Author has written 23 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.
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 at a week (on Tuesday if I have anything to say) 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, I can "polish" about 3K words a week with my schedule, which is what really drives the release rate.
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. I'll be taking a break for a couple of months once that is finished. The final arc is a bit of a mess and I need some time to get it right. When I start again, I'll be taking a bit of a break from the drama/humor genre and the stories will initially have a much lighter tone (like "To Serve and Protect in Nerima").
"Tofu's Bachelor Party" will start the second set of stories ("The Next Cycle") in which deals more with the "evolved continuity". Starting with the "Bachelor Party", the stories probably have an "M" rating due to more adult subjects/humor (my wife was rather insistent on that part after having read some of the snippets - at least they made her laugh). Other stories in the final set are "Curiouser and Curiouser", "Kasumi's Wedding", "Cooking with Akane", "Nerima's Endless", and "To Ride the Wild Horse". The drama stories will be "The Equinox", "Heroes", and "The Solstice". 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 "Bindings" Continuum:
These notes will probably be made an appendix to "Kasumi's Fate" after "The Final Binding" is completed, and I'll start with a clean slate for "The Next Cycle".
Kasumi: I gave a long description of the inconsistencies in regarding Kasumi's depiction in both the Anime and the Manga as an introduction to "Kasumi's Fate" - no need to dupicate it all here. Enough said that she's a very intelligent woman who has spent the last three years trying to force her father to grow up. It hasn't worked, so she needs to move on with her life. She's 21 at the start of "Kasumi's Fate". She turns 22 just before "Genma's Job".
Tofu: Here's a guy with enough plot holes behind him to lose several dump trucks in. How old is this fella? Allowing that he's a Doctor, and given how long it takes to get a doctorate degree in Japan *and* the training afterwards, the youngest age he would have initial encounter with the Tendo's should have been about 30. Akane seems to be about 10 at the time. That puts him at a minimum of 38 at the time of the "Kasumi's Fate". Given that he's also a martial artist and he is so knowledgeable in non-traditional medicine, I'd argue that he has to be older to have that experience behind him. So, I've decided to make him a lot older - say a century and a half or so.
What's that you say? There's no basis for that in Manga? True, but there's no basis against it either. And there *is* support for it in the English dubbed Viz video. If you check Episode 67, "Ranma's gets weak." (the Weakness Moxibustion storyline), Dr. Tofu remarks that *he* hasn't seen that Moxibustion mark in over a hundred years. Yes, I know - someone muffed up the translation. If you compare the storyline against the Manga *and* against the captioned video, you can guess that the dubbed version should have said that the moxibustion mark hasn't been seen in over a hundred years (by anyone). But, I initially watched the dubbed version, and the idea of a supernatural Tofu was planted. Besides, it nicely took care of the other plot holes...
So why make him a Kitsune? The very first time we are introduced to Tofu, he's just snuck up behind Ranma and shocked our hero/heroine out of a couple years of life using a plastic skeleton. He's definitely part trickster, so it seems natural to make one of the Japanese tricksters.
Another point: One reviewer wrote to me privately that, in canon, Tofu does not seem to be a medical doctor. He practices chiropractic and folk/alternative medicine. In the Manga (keep in mind the version I'm using), yes, we only see Tofu practice traditional/alternative medicine on Ranma. The closest he gets to modern medicine is treating Ranma's bruise after Akane nails him (accidentally) with a baseball and a scene where he is patching Akane up after a fight (when she was younger) - seems to be putting bandages on cuts and bruises. I'd love to see anyone try and bring him up on charges of "practicing without a license" for those two events - the judge would never hear the case.
In the Anime though, there's an episode where Akane damages her ankle and Tofu puts her in a cast. In the US and in Japan, only medical doctors are allowed to do that - that's not alternative medicine. In the Anime, there's also mention Kasumi taking her sisters when they were younger regularly to see the doctor - a bit out of line for a straight chiropractor (something about developing bones). So, between that and the two minor cases above, I decided that he could be a medical doctor as well without breaking canon. While it's not common, on either side of the ocean, there are a number of medical doctors who also practicing chiropactors. And my version of Tofu has plenty of time to learn everything...
