Author has written 32 stories for Ranma.
After reading many other people's stories, I've decided to stop freeloading. Hopefully, some of you will enjoy my stories.
I've tried not to plagiarize, or at least to give credit where credit is due, but some "bleed-over" is inevitable. If you are on my Favorite Authors list, consider this an apology for unintentional theft. If you think you have been left out, please contact me and I'll add the appropriate credit.
Proper literary criticism is always welcome. Flames will be ignored. Trolls will have adventurers dispatched to deal with them. My personal goals are to learn how to tell a story correctly, whether it be mine or someone else's (don't worry, if I use yours, you'll get proper credit - otherwise you might stop writing and that could be a shame). If you think I'm taking myself too seriously, you probably missed something (or I need to learn to communicate, which is a possibility). I've thought about asking for Beta Readers, but after reading some of their profiles, I've decided not to waste their time - they are way more serious than I am about writing. If my writing passes Communication 101, I'm happy. If you wish to correct my punctuation, feel free - I'll probably read what you send and even say thank you (I'm not against self-improvement).
I found the Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha animes through YouTube (and Hulu). After watching them, I followed up on the Ranma manga because the anime was obvious incomplete. I found the stories even more delightful (I love slapstick humor and the interplay between the two main characters). After reading some interviews from Rumiko Takahashi, and seeing how she ended Inuyasha, I think I understand why she ended Ranma 1/2 the way she did. However, that doesn't stop me from wanting a more satisfying ending. So I ended up on-line looking for Fan Fiction, and the rest is history. If you want to know a little more about me, there's a short little paragraph of bragging at the end of the profile.
My stories (unless otherwise stated) are all from the same continuity. The stories are meant to be complementary to the Manga - I'm just taking advantage of plot holes to add my own spin. All of my stories will be shooting for Drama and/or Humor (more the later than the former I hope). I don't like Angst stories - If I want Angst (and I really don't understand the people who do), I'll watch the news. I do love a good mystery, but I'm not sure how to write them.
Because I’m not likely to finish the entire continuity set (best laid plans and all that), I’m making a serious effort (the only thing serious about these stories) to have each story stand on its own, so the reader need not feel cheated should I drop off the face of the earth tomorrow. Personally, whenever I browse these archives, I jump to the end to make sure there is a proper ending – one of my pet peeves is to get into a 250K word story only to be left hanging. So, if I post Chapter 1, it means that the ending has already been written. I plan to “publish” one chapter every week or two (life is busy) in the hopes of getting some good feedback and allow correction for any glaring errors (Hmmm…maybe I should leave some instructions in my will to make sure everything I’ve written gets out the door). In general, the release rate is based on how long it takes to "polish" a chapter, and my schedule is a lot tighter these days.
Pairings in my sandbox are Ranma/Akane and Kasumi/Tofu. If you don't like it, don't read my stories. I do prefer the manga pairs of Ryoga/Akari and Ukyo/Konatsu, but I can understand the anime pairing of Ryoga/Ukyo (I'm not using it here though). Everyone else is up in the air.
If you claim to me that someone is out-of-character, be prepared to quote chapter and verse. Allowable sources are the English dubbed Viz video and the online New Ranma Project Manga (see ). There is a bound book English version of the manga in my local bookstore that is close to the New Ranma project, but I like New Ranma translation better. Unfortunately, since I don't speak/read Japanese, I don't know which is closer to what Ms. Takahashi intended. Where there is a conflict, manga triumphs anime (For example, the manga version of the Phoenix Pill story line is in my sandbox not the anime version) unless otherwise stated. Keep in mind that life requires growth, so characters are expected to mature somewhat in the face of time.
I originally sketched the outline for "Bindings" (which isn't actually a title anywhere) consisting of four stories "Kasumi's Fate", "Brothers", "Ranma Saotome must be Destroyed", and "Trinity". After writing "Kasumi's Fate", it turned out that the eldest Tendo still had more to say, so the third story split into "Tofu's Return" and "The Destruction of Ranma Saotome". The latter story then split again (and the splits have split) until these days when I just consider "Bindings" to be the name of my "continuum" (or WorldView if you like). I found that there was so much to explore, and I'm having fun.
Most of my stories are in this continuum ("An Adventure" is a sole exception to date). The "official" order for "Bindings" is:
The Vengeance Rose
Say 'Yes' to the Dress
To Serve and Protect in Nerima
Her Mother's Daughter
The Destruction of Ranma Saotome - Ignition (High Drama)
The Final Binding
The stories are grouped in "arcs" for reader convenience. Since I'm writing for my enjoyment, stories vary widely in tone, viewpoint, and type, which is why they are not all under one title. Stories were not written in chronological order. I am trying really hard to allow people to read what they like without feeling they have to read everything. Give a little background at the start, maybe some footnotes, and the reader is all set to go. If that story makes them curious about the other stories, so much the better.
