Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ranma's use of insults in the manga

I was talking to an Akane fan earlier and they were talking about how Ranma deserves to be hit by Akane because he always insults everyone. This is not true; Ranma does not insult everyone, even if that was true it is not a good reason to hit someone.

When Ranma first meets people he is nice and doesn't insult them until after they have done something to upset him. This is shown many times in the manga. When he first came to the Tendo's he was polite and not insulting until after the Tendo's insulted him repeatedly. He was polite to both Ukyo and Ryoga (contrary to some peoples way of thinking Ranma would rather talk than fight), etc. If your polite to Ranma he'll be polite to you. He is always polite to Kasumi, even uses the -san honorific for her. He is even polite to Happosai when Happosai hasn't done anything to annoy Ranma for awhile.

Ranma accidentally insults people sometimes because of his inadequate social skills (doesn't think about ramifications of what he says and treats girls like they were guys -which isn't that uncommon for people who went to all boy schools) and his upbringing. An example of accidental insult is: During an early volume of the manga Ranma wears Akane's clothes because his clothes are in the wash and Kasumi and Nabiki pressure him into it. He is asked how the clothes fit and replied honestly that top was too tight bottom was too loose, inadvertently insulting Akane. No insult was intended.

Sometimes he insults people because they insult him (ok often). An example of this is most of Ranma's dialog with Pantyhose Taro.

Ranma also uses insults as a means of manipulating people or to serve a purpose. He uses these type of insults to spur someone on, anger them in battle, trick them to do something/not do something, and to avoid things (like eating Akane's cooking).

Some of Ranma's insults may have been meant as compliments but were worded wrongly or not taken in the manner Ranma meant them. Akari is the person who did this the most with her comparing Ryoga to a pig; they were meant to be compliments but were taken as insults. I think Ranma does this as well but can not think of a specific instance where he did so off the top of my head.

Contrary to what some Akane lovers say Ranma was not the one who insulted Akane first. She insulted him multiple times before he insulted her. See the first volume where she insulted his gender and curse when he makes a comment in retaliation to her insults she hit him with a table while his back was turned. Considering the way the Tendo's and Akane were treating him (basically arguing about not wanting him, treating him like an object, and insulting him) his comment was fully warranted. Ranma really doesn't insult Akane much more often than she does him (if he in fact actually does do so more). I'm fairly sure there are volumes in which Akane insults (either purposely or indirectly) Ranma more often than he does her. I've had people argue with me that Ranma's insults are worse than Akane's this is not true. Akane's insults to Ranma are as bad as or even worse on occasion than the insults Ranma uses on her. For example, she has accused him of trying to rape Miss Hinako, in volume 8(VIZ) she said that his body has always been sick and twisted, told him to stay a girl and marry a guy, etc.

Ranma does not always insult her when given a reason to and has attempted to not insult her on a several occasions. For instance some people say that Ranma always insults her cooking, sewing, etc. In the manga, when she first cooked for him he took one bite and tried to just continue training instead of insulting it (she then tried her own food, said it was bad, and threw a rock at him). As for her sewing he did not purposely insult it, ever. Two instances exist in the manga, one he did not know she was around and said "how can something sewn that looks like it was sewn by a third grader be so hard to pull off!?" and the second time he said "that's a rabbit I thought it was a jellyfish" which isn't really an insult particularly since it looked like a jellyfish. Since I'm trying to be fair Akane does not insult Ranma every chance she gets either and she has on occasion not hit/insulted Ranma when, in my opinion, it would have been excusable for her to do so.

In a related thing, since cuss words are most often insults, In the original Japanese and all the English fan translated versions of the manga Ranma, and some of the other cast members, use swear words (or extremely rude language that if properly translated would be equivalent to cuss words) .

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

When Ranma's closes where in the wash, and the three sisters where having Ranma try on Akane's close Ranma's comment on how they fit was in no way an insult to Akane at least how Viz translated it. I actually asked my mother, two sisters, and a few other women who I worked with becuase I wanted a womens view. In the Viz translation Ranma was in no way insulting in the case, and Akane was really out of line.

md.knopp said...

I have just recently revitalized my interest in Ranma, after a six year hiatus.

Since, I am wanting to get back into finishing my fanfics, I have been rereading, and actually analyzing the manga. I have grown to dislike the anime and have no desire to ever watch it again.

I have not completed my study, I have only completed the first 8 volumes, but I thought that this might be of interest.

I tallied results into four categories: insults, physically attacks, psychological attacks, and caring moments.

Insults:
These consist of times that Ranma or Akane insult each other, be this knowingly or not, and whether the other knows about it or not. Also, I only count a string of uninterrupted insults as a single insult. So "crazy, violent chick" is one and "jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk..." is counted as one.