A side-note: In the Bindings Continuum, Tofu is a soldier for a mysterious organization known as the Council (one of the reasons he was often missing in the Manga). He is currently stationed in Nerima for the foreseeable future and is now the equivalent of a squad/team leader.
Akane and Ranma: Yes, they are a destined couple (as I stated at the outset). They would have been together within the first few chapters of the Manga except both of them were age 16 going on 10 (which was one of the themes of the Manga mind you - and made things interesting). Throughout the whole Manga, the two draw closer and closer despite themselves (Romeo and Juliet, The Golden Pair, Ryugenzawa, The Battle Dogi, Valentine's Chocolate, etc.). The final "nail-in-the-coffin" for me though was Volume 35, Chapter 11 of the Manga: "The Leaves that Bind." Both of them unintentionally show their cards during that story, despite their immaturity. So, the two have love between them, they got a common interest (Martial Arts), they got enough differences to make things (very) interesting, and they got maturi... Oh wait, they don't have that - Jusendo was a step in the right direction, and Ranma is "stepping-up" as a result of someone trying to hurt Akane at the failed wedding (and Akane is responding in-kind), but we are not there yet. Maybe they will make it in "Bindings"...
A side-note: Starting at "Say 'Yes' to the Dress", both Kasumi and Tofu and been coaching them in their communication skills. Granted, Tofu is using a lot of dope-slaps on Ranma - and a few on Akane. Kasumi just sighs a lot, which sort of has the same effect. By the time "Genma's Job" occurs, it's actually starting to have some effect. By the end of "The Destruction of Ranma Saotome", the couple is starting to act their age - and then some.
Nabiki: It may seem that Nabiki is a little too nice in “Bindings”. Actually, she’s still her old amoral self, but there *are* a few key differences. The first is that she’s growing up and realizes the “Ice Queen” façade only gets you so far in dealing with other people – the adage “you can draw more flies with honey than vinegar” applies (this is important if you’re any type of spider/web-spinner). Second, she’s smart enough to realize that as she is getting closer and closer to legal age (20 yrs in Japan), she can be held accountable for her stunts and scams directly (instead of hiding behind Daddy). 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.
As far as Ranma goes: Yes, Nabiki does have *some* affection for him (not as much as her sisters, but way more than the rest of the world). He’s been around enough that she started to see him as a brother (and he’s a lot of fun to tease). More importantly however, he’s dedicated to Akane’s (and to Kasumi’s) well being – this makes him extremely valuable in her world view, and worth supporting (more a reason than any so-called affection). Nabiki’s is also starting to see Tofu in this light as well.
In "Her Mother's Daughter", we see even more of Nabiki's growth as she makes a major personal breakthrough. I maintain that the Manga character is capable of reaching this point judging from two important events in the Manga: (1) her words to Ranma when Nodoka shows up and Nabiki tells him that he should get to know his mother, and (2) Nabiki actually scolds Soun at the failed wedding for blackmailing Akane with Ranma's cure. However, this is still Nabiki. True, she will no longer sell pictures of Ranma/Ranko after events in "The Date", but if the Manga episode "Clash of the Kings of Cash (with Kinnoskue Kasha-oo - Volume 29, Chapter 9 onwards) was to occur after "Her Mother's Daughter", 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 shelter Kasumi from Soun's bankruptcy (Tofu might watch Nabiki from a distance as well).
Ryoga: How the heck can a guy who cannot find a lot behind his house manage to follow Ranma all the way to China? Given how big the world is, why does he always end up back in the picture? And what's with the teeth? Maybe we will find out in "Brothers"... I'm picking up right where the Manga left off with Ryoga. He's decided that Akane's not his girl, but it's hard to forget your first love. Now he is taking a serious look at Akari. He's not good; he's not evil; he's just a little confused (like the rest of us), but he's working on it.