"The Final Binding" ends the first of set of stories and pretty much ends the "Manga Resolution" plot line. The second set of stories have a working title "The Next Cycle" (feel free to suggest a better name. The first arc deals with the marriage of Kasumi and Tofu. The stories so far are:
"Tofu's Bachelor Party" (rated "M" - probably the only rated "M" story I will write).
A set of lighter stories starts with:
"Cooking with Akane" (already published)
Other Lighter stories coming down the line include "Nerima's Endless", and "To Ride the Wild Horse". The drama stories will be "The Equinox", "Heroes", and "The Solstice". There may be other stories added due to suggestions or inspiration, but once "The Solstice" is published, it will be time to write for other worlds. Let's see if I actually finish these "grand plans"...
Some notes regarding the character depictions and story mechanics for The Next Cycle (second part of the "Bindings" Continuum):
The notes for the first part of "Bindings" were attached to Epilogue II of "Kasumi's Fate" after "The Final Binding" was completed. I couldn't use a new page to create an appendix without resetting the update counter, so I did it that way. If you haven't read Bindings, there may be spoilers below, so you may want to go read those stories first. I'm starting with a clean slate for "The Next Cycle", so onwards...
Akane and Ranma: At the start of The Next Cycle, Ranma and Akane are happily engaged and very much in Love (although they are still waiting on the ring). Not only that, in "The Final Binding", they united their souls, healing both of them of their past emotional injuries and leading to some very interesting implications. Both of them have grown tremendously since the end of the Manga. Some of this is due to Kasumi and Tofu: Tofu is using a lot of dope-slaps on both of them, while Kasumi just sighs a lot, which sort of has the same effect. The rest of is coming to terms with who they are and learning to talk to one another - they are actual mature for their almost 19 years now. There are planning to get married shortly after they turn twenty so to do it on their terms - and no one else's.
Ranma is free of Genma, who is now locked in the zoo permanently. The government of Japan believes (falsely) that Ranma’s sire is Tofu’s deceased brother (a very long story). Ranma has been formally adopted by Mrs. Ono and is now legally Tofu’s brother. Tofu is effectively Ranma’s guardian now. Ranma lives with Tofu at the Clinic, but spends most of his free time at the Tendo Dojo. He's picked up a little polish under Tofu's tutelage, but his pride is still a little prickly and he still has a big ego. Despite his brashness, he is a lot more sensitive about those around him - he still doesn't know what to say sometimes, but he's learned that sometimes silence and a kind gesture is the best answer. As a result, he's become a very good teacher - especially to his star pupil, Akane. Ranma still has the Jusenkyo curse, but it doesn't bother him any more - everyone has a Yin and Yang side: his just have physical manifestations. He works hard to keep both forms in top physical form. The Cat Fist is still part of Ranma, but he would no longer say he “suffers” from it (and he may be even a little proud of it).
Akane "sweet side" has grown even stronger and her "violent maniac side" has faded. Due to events in "The Destruction of Ranma Saotome" and "The Final Binding", she was healed of the post-traumatic stress disorder inflicted on her by Tatewaki Kuno and his Loser Patrol. As a result, the rage is gone and she's learned patience. Because of that, she's excelled as an instructor and learned how to cook properly (even though she likes extremely spicy food). Like Ranma, she's not perfect - she still has a hot temper and getting her angry is still a mistake (even if it does take more effort these days): the people on the other side of Nerima will hear her displeasure and she's picked up some very colorful vocabulary for those rare moments when she's *really* ticked off. She's not above tossing someone in the coy pond or sweeping their feet out from under them, but she no longer strikes *anyone* in blind anger anymore (something that had started to fade at the end of the Manga). Her relationship with Ranma has also resolved some of her pride/self-doubt issues: despite his teasing, she knows how he really feels about her and that he's very proud of her.
Ranma and Akane have discovered that their Chi abilities have developed enough to control their environment and are mages in-training (as well as Martial Artists) . Ranma is a Wind Mage and Akane is a Fire Mage (same as Tofu). They are also the Guardians of two World Elemental spirits who share “spiritual space” with them.
New to Continuum is Akane's spell named Nova Burst which figures prominently as a counter-spell for the Umisen-Ken (among other things). As a Fire Mage, Akane is strong enough that she can generate physical light, which takes a tremendous amount of energy. In "playing" with this ability, she has learned to generate "Spirit Light" which lights up any sentient thing hidden (or "cloaked") by any means. As a side-effect, it also temporarily blinds any onlookers but not the caster. Casting the spell still requires a good deal of energy, but not as much as physical light and one doesn't have to be a Fire Mage to cast it. To date, she has taught it to Ranma, Ryoga, and Tofu; Kasumi figured it out as soon as Akane told her about it.
