San Francisco, CA – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies , has announced the long-awaited conclusion to the RANMA ½ manga series. The final edition, volume 35, will hit store shelves nationwide August 8 and will retail for $9.99.
Rumiko Takahashi’s RANMA ½ series has been a staple of the VIZ Media catalog for over 14 years and remains one of the company’s longest running manga titles. Many volumes are now in their second print runs. Takahashi is one of Japan’s most prolific and respected manga artists and is the creator of several long running series including MAISON IKKOKU, MERMAID SAGA, and INUYASHA – all published in North America by VIZ Media. RANMA ½ has sold more than 49 million copies in Japan, and is one of the most recognized and acclaimed series ever produced. A 7-season anime series with over 150 episodes and two feature length movies are also available from VIZ Media on DVD. To thank her legions of fans for their years of support and also celebrate the conclusion to RANMA ½, Takahashi is scheduled to make a very rare appearance at the 2006 Anime Expo in Anaheim, CA July 1-4. Details are expected to be announced shortly.
A hilarious story with plenty of eccentric characters, martial arts action and quirky romantic subplots, RANMA ½ follows the comic problems of Ranma Saotome, a 16-year-old martial artist in training, and the unfortunate victim of a certain set of cursed hot springs – whenever he gets wet he turns into a girl. Hot water returns him to being a boy. It could be worse – his father also falls into a cursed hot spring and henceforth turns into a giant panda whenever he gets wet. Ranma’s father has arranged a marriage for him with Akane Tendo, the beautiful daughter of a fellow martial artist. Akane is also a martial artist in training but she hates boys. For Ranma and Akane, it’s hate at first sight but their initial loathing slowly turns into mutual affection and finally love as the series progresses. A quirky cast of supporting characters lends even more humor and complicates the romantic twists even more. A boy named Kuno has a crush on Akane but falls in love with the female Ranma, initially unaware of his alter-ego. Another boy named Ryoga has known Ranma since junior high and secretly wants to kill him, but is himself cursed after falling into a magic hot spring and turns into a piglet whenever he gets wet. Akane, not realizing this is the transformed Ryoga, adopts him as a pet naming him P-Chan. Then there is Shampoo, another martial artist from China. She was defeated by Ranma in his female form and has traveled to Japan to kill the female Ranma. But she doesn’t know about Ranma’s secret and falls madly in love with the male Ranma. She also happens to fall into a cursed pool and turns into a cat when she gets wet. And guess which animal Ranma is phobic about? The final volume will provide a zany and fitting end to this much loved epic series and readers will delight in the crazy antics that happen when Ranma and Akane finally get married.
“RANMA ½ has been the longest running VIZ Media manga series and also one of the best loved by fans,” states Liza Coppola, senior vice president of sales and marketing for VIZ Media. “We are excited to publish the concluding volume to this critically acclaimed title, but also sad to see the end. However, fans will delight in the culmination of this wild adventure, which has been in print for more than 14 years. As an added bonus, we are extremely pleased to welcome RANMA ½ creator Rumiko Takahashi to the 2006 Anime Expo as an exclusive guest of VIZ Media. Her works are loved by millions around the world and this is a very rare opportunity for fans to meet a visionary who has helped transform the manga genre into the phenomenon it is today.”