Konatsu: Now here is a fellow with few plot holes surrounding him - that's because he was introduced so late in the Manga. Of course, that's not to say he doesn't have his contradictions. For those who have only seen the Anime, Konatsu is a male Kunoichi (or female ninja) in Ukyo's service. Kunoichi are suppose to be counterparts to the male ninja, but their training involves more emotional manipulation of their target rather than a straight out dagger throw at the heart (i.e. use a few smiles or tears to get close, *then* stab the target in the heart). How the young man was raised as a female is a long story - let's just say it makes Ranma's home life look normal (read the Manga if you are really interested). Most of the time he acts (and thinks of himself) as female, except when it comes to his one true love - Ukyo. Then, he's definitely male (why are all the men in Ukyo's life warped?).
Despite the fact that he fawns over Ukyo and acts subservient (or at least unfailing polite - a little too much so) to everyone, Konatsu is billed as a "Genius Kunoichi", and he has been shown to be good enough to give Ranma a run for his money. There have been signs in the Manga that he does have a backbone, such as attempting to kill his step-family (too kind a fate for them), or voicing his disappointment at Ukyo bombing the wedding. He doesn't obey Ukyo blindly, but he does obey despite reservations. He has shown ability in manipulating people using traditional Kunoichi methods (a flirt or a kiss on the cheek), but he is very naive about the more materialistic aspects of the modern world (especially money - much to Ukyo's chagrin).
In the story "Brothers", Konatsu is used as a foil for Ryoga to talk to, and Konatsu uses some good old fashion manipulation to open Ryoga's eyes regarding a mutual acquaintance. There's no evidence in the Manga that the two have ever really met outside of the wedding disaster - and that wasn't really a good time for introductions. By the time Konatsu showed up, Ryoga had more or less moved on to dating Akari, and stopped plotting with Ukyo to break up Ranma and Akane. There's certainly no reason to believe that Ryoga could see beyond the feminine presence Konatsu projects (none of the others figured it out until they saw Konatsu topless). By the way, for those who think that Konatsu is too shy to speak that forthright to Ryoga, please see Chapter 11 of Volume 36 for the Manga ("Trying to Prosper (Forcefully)"). Pay particular attention to the "Crimson Storm" (you call that shy?).
The Chinese Amazons: Just a little note in general - Throughout "Bindings" (and beyond in this continuity), the unseen antagonist is an Amazon named Henna. Who or what Henna wants remains to be seen. However, the rest of Amazons (especially Cologne, Shampoo, and Mousse) are like the rest of the cast - there are no angels here, but there are no demons either.
This tribe has been a major headache to figure out. The Manga does not give a lot of details about the "Tribe of Women Heroes" as far as social structure goes, or how men are treated, or (when it comes down to it) available technology. At the very least, there seems to be the technology to generate a newspaper and mail it to Nerima. Computers, electricity, satellite TV? No clues are provide the Manga, and the Anime is only a little better. There is the suggestion of remoteness in the Anime and the Manga (and in our world, the location is definitely remote - very few major roads), but for all we know, there is a geothermal electric station in the village. So what clues do we have?
1) "Tribe of Women Heroes" is the translation of the village name, not "Tribe of Heroes", so women warriors are respected. Men may be trained to fight (Mousse is quite capable), but they are not given top billing.
2) Kiss of Marriage - Male beats female and female decides male is mate and they are married (or engaged depending on how you read things). The male gets no say. Ranma has said "Not interested", and he gets ignored. Doesn't look good for respecting a male's rights - at least Outsider male rights.
3) Kiss of Death - Outsider woman beats Amazon and Amazon swears to destroy the outsider. Not an enlightened outlook on competition. Suggests a very harsh view on strength outside the tribe.
From the three above, it's definite warrior dominated society - absorb strength you can, kill the strength you cannot make yours.