Kasumi: Bindings started with "Kasumi's Fate" where we learned our"Moe" character wasn't so "Moe". Turns out that she's a very intelligent woman who has spent three years trying to force her father to grow up. It didn't work, so she had to move on with her life. She's 22 now and engaged to the love of her life: Doctor Tofu Ono. At the start of The Next Cycle, the wedding is a little over a month away. Over the course of Bindings, we learned that she is a Master of Tai Chi, a Nerima Martial Artist, a mage with the power of Healing, and a Seer (something that occasionally put her in tight spots). Despite learning all this about herself, she still managed to keep an even keel somehow and guide her nutty family through the adventures of the past nine months. Now things have slowed temporarily, so maybe she'll get a chance to reflect on herself...
Tofu: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - well, three out of four ain't bad, and, truth-be-known, Tofu does know how to sew, there just hasn't been a story about it. In Bindings, we learned why Tofu was missing for a large part of the Manga storyline: He's actually a soldier who works for a mysterious group called “The Council” and leads a team of spies/mercenaries. Turns out, he's a very powerful Fire Mage/Healer and is part Kitsune through his mother, Kin Ono (who is half-Kitsune). He also is a true medical doctor and well versed in traditional healing, courtesy of a long life. Despite being mostly human, his Kitsune relatives are very proud to claim him their own, as is most of Kitsune society (despite some linger prejudices in dark corners) who rate him as a Kitsune Lord due to his power, his skill, and the fact that he's very personable. He is currently stationed in Nerima for the foreseeable future and is now the equivalent of a squad/team leader.
Unfortunately, he was only immortal for a limited time. His mortal side has asserted itself, and he has started to age normally, although he hasn't lost any of his power. He's picking up at age 27 (he uses Glamour magic to make himself look older). Rather than be depressed at this inevitability, he embraced it. As a result, he carried through on an understanding between himself and Kasumi Tendo, and asked her to marry him. She happily accepted, having quietly loved him since she was sixteen. Kasumi is well aware of his background, having accidently discovered it when she was eighteen. The manner of the discovery actually Bound him to her, something that was responsible for the ticks and tremors he use to suffer around her. With their proper betrothal, a new Binding formed, freeing Tofu of having to manage his affliction.
As a mage, Tofu has three apprentices of which he is very proud: his wife-to-be, Akane, and Ranma. In time, we will learn that he is Disciple of a Nine-Tail Kitsune...
Nabiki: The middle Tendo daughter has matured well over the past year, even if she is still her old amoral self. She's now 20 years old, so she's of legal age. This means she can be held accountable for her stunts and scams directly (instead of hiding behind Daddy). Second, She's also learned to appreciate the adage “you can draw more flies with honey than vinegar” applies (this is important if you’re any type of spider/web-spinner). Third, in “Kasumi’s Fate”, she almost lost the one thing (or really, the only thing) she really cares about – one of her sisters. Nabiki’s world is founded on Kasumi (and to a lesser extent, Akane). Without them, she’s adrift in the world, and she knows exactly how big that world is. While she may tease (torture) her sisters, heaven forbid they actually come to any real harm. Nabiki has learned to appreciate both Ranma's and Tofu's dedication her sisters' well being – making them extremely valuable in her world view, and worth supporting (more a reason than any so-called affection). Also as the result of Bindings, Nabiki has come to terms with her mother's death, allowing for a major personal breakthrough and opening her heart to her family and those around her.
However, this is still Nabiki. True, she will no longer sell pictures of Ranma/Ranko, but if the Manga episode "Clash of the Kings of Cash (with Kinnoskue Kasha-oo - Volume 29, Chapter 9 onwards) was to occur after now, the story would still run pretty true to course - all the way down to the parachute in "The 10 Yen Battle from Hell!". A challenge is a challenge after all. The only exceptions would be that Nabiki would cut Ranma and Akane out of the story pretty quickly to protect them (they'd probably sneak back in anyway) and that Tofu would also try to get involved. Nabiki would probably shelter her siblings from Soun's bankruptcy (although now that she's an adult, Soun is no longer legally required to answer for her).
Ryoga: Now's here's a guy who really did well in Bindings: While he still has no sense of direction, he no longer teleports randomly, and a GPS will work for him now, so he only gets a little lost these days. He also gained a foster father (Maomolin - yes, *that* Maomolin) and a foster brother (Ranma). Ryoga and Ranma have long since buried the hatchet (although they still beat on each other enthusiastically) and truly treat each other as siblings. His good luck continued in that he confessed his Jusenkyo curse to Akane (and everyone else) and she didn't kill him outright - just three months of beating the tar out of him every time she saw him. Akane did forgive him though - she just made him promise to take very good care of Akari. He's in touch with his birth parents on a regular basis now. They still suffer the random teleportation, but it is slowly wearing out.
