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Ranma 1/2 (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 1: Includes vols. 1 & 2 Paperback – March 11, 2014
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About the Author
The spotlight on Rumiko Takahashi's career began in 1978 when she won an honorable mention in Shogakukan's prestigious Shinjin Comic Taisho (Newcomer's Award for Comics) for Those Selfish Aliens. Later that same year, her boy-meets-alien comedy series, Urusei Yatsura, was serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday. This phenomenally successful manga series was adapted into anime format and spawned a TV series and half a dozen theatrical-release movies, all incredibly popular in their own right. Takahashi followed up the success of her debut series with one blockbuster hit after another. Maison Ikkoku ran from 1980 to 1987, Ranma 1/2 from 1987 to 1996, and Inuyasha from 1996 to 2008. Other notable works include Mermaid Saga, Rumic Theater, and One-Pound Gospel. Takahashi won the Shogakukan Manga Award twice in her career, once for Urusei Yatsura in 1981 and the second time for Inuyasha in 2002. A majority of the Takahashi canon has been adapted into other media such as anime, live-action TV series, and film.
Takahashi's manga, as well as the other formats her work has been adapted into, have continued to delight generations of fans around the world. Distinguished by her wonderfully endearing characters, Takahashi's work adeptly incorporates a wide variety of elements such as comedy, romance, fantasy, and martial arts. While her series are difficult to pin down into one simple genre, the signature style she has created has come to be known as the "Rumic World." Rumiko Takahashi is an artist who truly represents the very best from the world of manga.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ranma 1/2: 2-in-1 Edition Volume 1 is the first book in this new line, and the quality of it is pretty amazing. The artwork is considerably cleaner in this new volume (I'll include user images after posting the review). Some of the shading has been tweaked slightly -- I assume to bring it closer to the original printing -- and some pencil lines are a lot stronger, especially on dialog bubbles. The font with which the dialog is written has also been changed. It's less blurry and pops off the page a little better than before. I also noticed that a lot of large "balloon" text (such as Akane letting out an almighty scream after walking in on Ranma in the bathroom) went from being an empty outline to fully shaded.
Originally, I had written here that the translation seemed to be unchanged, but it turns out that this edition does feature a new script. While a lot of the dialog is the same, there are noticeable changes to the way some characters speak. A prime example is the scene where Soun is telling his daughters that Ranma and Genma have just returned from China. In the original translation, Akane says, "What's so great about walking to China?" In the 2-in-1 Edition, Akane says, "Whatever. Any schmuck can go to China." Most of the dialog around it is unchanged, but seeing Akane use the word "schmuck" jumped out at me immediately because I knew she didn't use it in the original book. There are scattered instances of this kind of re-translation, and I think it's been done to more clearly define the personality of the characters. Over all, it works.
As good as all seems to be, I have noticed one tiny issue: on the very first page of the book, two of the dialog bubbles read in left-to-right format despite the art having been reverted to its original format. When held side-by-side to the original publication, the dialog has not been swapped around, so if you read it right-to-left, you're reading it in reverse. Thankfully, I've only noticed this once so far. I'll update the review to reflect further instances as I notice them. (UPDATED: I was in touch with Viz Media on Facebook, and they assured me that this is a singular issue isolated to page 1. The rest of the book should be oriented correctly for right-to-left reading, and page 1 will be fixed upon reprint.)
I also have a minor quibble with the way Viz is promoting the release. This has been marketed as a 2-in-1 Edition, meaning it should include all of the content from Volumes 1 and 2. But that's not quite the case. Volumes 1 and 2 as originally published consisted of chapters 1 (Here's Ranma) through 25 (Lips at a Loss). The 2-in-1 Edition only contains chapters 1 (Here's Ranma) through 17 (Kodachi, the Black Rose). Given that this book is missing a full third of the chapters that originally made up Volumes 1 and 2, it's a little bit disingenuous on the part of Viz to be promoting this as two volumes in one book. Volume 1 as originally published was 14 chapters long, so they've only included an extra 3 chapters in this version.
