In the cold rain he hid in shadow, watching droplets ripple across the pond. He scanned the horizon, but sheets of rain and dense jungle concealed his pursuer from him, and he from her...
Identity is a Ranma ½fanfic by Muphrid. Just days after the manga's ending, matters in Nerima blow up spectacularly, and Ranma, nursing wounded pride, heads back to China to seek his cure. As always, fate doesn't seem to want Ranma to get rid of his girl side just yet, for walking Jusenkyo with him is a group of Ki Sorcerers—an ancient tribe who suppress their desires and emotions to keep their magic in check. The problem? The "Sieve" they use to keep their magic contained just failed...right on the day Ranma defeated Saffron, and tradition in the tribe holds that the person who sated the last Sieve should and must become the next.What follows is a tale of penance, for each of Akane, Ukyo, and Shampoo had a part to play in driving Ranma away; of schemes and plots to save Ranma or stop the Sorcerers; and, most importantly, of introspection, for as these characters are thrust into a conflict that dwarfs them, they must look inside themselves and wonder if they enjoy the people they've become at all.
Alien Geometries: The "Maze" the Sorcerers project to isolate their village and, later, to enclose Jusenkyo. Once you enter, you can't leave. If you keep walking away, you just end up in the same place you started. Ranma even hops atop a tree to look out and see's himself recursively like the reflection from two facing mirrors.
Battle in the Rain: Ranma and Wuya's fight spanning the first chapter (shown in pieces around flashbacks).
Body Horror: The Sorcerer Priest Henna collects animals cursed with insane mixes of curses, including a bird with fish scales and a giant cockroach. But, more sinister is how she takes an Amazon prisoner and starts methodically subjecting him to more and more simultaneous curses. We don't get to see the end result at first, and Henna kills the monstrosity later to continue with her "experiment," but when Ranma breaks free, the mix of insect limbs and wings is stomach-churning.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: One Sorcerer can defeat ten Amazons, but Ranma can fend off a hundred Sorcerers for...a few minutes? Then again, seldom, if ever, does such a lopsided number disparity actually end up with the one winning against the many. They just last a little longer than you might reasonably expect.
Continuity Nod: When the springs of Jusenkyo erupt and curse the animals around the grounds (and warriors from the two tribes massing there), a squirrel comes away cursed to look like Akane. A very naked and unintelligible one, at that.
Daddy's Girl: When Ukyo goes to Osaka to visit her father, she comes off a little Tsundere for him, but both being in the culinary arts, they have a lot of common ground. And who'd have thought Ukyo's father could be successful after Genma so shamelessly made off with his cart, anyway?
Fantastic Drug: Vision dust. The Sorcerers use it open their minds and communicate telepathically over vast distances, but Cologne hints that the Amazons use it for a different effect...
Fridge Logic: Just where did Genma go after getting to the Amazon village? Everybody else goes on to fight the Sorcerers, but he just...disappears.
Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: After Henna's casually turned an Amazon into an utter monstrosity and murdered him when finished, Ranma's righteous payback leaves her run through with a trio of ice spikes. May also be a little awesome.
Murder the Hypotenuse: After Ranma casually brushes her aside, Shampoo realizes that, between the wedding fiasco and Jusendo, Akane really might be winning Ranma. Her solution? Put Akane's skull between a steel mace and metal door and hammer on the end.
No Name Given: Wuya in the first chapter only. Ukyo's father still isn't given a name, however.
Schedule Slip: The author dabbled in posting on a weekly basis for a while, but gap weeks have become more frequent of late.
The Evils of Free Love: The "Night of Magic's Coupling"? 12 men and 12 women go into a room. They sleep with the number they're assigned. Then they get out and make way for the next group, all in five minutes or less. Being able to freely engage in passionate acts? That's dangerous and will get your whole village turned to ash.
Ukyo: You bitch! (Slap) ...don't you get it? He told me off for you! You sick little witch who never appreciated all he did! As much as I'd like to rip your tongue out for what you said to him, I can't! Even now, wherever he's going, he's doing it for you.
Theme Naming: all the Sorcerers have two names—a name for the body they were born in, which is a Chinese word for a bird (Wuya is crow, Bailu is egret). Their other name, the one for the bodies they're cursed in, is invariably a cosmetic or a substance used in cosmetics (Kohl, Sindoor, Tilaka).
Title Drop: Not of the whole fic's title, but individual chapters or parts thereof get this a lot. The phrase "cold rain" is often used to refer to the end of chapter one, where Akane bitterly accuses Ranma of not being a man (which, in turn, propels him to China and starts the whole mess). "Monsters and Demons" (chapter three) does this the most, though: the chapter title is dropped in part II, and part VII's title ("To Slay the Monsters within Our Souls") makes up the bulk of the last lines of the chapter.
Town with a Dark Secret: Sort of. The Sorcerers' village is bubbled off to keep outsiders away, but even when Ranma's taken there, no one's particularly interested in explaining who and what they are to him until he sees Sindoor. It takes witnessing more than one bizarre ritual for Ranma really understand how messed up the Sorcerers are.
Utopia Justifies the Means: While Sindoor isn't exactly looking to make a utopia, she continually justifies her actions as in the best interests of the village. How this justifies wantonly subjecting prisoners to unholy mixes of curses is yet to be seen.
What the Hell, Hero?: The Phoenix are furious to find out that Ranma's told the Sorcerers Saffron should indeed be the Sieve when (a) he had no way to be certain and (b) he did it just to get himself an opportunity to escape.