Genre: Martial Arts, Urban Fantasy, Romantic Comedy
Original Name: Ranma Nibun-no-Ichi
On a training journey in the Bayankala Mountain Range in the Qinghai Province of China, Ranma Saotome and his father Genma fall into the cursed springs at Jusenkyo. When someone falls into a cursed spring, they take the physical form of whatever drowned there hundreds or thousands of years ago whenever they come into contact with cold water. The curse will revert when exposed to hot water until their next cold water exposure. Genma falls into the spring of a drowned panda while Ranma falls into the spring of a drowned girl.
Upon returning to Japan, the pair settle in Nerima, Tokyo at the dojo of Genma’s old friend Soun Tendo, a fellow practitioner of Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū or “Anything-Goes School” of martial arts which Genma passed on to Ranma. Genma and Soun agreed years ago that their children would marry and carry on the Tendo Dojo. Soun has three teenaged daughters: the polite and easygoing Kasumi, the greedy and indifferent Nabiki and the short-tempered, martial arts practicing Akane. Akane, who is Ranma’s age, is appointed for bridal duty by her sisters with the reasoning that Akane dislikes men and since Ranma is only a man half of the time, they are perfect together. Both Ranma and Akane refuse the engagement initially, having not been consulted on the decision, but they are generally treated as betrothed and end up helping or saving each other on some occasions. They are frequently found in each other’s company and are constantly arguing in their trademark awkward love-hate manner that is a franchise focus.
Ranma goes to school with Akane at Furinkan High School, where he meets his recurring opponent Tatewaki Kuno, the conceited kendo team captain who aggressively pursues Akane, but also falls in love with Ranma’s female form without ever discovering his curse (despite most other characters knowing it). Nerima serves as a backdrop for more martial arts mayhem with the introduction of Ranma’s regular rivals, such as the eternally lost Ryoga Hibiki who traveled half way across Japan getting from the front of his house to the back, where Ranma spent three days waiting for him. Ryoga, seeking revenge on Ranma, followed him to Jusenkyo where he ultimately falls into the Spring of Drown Piglet. Now when splashed with cold water he takes the form of a little black pig. Not knowing this, Akane takes the piglet as a pet and names it P-chan, but Ranma knows and hates him for keeping this secret and taking advantage of the situation. Another rival is the nearsighted Mousse, who also falls into a cursed spring and becomes a duck when he gets wet, and finally, there is Ranma’s impish grandmaster, Happosai, who spends his time stealing the underwear of schoolgirls.
Ranma’s prospective paramours include the martial arts rhythmic gymnastics champion Kodachi Kuno, and his second fiancée and childhood friend Ukyo Kuonji the okonomiyakivendor, along with the Chinese Amazon Shampoo, supported by her great-grandmother Cologne. As the series progresses, the school becomes more eccentric with the return of the demented, Hawaii-obsessed Principal Kuno and the placement of the power-leeching alternating child/adult Hinako Ninomiya as Ranma’s English teacher. Ranma’s indecision to choose his true love causes chaos in his romantic and school life.