In A World where anime adaptations of popular manga are all too commonly-known amongst fans, Ranma One Half continues to stand out to me to this very day - less because of its engaging characters and vivid, energetic storylines, but more because of the unique relationship between the manga and anime. Generally, anime adaptations of manga (and vice-versa) can be split into two rough groups: faithful adaptations that by and by large serve as colored, talking, moving versions of the manga with the occasional Filler Arc (One Piece, Naruto, Bleach), or completely different series that utilize the manga's characters and general plot outlines, but go off on a completely different direction of their own (the second Mahou Sensei Negima anime, the first Fullmetal Alchemist one). Ranma One Half splits the difference. Now, Ranma never had that heavy of a storyline in the first place - it's a product of an age that came a little before most anime fans really discovered the delicious anti-drug, an age where disposable slapsticks were all the rage. By this logic, there wasn't much that the anime could mess up in the first place. But it seems, to me, at the very least, that some of the anime's writing staff might have not only read the manga that they were prepared to adapt, but had become fans of it. Or maybe they just decided it was a better way of luring in the viewers. The point is, the Ranma manga and anime might contain the same characters and stories, but they can credibly be called Different As Night And Day. The manga is a gag series through and through - a satire of martial arts manga that pushes tropes like Beat Them At Their Own Game and Pillars Of Moral Character to their limits. The likes of Shampoo, Kodachi, and yes, even Ukyo ultimately serve as more plot-enablers than actual characters. Heck, Rumiko Takahashi herself even admits that Ryoga was only given a happy ending because of his Ensemble Darkhorse status. But the anime, if it can't accurately be called Darker And Edgier, definitely takes things more seriously. More than once the romance is used for things more than just laughs. The more extreme acts of Comedic Sociopathy are often toned down. And I dunno about you, but this actually makes the anime better in my eyes. Avoid all the fan-hype about both mediums, and give both an honest shake.
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