On a more personal note, he's formally engaged to Akari and works on her farm. Their relationship is very "advanced" for their ages - she's very earthy and he is (or rather 'was') starved for affection. So, right or wrong, things progressed fairly quickly once they set a date. Their wedding is planned a month ahead of Ranma's and Akane's (which suits everyone). Turns out, Akari has also proven to be a Nerima Martial Artist and is training under Kasumi.
Like Ranma and Akane, Ryoga has discovered that his Chi abilities have developed enough to control his environment - specifically Earth. So he is apprenticed to Hideo Jouda, an Earth Mage and good friend of Tofu. Also like Ranma and Akane, Ryoga is a Guardian of a World Elemental spirit who shares “spiritual space” with him. In "The Destruction of Ranma Saotome" his spirit was "entangled" with Ranma's and Akane's spirits. As a result, the three of them always know where the others are, and their general state of being.
Mousse: Unfortunately, Mousse did not fair as well as Ryoga. He was broken of his love for Shampoo (in a very vicious manner) which very nearly cost him his soul. As it is, he suffers from terrible nightmares, something his friends do their best to Shield him against. He has also learned that the Amazons do not want him to return to China - they want him to have a better life than what he could have with them. However, the Nerima crowd has immediately laid claim to him, forcing him to place one foot in front of the other and to keep moving. He has also been adopted by Mrs. Ono, and is now legally Tofu's and Ranma's brother (although, like Ranma, Tofu is more of an uncle to him).
Some small positive outcomes have come of his trials and tribulations though. One of them is that his mystical Sight has grown, allowing him to serve as a lookout for his friends and family. Also, if he concentrates, he can find anyone who cares about or thinks well of him, even a little bit. However, he always knows where his true friends and family are without thinking about it. This includes his brothers, the Tendos (yes, even Nabiki worries about him), Nodoka, Kin Ono, Ms. Hinako, Ryoga, Akari, Ukyo, Konatsu, and a smattering of others - including Ciren Blake, his new Teacher and Weapons Master.
Ukyo: The owner of Ucchan's has finally seen the light. During the events of "The Destruction of Ranma Saotome" and "The Final Binding", she discovered how much of herself she was losing in pursuit of Ranma and legally dismissed the betrothal. She also confronted Ranma regarding his true feelings, a discussion that ended with her sucker-punching him and then immediately giving him a kiss on the forehead, granting him her forgiveness (and friendship). These days, she's good friends with both Ranma and Akane, although (truth be told) she talks more to Akane these days than Ranma.
She still runs her Okonomiyaki shop with her loyal worker, friend, and personal male Kunoichi (don't ask - just read the Manga), Konatsu. Her servant's training is starting to assert itself and he is slowly becoming more worldly, especially in his relationship with his friends. One sign of this is that he's starting to assert himself with those around him - and his boss. He and Ukyo are both starting to outgrow their childhoods, but whether they are growing closer together is yet to be seen.
Cologne: The Amazon Elder has lost her apprentice and protege - Shampoo is on the run from the Amazons for almost sentencing Mousse to Hell (sort of by accident) by using him as a sacrifice. The terrible damage her student inflicted on Mousse has left Cologne wracked with guilt and horror. While her people do not hold Cologne responsible - indeed, they want her to come home, Cologne blames herself and will not leave Nerima. Additionally, Cologne feels lost. The tasks she took upon herself have ended in failure: Shampoo is not worthy to be an Amazon and Ranma has been declared "off-limits" by the Amazon Council (including Cologne). She was no wish to go back to the Village - she would not get a new protege, nor does she want one for fear of creating another Shampoo. Her sole job now is to see that Mousse heals and has a real life.
Despite her self-condemnation, Mousse does not hold Cologne responsible for what Shampoo did. He still has great respect for her and she is training him to run the restaurant. He will be its owner when he turns 20. To some degree, Mousse has not allowed himself to despair because he doesn't want Cologne to despair, so that (and his friends and new family) keeps him moving.
Nerima itself does not blame Cologne: after all, Shampoo attacked Cologne as well. Whether she knows it or not, Cologne is still respected by the town folks, including the Tendos and the Onos.