4) The Jusenkyo Guide felt he could bring Ranma and Genma to the Village and have them treated decently. Otherwise he would have said don't go. It wasn't until Ranma demonstrated that she was a superior warrior that there was a problem.
5) Cologne and Shampoo are perfectly happy serving customers in Japan, whether the customer is male or female.
At the very least, it is not a slave based society or that work is beneath a warrior or a wise woman. Suggestion is that outsiders are fine so long as they cannot pose a threat. Also argues against a rigorously chauvinistic society - there may be some, but it's probably reserved to the higher level of authority if it exists.
6) The Musk - The Musk are not hated by the Amazons and vice versus despite the obvious divisions. I would have expected that the two peoples were actually one tribe - males to the right, women to the left, but that's obviously not the case. If not that, I would have expected them to be enemies - doesn't match either: Cologne doesn't seem to hate the Musk either, nor vice versa. The Elder does handle them as dangerous, but there's nothing personal there.
This is a little at odds with the first bullet point in this section. All I can think of is that the Musk are too dangerous to absorb, yet for some reason, their obvious strength doesn't offend Amazons sensibilities.
7) The Western definition for Amazons - definitely a women dominated warrior society. This may not be what Ms. Takahashi originally intended, but I'm assuming she (or her employers) had some final approval of the Manga translations. Both the translations available in the U.S. use the term "Amazons." There are Copyright laws in effect between the U.S. and Japan. You have to license things between the two countries. Her employers have exercised their power to eliminate certain projects (I'm actually surprised they let the AnyManga project complete - but they did, and I'm sure they know about it and they still haven't shut it down). They definitely *approved* the translation in the stores, and that uses the term "Amazon". Granted, not everything translates perfectly, but I have to use what I've got.
That's it - that all the clues available. Not a whole lot to go on. Could be that the women are warriors under a male dominated hierarchy. Could be that males have no rights in the village (Mousse's training argues against that though). Given that, I'll have to place a stake in the ground and say what it is for the Bindings Continuum:
Everything else is up in the air (especially technology), until I need it defined...
Regarding "Airen": People keep arguing whether Shampoo (and her Elders) considers herself married to Ranma or not. My take on the matter is "not really, but Shampoo's not going to tell Ranma or anyone else that." The Chinese word "Airen" is a trap for Ranma - it ups the pressure. When I researched the word, the closest I could get to the word is "Honey" or "Sweetheart" and is usually said to a spouse. But, it does not mean, "husband", "wife", or "spouse" - there are other words for those concepts. But it's a very private and personal term of endearment - the standard Chinese person would be embarrassed to give or receive that word in public. Shampoo's use of the word in the Manga or Anime is very inappropriate. She's basically using the word to belt Ranma over the head - "Give up! Your mine!"
As far as the Amazon Elders are concerned, Ranma's and Shampoo's official state is "extremely betrothed" - they are just one small step shy of a real marriage. If Ranma was to consummate the marriage or even admit to it, then it's a done deal (ceremony or no ceremony). However, until he does so, Shampoo and Ranma are not married. But again, no one is going to tell Ranma that...
In my stories, Shampoo is going to adamantly insist that she and Ranma are married - the second she doesn't, Ranma is going to know he's off the hook. Even if she's not talking to Ranma, she's going to keep the same plotline going. If she wavers, she'll know that Ranma is gone if the conversation gets back to him. Even when she's talking to Cologne, she will use the word "husband" - especially if she's speaking Japanese. Some of it is habit, some of it is a translation problem.
Note that in "The Destruction of Ranma Saotome", Cologne tells Sergeant Imia point blank that Ranma is not her son-in-law despite what she has called him in the past. This is because Cologne has truly given up.
Cologne: In the Anime, Cologne says she is 300 years old. In the Manga, it doesn't say but hints that she is older than 118. In Bindings, I'm not going to worry about her age. However, she is definitely one of the leaders of the Amazons, and has a means to keep in touch with the other Elders, regardless of where she is.
