end of this volume. Only such a one as twisted as Mousse would think to weaponize the water from the cursed springs in water balloons, threatening to turn anyone he fights into all manner of creatures. As always, is goal is to win Shampoo back from Ranma, and he's holding Akane hostage until he does. Will Ranma be able to defeat Mousse before Akane takes a terribly unpleasant bath?

With two, shorter storylines fully contained within this volume, the reader certainly gets his money's worth here. It's rather difficult to believe anymore that Genma thought he'd get away with these betrothals, but that's hardly the largest suspension of disbelief that a reader is faced with here. In fact, as the series goes on, characters like Genma, Cologne and Happosai skirt the line between being acceptably befuddled and mischievous and being rather unpleasant and mean-spirited. In the spirit of comedy manga, however, these shortcomings are ignored as well as possible, and it's simply best to take everything at face value.

Highs: Ranma in even more obvious drag than usual.

Lows: Happosai really does need to be put in some kind of locked ward or something.

Verdict: Because of the cliffhanger ending, I'd suggest having Volume 9 handy when reading this volume.

Further Reading: Rin-Ne, Urusei Yatsura

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