Nodoka: Nodoka is (and still considered to be) Ranma’s mother and her marriage to Genma has been annulled. Genma permanently resides in the Nerima zoo stuck in his panda form as the result of a curse he tried to place on Ranma. Officially, Nodoka is recovering from an extended mental illness and the Tendos are her guardians. Again, this is what the Judicial System believes. The truth of the matter is that, while she is under (successful) treatment for an extreme form of OCD, Nodoka doesn't need a guardian; she just likes staying with the Tendos and they like having her there. She and Soun treat each other as brother and sister and the Tendo daughters still treat her as their aunt.
The Kuno Siblings: Both Tatewaki and Kodachi Kuno have been banished to Hokkaido by their uncle, Toshio Kuno, who is the powerful head of the Kuno family. However, Kodachi has had her 'showdown' with Ranma in "The Final Binding" and has started to come to terms with her life. She also understands Ranma’s nature now, and that he and Akane love each other. She has done a bit of research into their backgrounds to learn more about them and regrets the trouble she caused them.
Tatewaki has regressed into total madness. He believes Akane loves and worships him and that she is still under a spell. He is determined to kill Ranma and break the spell. Once done, he will take Akane to a temple and marry her.
Maomolin: What the heck happened here? In the Manga, Maomolin is a Chinese cat spirit that the Japanese call a 'bakeneko'. He was brought over unintentionally by Shampoo and pestered Ranma and crew here and there. He wasn't evil, but he was very needy and a major coward - one of his trademarks. Now we have a version of Maomolin is not so self-centered, wears a human shape, is considered a step-father to Ranma and Ryoga, and even has a girlfriend named Chiyoko.
Turns out, over 2000 years ago, Maomolin was a normal cat and had an owner, a young girl, who he cared for very much. She was poor, but she took very good care of him and loved him as well. As she aged, no one would marry her because her family could not afford a dowry. Eventually, he became a Bakeneko and decided he would wed the girl. At first, she was afraid, but he persisted in his love and she agreed. Before they could be married though, she died of an illness. It was said that Maomolin challenged Death to get her back, but, after the challenge was completed, he found out Death tricked him. He was told his love was bound to the Circles of the World, but he was now Undead - outside the Circles. Unable to be re-born with her, he now walked the world trying to find her new incarnation.
Fast-forward to modern times, and we learn in "Brothers" that Maomolin has cut a deal with the Powers that be. In return for going back in time seven years, which only the Undead can do without jeopardizing their existence, and completing a mission, Maomolin will live again. His mission? To stop the death and damnation of Ryoga Hibiki, a mission that will also have him cross paths with a younger Ranma Saotome. You have to read "Brothers" to find out more. Or you can read "The Next Cycle" and find out that there were some minor details not covered in "Brothers"...
Other Characters from Canon:
Taro: Happosai has sold the naming rights for Pantyhose Taro to the Council Tofu works for. The Council has now assigned Taro to work with Tofu's team and stationed him in China. When we last saw him, he had managed to steal something very important from Henna and the Sprite gave him his real name in return for nearly draining him dry.
The Friends (now nicknamed the Terrible Four): Yuka, Sayuri, Daisuke, and Hiroshi have personalities now.
Other Characters unique to the Bindings Continuum:
A tall blond athletic woman who is a master archer (her preferred weapon) as well as a marksman (the rifle is her second favorite weapon). She is also a talented martial artists (even by Nerima standards) and trained in swordsmanship. She doesn't have much of a sense of humor (due to a bitter childhood) although she has learned to return the give-and-take of her teammates and is patient with the young and inexperienced, despite her hot temper. She is a mechanic, a pilot, a race car driver, and has taken Mousse as her apprentice in advance weaponry. She currently serves the mysterious Council reporting to Dr. Tofu. She is half-human (you have to read the stories to find out her other half). She has a special brother/sister bond with Olaf Thorsen, one of the only people who can call her 'Babe' and live.
Take Indiana Jones, darken his skin, make him a little taller and give him a sense of humor. When not an assignment, you'll find him dressed in a beaten fedora, a dusty leather jacket, and his favorite weapon is a four meter whip that he uses extremely accurately. Oh, and instead of being a college professor, make him a secret agent whose expertise is dealing with the supernatural. Daran is an old friend of Tofu who possess no supernatural abilities, but does possess a number of interesting magical and technical artifacts. He currently serves the mysterious Council and works for Dr. Tofu. He also does a very good James Bond imitation.
Hideo and Shizuka Jouda:
Shizuka Jouda is Kasumi’s Tai Chi instructor. She’s a tough and implacable warrior who loves children, especially the children of her deceased rival and best friend, Kimiko Tendo (even if the “children” are getting up there in years). She’s been involved in Kasumi’s life off-stage for nearly a decade now. Hideo Jouda is Shizuka’s husband and he runs a florist shop in the same building as her dojo. He’s a tall, good natured man, with endless patience – especially for his stubborn wife. He’s also a very talented Earth mage as well (he’s Ryoga’s Arcane teacher). Do to a health condition, Shizuka cannot carry a child to term, something which causes her some sorrow.