Mousse: As a character, I think Mousse is underestimated constantly. He shows signs of brilliance here and there (more in the Manga than the Anime). He also shows signs of compassion and understanding. He just has this one big (huge) character flaw - his blind, slavish, and irrational devotion to Shampoo (which she doesn't like in the first place). Unfortunately, he's going to have to grow-up; Bindings will be rough for him. If you are in favor of the Mousse/Shampoo pairing, I'm afraid you will be disappointed in my storyline. Looking carefully through the Manga, it's not happening in a million years. The Anime is more favorable, but not enough to make me change my mind.
Shampoo: A very interesting character. Her motivations are probably the most complex of any of the characters. She's also one of the most devious/ dangerous characters (right up there with Nabiki). I think Ranma recognizes this and knows she is out-of-his-league (or at least in a very different league - much the same way Nabiki is) as far as happy marriage material goes, which is why he doesn't show any real interest in her. Ranma doesn't buy the bubble-head bimbo routine, and neither do I.
Ukyo: People have asked me to comment about Ukyo, but I find Ukyo to be the most straight forward character to understand and likely to show little progress until she forgets about Ranma. First and foremost, she is a chef. This is her drive in life, and without okonomiyaki, she is empty (as shown in Volume 19, Chapter 8: "Ten things I hate about Ukyo"). Because a place like hers is usually a family business, if her spouse doesn't share her passion (or at least a strong interest in her business), things are not going to work out for the couple. Since Ranma shows no interest in being a chef or running a restaurant, it would never work out for Ukyo and Ranma - never mind that he loves Akane.
Note that an Ukyo/Konatsu pairing needs work - both characters need to grow. It is possible provided Konatsu shows enough backbone, something that requires a bit more healing. Ukyo also needs to show a little bit more sweetness, but the canon character has shown sufficient compassion for others that I believe that this is not a far stretch. Let's just say the wedding needs some time before it is a possibility - might be fun to watch though.
I can understand those who believe in the Anime's Ukyo/Ryoga pairing. Ryoga's personal goals are unformed - much the way Konatsu's are. It would be easy to see Ryoga learning to help run a restaurant, adapting himself to Ukyo's world. However, Ms. Takahashi created Akari for Ryoga and I'm going to run that pairing for now. It doesn't stop me from "favoriting" a few Ukyo/Ryoga stories though.
By the way, those that think that Ukyo is a sweet gentle girl have not read the Manga or watched the Anime. She can be a wildcat, easily on par with Akane. Various people have calculated Ukyo's fight-scene-to-appearance ratios and found them comparable with Akane. I think both girls are cut from the same cloth - a mix of sweetness and toughness/determination (or maybe fury). Ukyo is the more hardnosed and manipulative of the two women though. It is easy to see them as friends though, despite their rivalry.
Nodoka: Folks keep asking me why I hate Ranma’s mother. I don’t – I happen to feel very sorry for her. She can be a very nice person, and she thinks the world of Akane. However, Kimiko summed it up for me in “Kasumi’s Fate”: “No sane woman orders her underage son to commit seppuku. *Ever* There’s no excuse and that’s the bottom line.” For those who doubt Nodoka would ever force Ranma to commit seppuku, please see Volume 34, Part 9, Page 2 – Momma had the Ceremonial mantle, the tanto with rice paper, the katana, and the final words "Before you commit seppuku..." If Ranma hadn’t bolted, he would have been dead. To top it off, Nodoka is *surprised* that Ranma ran.
As the Manga progresses, Nodoka says she has accepted him, but if Ranma shows the slightest deviation, the katana comes out (see Volume 36, Part 9, Page 16 for an example). This is not a healthy relationship (of course, those are far and few between in Ranma 1/2), and I think she herself is not playing with a full deck.
