krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Ranma 1/2 was popular. That much seemed clear as I started picking up on anime. One odd added proof of its martial arts-cursed transformations-comedy action's popularity, though, seemed to be my university's anime club not showing it, as if the executive figured we'd all seen it already. For myself, though, short of the money to buy anime on videotape and slow to figure out just where in the city to rent it, I was stuck trying to piece together secondary sources. There was an uncommon amount of fanfiction about it in the archives, but starting with plain text and a wall of other peoples' assumptions was somehow a difficulty. Its manga did catch my eye at a time when I thought of manga as "poor man's anime," but even there I might have dwelled on how many volumes there were, and didn't commit. At some point, I seemed to just accept Ranma 1/2 as one of those things too big to get into, which might have wound up applying to all of Rumiko Takahashi's works.

Then, the chance to get started popped up again anyway when the DVDs got repackaged into sets. By this point, I'd seen comments that the anime amounted to steadily diminishing returns, so I began with the first season, figured I could watch the second too, and stopped there. (Afterwards, I did happen to hear the first season had been directed differently from all the seasons following to draw an apparent line there, but that didn't seem to have struck me at the time.) I might not have seen all the characters I'd heard about, but I seemed content.

A good while again after that, however, I heard news of the manga getting yet another new release. Just as I'd never got around to buying any of the largish trade paperbacks, I'd avoided the smaller-sized re-releases at a time when it seemed everyone else was rushing on a regular basis to condemn some bit of nervous retouching in Viz manga. When the "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" tossed at this latest double-volume release didn't seem followed up by any actual condemnations, though, I took a chance and started buying them. Even so, I've reached the point where buying can be easier than finding the time to read, and once five double volumes had piled up certain comments that might run all the way back to the days of all that fanfiction were registering on me. I'm aware of how many other fans focus on potential romance to the seeming exclusion of anything else, and with assorted attachments not just driving the comedy but stretching it out that did seem to have been a problem. As arrogant and presumptuous as this might be told to anyone else, though, I reminded myself to not get attached to what a story seems to be that what it is fades, thought a bit of "the coyote catching the roadrunner" and then, with a little more applicability, "Lucy and Schroeder reaching a mutual understanding," and started reading.

For the first volumes, it was entertaining, energetic, and brought back memories of the anime, and if I wasn't demanding "consequences" that only seemed to help. I started thinking a bit about getting more volumes once I'd finished the ones I had. At the beginning of the fifth double volume, though, all of a sudden the whole deal with Ranma and Akane, whose arranged engagement had been set up at the very beginning to hang all the complications of the other characters off of, never getting past sputtering at each other with not much in the way of even action-based reconciliation did seem to be getting to me. It was a wide patch dry enough to bother me at last, and then towards the end of the volume my mood seemed to recover. It so happens, though, that the sixth double volume isn't in the nearby bookstore any more, and with thoughts of other manga series I've managed to just sort of leave off on and still other manga series I have waiting to be read perhaps I am ready once more to think "good enough for now." I did get to the introduction of Ukyo this time, anyway, and she added some fun to the story just as I'd heard while also managing to hold a surprise I hadn't quite heard or remembered before.

August 2017

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