Judge Isao Sanu and Ryuu Maruyama:
Judge Sanu is a national judge who retired from Tokyo High Court only to be asked by the Emperor (an old friend) to preside over the Nerima District Court. The how's and why's of this were detailed in "The Destruction of Ranma Saotome". Ryuu Marayanma is the judge's best friend, confidant, general henchman, and bodyguard; he has been for a long time. He's also a Yakazu assassin charged with killing Sanu. Of course, since Ryuu's Oyabun (another friend of Sanu) will immediately have Ryuu killed if the assassin succeeds, Ryuu and Sanu long ago worked out a deal that allows Ryuu to claim that he has made a recent attempt, and Sanu practices how to survive "not-so-friendly fire". Sanu and Ryuu have also had a history of "run-ins" with a shadowy figure known as "The Charlatan" - a.k.a Tofu Ono. They have also fought many legal (and semi-legal) battles with Toshio Kuno.
A modern day seven-foot Viking Berserker and a very intimidating bodyguard. He has recently started to wear a short beard and doesn't braid his hair (which is not quiet to his shoulders), but his favorite weapon is a war hammer (as Taro once said in "Brothers", Olaf never misses when he throws his hammer). When not wielding a war hammer, he can be found using a rocket launcher or an custom-fitted auto-cannon. He is ridiculously strong - much stronger than Taro's bull form. He is not a fan of unarmed combat (despite Ciren pestering him to train), but his fist is to be feared and he can take a lot of damage. This good-natured giant is a quiet man outside of battle, and a very sharp dresser (not off-the-rack) when not wearing armor (either medieval or modern depending on the battle). Like Ciren, he is also a half-human and works for the Council under Tofu. He is also one of Tofu Ono's best friends.
Paolo (The Mouse/Mausu) Glavan:
Thief and spy extraordinaire. He is called "The Mouse" or "Mouse" due to his small size (about 130 cm) and ability to get into impossible places. He is fully human and of Mediterranean descent. While he is not an assassin, he is a great person to have on your side in a fight due to his skill and speed. He is also extremely intelligent and likable despite his penchant for practical jokes. While currently contracted by the Council and working for Tofu, he has been hired in the past by Daran for intelligence gathering. Indeed, when the two men have joined forces, they are the despair of counter-intelligence agencies around the world. Because of confusion with "Mousse", I switched to Japanese romaji translation of "mouse" which is "mausu" ("nezumi" is another word I could have used, but I like "mausu" better).
Police Inspector Shoichi Ojima:
Head of the Nerima precincts. He possesses the Sight which allows to him See true guilt or innocence (he loathed Genma after one glance). For the longest time, he couldn’t turn the Sight off, which forced him to be a very driven man in the pursuit of Justice. Doctor Tofu helped him control his “gift” after the events in “The Destruction of Ranma Saotome.” Now he’s still a very driven man, but he can also get a good night’s sleep. He’s a very lean man of average height with a no nonsense attitude. While he believes in Justice, he’s not above bending the rules.
Tomo is a young, full-blooded Kitsune introduced in "The Date". The Kitsune Elders have assigned him to help Dr. Tofu who is his cousin (although one of many, so that is not so remarkable). Tomo appears to be the equivalent to a 12-year old human with the exception of the fox tail, ears, and fur. He is very much the typical Kitsune prankster, but has a fondness for the Tendos and the Onos (whether he’ll admit it or not). His magic ability is above average for his age, which is why the Elders put him to work.
Beware thinking the real head of the Kuno family is on the side of the Angels. He's on his own side and that is that. He believes in his own power and always seeks to preserve and increase it. However, he is a rather complicated character and not strictly evil. On one hand he has either arranged or ordered the death of many men. On the other, he is also responsible for saving thousand of lives as well. He's very even-handed on his views of life, almost a true neutral with one exception: He holds the view that death and pain will increase in the general population as a natural result of entropy unless actively opposed. Therefore, to maintain the Balance, he has chosen to avoid creating more pain than necessary to guarantee his own triumphs and works to minimize the pain of others in general. Toward this end, he funds a lot of medical research (even if it may not be profitable) and social outreach programs. While he can be one of the most coldly rational people in the Continuum, he is very capable of emotion (even if he is capable of analyzing it to death as well). Including having a crush on a younger woman - Ms. Nodoka Saotome.