With that said, it's been brought to my attention that the original Japanese publication of Ranma 1/2 ran for 38 volumes as opposed to the 36 we got in America, and that the Japanese editions of Volume 1 and 2 did consist of 17 chapters. It would seem that Viz is using the original Japanese publication as the template for the 2-in-1 Edition rather than the original American release.
So with all of that in mind, the question becomes: is this worth buying if you own the older editions?
If you have the original Viz printing (the tall, wide books that were eventually replaced by more traditionally sized graphic novels) and you're a hardcore fan, then I would say probably. The improvement in the art is noticeable even without doing side-by-sides, and the text is easier to read. It's also extremely nice to have two books in one this time around. If you're not a fan of right-to-left orientation you might not like this edition, but in my experience most fans want to read it the way it was originally intended. In my opinion, it's well worth the upgrade.
If you've never read Ranma 1/2 before, then definitely pick this up. Despite the fact that it eventually loses focus and devolves into what is more-or-less a plot-empty sitcom, it's my favorite of Rumiko Takahashi's long-running franchises. It has the most endearing characters, the most original setup, and is something every manga fan should experience at least once in their life. I'm quite happy with this reprint, and have already pre-ordered the next four volumes.
It should also be noted that Viz has included a making-of about the remastering of the manga on the new Blu-ray set due out March 25th. If you like the manga, consider picking that up as well. The show loses focus as it goes on as well, but the first three or four seasons are mostly golden.
1.) It's been reformatted into it's traditional Right-To-Left format, so every image is mirrored to it's original US printing.
2.) That said, the image quality is much better than that of it's original US printing and shading in particular looks a lot better.
3.) In the transition to the 2-to-1 format, it seems nothing was lost beyond the original cover art, index page art, and matte cover quality (which is now glossy). Unlike other combo editions, the page quality has not turned to tissue paper.
4.) THIS IS NOT VOLUMES 1 & 2 as they were originally released in the US. The original volumes 1 and 2 lasted 14 parts and 13 parts respectively, but this volume is a total of 17 parts, making it only through the first 3 parts of volume 2 before ending. So keep in mind if you were expecting to update your collection, this new rerelease will not halve it's size.
Overall: It offers a book with more parts in a higher quality print. The abandonment of old index and cover art in exchange for new cover art in a glossy exterior (which time has proven to be more generous to) and converting back to the true original Right-To-Left is a lateral move at worst. The only point lost here is due to the product marketing itself as a 2-in-1 when it does not in fact contain all of volume 2. That said, presuming you intended to update your entire collection and the books used volume 1 of this new rerelease as a standard width, later volumes should see a substantially fairer margin in each book since once again, the original english volume 1 is still to this day, substantially thicker than most other manga volumes.
All in all, I recommend.
That was not the case with Ranma. The stories and characters are just as fun as I remember. The series is a perfect mixture of action, comedy, heart and just a touch of fan service (there be nudity in this one, although it is handled in such a casual manner that it barely stands out). The art, while not Takahashi's strongest, is still vibrant, and the action (which there is a lot of) is beautifully laid out, giving the every fight scene a flow and sense of motion and urgency. The stories are simple, but still entertaining, with a healthy focus on both character relationships as well as the martial arts action. Even after all these years, Ranma 1/2 is still the quality series that I remember reading all those years ago.
It is also nice to finally be able to read the earlier volumes in their original, unflipped format. The quality of the book itself is very nice, as well. While the book is thicker then most manga volumes (it's closer in size to the Higurashi books that have been released), it still feels sturdy, and the pages are crisp, bright and easy on the easy. The new cover images are welcome as well, while still retaining the familiar Ranma 1/2 logo.
There is a reason that Ranma 1/2 introduced so many people to anime and manga. It is addictive. Already I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.
As cheesy as this sounds, Ranma 1/2 holds a very special place in many older anime fans' hearts. Hopefully, now it can expose a whole new generation to the amazing medium that is manga and anime, and this edition proves that Viz is handling it's first, landmark series with respect to it's fans.