Ranma insults Akane 65 times.
Akane insults Ranma 39 times.

Despite the fact that fanon makes it seem that Akane is always calling Ranma a pervert she only calls him a pervert 9 times. 5 times occur in the first volume mostly stemming them walking in on each other in the bath. Then only again when she catches Shampoo in bed with him and during the Nanniichuan arc. Of particular interest, Akane doesn't get overly upset with Ranma or call him a pervert in the Nanniichuan arc until he refuses to leave and starts crawling on the floor under the other girls.

Physical:
These consist of any time a physical attack is successful, and not in a sparring session. I do not count attacks that do not connect since it is impossible to really know if the attack was meant to connect or not. Like the insults, I count a single uninterrupted attack of the same attack as a single attack. For instance, when Akane beats Ranma over the head several times in a row with a shinai because he lands on her in bed I counted that as a single attack. I also counted attacks in which Akane is part of a group that attacks Ranma, despite there being no direct evidence that she actually hit him. I also counted times, when physical injury may not have been intended or even really caused, such as when she pokes an injured Ranma to see if the wound is bad or when Ranma flicks popcorn into Akane's face.

Akane physically attacks Ranma 66 times.
Ranma physically attacks Akane 4 times.

What I found incredibly interesting in this is so far Akane has never once hit Ranma with a mallet of any type.

Psychological:
These consist of attacks meant to hurt a character emotionally or psychologically. This is a very tough category, and includes many things such as non-verbal insults, use of a cat to frighten Ranma, breaking of engagement, usage of the curse to cause worry or concern, taking actions to make the other jealous, etc.

Akane psychologically attacks Ranma 24 times.
Ranma psychologically attacks Akane 8 times.

Caring Moments:
These consist of moments that I saw as caring shown between or for each other.

Ranma shows caring for Akane 59 times.
Akane shows caring for Ranma 65 times.
They mutually show their caring 3 times.

Despite their fighting, which by the way, there are many chapters in which they are together and neither fights. It is easy to see how much they care for each other, or at least how nice each of them is.

What I found very interesting is that even from the very start Akane shows concern and empathy for Ranma. She takes him to Tofu's to change back into a male so he wouldn't be late to school. She takes him hot water so he can change back into a male after he jumps into the pool. She challenges Kuno so Ranma will have time to change. Takes Ranma to Tofu's clinic after she beats him up. She had no reason to do any of these things, and in fact a person who didn't care, wouldn't have done any of these things.

antimatterenergy said...

While I did find your tally of how often Ranma and Akane insult and hit one another interesting, more important is the why (accidentally overheard, teasing, intent, for a purpose, retaliatory, etc.).

Akane does hit Ranma with a mallet a few times later in the manga but it is never common or her weapon of choice (Ranma actually uses a mallet more than Akane does). Fanon has many things that contradict the manga.

Many fanfics demonize Ranma and Akane to some degree but both characters are very caring individuals who will stop to help people in need of help, even if those people have caused them problems or hurt them.

md.knopp said...

If you are interested I can send you the excel spreadsheet that I am using for the tally because I kept track of the reason why, as best as I could tell. Be advised thought that I never meant it to be seen by others so some of the annotations are brief or vague.

I found it interesting that most of the time there was a very discernible reason for the insults. Only rarely did I shake my head and say that I had no clue as to why the insult was given other than being a jerk. It is also interesting that most insults come in a running argument. This is hard to notate and in some ways makes the numbers look worse then they are. A single scene might have a dozen insults while the entire rest of the arc might only have half a dozen insults. The overall total makes it appear that throughout the arc they insulted each other about twice a chapter, but in reality the insulted each other a bunch one chapter and had several chapters where they got along just fine.

I know that she uses the mallet later in the series. What I am very curious to see is when she starts using it. I suspect that the increased usage of the mallet might actually be back bleed from the anime, since it is known that Ms. Takahashi made some minor changes to the series due to the anime.

I am right there with you on the caring nature of Ranma and Akane. For instance, Ranma saves Kuno in the pool despite him not having to.

antimatterenergy said...

I would be interested in seeing your tally, my email can be gotten in my profile if you are inclined to send it to me, but a list in and of itself giving the amounts is of limited use since context is very important.

I also noticed that Ranma/Akane have a reason for their insults, that was the primary purpose of the above post (to show some of Ranma's reasons).

Lucky said...

The funny part is that by being rude Ranma is being polite because he is following Akane's wishes for how she wishes to be treated by him.

Volume: 1
ISBN 0-92979-93-X
Page:289

Ranma: How's... How's your ankle? Can I... carry you?

Akane: Don't be so nice. It makes me nervous.

Ranma is in a lose lose situation with Akane. If he is polite she gets nervous, and attacks him. If he is rude Akane gets angry, and tries to attack him.