The term "sprite" covers a range of non-mortal beings. The simplest form of sprite is a concept or idea that has evolved to have some independence from its creator (usually Creator). With this independence, it gains some awareness. If it gains enough awareness, it may become another form of sprite - a basic spirit. From there, with more awareness, it may evolve further along several paths. A few possible paths include an animal spirit, a gaki, or a nature spirit. If an animal spirit enters the Circles of the World (i.e. it is born), it is no longer a sprite. However, all paths allow for the final evolutionary step where the spirit becomes completely self-aware and empathic, in which case it's no longer a spirit, but a soul. Once a spirit becomes a soul, it's existence cannot be undone. However, that doesn't stop a soul from being imprisoned, cast out, or forced to take a lower position on the food chain due to its own actions. There will be former animal spirits who refuse to take a human form too, instead choosing to be re-born as their old animal form, but they will still be souls existing in animal bodies (the reasons for this will be many).
As the name implies, nature spirits have Bound themselves to an aspect or object of nature. This aspect/object includes but is not limited to the 'classic' Western elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air), the Eastern elements (add Metal), a physical location (like a river or mountain, volcano), or even more abstract concepts. If they gain enough awareness, the next level up is the Elemental where the spirit gains power over its substance. This includes the abilities of manipulation and creation. There are even different levels of Elemental - the highest being World Elemental, of which there are four (one for Earth, Water, Fire, and Air).
The World Elementals were created when the planet formed and have grown with it. They are charged with protecting the planet and ensuring that life progresses forward. At any given time, one of them is consider the Elemental King or Queen, and the reign of a particular monarch (or Cycle) will last millions of years. The World Elementals did well at their jobs: cleaning up after celestial disasters, diversifying species, promoting the rise of intelligent beings, and basically keeping the world turning. However, about 3000 years ago, the Elemental Queen learned something called "boredom" from a species known as homo sapiens. Despite the scolding she received from her Sister and Brothers, she persisted in this boredom and tried to amuse herself by becoming involved with a small tribe of humans in area of known today as China. This is when things began to go horribly wrong...
The Sprite: The Water Spirit/Spring Sprite:
One of the four Key Elemental Spirits of the World, the personification of Spring, and the Elemental Queen. Her name has not been revealed as of yet - she is just called the Sprite by her captor (and most everyone else). Sometimes in the distant past, she attached herself to the Chinese Amazons out of boredom and convinced them to serve her. For over a thousand of years, the Amazons learned much Lore from their Elemental Queen. However, more than 900 years ago, a bright rebellious young Amazon named Henna was forced by the Amazon Council to serve the Queen (who often humiliated her servants) as a punishment for pride. The Elemental Queen found the arrogant youth amusing; she toyed and teased with Henna constantly, using elaborate means to trick and trap the girl. Apparently, one of the Queen's traps backfired badly, and Henna imprisoned the Queen instead. The Amazon then used information she had learned over the past decade to torture the Queen for more information - and power. She also forced the cowardly Queen to lead the other World Elementals into traps of Henna's devising. Once the others were sealed away, Henna declared that the Queen was unfit to rule, and proclaimed herself 'Regent of the Seasons.'
Rera: The Wind Spirit/Winter Sprite:
One of the four Key Elemental Spirits of the World and the personification of Winter. He ruled the previous Cycle up until the end of the last Ice Age under a different name. He was bound into the Gekkaja by the Sorceress Henna 900 years ago. When Ranma accidentally killed himself with the Gekkaja during his battle with Saffron, the shift-shifters unintentional sacrifice also killed the Wind Spirit. Then, when Ranma returned to life because he once drank from the Spring of Life at Ryugenzawa, the Wind Spirit returned as well. However, the Winter Sprite was now bound to Ranma instead of the Gekkaja. He is very weak due to his previous captivity and Ranma is now his guardian. However, Rera views this as a vast improvement and is mindful that Ranma was somehow “anointed” against Ranma's will as a sacrifice. As a result, Rera looks out for Ranma’s well-being. He seems to share a lot of personality traits with Ranma, but is happier and more carefree.
Apay: The Fire Spirit/Summer Sprite:
Similar to Rera but is the personification of Summer. Likewise, Apay's previous incarnation was bound into the Kinjakan by Henna, and died when Akane died. When Akane returned to life (again due to having drank at Ryugenzawa), the Fire Spirit returned as well, bound to Akane. Unfortunately, she was a bit more stressed out about her death and re-birth (as a female) than Rera and takes it out on Akane sometimes (some people would call this Karma). However, like Rera, Apay finds her current situation vastly improved and she is fond of Akane – Apay just refuses to let her guardian know at the start of their relationship. By the end of Bindings, she finally broke down and told Akane that she loved her 'big sister'.
