skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
[personal profile] skjam posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Yeah, I know that she has her faults, but when Rumiko Takahashi is on top of her game, she can put out some lovely art and extremely funny stories. And since it's come up during my cleaning efforts, let's look at her introduction of Nodoka Saotome.

This is from the Viz edition; back in 1992 they still printed manga in floppies, and flipped so they read left to right. (Though they'd eased up a bit on "no Japanese words we can possibly avoid.") "Ranma 1/2" Volume Ten, #7, 10 pages of 31.





Our story opens with a flashback to when Akane was in kindergarten (we can tell by the stereotypical kindergarten uniform she's wearing.) She's crying on the sidewalk, and a woman (Mrs. Tendou, her mother, the first time we see her face in the manga) approaches to find out what's wrong. Turns out Akane bought a flower to bring her mother, but tripped, and the stem is broken. Happily, Mrs. Tendou is able to find a vase that just shows the unbroken top part. She soothes Akane's tears, and Akane declares her love for Mommy.

Kasumi wakes Akane from her dream to remind her what day this is.

We next see the Tendou family and their houseguests at the cemetary. Genma has come as a panda, presumably to avoid wearing the ragged gi that is his usual garment. Kasumi waters the grave as Akane lays a bouquet and Souun talks to his departed wife. Even Nabiki stands respectfully. It turns out that this is the first time anyone's directly told Ranma that Mrs. Tendou is dead, when Akane was quite small.



Later, Ranma is back in his less formal Chinese outfit, and walking on the canal fences as is his usual practice. He stops to reflect on the concept of having a mother, and assumes that only a freak would marry his father. It turns out that the fence segment Ranma's on is labeled "Danger Unstable Do Not Stand On Top" and starts to fall over. Ranma quickly saves himself by hopping to another segment...labeled "Also Unstable."

Now female, Ranma is spotted by a blurry-looking woman, who reaches down to him with a long cloth bundle. Ranma tries to pull himself up with it, but...



It doesn't come across well in the translation, but Ranma uses very rough masculine speech even while in female form, thus Nodoka's remarks.

Ranma reflects on how nice the strange lady is. Later, he returns home, still female, only to be greeted by his father (in human form) saying that they're leaving town immediately. But before he can leave the premises, Souun trips him, and asks for an explanation. A postcard slips from Genma's blouse, which says "I am coming to visit now. Sincerely, Nodoka." Genma is tied up and Ranma doses himself with hot water, as the family tries to figure out who this Nodoka person is. Ranma thinks it might be the owner of a restaurant that Genma stiffed on the bill. Genma pretends shame at how his son thinks of him. Nabiki thinks Nodoka might be from a collection agency, and Kasumi thinks it's a dreadful thing to steal from an old lady (Nodoka being an old-fashioned name.) Genma protests that she's not an old lady.

Genma rips free of the ropes to say that Nodoka is Ranma's--Yes, Ranma's what? At that moment, a female voice is heard at the entrance. Genma panics, puts a pillow over his head, and says "I'm sorry I took him away!"



Akane is very pleased for Ranma, but he's not so sure...he doesn't remember his mother at all. Another female voice is heard at the entrance, and the Tendou family happily rushes off to see the visitor, but before Ranma can follow...




The visitor politely asks to see Genma and Ranma Saotome, but there's a flashback to just moments before when Genma asked Souun not to reveal their whereabouts. So Souun claims that the sought people are out on "a...um...mission."



Back in his male form, Ranma asks why he should hide, having done nothing wrong.

Meanwhile, Nodoka explains to the Tendou family that she has in fact been waiting all these years at the Saotome home for her wandering relatives. She flashes back to Genma (then with hair) trying to take Ranma away, and her hitting Genma with progressively larger objects in an effort to make him stop. Genma explains that in order for Ranma to be worthy of taking over the Saotome School of Anything-Goes Martial Arts, he must not be softened by a mother's love. It's what's best for Ranma. The Tendou family is impressed by the sacrifice that Nodoka made. But she says that Genma also made a vow.

Abruptly, there's a boy's voice off-panel, followed by scuffling noises and a splash. When Nodoka goes to check, she finds female Ranma and a panda holding a sign that says "Hello, someone else's wife!" Ranma berates his father, and Nodoka tells him young ladies shouldn't use such language. Ranma's about to spill his actual gender when Akane interrupts to ask about that vow.



Back around the living room table, Noidoka explains that Genma had been writing to her all along, but the letters stopped abruptly just before he and Ranma were going to some training ground in China. Souun and Akane remember that it was the cursed springs of Jyuusenkyo that made Ranma turn into a girl--not, by definition, a man. Akane asks if Nodoka is really going to hold them to that--"Suicide is so...extreme!" In answer, Nodoka unwraps her cloth bundle to reveal the family katana. But as she's unsheathing it, it slips from her hand, nearly circumcising Ranma. Turns out Nodoka's a bit clumsy.




But surely that will never happen, because Ranma no doubt has grown up manly as can be. Right? Still, Nodoka wishes he had been there so she could see him, even if only for a moment. Ranma starts trying to say something, then Nodoka asks his name.



It's late, and Nodoka is invited to stay the night, despite the danger. Akane wishes she could tell Nodoka the truth, sympathizing with the older woman. In the bath, Ranma complains about the suicide vow, while Genma explains that Nodoka "is a woman of the highest principles." She would surely enforce the vow, so the father and son will simply have to live the rest of their lives in the alternate forms to avoid detection. Nodoka thinks she hears Ranko in the tub, and comes in to share the bath.

