Ranma Saotome

Ranma in his male and female formsReal Name: Saotome Ranma (Japanese names are traditionally surname first)

Identity/Class: Human transformed by magic

Occupation: Student, martial artist, hero, cross-dresser (kind of)

Affiliations: Akane, Shampoo, Ukyou

Enemies: Ryouga, Mousse, Tatewaki Kunou.... the list is endless....

Known Relatives: Saotome Genma and Nodoka (father and mother respectively)

Aliases: Ranma-chan, Ran-chan (to Ukyou), Son-in-law (to Cologne); Tendo Ranko (when hiding from his mother),Osagi no Onna (pig-tailed goddess/girl, Kunou's name for him)

Base of Operations: Nerima Ward, Tokyo, Japan

First Appearance: Ranma 1/2 tankubon #1

Powers/Abilities: Aqua-induced polymorphism (changes sex to female when hit with cold water, changes back with hot), stubborn (not normally a power, but in his case). Incredibly rapid healing. Ability to taunt opponent into blind fury (see Hiryu Shouten Ha). Incredibly skilled martial artist - specific special attacks include Tenshinamaguriken (Rapid Fire Bullet Punch), Hiryuushoutenha (Dragon Ascension), Katchuu Tenshin Amaguriken (Imperial Roasting Chestnut Fist) - designed to allow extremely rapid movement, Ranma primarily uses it to hit opponents hundreds of times per minute. Hi Ryu Shoten Ha (Rising Dragon Ascension) - uses opponent's heat of anger along with Soul of Ice technique to create tornado. Moko Takabisha (Fierce Tiger Blast) - uses Ranma's confidence (read ego) to create physical ball of energy which blasts opponent. Has trained in multiple types of martial arts, including Martial Arts Tea Ceremony, Martial Arts Calligraphy, Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics, etc. Primary form is Musabetso Kakutou Ryu (Anything Goes).

History: Ranma Saotome was the son of martial arts obsessed Genma Saotome. When Ranma was an infant, Genma promised fellow martial arts student Soun Tendou, that his son would one day marry one of Soun's daughters, so that their children could carry on the Tendou dojo. Then when Ranma was six, Genma informed Nodoka, Ranma's mother, that a mother's influence would be detrimental to training the boy. Wanting to make Ranma the best martial artist in the world, Genma decided to take the child on a decade long training mission, vowing to his wife that he would make Ranma a truly manly man, or have them both commit seppuku. Nodoka accepted this situation, but made it clear she would hold her husband to his word.

For years Ranma and his father wandered across Japan, and into other countries, seeking out different training opportunities. Sadly the combination of Genma's dishonest tendencies and slip-shod research in the area of training methods gradually built up a store of future troubles for Ranma. Genma did a variety of dodgy deals to keep the two of them fed, such as betrothing Ranma to Ukyou, then ran out on every promise. Trying to train his son in the ways of Cat-Fist, he failed to read the instruction manual properly, and as a result repeatedly tied fish cakes to his son before dropping the lad into a pit full of starving cats. This caused Ranma to develop an intense phobia of felines, and a split personality when unable to get away from the object of that fear.

However Genma's biggest screw-up came when he took his now sixteen year old son to China, to the mysterious Jusenkyo training ground, fabled for the number of springs it contained. If Genma had bothered to learn some Chinese, or even ask someone capable of doing so, he might have read in the guidebook that they were the fabled cursed springs of Jusenkyo. In each pool at some date past, something or someone had drowned, and now anyone who entered the water became cursed to take on the shape part time of the being who drowned there. During their spar, both Genma and Ranma ended up falling in. In Ranma's case, he landed in Nyanniichuan, where 1500 years before a young girl had drowned. Now cold water turned him into a buxom redheaded girl, while hot returned him to his original, male form.

With no other options to explore, Ranma and Genma set off to return to Japan. En route Ranma unintentionally drew the ire of Shampoo, a young amazon from the Joketsuzoku village, by defeating her in combat while in female form, and thus dishonouring her; later she would pursue him to Tokyo to continue their fight.

When Ranma and Genma arrived in Tokyo, they went to the Tendou Dojo, as Genma wished to honour at least one of his promises, that of marrying Ranma to one of his friend's daughters. In spite of Ranma stating he didn't want to get married, Genma insisted, but when they turned up at the Dojo in their cursed forms, confusion reigned. Soun, who had just told his daughter that one of them would have to marry Ranma, fainted upon discovery that his future "son-in-law" appeared to be a girl. Kasumi and Nabiki, his elder two daughters were mildly disappointed, but Akane, the youngest and the same age as Ranma, was delighted, as she had no desire to marry. Instead she asked Ranma is she would like to spar. Ranma easily won the battle, a defeat the proud Akane accepted only because it was another girl who had beaten her, not a boy. Shortly afterwards though Akane went to bathe, and walked in naked to the communal bath to discover the masculine Ranma, equally nude.

After Akane had alerted the entire household to the "pervert" in the bathroom, Ranma was forced to explain the curse to his hosts. Soun stated that since Ranma was really a boy, the planned engagement could still go ahead after all. Akane's elder sisters immediately decided Akane should be Ranma's bride, since "Akane hates boys, and Ranma is half-girl". Ranma didn't help things by pointing out that his female form had a better figure than Akane.

Ranma and his father moved into the dojo, and the lad began a tempestuous relationship began, increasingly complicated by rivals for Akane who didn't appreciate Ranma being (unwilling) competition, a number of women (including Shampoo and Ukyou) who wanted Ranma and didn't appreciate Akane being (unwilling) competition, people who tracked the Saotomes down seeking recompense for all of Genma's broken promises, and even some guys who fell for Ranma's female form then refused to take a hint that she wasn't interested. The arrival of Nodoka, Ranma's mother, seeking to find out why the letters her husband had been sending stopped the moment he took Ranma to Jusenkyo, and insistent on holding the two of them to their vows of ritual suicide if Ranma was less than a 100% manly man, didn't help either.

Comments: Created by Rumiko Takahashi

Thanks to Patrick Conley for providing much of the above information.

Scott Ryktarsyk kindly provided greater details of Ranma's powers, especially his martial arts skills. Scott also sent the following notes: "Nodoka (mother) has a contract, signed by Genma and fingerpainted by Ranma (he was four/five) which promises that Ranma will be a 'man among men' when he returns, or both he and Genma will commit seppuku(ritual suicide). With the curse, Ranma is forced to hide from Nodoka by Genma, assuming the identity of Tendo Ranko.

Ranma was trained in the Neko-ken (Cat-fist) by Genma. The training method is to tie up the student in fish cakes and throw them in to a pit of starving cats, repeat as necessary until student learns technique. This actually left Ranma with an intense fear of cats instead, so Genma repeated the technique multiple times in order to 'purge his son of this weakness'. Eventually Ranma did learn the technique, by going insane and mentally becoming a cat. He broke out of the pit, mauled Genma, and ran off. Ranma still has an intense fear of cats, and whenever exposed to them for too long a period without escape, will revert back to the cat mentality. In this state, he can shred anything with a swipe of his 'paw', and assumes incredible agility, flexibility, and speed. He is, however, easily distracted by such things as a ball of yarn, a feather, etc. He returns to normal by being splashed with water and activating the curse, or by being allowed to sleep on the lap of someone he trusts (an old woman the first time, Akane during the series)."


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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