Suma: The Earth Sprite/Autumn Sprite:
Not much has been mentioned of the Earth Spirit so far, but she was trapped inside a relic known as the Heart Stone by Henna. Fast forward 900 years, and the Heart Stone was being used by an Oni to terrorize a Japanese forest called "Aokigahara" and to curse the Hibiki family. Following the events in "Brothers", where Ryoga died and returned, the Earth Spirit followed Ryoga and was re-born as a male spirit who named himself Suma. The Sprite has taken the most damage of the three imprisoned Siblings due to the harm Henna has inflicted on the planet over the last several centuries. As such, he's a little more reserved than his Siblings, something which is reinforced by being Bound to Ryoga. Like Apay and Rera, he's fond of his guardian and works to protect and advise Ryoga when necessary.
Henna: Regent of the Seasons:
As mentioned, Henna was a Amazon warrior sentenced to serve the Elemental Queen due to intolerable pride. When the Amazon Council sentenced her to her service, she privately vowed to avenge herself against the Council. During her decade of service, she made a point of learning every bit of Amazon and Elemental lore she could, acting subservient and pretending to be unintelligent, but always plotting and planning. Through a means not yet known, she managed to imprison and torture the Elemental Queen. The Queen was unacquainted (and unprepared) for the concept of pain and succumbed. Henna possessed the Queen and used her power to destroy the Elders who had punished Henna. The use of such immortal powers took a heavy toll on Henna's soul and she began to age quickly. Unfortunately, Henna learned from the Sprite how to drain the life force from others and extend her life while literally building a House of the Damned. Through several centuries, Henna's power has only grown through the Dark Magics, removing what little humanity she one had. One key mystery surrounding Henna is why she still supports the Amazon Village instead of wiping it out...
Ba: The Soul Collector
Over the years, Henna has made many enemies - including Hell. Roughly six hundred years ago, Henna sold her soul and the Sprite's core to seven demon lords. However, the witch neglected to mention to each lord about her dealings with the other six. As a result, none of the lords can claim Henna without starting a war which will destroy Hell, something Henna bragged about to each lord. However, recently, the Sprite managed to break the impasse and remove herself from the seven contracts. As result, Hell dispatched the demon, Ba, to collect Henna the instant she dies. Fortunately for Henna, Ba cannot attack the living and is bound by some very strict rules as a Soul Collector. But Henna cannot hurt Ba either, and Ba is not above pressing his advantage and annoying Henna greatly. He wrecks her Magics whenever he can and serves as a constant reminder that she is mortal. Note that "Ba" is not his True Name, which could be used to destroy him. Instead it is just a common name for his masters to call him.
On Magic and Martial Arts in Bindings and The Next Cycle:
One reviewer commented that my sparring scene between Ranma and Tofu at the end of “Tofu’s Return” was something more out of Star Wars than Ranma 1/2 and how could Ranma have possible gotten good enough to generate a Chi shield and reinforce a staff with Chi as I wrote – my answer is that he was already good enough, I’m just using different terminology to describe things that have already been demonstrated. Falling a hundred feet with minor damage or absorbing blows capable of shatter stone and concrete is due to “Chi Shielding.” Slashing a wooden bokken through a concrete wall is “reinforcing a weapon with Chi.” The same applies to super punches and kicks – just happens to be a “local” weapon.
“Normal” folks may or may not be able to see Chi in use; it depends on the use, strength, and final effect of the Chi action. Not everyone can see a Battle Aura unless it emulates visible light (which takes a large amount of energy). While Soun was able to see (and hear) every aspect of the sparring scene (as were the Grandchildren), a passerby on the street may not have noticed anything amiss (unless he happened to see the fur Tofu sprouted, or a side effect of Ranma’s mini-tornado).
In my stories, most people can develop some use of their Chi. Some people will be able to reach further than others (not everyone can learn the Mouko Takabashi), and then there are the “Gifted” individuals (or Mages). These are people who can use their Chi to tap into other Magics in the world (Spirit summoning and control, Elemental magic, Farseeing), or who can influence the Chi of others (Healing, masking the Auras of Others, Cursing of Others, etc). Note that the Umisen-Ken does not belong to the “Gifted” class of techniques. It involves using your Chi/personal aura to cause misdirection in the minds of others (“Look over there, not over here”). It doesn’t affect the Chi of others (nor does it work against automated motion sensors). There are also many Mages (and Martial Artists) in Nerima - the ratio run somewhere around 1 in a 250 for both Mages and Martial Artists (in this Continuum, Nerima Martial Artists are defined as those gifted in Strength and Stamina), and there is overlap.
There's also a fair amount of "advanced" citizens in Nerima (the characters refer to them as "low grade Mages") - these are people who can see into the Spirit realm, detect auras, etc. (the "Sight"), but they cannot manipulate anything. About 1 in 3 residents have this power. Why is the ratio so high? What's responsible for this? You have to read the stories to find out...