So, I'm pursuing this idea and declaring that Nodoka does suffer from a real mental illness in this Continuum. She finally starts to confront her illness in "Shape-Changers" (with a little help from a surprising source). We learn what the official diagnosis is in "Genma's Job", and there will be more of in-depth discussion about it in "One Stitch at a Time" (which is an Nodoka-centered story). Hopefully, as Bindings and the rest of the continuity progresses, the character will find some measure of healing – the road is never smooth though.
Genma: Ranma's father, on the other hand, is another matter - I don't like him (what's to like?) and he never seems to get what's coming to him (I'm working on correcting that). You have to wonder why Nodoka ever married this idiot, even if Ms. Takahashi says he cut a very dashing figure in his youth.
A handful of people have said I made the character worse in the Bindings Continuum than he is portrayed in the Manga. Perhaps, but let's stitch together a profile of Genma. His intelligence level fluctuates wildly; sometimes he seems like an absolute genius, but (many) other times he's an absolute moron. His bravery level also fluctuates wildly. One thing that is consistent is his lack of remorse at the things he has done. Additionally, he seems to have a lack of empathy for others and doesn't really care about the consequence of his actions for others. He always puts himself first consistently (even robbing his own son of a cure in the very last chapter of the Manga), and his greed has no bounds except that he is extremely lazy. He shows no strong emotional attachment to anyone, abandoning his wife at the drop of a hat. He is also extremely manipulative, has extreme confidence in himself, has some charisma, and shows a strong tendency to con people. When you try to flesh him out and give him some motivations, things take a very dark turn. If I plug the steady-states into a personality test, I come up with a Grade A psychopath.
The few (very few) examples of Genma's compassion I can find in the Manga can easily be re-assigned. For example, he's seen covering his young son - is it a because he loves his son or he's protecting an asset? He gives the Yama-Sen Ken to the Kumon Dojo to "help" them despite the fact he doesn't explain the technique's real purpose and despite the fact that this is a SEALED technique that Genma decided was too dangerous to use. What the heck? It sounds more like he gave it to them to see what would happen - the end result is that the Kumon Dojo is destroyed and the man he gave it to is dead (what a wonderful gift). If that's Genma's compassion, I'd rather have his apathy.
So, let's apply the same technique I've given the other supporting characters (i.e. everyone but Ranma and Akane) to Genma - Let's assume that there's things going on behind the scenes. What fits in with his consistent traits? Are they likely to be good or bad? And where's my shotgun?
Other Characters unique to the Bindings Continuum:
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).
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 Dr. Tofu is his Team Leader. He also does a very good James Bond imitation.
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, and a race car driver. She currently serves the mysterious Council and Dr. Tofu is her Team Leader. She is half-human (you have to figure out the other half).
A modern day seven-foot Viking Berserker and a very intimidating bodyguard. He doesn't wear a 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 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.
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).
Rera: The Wind Spirit/Winter Sprite:
One of the four Key Elemental Spirits of the World and the personification of Winter. He was bound into the Gekkaja by the Sorceress Henna 900 years ago. He was slain when Ranma accidentally killed himself with the Gekkaja during Ranma’s battle with Saffron. When Ranma returned to life because he once drank from the Spring of Life at Ryugenzawa, Rera returned as well, 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 was bound into the Kinjakan by Henna, and died when Akane died. When Akane returned to life (again due to having drank at Ryugenzawa), Apay returned as well, bound to Akane. Unfortunately, she was a bit more stressed out about her death and re-birth 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.
A quick word on Kitsunes (Spirit Foxes) and other Elder Animals in my stories: In many of the Japanese folk stories I have read, when certain animals live long enough, say about a century or so (which is a very good trick in the wild), they are considered to have gathered enough wisdom that they gain some magical and spiritual abilities beyond the norm as well as some physical ones - like speech and shape-shifting. So, strictly speaking, any fox has the potential to become a Kitune if it lives and learns long enough (and it has to do both - although Mother Nature sort of says the two have to happen together anyway). A young Kitsune is a fox kit, pure and simple.