And that's where the issue ends. To relieve the suspense, I can reveal that Ranma and Genma manage to keep Nodoka from finding out the truth before she leaves. But since she's a recurring character....



Your thoughts and comments?

Suggested tags
creator: Rumiko Takahashi
medium: manga
publisher: Viz Comics
series: 30 days of scans
title: Ranma 1/2

Date: 2010-09-14 03:15 am (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
Favorite character who is male and female? Xavin, no doubt (to be fair, can't think of any more, unless you count the time Aaron Stack had his head on a Monica Rambeau LMD)

Date: 2010-09-14 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] nightauditguy
While not my favorite by any means, only other anime characters that I can think of that are both male and female are the Sailor Starlights from Sailor Moon.

Date: 2010-09-14 04:22 am (UTC)
meatwhichdreams: (Default)
From: [personal profile] meatwhichdreams
Gah, that last panel! So good.

Date: 2010-09-14 06:24 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Oh man, Ranma. One of the animes/mangas I started out on.

Date: 2010-09-14 06:25 am (UTC)
big_daddy_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] big_daddy_d
I haven't read Ranma in a while. I always liked the panda.

Date: 2010-09-14 07:12 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Is it me or do things like this make Genma an unmitigated bastard on a level which actually makes him no longer that funny?

And favourite Male/Female would probably be the Defenders Cloud

Date: 2010-09-14 08:23 am (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
Favorite male/female would be Desire of the Endless for me :D

Date: 2010-09-14 11:37 am (UTC)
raisedbymoogles: (Default)
From: [personal profile] raisedbymoogles
Ranma was my gateway drug too, back in the day.

Date: 2010-09-14 12:28 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Yeah, even within the slapstick genre there's rarely an apparently sympathetic character who is actively cruel the way Genma is here. Incompetent, or an idiot, sure (As someone smarter than me once noted; "Stan is an idiot, but is aware of this, and so has the protection of innocence, Ollie is an idiot, but believes himself smart, and therefore is fair game for humiliation"), but not actually deliberately mean or hurtful.

And Cloud was such a nice simple, concept of a character, a being who copied a human DNA pattern, but whose gender chromosomes were a little vague and so they sometimes swtiched, which was why it was such a shame that we ended up with the overcomplicated; "I actually duplicated both forms of a young courting couple who just happen to look almost completely alike, to the point that it's actually kind of creepy"

Date: 2010-09-14 01:35 pm (UTC)
his_spiffynesss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] his_spiffynesss
Too bad they haven't done anything with Cloud since the end of the original Defenders. I always wondered who would win in a fight between hir and Storm.

Date: 2010-09-14 01:37 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Given that Cloud is the sentient embodiment of an entire nebula, I'd say it would be a rather short and uncomfrtoable fight for Ororo.

Date: 2010-09-14 02:27 pm (UTC)
aeolos_sakya: Aeolos Sakya (Default)
From: [personal profile] aeolos_sakya
Oh, yeah, it's been a while since I don't read anything about this manga. It was awesome.

Date: 2010-09-14 03:17 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Well, thanks to google, I now want to go "Eeeeeewwwww!" out loud in the office, which is not a good idea, but seriously... ICK!

Date: 2010-09-14 04:00 pm (UTC)
katzedecimal: Is me, by me. I drawed it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] katzedecimal
My favorite male/female character is Berg Katze of Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman), which was never a manga, only anime. There was a brief "Battle of the Planets" comic by Gold Key, but the less said about that, the better. As for the "Battle of the Planets" comic by IDW... the less said about that, the better @_@;;;

Date: 2010-09-14 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hyperactivator
My first Manga love! I have all the volumes! ^_^

Date: 2010-09-14 07:02 pm (UTC)
ext_393540: (Default)
From: [identity profile] unlikelylass.blogspot.com
How about Walter Langowski, who was female while animating Snowbird's dead body, taking the name 'Wanda'?

How about Matter Eater Lad, who spent some time undercover as a woman after exposure to a gender-changing virus (I think this was reboot Legion, not three-boot).

Similarly, Light Lass, back when she was Lightning Lass, spent some time disguised -- successfully -- as her twin brother Lightning Lad.

How about male mutant shape-shifter Courier, who got 'locked' into a female form by Mr. Sinister?

I believe there was an Excalibur villain who was both male and female, for that matter, although the name escapes me -- this was around the time of the cross-time caper.

Plus, of course, there's also Jimmy Olsen's penchant for not just cross-dressing, but successfully passing as a girl -- to the point of becoming a gangster's girlfriend at one point.

This doesn't even touch on characters like Mantra, the cross-gender reincarnation that was in Camelot-3000, or the nigh-infinite number of gender-bending Manga and Anime...

There's a website out there somewhere that catalogs TG content in comic books because, well, this is the internet. =)

Date: 2010-09-15 03:44 am (UTC)
joysweeper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] joysweeper
Why was that? My google-fu is weaker than icon_uk's; everything I'm finding is unrelated.

Date: 2010-09-15 07:05 am (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
Was Malice of the Marauders ever properly established as male or female?

Date: 2010-09-16 12:49 am (UTC)
meatwhichdreams: (delirium kindly ones)
From: [personal profile] meatwhichdreams
Aw fuck yeearrr! Desire defines the genre!

Date: 2010-09-16 04:14 am (UTC)
joysweeper: (What happened?)
From: [personal profile] joysweeper
*headtilt*

Odd. And now I'm curious. Does Maze have a split personality? A merged one?

Date: 2010-09-24 06:03 pm (UTC)
rickperry: (pic#sailormoon)
From: [personal profile] rickperry
ya I love them :)

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