This is my favorite series of all and one of the first I ever watched. It's available in vhs tape, laser discs and cd-rom sets along with being in American comics/manga, a series of paperbacks published in the U.S., and the series of original tankobons from Japan.
The story starts out with Ranma, a teen age boy with incredible martial arts skills, and Genma, his father who is teaching him the family's marital arts style.They go to a training grounds in China which consists of lots of pools. Genma pays no attention to the guide and Genma and Ranma begin to battle on top of long bamboo poles.
Genma falls into one pond and the Ranma falls into another. The slight problem with that is that the ponds are cursed. Whoever falls into one will take the form of the last thing that died in the pond; that is, they'll take the form when hit by cold water. Hot water changes them back.
Genma becomes a part-time panda and Ranma a part-time, very beautiful petite girl, the absolute opposite of his normal manly macho self.
Complicating matters (there are always complications in anime!)is that fact than Ranma has been engaged by his father to the daughter of a man running a training center of his own. The slight difficulty with that is that none of the three sisters the guy has were told about this, and two of the sisters move rather quickly to make sure the third one, Akane, is the one ending up engaged.
Of course Ranma and Akane don't hit it right off, to say the least. There's also a problem with the school they go to; Akane is also incredibly skilled in the martial arts and has to fight a whole bunch of guys each morning because an upperclassman, Kuno, has declared that whoever defeats Akane gets to date her.
Enter Ranma who ends up fighting Kuno, only to end up changing into the female version of Ranma, only to end up having Kuno hopelessly fall in love with her, only to end up....
Oh, yes, there is also Shampoo, an incredibly beautiful young girl who turns into a cat who is after Ranma to marry him. And then there's another fiancee, Ukyo Kounji, another arranged marriage. And then there's the guy who turns into a pig, the guy who turns into a duck, the old grandmother of Shampoo who does her own scheming, a martial arts master who doubles as a panty thief, and the list expands from there.
The series has a lot of humor but also some very serious moments. There are numerous themes in the series, one of them being how Ranma has to deal with all the fiancees and another with how Ranma has to adjust to being female at least part of the time.
The series is also a favorite of fanfiction authors and I have done reviews of some of these stories here.
My Ranma 1/2 Music Section
Ranma 1/2 magazine ads
My reviews of Ranma 1/2 videos
My Ranma-chan/Ranko shrine
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