Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma 1/2 took Harem anime to the extreme

Rumiko Takahashi is known for creating the harem genre, but she also took it to the extreme with Ranma 1/2.

The harem genre is quite prolific in today’s anime world. Described as a series with a plot driven by multiple characters romantically interested in one person, harems are a common genre for anime and manga. It could be the main focus, as in Nisekoi or quintessential quintupletsor an aspect of a larger story, as in How not to summon a demon lord or many other isekai series. To the surprise of many, the origin of the harem genre can be traced back to a woman.

Rumiko Takahashi is widely accepted as the originator of the harem genre with her series. urusei yatsurawhich began publication in 1978. He continued to play with this creation after urusei yatsuraIt ends with one of his best-known series, Ranma 1/2. First published in 1987 with the anime adaptation airing in 1989. Ranma 1/2 tells the story of a boy who has been cursed to turn into a girl when he is splashed with cold water. Only hot water will make him a child again.

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Because Ranma can change gender at any time, he has a unique setup for his harem. In fact, he is actually the center of two, one for each of his introductions. While modern anime has mixed it up by having one or two people of the same sex in a character’s harem, no series has created a love polygon as complicated and messy as Ranma’s.

Many harem anime get complicated enough to need a relationship chart, but finding one with the same level of chaos seen in the official Ranma 1/2 art book it is a difficult task. Ranma often has some relationship with all of his harem members, regardless of what body he is in, but the way he looks greatly affects how he is treated. One of the most notable examples of this is Shampoo, a girl who has very different feelings towards him depending on the body she is in. For her, the Ranma girl is the person who stole the first prize in a tournament and she swears to kill in revenge. Boy Ranma, on the other hand, is the guy who defeated her in combat, and by the laws of her society, that makes him her fiancé.

Much like Shampoo, if a character is in love with one version of Ranma, they often feel hatred for their other half. Kuno, for example, fell in love with Ranma’s feminine side at first sight. However, he hates the Ranma boy because he is engaged to Kuno’s other love, Akane. In this way, the harem becomes more than just infighting between members. While the girls in particular compete for Ranma’s affections, many of them are also in conflict with the boy himself. Whether he sees them as more of a friend than a potential partner or his curse prevents him from being ideal, there are more issues than a typical harem setup.

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Another interesting aspect of Ranma 1/2The harem is how one is rather stagnant while the other is like a revolving door. As a child, Ranma has several women who, for one reason or another, are his fiancée. Whether it’s because of his own actions (as in Shampoo’s case) or because of a deal his father made years ago and forgot about, Ranma has no fewer than four women who hold the title of fiancée. Others make appearances, but they don’t last more than an episode or two.

While boy Ranma has many long-term suitors who become recurring characters, girl Ranma does not. The one constant is Kuno, who is just as in love with his mysterious “pigtailed girl” as he is with Akane. Besides him, many boys take an interest in Ranma’s female form, but they often disappear from the story after a few episodes. Whether it’s figure skater Mikado stealing her first kiss or having a brief engagement with Sentaro from the Martial Arts Tea Ceremony line, the boys stick around for small arcs and may return once or twice, but never become recurring characters. .

Many have debated whether Ranma 1/2 He still holds his own as a modern anime fan, but his place in history is sealed regardless of his relevance today. He helped establish the harem genre that anime fans know today, but he also took the idea to an extreme that has never been replicated.

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