This means that the child Kitsune's in my stories (and Shippo in Inuyasha) aren't really substantiated in Japanese folk lore (at least in the stories I have read - please feel free to let me know if you find otherwise). However, since I really like the idea of child Kitsunes (and Shippo is a favorite character), I'm going to say there are two ways to create a Kitsune. The first is to be a born as a hard working fox kit and survive with Mother Nature long enough to gather the wisdom and abilities to become a Kitsune. The second is to be born to Kitsune (not fox) parents as a child Kitsune and survive within your Tribe until the Elders decide that you are an adult (putting up with Mother Nature might be preferred). At the end of either process, you have a fully functional adult Kitsune with all the rights and responsibilities in the Kitsune nation.
On Magic and Martial Arts in Bindings:
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).
By now, it's apparent that Ryoga, Akane, and Ranma are Mages in the Bindings Continuum. Genma is not, but he's darn close with his Chi imitation of a lightning bolt (see "Genma's Job" for the usage). Kasumi is a question mark for now. Tofu is a Mage, but he is also part mythological creature, so he has two realms to draw from. There are also many other 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...
Regarding martial artists rankings: Ranma is not (yet) the top Martial Artist in Nerima. In "To Serve and Protect in Nerima", Sergeant Imia says Ranma is definitely in the top twenty and maybe in the top ten. What's that you say? But Ranma has grown so much more powerful? Well, the others are not standing still either. In this Continuum, the Dojo Destroyer has grown to where he can beat Ranma or Akane in a straight out fight (no magics), but he cannot stand against the two of them together. Ryoga has grown to be as powerful as Ranma in almost all ways. Akane is not as strong as Ranma or Ryoga, but she's making up for lost time. Everyone grows, everyone changes - the real question is who is on top at any given time.
As the Bindings storyline progresses, it will be seen that Jusenkyo is a more benevolent Force of Nature in this Worldview than the Amazons or the Guides (which means the Chinese Government) believe. The how and whys I'm keeping to myself for now (or maybe I'm still working on it :-) ), but, just to toss out an idea, maybe it's function is take organisms that failed the Darwin test by drowning/falling in and try to assemble something else that might survive better. Or maybe it has other motivations...
Some points on the Pools of Sorrow:
1) It is stated in “Brothers” that Ranma and Ryoga no longer believe that the “Spring of Drown Man” will remove their curses. Later it will be shown that others believe this too. Note that I’m stating they believe this – I didn’t say it was true in my stories. According to an interview with Ms. Takahashi (the final authority on canon), the Spring is a cure (again, that’s the only hint you get). The final word on this actually appears in "The Date."
2) I originally had the idea of a of the pool switching bits of pieces of the genome every time a character changed shape. Most readers didn't care about the why's and ignore the idea. I got a few "rational thinkers" who hated the idea (some rather passionately - which I ignored: I want good arguments for or against as idea: Insisting you know best about my stories is not a good argument, neither is high-handedly insisting you understand science better than I do - I should probably publish a biography but I like my privacy). I got a few prized (no sarcasm here - I really do appreciate them) individuals who enjoyed arguing with me good naturedly and we got to tossing back and forth ideas for a bit (all of which I paid attention to, but some of which I even ceded points to). Finally, one individual brought up the character Rouge, who was generated from a Indian god/demon - no genome (a point which also caused discussion). She also mentioned that Rouge showed no mystical abilities in her "normal" form, so the mixing of "whatever" had to be only in the altered form (not both ways). End result is I'm backing off changing Ranma's male genome - his female genome is still a mix of his own and the Chinese girl who died so long ago though.
3) Something for those fans of the "Pool of the Drowned Akane": If Jusenkyo is trying to build a better organism, how much better is an organism that fell in and managed to escape drowning? Granted, Akane had help getting out, but she still got away as far as Jusenkyo is concerned...
I'll add other comments as appropriate as time goes on...